Dear Residents, Families, and Associates of First Colonial Inn,
As shared last week, we have established an ongoing Covid-19 testing program that we believe is the most innovative in the country. We’ve had several questions come our way from residents and families this week, so I wanted to focus this week’s letter on this important topic again. Collaborating with our lab partners, we have developed an approach that is designed to detect Covid-19 quickly to minimize the potential exposure to others and to eliminate the need for residents, who participate in the testing, to shelter in place when leaving the community.
Our first line of defense is to regularly conduct ongoing Pooled PCR testing. All associates and residents are categorized accordingly:
Higher Risk: Anyone who leaves the community–this is generally all associates, any resident who has left the community, and anyone who regular leaves the community, such as the employees of Silver Strands Salon and Genesis Rehab. We are also making plans to include other Essential Visitors into this testing as well.
Lower Risk: Individuals that do not leave the community (most of our residents).
“Higher Risk” individuals will be tested twice per week, and “Lower Risk” individuals tested once per week.
Individuals are divided into “pools” that are composed of associate groups, and resident groups. Pooled testing requires the collection of a small amount of saliva that we send (in individual vials) to our laboratory partner. Once overnighted to the laboratory, results are typically provided within 24 hours. If a pool tests positive, we will quickly isolate the positive pool and conduct individual PCR testing (either a throat swab or a nasal swab). Once positive individual(s) are identified, they are isolated while the rest of the pool participants go about their daily activities with no further action required.
With adequate participation in Pooled testing, we can detect Covid-19 very early, isolate any positive individual(s), minimize the spread to others, and eliminate the requirement for residents who leave the community to shelter in place. It is important to note that in order for this program to be effective, your participation in this simple, non-invasive testing is critical. I’ve included the Pooled Testing Need to Know Information on the backside of this letter.
Our company, Kisco Senior Living continues to guide and support us while developing innovative ways to improve resident quality of life during Covid. The new Pooled Testing is very exciting as it’s allowing our residents flexibility to come and go and for us to expand our offerings, including the increased usage of the gym and salon, reopening of the library and plans are being made to offer modified dining room service. We also soon hope to have the ability to roll out a program that will allow us to safely invite family members to visit their loved ones in the community! We look forward to sharing more information in the coming weeks.
We realize that this testing information can be confusing, and we hope that this explanation of our process is helpful. I hope you’ll agree that we are leading the way in addressing the challenges of Covid-19 by using innovation, science, and data to keep our residents and associates as safe as possible as we work through this together. Thank you for your support, and please remember that while this testing can provide an excellent line of defense in the fight against Covid-19, this can only work if we continue to be vigilant with social distancing, mask use, hand hygiene, and ongoing health monitoring.
We thank all of you for your continued support of FCI as we navigate through this pandemic together. Our continued positive thoughts and prayers for everyone’s good health are with each of you. Please let me know if you have any concerns or questions. We appreciate your questions, feedback, and support.
Chrissy Driscoll, Executive Director