Letter to Residents & Families 6.2.2020

June 2, 2020

June 2, 2020

Dear Sunrise Residents, Families & Friends,

As you are aware, nursing facilities are required by CMS to report weekly to residents, their representative and families with a cumulative update on any positive tests for residents or staff as well as anytime there is a new positive test result.

We have no new infections to report for the past week.  Cumulatively, since April 20, we have reported 9 individuals with COVID-19 positive test results.  One person is completing their quarantine and the other 8 people have recovered. We will follow the reporting guidelines and be sure our residents, resident representatives & families have current information as required.  We desire to be transparent in our communications, while protecting the privacy of those who become sick. 

The Sunrise Health Center and Assisted Living facilities have implemented the following actions to prevent or reduce the risk of transmission:

  • Visitation is restricted
  • Group activities and group dining for the residents are limited or restricted
  • Non-medically necessary trips outside the building are avoided
  • 100% of residents are assessed every shift and they are closely monitored for any changes in their condition
  • 100% of staff are monitored at the beginning and end of each of their shifts and are encouraged to be careful of where they are going in public and stay home if they do not feel well.   Staff are also encouraged to stay home if they live with someone who is experiencing symptoms, even if they are not.
  • Universal source control has been implemented for everyone in the facility (face masks)
  • Staff wear appropriate PPE when interacting with the residents
  • A dedicated isolation area is maintained for new admissions or those residents who have had to leave the facility and have returned.  Residents will stay in this area for 14 days after admission.

We do, however, continue to have employees report potential exposures or symptoms of illness in themselves as the virus continues to spread throughout the area.  Employees who have a known exposure through someone they live with are asked to self-quarantine and not to report to work for 10 days, assuming they do not start to show signs of the virus. 

At this time we have decided not to implement a baseline test for all residents as the report from the test is only for that moment in time and we would need to do routine testing to know the current status of infections in the facility.  Our decision, instead, is to test individuals who have been out of the facility to the hospital or are suspected of having the COVID-19 virus.  Individuals can request to be tested as well.  This is the current process but is subject to change.

We have been notified by CMS that they are placing the individual states in charge of determining re-opening plans for nursing & assisted living facilities.  We are working on what our phased approach will be, here at Sunrise, and when we have guidance from the State, will begin rolling out our plans as well.  We will keep everyone informed of the changes through our electronic communications – Facebook, the Sunrise website & e-news blasts.  Plans will hinge on virus activity in the local community & in the facility and will include things like dining in the dining rooms, starting limited activities, and eventually getting back to allowing visitors to some degree.  I cannot be more specific until we know what the State of Iowa will allow.

Please continue to use our website as a resource for information from the following agencies:  Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Center for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS), Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), Department of Inspections & Appeals (DIA) and Siouxland District Health. The Sunrise website is also your source for information about the status of COVID in our facility, along with our e-newsletter & Facebook page.  You can sign up for our e-newsletter at the bottom of the homepage (www.sunriseretirement.com).

Thank you for your support and your patience as we navigate uncharted territory in our operations.  Please continue to pray for the health and safety of all our residents and staff!


Hallie Salmen, CEO          &           Chris Schenkelberg, Administrator

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