Our Response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
True Connection Communities has been monitoring closely the ongoing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as well as information being provided by the American Seniors Housing Association on how we can help prevent the spread of germs in our communities.
While the reports of the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) may be causing apprehension for residents and their families and there are concerns about its rapid spread around the world, senior living communities have a long history of responding effectively to contagious viruses and other infections. From an operational perspective, we will approach the coronavirus just as we do other contagious viruses, such as the seasonal flu, norovirus, and even the common cold, as well as other germs that can cause illnesses in a community.
How do our communities prepare for contagious viruses?
We follow procedures based on guidelines from the CDC and state and local health departments. Here are some steps we take to help prevent the spread of viruses and other infections in our communities:
- Our employees regularly clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces in community common areas.
- We instruct employees and ask our residents to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth and to avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- We instruct our employees and ask our residents to cover their cough or sneeze with a tissue (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available), and then to throw the tissue in the trash.
- We instruct our employees and ask our residents to wash their hands often and with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing their nose, coughing or sneezing, and always if their hands are dirty.
- If soap and water are not readily available, we instruct our employees and ask our residents to clean their hands using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- We follow special procedures for sick employees:
- Employees who appear to have symptoms of acute respiratory illness (i.e., cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or who become sick during the day are immediately separated from other employees and sent home.
- Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are instructed to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g., cough suppressants).
- We actively encourage sick employees to notify their supervisor and to stay home.
- We follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask:
- The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
What else are we doing in response to the current outbreak?
- We are cleaning community common areas more frequently to minimize the risk that viruses and other germs accumulate on surfaces.
- We ask residents who are sick to stay in their apartments and to seek medical attention from their physician as appropriate. We will deliver meals to sick residents in their apartments to help prevent the spread of any contagious virus or infection.
- We instruct employees and ask residents to refrain from shaking hands and to use an alternative greeting that minimizes contact.
- We have placed hand sanitizer stations in multiple locations in common areas of the communities.
- We have placed a sign at each community’s front desk requesting visitors who have recently traveled internationally not to enter the premises and to avoid contact with our residents and other seniors for several weeks after the visitor’s return to the country to make sure that the visitor is free of any illness.
What can family members do to help?
You can help prevent the spread of viruses like coronavirus by following CDC and state and local health department guidelines at all times. It is also quite important that you avoid visiting a community if you feel sick or have other symptoms of an illness. Additionally, if you have traveled outside of the United States recently, it is best to avoid contact with our residents and other seniors for several weeks after your return to make sure that you are free of any illness.
As always, the safety and health of our residents is our number one concern.