March 16, 2020
Open Letter Re: Covid -19 Preparation Activities Follow-Up
Dear Parent, Caseworker, Legally Responsible Person or Treatment Ally,
New Hope Carolinas began preparing for Covid -19 (Coronavirus) in late February 2020 by enacting a number of measures, each designed to mitigate the risk of infection to our residents and employees.
We refined our pre-admission Influenza screening process to screen for Covid-19. We sent reminders to all employees regarding our Influenza screening protocol to reinforce our policy of not reporting to work if any employee has flu or flu-like symptoms, which can mimic the Covid-19 virus. We ensured adequate supplies of masks and other protective gear, along with emergency medical and hydration supplies were available/on hand. We began conducting meetings by phone and limiting large group gatherings in confined spaces, as much as possible. We equipped quarantine rooms on each unit in the event we need to separate any infected residents from the general population. We consulted with our professional housekeeping contractor to step up the disinfectant wiping of all hard surfaces throughout the facility, and we launched a robust hand washing campaign designed to encourage all residents and employees to repeatedly wash their hands throughout the day. To date, I am very proud of our efforts to limit the influx of influenza. Our records indicate we have had only five positive case of influenza in our resident population during this flu season (September 2019 to present). To date, we have not recorded any resident with any symptomatology consistent with Covid-19.
As the Covid -19 virus continues to spread internationally and cases continue to show community spread is occurring at a rapid pace here in the United States, we have determined it is prudent to now cease any and all non-essential visitors from entering our building, and we are temporarily stopping all residents from traveling outside of our building, unless for emergency medical treatment. This temporary measure is designed to limit the influx of influenza (or any Corona-type virus like Covid-19) into our resident population and afford reasonable protections to our residents and staff. This measure officially went into effect on March 9, 2020 and will remain in effect until further notice.
I appreciate your cooperation with this measure. I am encouraging our clinical team to assist residents in contacting parents and legal guardians regularly to provide assurances we are all doing well.
As our country continues to cancel events, closes schools and recommends self-quarantines for high risk populations, I am pleased to report that our employees are responding very well. We are fully staffed today and our employees are indicating they understand and support the need for them to be here to take care of your child. Our dietary, clinical, case management, nursing and educational departments, maintenance staff and other ancillary teams are all well prepared and in good spirits.
The safety and welfare of your child continues to be our utmost priority.
Sam E. Phifer, LCSW
New Hope Carolinas