DATE: April 20, 2020
TO: All Sunrise Retirement Community Residents and Family Members
FROM: Hallie Salmen, CEO
RE: Positive Case of COVID-19
Dear Sunrise Retirement Community Residents and Families,
As our local community, the State of Iowa and our nation deal with the coronavirus pandemic, we want to provide you with an update on how it has impacted our community and the steps we’re taking to address it.
As of today, 4/20/2020, one staff member working in our on-call nursing pool has tested positive for COVID-19 and is quarantined at home. We are currently following the “Criteria for Return to Work for Health Care Personnel with Confirmed or Suspected COVID-19” guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In speaking to the Iowa Department of Public Health, since this staff member has not worked for 2 weeks now, this positive test result does not represent an exposure to our facility.
As the number of overall cases in our Iowa and our community increase exponentially, we are prepared for cases in our community because this disease especially impacts people who live in communal settings.
Please know that we have followed, and will continue to do so, all guidance set forth for privacy, patient care, employee safety, and efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 as provided by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Please check out the Sunrise website for links to these sources (www.sunriseretirement.com). We remain in constant contact with IDPH and CMS.
Prior to each shift, staff are required to wash their hands, take their temperature, and answer a series of questions to ensure they are not exhibiting any known COVID-19 symptoms. Employees also take their temperatures at the conclusion of their shift. Any employees who develop symptoms during a shift are immediately sent home. At that point, they are directed to quarantine at home. This process is also followed for outside vendors and agency workers, though these visits have been curtailed.
We also conduct a rigorous sanitation regimen that follows, and in some cases exceeds, all state and federal guidelines. We have increased the daily volume of cleaning done in common, medical and residential areas. All protective and medical equipment are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. We are also following all guidelines for proper use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Staff are required to wear facemasks and eye protection when providing care to residents, especially if they are within 6 feet of residents. All other staff are required to wear masks in the building as well. We are encouraging residents to cover their nose and mouth during cares or when staff are in their room as well. Any encouragement or reinforcement of this with your loved one would be appreciated.
Although this can be a challenge at times when providing medical care, our facility continues to practice safe distancing guidelines by limiting the number of people in one area and maintaining 6 feet of separation. Doors are shut in common areas to discourage group gatherings. The majority of our residents are dining in their rooms at this time.
Sunrise Retirement Community appreciates your understanding as we continue to vigorously enforce the state’s decision to restrict all visits into the facility at this time. This is certainly frustrating when wanting to see loved ones, but we want to do everything in our power to keep our residents healthy. We continue to encourage family members to communicate regularly through FaceTime or Skype calls, phone calls, and emails. For more information on scheduling virtual visitation, please contact a member of our activities departments at 712-276-3821 x3130 for residents in health care or assisted living.
We will continue to provide you with periodic updates with as much information as we can on our efforts to combat COVID-19, including and especially if we do have confirmed COVID-19 positive residents or staff members. On behalf of the entire Sunrise Retirement Community team, I want to thank each of you for your continued patience and prayers. It means a great deal to us.
Hallie Salmen, CEO & Chris Schenkelberg, Administrator