June 4, 2020 COVID-19 UPDATE
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) does a “Public Health Investigation” on every Skilled Nursing Facility in the state with at least one positive COVID-19 case in their building. DHS also places those facilities on a list for the public to see. This public list does not give the circumstance of each facility: it does not say when the positive cases were discovered; it does not say how many positive cases there are; it does not say if the positive cases are residents or staff members. With this said, a listed facility may have only one positive case discovered 25 days prior & that case is a staff member OR a listed facility may have many positive cases discovered 5 days prior & they are both residents & staff members. Listed facilities will come off the public list after 28 days if there are no active cases in the building.
Congregational Home was included on the DHS public list that was updated on 6-3-20, for the following reason: While off from work for several days, one of our non-caregiver staff members had decided to get tested for COVID-19, even though she had no symptoms at the time. Her test came back positive. Congregational Home was informed on 5-26-20, of this positive result. It is a blessing that this staff member had been off work & out of our building since 5-15-20. She remained out of our building throughout this time period and all Congregational Home residents and most of our staff were tested for COVID-19. We are thankful to say that all tests have been negative! We are also thankful that this staff member had gone on to develop only mild symptoms while at home and that she is now fully recovered and back to work.
To protect our residents from the threat of COVID-19, we continue to follow CDC and DHS guidelines and diligently work to keep this insidious disease out of our building. We continue with stepped-up disinfecting procedures and screening of each staff member & resident, including temperature screens; staff are screened before their shift starts and residents are screened 3 times a day during each shift. We continue to restrict all non-essential, non-medical visitors from entering our building, with the exception of certain compassionate allowances, such as end-of-life situations. While the state has been re-opening, long-term care communities, such as skilled nursing & assisted living facilities, continue to be restricted due to the high vulnerability of their residents. These restrictions are in accordance with federal & state guidelines issued by the CDC, DHS and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS). Since Congregational Home is certified to accept Medicare payments, we are obligated to follow these federal & state restrictions. We realize the great hardship this causes our residents and their families and we look forward to the day when the restrictions can be lifted. In the meantime, we are here to help our residents with video chats via Skype, FaceTime or other similar devices or apps (we have tablets available for resident use). In addition, if your loved one’s personal room or apartment window is accessible, “window visits” are permissible as long as the window remains closed. If your loved one’s window is not accessible, we have designated public areas with floor-to-ceiling windows available for window visits. Traditional phone calls, letters and cards are wonderful too – keep them coming! Finally, a cart has been placed in the outer vestibule of our main front lobby (on Burleigh Road) for family to drop off essential items for loved-ones, be sure to label the items with the resident’s name; our staff will then deliver the items.
We thank you for your cooperation, support & well wishes!
Stay safe & healthy!