March 19, 2021
Dear Edenton Residents, Family Members and Staff;
There is a lot of information coming at us from multiple sources, including us here at Edenton. I thought I would share some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about vaccinations, visitation and travel.
1. More people are getting vaccinated. I am vaccinated, so why do we still need to pay attention to Frederick County’s number of positive cases of COVID-19 and the testing positivity percentage? Edenton’s policy for visitation utilizes the guidance that the CDC, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) and the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) have established for long term care communities and licensed facilities. If the local numbers change for Frederick County, especially the test positivity percentage, we may have to limit visitation or where visitation can occur.
2. The news reported that the CDC issued guidance that fully vaccinated people can gather indoors, not wear masks and not physical distance. How do I know if I am fully vaccinated? Why do we still have to wear masks and distance here at Edenton? The CDC guidance suggesting the removal of masking and distancing, did not refer to health care communities. Edenton has licensed assisted living facilities and our IL Residents live in close community with one another. As a long-term care community the expectation from MDH requires us to be more cautious since we are a community of vulnerable senior adults. A fully vaccinated person means that a person has received either both vaccines from either Pfizer or Moderna (or the single dose from Johnson and Johnson) and two weeks have passed since the last vaccination.
3. If a fully vaccinated Resident has been exposed to someone who tested positive for the virus, why do they have to quarantine? CMS and MDH have issued guidance that long term care communities, like Edenton, would still need to quarantine a Resident if they were in close contact (within 6 ft and for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period). While all 3 vaccines are proven VERY Effective, they are not 100% effective and our elderly population remains one of the most vulnerable as individuals as well as being a concentration of vulnerable folks living close together.
4. Can I visit if my family member is in isolation or in quarantine? MDH has limited indoor visitation for a Resident who has confirmed COVID-19 infection until they are no longer under transmission-based precautions (no longer symptomatic and/or 10 days have passed) or they are released from quarantine. Compassionate care visits will try to be allowed at all times, regardless of an outbreak, as long as proper infection control practices can be followed by the visitor with the use and wearing of all PPE.
5. Can I touch my family member when I visit? Recently, the CDC and CMS recommends that a Resident can “choose” close contact, including touch, with the visitor if they wear a well-fitting mask and perform hand hygiene (hand sanitizer is fine) before and after the physical contact.
6. Can I bring food and drink when I visit an assisted living Resident? AND What about eating with IL Residents? Yes, you can bring food and drink to an AL Resident! We ask that the visitor remain masked at all times when visiting the Resident. Only the Resident may remove their mask to eat or drink. Edenton will continue to monitor how visitation is going and determine if we can permit visitors to eat with Residents in AL. IL Residents should use caution when gathering with family and friends. Please continue to practice safe visiting and reduce your risk by only removing your mask when actively eating or drinking.
7. Can I travel? Can my family travel and then come visit? As of March 12th, MDH changed the travel guidance for MD and now recommends that someone who travels within the U.S. get tested upon arrival to Maryland or within 72 hours before travel to MD. Edenton’s visitation policy also reviews the positivity rates of states higher than 10%. People are also encouraged to get a second test within 72 hours of arrival into MD. International travel is not recommended and some airlines and foreign countries have very specific rules about travel. EDENTON has specific travel rules for staff. Staff members must consult those rules or speak to HR before scheduling travel, especially international travel.
I hope some of this information has been helpful to you as you navigate your daily lives, visitation and activity. We must all remember that the COVID-19 virus still poses a serious, daily threat to each of us so wearing our mask, distancing and proper hand hygiene remains necessary.
As always, if I can answer any question or provide you with additional information, please reach out to me or another member of our team.