November 2, 2020
Dear Residents and Staff, Families and Friends,
We are grateful to report that during the entire month of October all residents, who have been tested for COVID-19, have received negative results. We thought it would be helpful, however, to summarize the incidences of virus among our staff members last month so you know the general status of their recoveries and plans to return to work.
From October 21 through 30, we reported that six staff members had received positive results for their COVID-19 tests. All but one remained asymptomatic while they recuperated or still are recovering. Three members of the Dining Services team already have returned to work in accordance with CDC guidelines. And our three other staff members—who work in administration, housekeeping, and nursing in the healthcare and assisted living areas of our community—are expected to meet CDC requirements so they can return to work on Friday, November 6.
Surge escalates in Region 10 and across Illinois
Every day for the last five days, more than 6,000 new cases of COVID-19 in Illinois—exceeding the peak our State’s rapid increase in the number of new cases during the month of May—have been reported. As part of this steady surge, Region 10, suburban Cook County, is reporting a worrisome escalation in its positivity rate. All 11 Regions in the State of Illinois are now in Tier 1 mitigation status.
Because 80 percent of people, who now test positive for COVID-19, are asymptomatic, please be prudent and even more vigilant about complying with our current restrictions to protect the well-being of both everyone at Clare Oaks. Should there be a need for adding more precautions, we will notify you as soon as we learn them from the Illinois Department of Public Health.
As members of our Clare Oaks family, it is critical that we quickly adjust our daily routines to abate the spread of the virus. Under the guidelines of the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Assisi Healthcare Center (Assisted Living, Memory Support and Skilled Nursing) is now at Tier 1, a phase designated by the spike in occurrences of COVID-19 in our entire Region.
Precautions to protect everyone
All staff members across the campus now wear a face shield whenever they are within six-feet of another person. All staff who are within six-feet of a resident in the healthcare center also will wear a respirator.
The following restrictions, which we initiated last week, remain in place for residents in our Healthcare Center:
- All visits are conducted virtually and can be scheduled in the same manner as the on-site visits that we could previously offer
- All residents will be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis
- All activities, communal dining and the beauty salon are not available at this time.
While IDPH guidelines do not apply directly to Independent Living residents, we encourage everyone to exercise caution when getting together—even for a brief time or simply passing each other in a hallway. Residents are expected to conform with these current changes on our campus:
- No visitors are allowed into the building.
- Meals are provided on a carryout basis only.
- The beauty salon will remain open with special screening protocols.
- Group activities are suspended, including Mass, Communion and exercise classes.
- BINGO is available on the phone line.
- Only leave Clare Oaks’ campus only for essential trips and, when possible, plan telehealth visits
Clare Oaks continues to adhere to all guidelines
At Clare Oaks, we remain committed to following all protocols and practices prescribed by our local and state health departments as well as the CDC and CMS to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- All staff members continue to wear the appropriate PPE, which may include gowns, masks, and goggles or face shields, in order to prevent the spread of infection.
- We continue to screen employees when they start each shift and during each shift.
- Staff members are tested for COVID-19 based on guidelines from IDPH and CMS.
- Our housekeeping team remains steadfast in frequently disinfecting our campus following IDPH and CDC guidelines.
- We closely monitor all residents in Assisi Health Care Center to detect signs or symptoms of COVID-19.
- We continue to educate residents in Independent Living about the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and have instructed them to report to staff if they are experiencing any of those symptoms.
Rationale for more caution
When six staff members tested positive for COVID-19 during the month of October, the total number of employees with positive results since the onset of the virus doubled in nine days when compared with the period from March through August. While we have been blessed with a very low number of total occurrences including four residents and 12 staff members, we are very concerned about the prevalence of COVID-19 in our surrounding community.
We urge everyone to follow the guidelines of IDPH and the CDC so residents
- Participate in our weekly testing protocol for all Healthcare residents
- Wear a mask in all common areas and while interacting with each other
- Observe six-foot social distancing at all gatherings, including outdoor events, and individual encounters when walking in hallways and delivering mail and packages to a neighbor
- Practice hand-hygiene throughout the day
We encourage Independent Living residents to be watchful for symptoms of the virus and to take a test if they experience any symptoms or learn they may have been exposed to someone who tests positive.
In addition to these , our staff members follow a regime including
- Screening at the beginning of and during each shift
- Wearing appropriate PPE, when necessary
- Monitoring for clinical changes regarding COVID-19 symptoms all assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing care residents and responding to questions about the virus from independent living residents who monitor themselves
- Maintaining a clean, disinfected community
While it is not in use now, Clare Oaks maintains our COVID-19 isolation unit and monitors our inventory of PPE in case a resident needs this support.
For all tests administered during week of October 23, 68 residents and 157 employees received negative results. A test result is pending for one resident, and three staff members received positive outcomes for the virus.
Even while some results for last week still are pending, we will conduct our mandatory weekly testing for all healthcare residents and all employees on Tuesday, November 3.
Our gratitude to you
Please know we value how your willingness to adjust to our recently and seemingly ever-changing restrictions. Your generous consideration of what it means to be part of a caring community inspires all of us who call Clare Oaks our family.
Stay healthy and safe,
Chief Executive Officer