August 31, 2020
Dear Residents and Staff, Families and Friends,
On Friday, August 28, 2020 we received notification that one employee tested positive for COVID-19. Following the CDC guidelines this employee is isolating at home and will return to work at the appropriate time. Clare Oaks has reported since March a total of three residents and six staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19. All three of the residents have been discharged from the Clare Oaks’ isolation unit. Five staff members have returned to work in accordance with CDC guidelines, one remains at home.
We continue to adhere to all guidelines from IDPH and other agencies, and attribute Clare Oaks’ low incidence of the virus to your willingness to comply with our precautions. We have entered an agreement with a lab to process resident and staff testing as required. The IDPH issued guidance regarding the Reopening of the Healthcare Center. We are reviewing this important information and writing policies as required to remain in compliance.
To mitigate the spread of the virus, we initiated and sustain the following actions:
- We constructed a temporary Visqueen wall with a zipper to separate our dedicated COVID-19 Unit from the rest of the area to control the spread.
- We assigned a team of nurses exclusively to our isolation unit to provide care in the unit when residents are recovering there. When assigned to this unit, they do not work anywhere else on our campus. In addition to providing nursing care, these nurses take care of housekeeping and dietary duties.
- We designated a separate shower area for those who work in this unit where they also change their clothes when they leave their shift.
- We provide appropriate PPE for all staff on the campus to wear and educate them about the proper use of PPE.
- We revised staffing schedules to minimize movement throughout the building.
In addition, we continue to enforce the following restrictions and safety measures by:
- Taking temperatures and asking screening questions of all staff, visitors and Independent Living residents when they enter our building. They also are immediately directed to wash their hands. And we conduct a second complete screening for all employees during their shift.
- Continuing to enforce visitor restrictions—essential visitors only inside the building.
- Expanding visitation programs with outdoor visits for residents across campus.
- Accepting items dropped off at the main entrance for delivery to residents.
- Portions of the Commons have reopened with new protocols. The Pool, Fitness Room, Bank, Salon and Chapel are open for Independent Living residents only.
- The Independent Living Dining Room is open with social distancing and infection control protocols with the exception of Sunday Brunch which remains carry out.
- Allowing Independent Living residents to leave our campus
- Strongly encouraging everyone to wear a mask, to practice social distancing and hand hygiene, and to avoid gatherings with more than 10 people.
- Continuing to wipe down surfaces in accordance with the CDC guidelines.
- Monitoring frequently our supply of Personal Protective Equipment.
- Providing all residents on the campus with face masks and instruction on how and when to wear them.
- Monitoring closely our residents in Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing Care for clinical changes in accordance with the guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).
- Quarantining all Independent Living residents, who go to a hospital or its emergency room or to an immediate care center, for 14 days.
- Convening, as needed, COVID-19 Task Force Executive Committee meetings to discuss new guidance, policy implementation and the status of patients.
Together, we persevere. Our relationships—for Clare Oaks residents and staff—run deep. As we emerge from an unprecedented time, we are strong like the oak tree.
All of us are so very thankful for the dedicated superheroes that come here every day to serve our residents. I am proud to work alongside them.
And I am grateful to all of you who help us along this path. For your prayers, letters, cards, meals and snacks for staff, donated masks, home-made fabric masks, sewing projects and so many kindnesses and encouragements no one even knows about—THANK YOU!
Stay healthy and safe,
Chief Executive Officer