January 24, 2022
Dear Parent/Legal Guardian/ Treatment Ally:
On behalf of the entire team at New Hope, Happy New year! Best wishes for 2022. 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.
Today we have 10 positive Covid-19 cases in our resident population. This is a decrease and we are confident we have now passed the peak of the most recent surge. To date, over 85 youth have tested positive since January 1,2022. Some units are now completely free of infection. Some units have only 1 positive youth and no others suspected, and for the units with multiple positive infections, they are all nearing the end of any required quarantine. For these reasons, we feel very comfortable lifting the unit quarantine and admission freezes on every program with the exception of the LEAP program. I am very pleased to report that none of the children recently infected experienced any serious illness.
Once again, I urge anyone who has not consented for their child to get the vaccine and booster to do so now, to ensure your child is fully protected. The Food & Drug Administration, (FDA) approved booster shots for anyone over age 12 on January 3rd, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) gave approval on January 6. The recommendation is for these boosters to be administered five months after the completion of an initial two-dose regiment.
We are prepared to make all of the arrangements for the vaccine and booster appointments and will provide transportation. Be advised that anyone age 16 or older can consent and no additional parent/legal guardian signature is needed. However, we are requesting consent from all legal guardians to allow New Hope to provide the assistance needed to schedule and transport residents to a vaccine clinic. If you need a consent form, please ask your Case Manager to send you one.
The South Carolina state and York County positivity rates are now well above the 5% threshold required to loosen restrictions on visitation and home passes. In light of the current data, we are continuing our suspension of all outdoor visitation and Therapeutic Home Time (THT) until these trends show sustained improvement. Window visits are still available by appointment. Please schedule these through your child’s Therapist. We will continue reviewing the data weekly and every Monday we are informing Case Managers and Therapists if these options are available. Please understand that we have an obligation to ensure the safety of all of our residents and employees, and that we reserve the right to suspend in person visitation and THTs at any time, based on local/internal infection rates.
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 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.
We are continuing to offer financial incentives to our employees to be vaccinated, and we are developing policy and procedures to prepare for the federal mandates regarding vaccines for settings like ours. We continue to require all employees to wear a mask, regardless of vaccine status, per CDC guidelines. 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