COVID - 19 Updates

July 21, 2020     UPDATE

We are writing you this letter to provide our regular update on our facility during the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic. As you are aware, we must test all staff weekly by order of the Maryland Department of Health and Governor Hogan. We received our results from our tests performed on July 13 and 14 only yesterday afternoon and are pleased to report they are all negative. We are frustrated that it took a week to get results from the lab, which renders potential contact tracing largely ineffective. We are testing currently for this week as we write this.

As you know, negative testing of staff is necessary to implement outside visitation between family and residents. We have requested approval for such from the Allegany County Health Department to begin such and are awaiting their approval. Please note, that any positive test of staff or residents postpones such visits. Additionally, should Governor Hogan reverse any part of the state’s “reopening,” such visits would be postponed.

Life inside our facility continues to go on as normally as possible. Residents are being cared for in the same professional manner as always to the extent current State of Maryland restrictions allow. We continue to serve our community in the best way possible. We also continue to have many requests for resident admissions and process such as safely as possible. Please note we are not able to fill to capacity due to the requirement that we maintain and provide quarantine areas.

“Airlock” visits with between families and residents are going as well as possible. Thank you for your patience and consideration as we provide such visits. Please contact our Activity Department to schedule a visit.

In closing, we would remind everyone to remain vigilant in fighting this virus. We follow the science on this and it is very clear. Please wear masks in public spaces, wash your hands, and practice social distancing. We will get to a vaccine together. Thank you and as always, please contact us with any and all questions or concerns.


July 12, 2020   UPDATE

 We are writing you this letter to update you on the status of our facility during the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic.  As you are aware, we are now testing all employees for the virus weekly as directed by the Maryland Department of Health and Governor Hogan. We tested 95 employees on July 6th and July 7th and are pleased to report that all results were negative. We received our results late last evening and will test again July 13th and 14th. We were directed to use one of several labs coordinating this effort with the state. It is a tribute to our staff that we have not had any cases among staff or residents.

There is still no clear direction from the state regarding what facilities will do after August 1st when state funding for such has stopped. We continue to screen all residents and staff daily and have the ability to test symptomatically at any time. Testing employee’s weekly is a monumental challenge for our staff and continues to contribute to the extreme stress under which they are operating. We cannot adequately relay to you in words how proud we are of our staff for their continued hard work for our residents. They are truly heroes on the front lines of combating this virus.

Testing negatively weekly is part of Governor Hogan’s “reopening” guidelines. Since we have tested negative this week, we will attempt to coordinate outside visits between residents and family members. Our activity staff will contact you regarding these visits. Visits will be strictly limited to two family members who must arrive wearing face covers. In order to attempt to serve as many residents as possible, visits will be limited to 20 minutes. Residents will also be outfitted with masks and a minimum of six (6) feet of social distancing will be strictly maintained. Staff will accompany residents outside for these visits. Visiting family members will be screened for respiratory symptoms and fever.  Should we have any staff member test positive at any time, such visits will stop until such time as all staff and residents once again test negative. Additionally, should Governor Hogan roll back any phase of the reopening, such visits will be postponed.

We continue to do everything humanly possible to follow all guidelines to keep our residents and staff safe. As you may be aware, the virus is surging in large numbers in many sections of the nation. Please continue to wear masks in public places, wash and sanitize your hands, and practice social distancing. The science is very clear at this point on the value of doing so. This virus continues to be very dangerous and we do not expect a return to “normal” until a vaccination is widely available. Indeed, it is increasingly likely that we will see more cases in Maryland as we approach the Fall and Winter months.

As always, please contact us with any and all questions regarding this or any other matter regarding our facility and your loved ones. Thank you all for your continued understanding and support.

 


June 30, 2020     UPDATE

We are writing you this letter to provide you with the latest update on our facility during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We do not have any positive residents or staff at this time. We continue to follow the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Maryland Department of Health (MDH), Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ), and our local health department. Each of these entities typically have different guidelines so we as a facility must follow the most stringent.

As you are aware, Governor Hogan’s office has issued new guidelines about “reopening” Maryland nursing facilities. Of particular concern were the requirements regarding “adequate” personal protective equipment (PPE) and weekly testing of all staff. Once again, Maryland will be coordinating testing through two contracted labs and paying for such testing through August 1, 2020. After August 1, the state has NOT indicated where or how weekly testing will be conducted. More particularly, they have not indicated how such testing will be paid for. This is of utmost concern to all facilities in Maryland for these tests are extremely expensive. Without some form of state or federal payment, facilities in Maryland simply will not be able to absorb such a cost. With that said, our facility will be testing staff weekly starting July 6th and continue weekly up until Aug 1st. We look forward to additional guidance from our leaders at such time.

With weekly testing and no positive results, current guidelines state we would be able to conduct outside visits between family and residents provided we have adequate PPE for such. Provided the first round of testing is negative, it is our goal to provide such visits. Should we have a staff member test positive, you will be notified per current state and federal mandates. Please note that any resident or staff member who shows symptoms of infection will be immediately tested per current protocol.

We have also recently gained approval from our local health department to conduct “Airlock Window Visits.” You may contact Wendy Moomau, Activity Director, to schedule such visits. During an Airlock Window Visit, two family members will be able to enter our main entrance airlock and visit with their resident who will remain inside the facility. Sanitized chairs and a walkie talkie will be provided for family. Family must arrive with and wear masks. Activity staff will assist the resident throughout the visit as necessary. Please bring nothing to leave with the resident during these visits. Our Wednesday drop off schedule will continue to serve this purpose.

We want to continue to thank you all for working with us during these difficult times. It remains our top priority to keep COVID-19 out of our building and to keep our residents and staff safe. Thank you for your time in this matter and as always, please contact us with any and all questions.


June 19, 2020     UPDATE

We are writing this letter to further update you on our facility during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to be COVID-19 free in our facility and have complied with all directives from federal and state agencies and officials including Governor Hogan’s office.

Today, the Governor’s Office announced that there would be some relaxing of restrictions regarding nursing facilities in Maryland.  We received this information late this afternoon and are currently attempting to interpret the information contained in the order. Of particular interest was the section “allowing” outside visitation by family and residents. Among other things that must be accomplished prior to moving through the “phases” of opening and allowing visitation are weekly testing of staff and adequate disposable amounts of personal protective equipment.

To date, there is no mechanism or lab readily available to do weekly testing of staff. We will attempt to work with UPMC Western Maryland as quickly as possible in this effort. Please note that the health system has been great to work with throughout this pandemic.

Of more concern to facilities in Maryland, is the continuing widespread shortage of disposable personal protective equipment (PPE). We have been very fortunate to obtain washable PPE including masks and isolation gowns. Please note we have adequate amounts of disposable PPE should we have an outbreak. No facility currently has the ability to “burn” through disposable PPE as outlined in the latest order by the Governor to meet the guidelines for opening. We are reviewing our supply chains daily and it is our hope that the industry can soon provide us with the supplies needed to “reopen.”

Please know it is our desire to return to “normal” or near normal as quickly as possible while keeping our residents and staff as safe as possible.  We appreciate your continued patience and understanding during this difficult time. As soon as we have interpreted what the Governor’s order means for our facility, we will communicate with all of you.

Thank you for your time in this matter. I will be mailing this communication Monday as well but we wanted you to have the information as quickly as possible.  Please contact us with any and all questions.


June 11, 2020     UPDATE

We are writing you this letter to give you a new update on the status of our facility during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.  As you are aware, we have completed our state mandated mass testing and we continue to have no cases of COVID-19 among our residents or staff.  We continue to follow all mandated infection control protocol to keep our residents and staff safe.  New residents continue to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission and quarantined for 14 days.  New staff members are tested prior to employment and quarantined for 14 days prior to employment if they are not tested.

There have been no changes to the protocols implemented by the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) or Governor Hogan for nursing homes at this time for visitations and infection control practices. However, there are a few changes that we can now implement within the current guidelines. 

Our activity department can now take residents outside one at a time so we will be implementing this very shortly. Additionally, provided we have no outbreak, our activity department will be able to take residents for rides in our van. This will still involve social distancing in the van so we will not be taking large numbers at one time. 

Regarding testing going forward, we will be testing any symptomatic residents and staff per guidelines and reporting any positive case per guidelines. We are also required to report our numbers of non-positive cases daily to the state and federal government.

The process for dropping off resident belongings or gifts on Wednesdays has gone very well. Thank you for your cooperation on that new process. 

We encourage you to continue to reach out to us to coordinate phone calls and virtual Facetime calls while we await further instructions from MDH on further opening.

If you should have any question, please promptly contact our facility. Thank you for your time in this important matter.

 


June 1, 2020     UPDATE

We are writing you this letter to update you on the final status of our state mandated mass testing of all residents and employees.  We are pleased to announce that all residents and employees have tested negative at this time with no pending cases. This is very welcome news! Again, we caution everyone to understand that this is just testing for the day in which it was performed.  We have the ability to test any resident or employee who shows any respiratory symptoms and we continue to strictly follow all infection control guidelines. We must remain diligent for the virus is still very much active in our state and nation.

We want to commend our staff and everyone who has put forth and continues to put forth the incredible effort of keeping all of our residents and staff safe during these trying times. We pledge to continue to do everything within our power to keep everyone safe! Together we can get through this pandemic and to a vaccination.

Please continue to follow all guidelines on social distancing, handwashing, and using hand sanitizer. Additionally, please wear a mask when in public buildings. These steps serve to rid our area of this virus and keep everyone healthy.

As always, should you have any questions regarding this or anything, please contact the facility. 


May 27, 2020     UPDATE

As mentioned in our previous letter to you, we have developed a process for families to drop off personal care items at our facility. We have developed such with the personal safety of our residents and staff in mind. Beginning Wednesday, June 3rd, we will be implementing the following process:

  • Drop off of items will be on Wednesdays from 10 am until noon - this will occur weekly and items will only be accepted during this time.
  • Items will be received outside our rear entrance. (Lower side of facility)
  • Items must be labeled with the resident’s name and have instructions if needed.
  • If you are dropping off food, it must be nonperishable and in the manufacturer’s packaging.
  • Maintenance will bring in items and place in a designated area inside our rear entrance. Maintenance will be wearing proper PPE while receiving items.
  • Packages will be separated by floors.
  • If you are dropping off clothing, our laundry department will be notified and items washed upon receiving.
  • Please be reminded that we cannot accommodate large amounts of belongings due to limitations with space. This has always been the case.
  • Items will be quarantined in the designated area until Friday, at which time Activity Staff will distribute accordingly.
  • Individuals dropping off items must wear a mask and abide by social distancing with staff bringing items into the facility. Individuals dropping of items will not be permitted into the facility.

We sincerely ask for your cooperation in this effort and want to thank you for your patience. The safety of our residents and staff remain our top priority. Please feel free to continue to mail packages to our facility. Upon receipt, they are quarantined in the same fashion. 

Thank you for your time and consideration in this important matter. Should you have any questions, please contact my office.


May 26, 2020     UPDATE             

As you are aware, in compliance with Governor Hogan’s order, we tested our residents and employees for COVID-19 on Friday, May 22, 2020. We tested 63 residents and 99 employees.  We are pleased to announce that all tests have come back negative. We have two pending residents and one pending employee. We expect their results in the next couple days and have no reason to believe they will test positive. 

Despite the fact this is very good news, we would remind you that this test is valid for one day. The virus continues to be present in our state and nation. Governor Hogan, the Center’s for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), have all continued to mandate that we adhere to strict infection control protocol. We will continue to take every precaution to keep our residents and staff safe and follow all guidelines.

Additionally, we are working on a process to coordinate “breezeway” visits between families and residents. This would involve our activity department coordinating visits of family to the breezeway at our main entrance. Residents would be assisted by staff and would remain on the inside of the facility so a glass barrier would provide proper infection control. We are awaiting additional information from MDH on this before implementing. Also, we will be announcing shortly a schedule for families to drop off resident care packages at our rear entrance. All packages would continue to be disinfected and quarantined for two days before distributing.

Please continue to follow all protocol in your daily life to remain safe. It is imperative that you wear a mask into public buildings. This reduces the chance of virus transmission by up to 70%. Additionally, please utilize all hand sanitizer frequently and after going into public places and pumping gas. Wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Together, we can get to a vaccination and defeat this enemy. 

As always, please contact us with any and all questions or concerns. Thank you for helping us keep your loved ones safe and healthy.


 May 18, 2020    UPDATE             

We are writing you this letter to notify you that we have been contacted by the Maryland National Guard Strike Team to do the state mandated COVID-19 testing of all residents and staff. This testing will occur on Friday, May 22nd and every resident and employee will be tested that day. Our nursing personnel will be conducting the actual tests. The completed tests will go to the appropriate contracted lab on Saturday, May 23rd. We expect to have results on Sunday, May 24th or Monday, May 25th. You will be notified of any positive test of any resident or staff member within 12 hours of us receiving such result.  We will be strictly following HIPPA guidelines.  Additionally, any positive test will also be immediately reported to the Allegany County Health Department, Maryland State Health Department, Maryland Office of Health Care Quality, CMS, and the CDC. Please know that we have taken every measure to protect any resident or staff member should they test positive and to care for them in the best manner possible.

Should we have no positive cases of residents or staff, we will be making such announcement to all appropriate agencies above. We will be also notifying you via Facebook and through our website.

Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter. If you should have any questions, please contact us.


May 15, 2020  UPDATE

We are writing you this weekly update regarding the current status of our facility. We are pleased to state that we have no cases of COVID 19 among our residents or staff at this time. We continue to remain absolutely diligent in our efforts to protect the safety of our residents and staff. We also continue to coordinate closely with our local health department, the Maryland Office of Health Care Quality, the Maryland Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services.

At this time, we have more information about how mass testing will be conducted for our residents and staff.  We have been informed by the Maryland National Guard Strike Team that our facility will be contacted shortly for acute testing. We will be given at least one week’s notice prior to their arrival and subsequent testing.  We have already begun the process of coordinating our residents and staff for such. You will be contacted for consent for such testing. After testing is completed, it is our facility’s intention to contract with private labs to conduct further testing as necessary and to conduct the much anticipated antibody testing. The acute tests simply confirm whether a person has COVID 19 at that specific time. Antibody testing allows us to determine if a person has been infected in the past and now has natural levels of immunity.  Please be assured you will be contacted immediately with any positive result per state and federal guidelines. Also, please note that we have the ability to test any resident or staff that is symptomatic through our local health system on a case by case basis.

As you are aware, Governor Hogan has implemented the “re-opening” of our state. It is important to remember that this is a phased re-opening. It is also important to remember that his orders were directed at “leveling” the “curve” of the virus to enable our acute care providers to stay ahead of potentially sick individuals. Maryland has added some 6000 hospital beds in this effort. The virus is still in our state and nation. It will be until either enough people have been infected and acquire natural immunity or until there is an effective vaccination.

 As a nursing facility, there have been no changes in orders from Governor Hogan or any of the various public health entities mentioned above. We will continue to operate under these guidelines until instructed otherwise. The safety of our residents and staff remain our number one focus.

We would highly recommend that you continue to practice good infection control practices. Please continue to wash your hands and used hand sanitizer frequently.  Please wear a mask in public spaces. Follow Governor Hogan’s guidelines strictly for social distancing. All of these actions help us rid our nation of this virus and get us to an effective vaccination.

We encourage you to continue to reach out to our facility and schedule phone calls and FaceTime visits with your loved ones. Please follow us on Facebook. Our activity department has done some simply amazing things during this time with and for our residents.  We want to thank everyone who has bought lunches and sent gifts to our residents and staff. We cannot adequately express in this letter how much that has meant to everyone. Your support is helping us get through these times in ways you cannot imagine.

As always, please contact us with any and all questions. Thank you and please continue to stay safe and healthy.

 


May 8, 2020 Update

We are writing to you this week to once again give you an update on our facility during these trying times.  We are pleased to report that we do not have any residents or staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19. We are certain that this is due to the continued hard work of our staff as they meticulously follow infection control guidelines.  We also credit our families, fellow healthcare practitioners, and community for lifting us up with love and support.

As you are aware, there are a few facilities in our area that have COVID positive residents and staff.  Our prayers and support go out to those facilities and their staff.  They are hero’s and fine people doing their absolute best. Please support them.

We are strictly following all infection control guidelines, state and federal reporting requirements, and working closely with our local Allegany County Health Department.  We should note our local health department has been great and has offered tremendous support. Senator George Edwards has also aided our facility on a number of issues as well and we sincerely thank him.

There has been a lot in the media recently regarding Governor Hogan’s directives and testing. Please note we are strictly following his guidelines. Regarding testing, it is our understanding that the state will now be coordinating this and will be focusing on high risk areas and facilities first with testing through the Maryland National Guard.There may be the option to do testing through a private lab and we are investigating this. Information on this has changed multiple times. Please know that when this occurs you will be promptly notified by us. It is worth noting that all of our local hospitals are now testing potential residents that could be admitted into a nursing home. We sincerely thank them for this. In addition to this, all residents returning from the hospital or being admitted are being quarantined for 14 days as a precaution.

You may also note that there are some media reports that are placing nursing homes in a very poor light. We know there are some poor facilities out there but we assure you most are fine facilities with dedicated staff who love their residents. We certainly love our residents and are doing all that is humanly possible to keep them safe. We and our staff greatly fear that state and federal enforcement will shift from support to blame during this time. Please know we are doing our absolute best every single day. There are too many hero’s to single out.

To keep you all as informed as possible about our facility, below is a highlighted list of things we are doing daily:

All residents and staff are being screened daily for symptoms and fever. Vitals of every resident are being monitored by shift and documented.

  1. Visitation is strictly prohibited except for instances of end of life care for a resident.
  2. Staff are wearing personal protective equipment continuously. Direct care givers are wearing full gear including masks, gloves, isolation gowns, and eye protection.  All staff wear masks continuously.
  3. Staff are changing into and out of scrubs before and after their shifts.  Our facility is laundering all scrubs.
  4. Telehealth for physician visits with residents.
  5. All service deliveries are in non-resident areas only.  Delivery personnel are being screened as well and are required to wear masks.
  6. Social distancing is being maintained as much as possible among residents and staff.
  7. The Activity Department continues to find very creative ways to enhance the quality of life of our residents while keeping them safe.  They are continuing FaceTime chats.  We continue to encourage you to schedule such.
  8. Our staff are also closely monitoring our residents’ mental health.  Our social worker is screening residents and interventions are being made as appropriate.
  9. Housekeeping sanitizes our facility daily and as needed.
  10. All packages that are received by mail are being sanitized and quarantined for at least two days before delivery.

In closing, we want to again thank you for the support you have offered. The gifts and meals for staff are tremendously uplifting. Please check our Facebook page and website for updated information. As always, if you have any questions, please contact us at 301-463-5451

 


UPDATED MAY 1, 2020
We presently have no residents or staff that have tested positive for the virus. We continue to strictly follow all Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and Centers for Disease Control (CDD) guidelines for testing of our residents and employees. Currently, a majority of facilities in Maryland have had some rate of infection. 

As you may be aware, Governor Hogan has continued to update guidelines for nursing facilities in an effort to reduce transmission of the virus. We have complied with all of his orders and indeed were practicing most of the guidelines prior to his orders. Of particular note in his most recent order, is his directive to test all nursing home residents and employees in the state. Governor Hogan's order directs MDH to direct testing first to "areas of concern" around the state. We are currently in communication with the Allegany County Health Department for the process in which our residents and employees would be tested. We will be in communication with you when we have more information on this process. 

Governor Hogan has noted that not all facilities across Maryland have followed his directives closely. Please be assured that we are strictly following all guidelines on infection control, testing, and reporting requirements. We have been in communication with the Governor's Maryland National Guard Strike Force Team as well. 

We continue to have good success with our levels of personal protective eqipment (PPE) for staff and also continue to strictly follow all infection control guidelines to keep our residents and staff as safe as humanly possible. Additionally, we will be initiating Telehealth with our physicians next week. 


April 28, 2020

Our facility currently has no COVID19 Cases among staff or residents and we continue to follow all Maryland Department of Health, CMS, and CDC guidelines strictly.  

A big thank you goes out to everyone in our community sending their love and support.  Please continue to visit our Facebook page for more frequent updates. 

Please note that we are complying with all reporting requirements during this crisis including the responsibility to report any future positive cases to all appropriate parties.  Staff and family would be promptly notified in the event we would have a positive case among staff or residents.  Of course we would strictly follow all HIPPA guidelines. 

Thank you and please check this site and our facility Facebook site for more updates.  

Updated April 22, 2020

Our facility continues to operate under strict guidelines as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and the Maryland Department of Health.

We currently have no cases of COVID-19 among residents or staff members.

Under order from Governor Hogan, CMS, and the Maryland Department of Health, we are taking the following actions to keep our residents and staff safe.

a. Visiting of residents is strictly prohibited except in end of life care situations. Such visits will be coordinated by the facility and family and all infection control guidelines shall be followed.
b. Staff members are using personal protective equipment at all times.  This includes surgical masks by all employees and masks, gloves, eye protection, and isolation gowns by all direct care staff.
c. Service deliveries are made in non resident areas only.
d. All residents are being screened daily for respiratory symptoms and fever. All incidents of respiratory symptoms are closely monitored and appropriate actions taken as necessary.
e. All staff are being screened daily for respiratory symptoms and fever. Staff that are ill are not allowed to work and are montiored under the guidelines established by the CDC before returning to work.
f. Residents returning from hosptial stays are isolated for 14 days to monitor for any symptoms of respiratory illness and fever.
g. New residents are placed in isolation for 14 days to monitor for any symptoms of respiratory illness and fever.
h. Our facility has designated three rooms for isolation precaution. 
i. Communial dining by residents is restricted.
j. Communial activities are restricted. Activities are occurring individually or by following strict social distancing guidelines. 
k. FaceTime and telephone communication is being organized by staff and family members to communicate with their loved ones.
l. The facility is being sanitized by staff at least daily and as needed.

Additionally, our facility is requiring staff members to maintain two sets of uniforms (scrubs) at the facility to aid in infection control. Staff members are changing into their uniforms upon arrival and changing out of their uniforms before departing. Laundering of resident clothing by families is restricted. Personal drop off of care packages is restricted. 
All care packages and items received by mail are disinfected and allowed to sit for a minimum of 24 hours before received by residents. 

This page is updated regularly. Please contact Jeffery Metz, Administrator, or Angel Cole, Infection Control Nurse, with any questions you may have. 301-463-5451

Thank you for your consideration as we do our absolute best to keep our residents and staff safe at this time.