May 24, 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.
We began offering outdoor visitation on April 1. Unfortunately, we were forced to suspend this opportunity throughout most of April and May due to the local percent positive rate, which has consistently stayed above the 5% recommended threshold recommended. Unfortunately, we are once again suspending this at least until June 3 for any unvaccinated resident. We are reviewing the data weekly and every Monday we are informing Case Managers and Therapist if this option is available. While we are pleased to finally be able to offer this important opportunity for you and your child, please understand that we have an obligation to do so safely, and that we reserve the right to suspend this process at any time, based on weather conditions or local/internal infection rates.
Due to the current trending of infection rates, coupled with clear guidance from the CDC, we DO NOT support any therapeutic home visits (THTs) for unvaccinated residents or any inside visitation over the upcoming weeks. Remember, “through the glass” or video conferencing continues to be available. Please schedule all visitation through your therapist.
I am very pleased to again report that we do not have ANY positive cases in our resident population! We haven’t seen a unit influx since late January 2021.
Last week, I announced that the CDC had approved the Pfizer vaccine for anyone over age 12. Our Case Managers are now actively reaching out to the legal guardian of any eligible resident to obtain consent to vaccinate the youth. We are making all arrangements for the vaccine appointments and providing transportation. Once a resident is fully vaccinated and 2 weeks has passed since the last shot was administered, AND they are asymptomatic, they are immediately:
- Exempt from automatic quarantine post off -site appointments.
- Eligible for off campus THTs and do NOT have to quarantine upon return and
- Eligible for OUTDOOR visits and do NOT have to quarantine afterwards. This is allowed regardless of our position outlined above, as it applies to unvaccinated residents only.
Since that correspondence, the CDC issued new guidance regarding vaccinated persons need to wear mask. In accordance with that guidance and effective today, 5/24/21, any child who is fully vaccinated will be allowed to no longer wear a mask.
This is an exciting opportunity for some residents and I hope serves as an incentive to return consent for this important vaccine. Please note: All vaccinated residents must continue to test weekly and wear a mask when not alone in their room. If at any time a vaccinated resident displays or reports any symptoms, our standard quarantine procedures will apply.
We continue to require testing of all residents and encourage the testing of all employees on a weekly basis. In addition to weekly testing, we are also requesting a negative test for any new admission and we continue to monitor all residents daily for symptoms. We are also continuing to test and quarantine any new admissions or current unvaccinated residents who are away from our building for any reason, as a precaution. If we see any hint of an influx on any unit, we will test and quarantine the entire unit and stop all admissions to that program. 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 employees continue the vaccination process 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.
The CDC continues to warn all Americans to continue to remain vigilant in all mitigation strategies. Simple mitigation strategies like masks and distancing 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.
Thank you again for allowing us to care for your child.
Sam E. Phifer, LCSW