For the past two months we have continued to see a decline in the data related to the COVID-19 pandemic in Maryland and Frederick County. We also saw Frederick County move from a community transmission level of “substantial” to “moderate” last week. And more articles and news sources are suggesting that the pandemic is moving to an endemic situation now that the majority of the general public is not wearing a mask and test result numbers are declining.
Actually, many have been asking about the validity of the testing and results for many months. You might have used an at home test and when the result was positive, who did you call? Maybe your doctor, but no one to update the various resource trackers like the one Johns Hopkins University has kept, the CDC or the Maryland Department of Health. As the push to place home tests or rapid test kits in our hands increased by libraries, community groups and even Edenton, required reporting went away and the reliability of the numbers that so many of us came to rely on when managing our decisions for vulnerable communities like Edenton, became inaccurate. The number of underreported instances of illness is unknown. Only in industries such as Edenton or some school and daycare settings are the numbers accurate in local communities because we remain required to report.
Over the last three years, I have tried to stay up to speed on the ever-changing recommendations and requirements issued by the federal, state and local governments and health departments. Some weeks, that could have been a full-time job. At the bottom of my computer screen I placed a yellow sticker that says “people first”. It has always been important to me to keep our people first and cared for no matter what. At some point in 2021, I added another sticker that says “peaceful coexistence”. Maybe I was trying to remind myself that this pandemic will pass and we will take in stride a positive test result that is reported rather than the frantic actions from the early days. We all have learned a lot!
The protocols continue to change but at a much slower rate than when we barely knew anything about how this virus worked, spread, presented itself or treatments. A new recommendation, announced last week, changed how long we wait to resume routine testing when there is an exposure or outbreak. Instead of not testing someone for 90 days for fear of a false positive test, without symptoms, we are now to only wait thirty days to resume testing during an outbreak or after an exposure.
Edenton Retirement Community and I will continue to monitor issues and cases related to the coronavirus as required by state and local health departments. Currently, long term care is the only industry in which one positive case yields a definition of – “outbreak” status. Should a staff member or resident in assisted living test positive, we will continue to follow orders and the protocols we have had in place going on for three years now. Independent living is a little different and we will support residents should we receive word of a positive case. If a defined outbreak occurs, we will still provide updates through the same means – email, phone calls and print.
Since so many people have expressed interest and signed up through our website to receive our updates, a new monthly blog is being developed and will be shared and posted. “Aging is Living” will be the new series provided via the website, email and print on our campus.
There are many interesting topics that I will share from Edenton. We are also extremely fortunate to have a number of professionals who work with us that can contribute to our blog or be interviewed to share subject matter expertise. Some topics you will read about include: lifelong learning, gardening with seniors, wisdom of seniors, fashion for seniors, life achievements, and exercise, to name just a few.
Thank you for your continued understanding and patience as we continue to navigate the “pandemic” and know that “Aging is Living”.