February 2, 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.
It appears we are now on the downslope of the holiday surges of Covid-19 infections; however the national and local data continues to 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 released all programs from quarantine status. Last Wednesday we began testing all residents, thanks to assistance from South Carolina DHEC. One child tested positive and is now in quarantine. We will continue to test all residents on a weekly basis for the foreseeable future. This will give us an early picture of where we have clusters emerging much quicker than only testing symptomatic residents and should help us stay in front of any outbreaks. While we cannot stop the flow of employees coming and going, we recognize it is critical we slow the flow of children going in and out of the community, potentially bringing the virus into the facility. 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.
In addition to the testing outlined above, we are also 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 will continue testing 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.
Many of our employees will begin receiving their second vaccine this week, and we continue our educational and incentive based campaign in an effort to increase employee participation. We are also continuing our entry screening and other detailed processes in place designed to track and monitor the wellness of our employees and further limit the spread of Covid-19 in our building.
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