January 19, 2021
Dear Parent/Legal Guardian/ Treatment Ally:
On behalf of the entire team at New Hope, we are grateful for the opportunity to serve your child and family during these difficult times. We hope this letter finds you and your family well. In consultation with our Medical Services Team, I would like to again update you on the current status of Covid-19 at New Hope Carolinas.
Unfortunately we continue to see the effects of the holiday surges of Covid-19 infections. The national and local data continues to clearly indicate the virus is not contained and reminds us that strong mitigation strategies continue to be necessary to ensure the safety of our residents and employees. Your patience, understanding and continued cooperation and adherence to these necessary restrictions are appreciated.
Since my last letter we confirmed cases on 6 programs; New Choices, Safe Harbor, Transformations 1&2 and Waypoint 1 & 2. We placed all of these units on full unit quarantine and froze all admissions to them as well. To date we have been able to lift these freezes and unit quarantines on the New Choices, Safe Harbor, Waypoint 2 and Transformations 2 programs. Waypoint 1 and Transformations 1 programs remain on unit quarantine and admission freeze at this time. If you are considering taking your child for a visit anytime soon, I implore you to reconsider. Please bear with our restrictions on Therapeutic Home Time (THT) and on site visitation a little longer. Help us keep everyone here safe.
Our employees began receiving vaccines last week, and we have launched a robust educational and incentive based campaign in an effort to increase employee participation.
We are continuing our entry screening and other detailed processes in place designed to track and monitor the wellness of our employees. Beginning December 30, 2020, SC DHEC began offering free testing of all employees on site, on a weekly basis. We are very excited about having this important strategy in our infection control toolbox, and we are hopeful it will help us further mitigate the spread of Covid -19 in our workforce and building.
We are continuing to monitor all residents daily for symptoms. We are also continuing to quarantine and monitor symptoms of any new admissions or current residents who are away from our building for any reason, as a precaution, and if we see any hint of an influx on any unit, we will continue to test and quarantine the entire population and stop all admissions to that program. We are now requesting a negative test for any new admissions, as an additional precaution.
We are continuing to test any youth in our care for Covid-19 if they display symptoms or if they leave our facility for any reason. When a resident displays or reports any symptoms, our process includes conducting a rapid test for influenza and strep and testing for Covid-19, then isolating that resident until we have results back on all 3. Remember, if any youth tests positive for Covid-19, we will notify the parent/Legally Responsible Person (LRP) and encourage his/her parent/LRP to take the youth to their permanent residence for quarantine. When that is not feasible, we will quarantine the youth here.
Our plans for outdoor visitation and fully returning all employees to the workplace also remain on hold, pending better infection rates data in South Carolina. Due to the current trending of infection rates, coupled with clear guidance from the CDC, we DO NOT support any therapeutic home visits (THTs) over the upcoming weeks. Remember, video conferencing is always available, through your therapist.
Thank you again for allowing us to care for your child.
Sam E. Phifer, LCSW