November 24, 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 United States is now seeing cases surge all across the country, with hospitalizations and death tolls rising in nearly every state. The percent positive rate for SC continues to run at 15%. The data continues to indicate the virus is not contained and reminds us that strong mitigation strategies continue to be necessary to ensure the safety or our residents and employees. Your patience, understanding and continued cooperation and adherence to these necessary restrictions are appreciated.
Two weeks ago, we experienced new cases for the first time in over three months (July 13, 2020). Since my last letter we have seen cases emerge on 4 programs. Some were admitted with the virus and were asymptomatic, others acquired it internally. We quickly implemented unit quarantines and admission freezes where indicated. Through our testing and mitigation strategies we are confident we have limited the spread. We currently have 8 youth in quarantine 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 test and 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 quarantine. When that is not feasible, we will quarantine the youth here.
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, we also DO NOT support any therapeutic home visits (THTs) over the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. The CDC is now urging all Americans to avoid holiday travel as it increases the likelihood of community spread. We will re-evaluate the Christmas holidays as those dates draw nearer Remember, video conferencing is always available, through your therapist.
Thank you again for allowing us to care for your child.
Sam E. Phifer, LCSW
Sam E. Phifer, Executive Director