Letter to Residents & Families 9.11.2020

September 11, 2020

September 11, 2020

Dear Sunrise Residents, Families & Friends, 

Today Sunrise was notified that one person who works as a contracted provider in our facility tested positive for COVID-19.  The contractor worked in the nursing facility over the past few days.  This brings the cumulative total of staff and contracted employees with COVID-19 infections to twenty-one since April 20, 2020.  Eighteen are recovered and have returned to work and the three recent cases are all isolating at home.  We are still waiting for results sent to the State Hygienic Lab from residents tested on 9/8/20.  We will place calls to the family as soon as we receive those results.  Additionally, according to CMS guidelines we are preparing to test all residents in the nursing facility as part of routine surveillance for COVID-19.

In accordance with the policy that was developed by the Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA), we will need to regress to Phase 1 of our Re-Opening Plan, which means that all visits will be restricted to window visits, for a minimum of 14 days.  We will not be able to move out of Phase 1 until we go for 14 consecutive days without reporting a positive resident or staff member. 

We are starting to test staff and residents with the machine that was delivered by the federal government.  We will routinely test all scheduled staff members every 3-7 days until we have 14 consecutive days without any positive test results.  Residents will also be tested with this machine.  The limitation that we will face with this schedule is that while a testing machine was provided to us, only a small amount of test kits were supplied and it is difficult to obtain additional kits due to supply and demand at this time.   

The details of the Phased plan are available on the Sunrise Retirement Community website.  The guidelines have been developed by the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Department of Inspections and Appeals (our regulatory agency) and as a licensed facility we are obligated to follow the directives that we’ve been given.   Please keep in mind that these are minimum guidelines and depending on our ability to provide services safely and in accordance with regulations, we may choose to keep certain aspects of the re-opening plans more restrictive as we get used to operations in that phase. We are doing our best to adapt to changing situations, but we always want to be sure that our staff team is prepared and ready for any changes before implementing.

Sunrise Retirement Community, in both the assisted living and health center, continues to implement the following:

  • Following all CMS, CDC and Department of Inspection & Appeals guidelines for operations and infection prevention.
  • Assess residents and tenants every shift and closely monitor for any changes in condition.
  • Staff are monitored at the beginning and end of each of their shifts, 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 or have tested positive, even if they are not.
  • Staff are required to wear appropriate personal protection equipment when in the facility and residents are encouraged to wear masks or cover their noses/mouths during personal care with nursing staff.

Check out the COVID-19 page on the Sunrise website.  It is a resource for regular updates from Sunrise and also contains links to 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.  

Thank you for your support and cooperation as we work to ensure a safe environment for our residents.  Please keep Sunrise residents and staff in your prayers.


Hallie Salmen, CEO          &             Chris Schenkelberg, Administrator

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