July 6, 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.
Note: We have NO positive cases in our resident population.
The York County positive test rate is now above 5% and we had a recent positive case in our employee populations Therefore, we are NOT able to offer outdoor visitation to any unvaccinated resident this weekend, 7/8/21 through 7/11/21. Fully vaccinated youth are still eligible for visits and time at home. See details below. Remember we limit the number of visitors to 2 and food is not allowed to be consumed during the visit. We will continue reviewing the data weekly and every Monday we are informing Case Managers and Therapists if this option is available. While we are pleased to continue offering this 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.
The CDC has 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 any day between 9:00 am and 4:30 pm and do NOT have to quarantine afterwards. This is allowed regardless of our position outlined above, as it applies to unvaccinated residents only.
- Exempt from wearing a mask
- Eligible for community outings
This is an exciting opportunity for all of our residents and their families. I hope this opportunity serves as an incentive to return consent for this important vaccine.
US officials are warning of the impending danger of the Delta Variant of Covid-19. This variant is now active in all 50 states and is responsible for 25% of all new cases. The Delta variant is known to be a highly contagious mutation, resulting in significant increases in overall cases and hospitalizations of children. The CDC is urging all parents to get their children vaccinated. Have you signed consent for your child?
Your child is living in a high-risk of infection environment known as congregate care. Our close quarters and frequent contact with a variety of staff significantly increase the risk your child will get Covid-19. I urge you to protect the health of your child and all the children and staff here at New Hope, by signing consent to allow us to get your child vaccinated. To date, only 18 total youth in our care are “fully vaccinated”. Only having 14% of our resident population vaccinated leaves us all very vulnerable and risks our having to return to the restrictive measures in place back in 2020 and early 2021. Getting our residents and employees vaccinated is the key to eliminating the restrictions in place and getting us all back to some sense of normalcy. Please do your part by signing our consents to get your child vaccinated. Beginning this week, we will be mailing out copies of our consent forms to any legal guardian who hasn’t consented and including a self-addressed, stamped envelope for your convenience. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the safety or efficacy of the vaccine, please let us know and we will do our best to provide a prompt response. Just send your question or concern to me, through your therapist or Case Manager.
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. Fully vaccinated residents are approved for THTs, and again these should be scheduled through your therapist. While we are certainly making progress towards eliminating all mitigation strategies aimed at reducing the possibilities of infection from Covid-19 through the vaccination process, your patience, understanding and continued cooperation and adherence to these necessary restrictions are appreciated.
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.
Thank you again for allowing us to care for your child.
Sam E. Phifer, LCSW