On March 10, we sent the following letter to all of the families of our residents and clients detailing what steps we are taking to reduce the risk of Coronavirus on our campus:
Dear Residents, Family Members, and Friends:
As all of you may be aware, the coronavirus that causes the respiratory disease COVID-19 is having a worldwide impact. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the immediate risk of infection is currently low for most people in the United States. The situation is evolving rapidly, though, and the virus is likely to become more widespread. Since a limited number of cases have recently been reported in Massachusetts, I am writing to inform you of what we are doing relative to the coronavirus at Deutsches Altenheim.
The primary symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus, which is thought to be spread from person to person through droplets in the air. Currently there is no vaccine for the coronavirus.
What We Are Doing
Deutsches Altenheim has updated its infection control policies and procedures to include information specific to the coronavirus. Designated staff are implementing these measures and monitoring compliance throughout the entire campus (German Centre, Edelweiss Village, and Senior Place). As part of our quality assurance/quality improvement program, data concerning all types of resident infections is collected and reported. The data is tracked and reviewed for trends, and interventions are established to improve outcomes. Currently we are re-educating all staff on measures to prevent and control infections and have updated the training in light of the coronavirus. All departments are required to attend these re-education sessions.
We are regularly reviewing information and recommendations from the CDC and from state and local regulatory agencies. Additional handwashing stations have been installed throughout the campus, and there is increased cleaning of flat surfaces, tables, door knobs, hand rails, elevators, etc., with antibacterial solutions. We are carefully managing our supplies of protective products, and staff and visitors are being advised to stay home if they are ill or have symptoms. Flyers are being posted in all buildings to educate staff, visitors, and vendors about preventing the spread of virus infections.
What You Can Do
Coronavirus and the influenza virus are both contagious viruses that cause respiratory illness. The precautions that help you prevent the flu will also help prevent COVID-19 infection. These include:
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with a soap that is at least 60% alcohol based
- Avoid touching your face, especially your nose, mouth, and eyes; use tissues
- Stay at home if you are sick
- Avoid people who are sick
- Sneeze into a tissue or sleeve
- Don’t share food or drinks
- Use hand sanitizer, especially in public places (supermarket, church, sporting events)
At this time, none of our residents are known to have been exposed to or tested positive for the coronavirus. You can help us avoid the potential spread of the coronavirus at Deutsches Altenheim by postponing a visit to our campus if any of the following pertain to you:
- You have flu-like symptoms such as cough, fever, and shortness of breath
- You have traveled to China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, or any other risk-identified country, in the last 14 days
- You have been in contact with someone who has traveled to the above countries
Our receptionists are asking all visitors to fill out a brief questionnaire before proceeding to any area of the campus where residents, patients, and clients are located. The survey requests some basic information about exposure and wellness. We appreciate your cooperation in supplying this information to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus on our campus–and to ensure you stay healthy as well.
We will be following Information on the coronavirus closely and will do our best to communicate any significant updates. Below are some links to websites that provide detailed information about the coronavirus and COVID-19 which you may find useful.
Deutsches Altenheim is dedicated to providing a safe environment for every resident, and we appreciate your efforts in supporting us. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to us.
Michael B. Lincoln, CEO
World Health Organization: www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
Download the letter: Letter re Coronavirus