November 5, 2020
Dear Parent/Legal Guardian/ Treatment Ally:
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.
The World Health Organization now reports over 47 million cases of Covid-19 worldwide and over 1 million deaths. The United States is reporting over 9.5 million cases to date and is now seeing record breaking numbers of new cases every day. Hospitalizations and deaths are increasing in multiple states all across the country. The data continues to indicate the virus is not contained and reminds us that strong mitigation strategies are necessary to ensure safety.
Two weeks ago, we experienced new cases for the first time in over three months (July 13, 2020). This week, we lifted the quarantine for all Safe Harbor residents, all of whom returned to programming safely. We will maintain unit quarantine and an admission freeze for the Starting Pointe program until Friday 11/6/20, as that program had two positive cases, both of whom will clear quarantine protocol on 11/6/20. Residents on both programs were tested and re-tested 3 times over the past 3 weeks to ensure we identified all Covid -19. This week we saw a slight decline in employees calling out of work with Covid-19 symptoms or due to direct exposure to someone with the virus. Since the pandemic began, we have seen a total of 25 out of over 400 employees test positive for Covid-19.
We are continuing the entry screening and other robust processes in place designed to track and monitor the wellness of our employees. 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 quarantine the entire population and stop all admissions to that program.
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. We now have the flu vaccine and we are in the process of offering it to all employees and residents.
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 a fourteen (14) day quarantine. When that is not feasible, we will quarantine the youth here.
We are about to move from fall into winter months, when more people spend more time indoors. We are concerned this will only serve to increase infection rates for both Covid and Influenza. While we know this is also a time when families want to spend time together, we know that time together indoors could increase infection rates. Based on this science we do not anticipate lifting our restriction on therapeutic home passes or on site visitation. 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. The seven day average for SC is currently 13%. We are looking for a rate at or below 10% consistently for a two week period. Your continued cooperation and adherence to these necessary restrictions. Video conferencing is always available, through your therapist.
Thank you for allowing us to care for your child.
Sam E. Phifer, LCSW