March 20th, 2020
Dear Residents and Families,
I wanted to take a moment to ensure clarity on a couple of points. I realize that my previous communications with you have been packed full of information, and were sent in a time of immediate mobilization and procedural change.
Amongst all that upheaval and confusion, I neglected to pinpoint one very important issue, and for that I apologize.
In my last letter, I noted that we were implementing quarantine due to "potential exposure" of the coronavirus at The Academy.
I want to be clear that there is no one with confirmed case of COVID-19 that we are aware of who has affiliations with The Academy.
We are waiting on results of one test from the State, and will notify everyone should it return positive. Most residents were already self-quarantining when this individual was at The Academy, but they were in public and common spaces.
I want you all to know that I have zero intention of hiding anything from you - it serves no one's best interest, creates fear and confusion, and goes against my personal ethical and moral beliefs. To top it off, it is also against our legal requirements to the state. During times of pandemic, the Public Health Department and state laws require us to inform them of any cases of COVID-19 within a set timeframe.
I do hope that you can rest assured on that front.
So, why the quarantine?
Because we know that Boulder County has confirmed community spread, that it can be passed with mild symptoms, and that we have residents with compromised immune systems. We are operating under an abundance of caution. And as we await test results, we would rather err on the side of caution than risk exposure to everyone.
Currently, we are taking several steps to ensure safety of residents and staff:
· Staffing has been whittled down to essential staff, in an effort to reduce the number of staff comings-and-goings.
· We are cross-training staff to be prepared to help in our most critical areas, should the need arise.
· We are limiting how many people go in and out of resident rooms, and using masks if anyone so much as coughs once when we go in to assess and take vitals.
· We have also requested staff to try their best to self-quarantine as much as possible - going from work to home, and back to work only if at all possible.
· We are limiting our exposure, too, in an effort to not bring anything into The Academy.
· In addition, our management/leadership staff is meeting daily to go over concerns, procedures, and steps to take to ensure safety and health of all. Things are ever-changing, and we are being fluid with the changes as needed.
· As for resident care, staff is checking in daily with residents and asking about their physical, mental, and emotional health. We know that quarantine, fears, and isolation can be distressing and difficult to process and digest.
· We are coming up with creative ideas for providing exercises, mental stimulation, and entertainment.
I continue to return to this thought: How wonderful would this be if we came out of this pandemic with ZERO cases? There is already at least one retirement community that has an outbreak already (defined as two or more staff/residents in one facility). I certainly don't want to be on that list at any point if we can help it.
Thank you all so much for your incredible efforts in helping us meet the needs of these chaotic times. We so very much appreciate each and every one of you.
It is in times like these that we truly see who we are and the good we are capable of putting back into the world.
How are you doing? I would love to know.
Warmly and with love,
Isa Down, RN
Health Services Director
p.s. - for those interested in classical music, this article has a long list of classical music organizations that have made their online concert archive available for free during this time, from the Metropolitan Opera to Berlin Philharmonic, and much more. I think it's super nifty.