Dear Residents, Families, and Associates,
Over the past nearly seven 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 well over $100,000 in Covid-related expenses to provide our teams 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 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.
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. In future updates we will communicate the start dates for the new testing. Our target is to begin the new testing this month! Please reach out if you have any additional questions.
Matt Towler, Executive Director