November 16, 2020
Dear Residents and Staff, Families and Friends,
Everyone—our staff members, our residents and their families—is weary from responding to the ever-changing demands to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
So, I must say how much I admire the resilience and “can-do” spirit of both residents and staff members as we find new ways to responsibly cope by taking the appropriate actions to combat the surging threat of this global pandemic in our surrounding area as well as on our campus. We also should be heartened by today’s news from Moderna Therapeutics, which announced close to a 95 percent success rate during its clinical trials for a second option for a vaccine.
Today, we report one staff member working in the Independent Living Dining Room, who last was on campus on Wednesday, November 4, has tested positive for COVID-19. This person was experiencing symptoms of the virus and arranged to be tested elsewhere, and continues to recuperate at home. Our employee only will return to work in accordance with CDC guidelines.
Record-breaking number of cases across Illinois
This afternoon, Governor JB Pritzker announced there have been 11,632 confirmed and probable new cases of COVID-19 across Illinois. On Sunday, November 15, the State’s seven-day positivity rate was 14.8 percent, compared with 11.4 percent a week ago.
The Governor also reminded citizens that the entire State, including Region 10 for suburban Cook County, is under a 30-day stay-at-home advisory. He urged everyone to only leave their homes and to cancel all plans for Thanksgiving gatherings.
Take advantage of Clare Oaks’ support
At Clare Oaks, several residents already are relying on our service to provide assistance with shopping for groceries and other necessities. We thank those who already are “shopping smart.”
Even though family traditions are so very important in our lives, please consider forgoing—for this year only—visiting with your family in their home for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Since Governor Pritzker’s stay-at-home advisory is now in effect and the CDC has issued guidelines limiting family gatherings to six or fewer peoples, we encourage all our residents and their families to follow them.
If you attend any gatherings for any reason that do not comply with these guidelines, Clare Oaks will ask you to sign an agreement acknowledging the risk and to self-quarantine for 14 days—even if you’re only away for a few hours—when you return to Clare Oaks. Residents or their families, who decide to leave Clare Oaks’ campus, should check with Nikki Carroll, Resident Services Coordinator, to ask questions about this new protocol and to confirm they understand this plan.
Precautions to protect everyone
At this time, residents in our Healthcare Center
- Only can visit virtually with family and friends, and we are happy to plan these visits in the same way we have organized on-site visits
- Will be tested for COVID-19 on Wednesday, November 18, to fulfill our weekly testing mandate
For these residents, all activities, communal dining and the beauty salon are not available at this time.
IDPH guidelines do not apply directly to Independent Living residents, but encourage them to be mindful of how residents’ actions can affect others in our community. Clare Oaks expects residents to comply with current precautions including
- No indoor or outdoor visits
- Meals are provided on a carryout basis only
- The beauty salon is still open to single visitors one person at a time
- Only leave Clare Oaks’ campus only for essential trips and, when possible, plan telehealth visits
We also are planning special Mass and Communion Thanksgiving services in the Chapel at 9:30am on Sunday, November 22; Wednesday, November 25; and Thursday, November 26. And next Monday, I will share with you plans for Thanksgiving Day compliments of our Dining Services team.
For these residents, Clare Oaks has arranged for
- Mass and Communion at 9:30am on Sundays and Wednesdays in the Chapel, which has been rearranged for social distancing
- BINGO in Clare Hall, which has been rearranged for social distancing; plus Clare Oaks still offers BINGO on the phone line
When people are admitted to the Assisi Healthcare Center, Clare Oaks administers a test for COVID-19 and requires a 14-day quarantine upon their arrival.
Faithfully following 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 healthcare staff members wear KN95 masks and gloves
- Healthcare staff members wear N95 masks, gloves, gowns and face shields when caring for newly admitted residents who are quarantined and those who have tested positive for the virus
- 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
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 when 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
In addition, 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.
This week’s plan for testing
To comply with Cook County’s newest mandate, all employees are now tested twice a week, starting for the first time today and again on Thursday, November 19. Clare Oaks plans to administer tests to all residents in our healthcare settings on Wednesday, November 18.
We also encourage Independent Living residents, who experience even mild symptoms of the virus and or learn they may have been exposed to someone who has the virus, to be tested.
I appreciated the opportunity to get acquainted with more residents during our town hall meetings last week. Please share more of your suggestions with me as we navigate uncharted territory created by the spike in cases of COVID-19 in Region 10 and beyond.
Very truly yours,