Dear Residents, Families and Employees:
I wanted to clarify the holiday visits and outings for independent living residents. What I thought was very clear (and it was in my head) turned out to raise quite a few questions. I am very thankful to those who called me for clarification, and made me aware of the confusion.
We are strongly encouraging all of our independent residents to stay home at WEL Pennypack Park with your friends. If you feel compelled to go out over the holidays for family and friend gatherings we are urging you to avoid groups that exceed seven (7) or more people. All of the indicators are that new cases are coming from family/friend gatherings where people are more comfortable and less careful about wearing masks and social distancing. Over the holidays it is compounded with all of the dinners we share and goodies we eat – it makes it almost impossible to wear a mask.
IF you are going out for a visit, make it with a small group of six (6) or less of those you love, not large gatherings. Be mindful of your safety and the safety of those you are with. You will be screened upon returning home after your celebrations, and for seven (7) days thereafter. If you were in a group that consisted of more than six (6) people we will require a 14 day quarantine, as I mentioned in my November 4 update, and you will be billed for room service. Attached to this week’s update are some pointers from the CDC for Celebrating Thanksgiving.
As has been recommended by regulatory agencies and has been the on-going practice, health center and personal care residents are not permitted to leave the community except for clinical reasons.
The positivity rate in Philadelphia is 9.1%, the highest since the pandemic was first declared in March. The rate has doubled in a matter of a couple of weeks. Our recommendations to residents are based on facts and the most up-to-date information we have available to us. The CDC has also issued new guidelines for recommended 14 day quarantining if you have visited states outside of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – New Jersey just made that list.
Part of our on-going communication includes the encouragement of our staff to use sensible and careful practices outside of our community. This includes ALL holiday gatherings. The staff is well educated to call out if they believe they have even one COVID-19 symptoms or they believe they have been exposed, and they go for testing immediately. Our staff does follow this process and we trust our staff will do the right thing. The fact that we continue to test staff on a weekly basis is for the safety of residents and staff. Since mid-March we have totaled 30 staff
cases or an average of 3.75 cases per month over an 8 month period. One positive staff member is one too many, however, our positivity rate is well below the current city rate of 9.1 and has been low throughout this pandemic. As I shared in prior updates, we cannot require
our staff to stay on the premises, we cannot monitor their every move. The number of employee positive cases is evidence of staff employing safety measures and good sense.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with your questions or concerns. You can send me an email directly at the address herein.
Suzanne H. Lachman, LNHA