Dear Cardinal Residents and Family Members,
Earlier this week, the state Department of Health and Human Services launched a free app that alerts people when they may have been exposed to COVID-19. The app is called SlowCOVIDNC and uses Google and Apple’s Exposure Notification System (ENS) to alert users if they have come into close contact with someone who tests positive. This app is anonymous and does not collect, store, or share personal information or location data. To utilize this tool to help slow the spread of COVID-19, Apple and Android users can download the app in their app store.
Surveillance testing at The Cardinal continues to go well and all test results this week have been negative. Going forward, we will offer testing to all Independent Living residents every Wednesday who wish to be tested. If you wish to be tested for COVID-19, please come to the Art Studio on Wednesday, September 23rd between the hours 8:00am – 4:00pm. You will need to bring your insurance cards with you if it is your first time being tested with the new lab.
Resident Advisory Board Ballots for new Board Members were distributed this afternoon. Due to feedback we received that the font was too small on the original ballots distributed on lavender paper, we re-printed and distributed ballots on yellow paper late this afternoon. Residents should only turn in ballots printed on YELLOW paper. Please discard ballots on lavender paper if you received one.
This Sunday, September 27th at 5:15pm, we will be streaming a free concert with the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival on channel 1341 titled Season Opening Extravaganza and Fall Reveal. For the past twenty years, the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival has brought the world’s most dynamic and accomplished musicians to North Carolina and beyond for concerts, master classes, and interactive outreach initiatives. The festival has presented more than 330 public concerts and 550 master classes, including two performances at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and a six-concert tour of Israel. This year, the festival is divided into four seasons: fall, winter, spring, and summer. Due to COVID, for fall 2020, Four Seasons goes virtual – giving music lovers, concertgoers and festival friends the ability to communicate directly with artists throughout each residency, intense and enlightening courses on the music being performed, guest artist interviews led by listeners and thrilling concerts by Four Seasons mainstays. We will re-stream this concert on October 4th at 3:00pm. Please enjoy this special presentation and let Wellness know how you enjoyed this concert.
Hayes Barton Pharmacy conducted the flu clinic today for all Pines Healthcare residents and associates. The Pharmacy is still waiting for the final confirmation on a delivery date for the high dose vaccine for our Independent Living Flu Clinic. As soon as we have confirmation from Hayes Barton that the vaccine is in house, we will notify residents immediately of the new date and time for the clinic. We will send a reminder memo out to all residents who signed up previously for the flu clinic with their scheduled time. We hope to have a rescheduled date very soon.
We are still recruiting for volunteers to be witnesses for the absentee voting process. Thus far, we have heard from 3 residents who are interested in assisting. We will be scheduling voting sessions soon and would like as many volunteers as possible. Please let Mary Casey or the front desk know if you are interested in volunteering to be a witness.
Over the past six months as we’ve introduced operational changes in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve worked hard to stay informed, to follow the science, and to ensure that we stay aligned with state, local, and federal guidance. All of our decisions have been influenced by a commitment to balance the safety of our residents and associates while balancing “quality of life” considerations. We’ve introduced testing in excess of any state or federally “mandated” protocols, and to date we’ve spent over $150,000 in Covid-related expenses to provide our teams and residents with the protection they need. We have also incurred additional costs for extended sick time pay for some associates to ensure that we can keep everyone safe without financial impact to affected associates. While we are all hoping for effective therapeutics and/or a vaccine to reduce the duration of this historic event, we continue to explore all viable options that can help ensure your safety while allowing some aspects of life to begin to approximate “normal”.
Recently we discovered a laboratory that offers state-of-the-art PCR pooled saliva testing. This testing is approved by the CDC, meets all local/state/federal requirements and is very simple to administer. A few drops of saliva in a tube can be tested with high-reliability to determine the presence of Covid-19. We will be the only Senior Living operator that we’re aware of to conduct this level of testing. We intend to test all associates twice per week, private caregivers once per week and we’d like to test all residents once per week. We believe that this high frequency of testing will allow us to open up our dining venues with reduced capacity, conduct more wellness activities, and better manage residents who leave our community (without the need for quarantine). While mask wearing is still an important part of our “safe-at-home” protocols, this new testing protocol has the potential to more quickly and reliably enable the quality of life adjustments that we know you’ll find most welcome!
We hope that you are as excited about this ground-breaking program as we are. We know of no other Senior Living company conducting testing anywhere close to this level, and it is the frequency and scope of this testing protocol that allows us to move cautiously into revised Dining and Wellness programs while reducing the need to “quarantine” residents who leave The Cardinal campus. We recommend reducing unnecessary trips away from The Cardinal, those who do leave can simply participate in a twice per week testing protocol for 2 weeks in lieu of quarantine.
Thank you for all of your support throughout this experience. We will continue to stay informed and our promise to you is that we will be fully transparent with everyone as Covid cases appear. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.
We are excited to announce that Robyn Penick, Resident Relations Manager, returns from maternity leave on Wednesday, September 30th. We are excited to welcome her back – she has been missed! Please welcome Robyn back next week when you see her. Stephen Mullis, Maintenance Manager, is Manager on Duty this weekend and will be available to assist with whatever is needed. Have a wonderful weekend!
Tom Ford, Executive Director