Blue Skies of Texas COVID 19 Independent Living Report – March 15, 2020 March
March 13th proved to be significant with announcements and declarations. San Antonio’s Mayor Ron Nirenberg confirmed our city’s first case of COVID 19 outside of Lackland evacuees and President Trump declared a National Emergency as a result of the Coronavirus. While the announcements were being made, the city ushered in Texas’ first drive-through testing center, offering testing for health care workers and first responders who qualify.
This week’s BST COVID 19 update is providing important information as it relates to actions BST has taken to protect our residents and employees, and guidance for those who may find themselves placed on in-home quarantine.
Recent Activity: As of March 15, 2020: The Mission and The Vista are closed to all visors with exceptions made for compassionate care visits at end of life. This directive is a federal mandate and applies to all nursing homes in the United States. Arnold House, Liberty House and Freedom House have implemented strict visitation and screening requirements for residents, staff and visitors. While visitation in those facilities is allowed today, with strict guidelines, it could change quickly and follow The Mission and The Vista’s ban on all visitors regardless of screening. Screening of non-health care staff is also underway, to include contracted and agency staff. We recognize how difficult health care facility visitation bans will be for residents and their loved ones. Yet limiting our health care residents to potential exposure is a crucial element of containment.
Dining services will remove salad bars and the practice of self-service buffets in the process of implementing changes. Religious services are being canceled with alternative delivery options in development.
Independent Living: Containment within our independent living is another important measure in preventing the spread of COVID 19. We are asking IL residents to inform the community of travel. Reporting travel to the community is critical in tracking and trending valuable information should a community spread of COVID 19 occur. Travelers returning from countries identified as Level 3 countries with widespread sustained transmission of COVID 19, will be required to stay home for 14 days after returning from travel. In addition to travel, IL residents are required to report to the community any additional information that could lead to a concern regarding their potential for risk as it relates to influenza or COVID 19. This includes a resident exhibiting signs or symptoms of COVID 19 or influenza or having contact with infected or potentially infected people.
If you are exhibiting signs or symptoms of COVID 19 or influenza, stay home and contact your health care provider and BST Wellness. Your doctor will determine what the next steps are to include if you should be tested and or are able to recover at home. Should you be hospitalized and later determined to be medically stable to go home, quarantine may still be required. It is important to remain in contact with BST Wellness, keeping them informed of your status.
Residents should follow the guidance below while on quarantine until a healthcare provider or health department guidance says you can return to your normal activities.
People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 can isolate at home during their illness. Restrict activities outside your home. Wellness and Resident Services will help coordinate services, eliminating the need to leave your home. Medications and meals can be delivered to your door. During quarantine, BST staff will not be permitted to enter your home. Housekeeping, routine maintenance and other in-home services will be suspended while a resident is quarantined. Only emergency services (maintenance) as approved by the Resident Services Director, will be allowed to enter. Designated maintenance staff will be trained in appropriate transmission-based precautions before entering the quarantined household. Employees will wear proper protective equipment and the resident will wear a mask or remain in another room while staff are present. Pregnant or otherwise medically compromised staff will not be permitted contact, regardless of personal equipment protection. If a medical emergency arises, 911 will be called.
If living with someone, residents should be separate from others and animals in your home. Always stay in a separate room and maintain a minimum of 6 feet distance. Also, they should use a separate bathroom, if available. All inhabitants of the home will be on quarantine.
Animals: Residents with pets are advised to restrict contact with pets while sick with COVID-19, just like one would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. If a resident must care for a pet while sick, attention to hand hygiene and wearing a mask is recommended.
If a resident must come out for medically necessary appointments, they are not allowed to use BST transportation nor should they use public transportation. Care cabs are best option if the resident doesn’t drive and the care cab should be notified prior and the resident should wear a mask while out of the home.
Discontinuing home quarantine: Patients with confirmed COVID-19 should remain under home quarantine precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low. The decision to discontinue home isolation precautions should be made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments. Quarantine as result of travel will be discontinued after 14 days has passed if the resident has not exhibited any signs or symptoms of illness.
Being Prepared: Having enough food and supplies for 2 weeks is a prudent practice. Having medications for the same amount of time is also wise and mail order services for prescriptions can yield a 90-day supply and should be considered by all. People with heart and respiratory conditions, diabetes and suppressed immune systems are most at risk. Pay close attention to your body and reach out to your medical provider at first signs of COVID 19 or influenza.
Under Consideration: Group activities, communal dining, IL visitors screening, and other considerations are being discussed among your leadership team at this time. Remember, this is a fast-moving crisis and changes to operations can be enacted with very little notice. We appreciate everyone’s understanding and assistance during this time.