News

News

COVID-19 Update

July 29, 2021

To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #60 | Dated: 1-27-22

Good Afternoon –

We hope that this letter finds you and your loved ones doing well. As many of you have heard and read in the news, the CDC has approved a 4th dose for those individuals who qualify as immunocompromised. More details on the new dosing recommendations for those who are immunocompromised can be found here and summarized below (this timeline is based off of administering the Moderna vaccine which is what we provide at Azalea Estates):

  1. Primary Dose 1
  2. Primary Dose 2 – 28 days later
  3. Primary Dose 3 – 28 days after dose 2
  4. Booster dose –  5 months after your 3rd dose

For those who qualify as immunocompromised and are interested in getting their 4th dose, we suggest that you speak with your primary care physician or specialist. After such consultation, and if you are ready to go forward, please reach out to us directly so we can schedule you for one of our clinics in the coming weeks.

With that, we continue to see case counts going down in both our local community and across the state. And although we are still at historically high levels of virus transmission the trend continues to be a positive one with the hope that this latest surge comes to an end in the coming weeks.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any additional questions or concerns.

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team

Below are a few questions and answers regarding additional doses for those who are immunocompromised:

Q: Who Is Moderately or Severely Immunocompromised?

People are considered to be moderately or severely immunocompromised if they have:

  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response

People should talk to their healthcare provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional primary shot is appropriate for them.

Q: What is the difference between an additional primary shot and a booster shot?

An additional primary dose is administered to people with moderately or severely compromised immune systems. The additional primary dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine is intended to improve immunocompromised people’s response to their vaccine primary series. A booster shot is administered when a person has completed their vaccine primary series to enhance or restore protection against COVID-19 which may have decreased over time.

Q: What are the benefits of an additional primary shot for people who are immunocompromised who received an mRNA COVID-19 primary vaccine series?

An additional primary shot may prevent serious and possibly life-threatening COVID-19 in people who may not have responded to their two-dose mRNA COVID-19 vaccine primary series. The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) have been shown to prevent COVID-19 following the two-dose series. Limited information suggests that immunocompromised people who have low or no protection after two shots of mRNA vaccines may have an improved immune (antibody) response after an additional primary dose of the same vaccine.

Q: What are the risks of vaccinating with an additional primary shot?

There is limited information about the risks of receiving an additional primary shot of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. The safety, efficacy, and benefit of the additional primary dose in immunocompromised people continues to be evaluated. So far, reactions reported after the additional primary shot of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine are similar to that of the two-dose primary series: fatigue and pain at the injection site were the most commonly reported side effects, and overall, most symptoms were mild to moderate. 


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #59 | Dated: 12-30-21

Good Afternoon –

Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise across the state, with the state of Georgia setting a record for percent of tests returning positive for COVID these past 2 weeks. With that, we too at Azalea continue to have residents and staff test positive for the virus.

To ensure that we are doing all we can to keep our residents and staff safe during this latest surge, we are making a few necessary changes to our policies and procedures:

1) Dining in the main dining room will be suspended through January 6th.

  1. All resident meals will be delivered to resident’s rooms

2) Residents will be asked to universally mask while participating in small group activities.

  1. Surgical masks will be provided by our staff as needed

3) Universal mask wearing for all staff members and all outside visitors.

4) Suspending indoor/in residence visitations for any residents or visitors who are not considered “fully vaccinated”.

  1. Fully vaccinated is now defined as:
    1. It has been at least 14 days (2 weeks) but less than 6 months since the completion of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccination series,
    2. It has been at least 14 days (2 weeks) but less than 2 months since receiving a 1-dose vaccine,
    3. It has been more than 6 months since completion of a 2-dose vaccine series or 2 months since a 1-dose vaccine, but they have received a booster
      1. Please reach out to our community directly if you do not meet the above definition of fully vaccinated and we will coordinate with you on how to best meet with your loved one.

We also know that there has been a lot of conflicting information from the CDC and other government agencies over the past few days. In particular, the guidance for those quarantining after primary contact or if diagnosed with COVID. The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) as of 12/29 has adopted these new guidelines (as seen here) and we are adjusting or policies in kind.

Moving forward our quarantine and sickness timelines for residents will both be 10 days.

  • Quarantining for 10 days after primary contact with someone with known COVID-19
  • Isolating for 10 days from either the first day of symptom onset or, if asymptomatic, a positive test result

We will continue to keep you updated as we traverse this latest pandemic challenge. We know that that it may feel as if we have gone backwards in our fight against this virus but with our access to the vaccine, our robust immunization program, the number of staff and residents who are fully vaccinated, our use of PPE and our proven policies and procedures, we have never been better prepared than we are now. As a team and family, we will beat this virus, again.

That said, please do not hesitate to reach out with any additional questions or concerns.

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #58 | Dated: 12-17-21

Good Afternoon –

As you are most likely aware, from all the media coverage, we are seeing sharp increases in COVID cases both locally and nationally. This increase is mostly tied to the latest COVID variant as well as more people getting together around the holidays.

With that, Azalea Estates has also been impacted with 2 staff members testing positive this past week as part of our regular testing practices.

Both staff members have either very mild/cold like symptoms or no symptoms at all. That said, to ensure we do all we can to keep our residents and staff safe as well as social, we will be making a few changes to our policies and procedures considering these positive tests, through the end of the year.

Those changes include:

1) Dining

  1. Dining for unvaccinated and/or those without a booster if due for a booster (more than 2 months since 2nd dose in a 2-dose vaccination regime) should be suspended for 14 days

2) Indoor Visitation

  1. Suspended for those residents/visitors who are unvaccinated and/or those without a booster if due for a booster

3) Outside Trips

  1. Non-medically necessary trips should be suspended for 14 days

With the holiday season in full swing, we wanted to be sure to remind everyone that although many of you are fully vaccinated and boosted, you should take the necessary precautions to remain safe during this latest surge.

Those precautions include:

  • Wear a mask while indoors
  • Wash your hands often
  • If possible, try to avoid any unnecessary large gatherings.
    • If attending larger holiday parties with attendees from multiple households, look into trying to have those in attendance take at home rapid tests in the days prior to the get together.
  • And of course, get vaccinated! We at Azalea Estates continue to offer regular vaccine clinics. If you or your loved one require the 1st, 2nd or booster dose please reach out to us directly so we can get your vaccine scheduled.

We will continue to keep you updated as we traverse this latest pandemic challenge. That said, please do not hesitate to reach out with any additional questions or concerns.

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #57 | Dated: 9-17-21

Good Afternoon -

As we approach the end of the week, we wanted to send out a note regarding booster vaccines as well as update you on how things are going here at Azalea Estates.

At this time, the booster plan has yet to be approved by the CDC/FDA. The FDA Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is meeting today and then the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will be meeting later next week to review Pfizer’s recommendation for a booster. Once both of those committees review all the available data, they will issue their final recommendation to either move forward or continue to wait. After this process, we believe these committees will move quickly reviewing the data for Moderna and make a determination with a similar outcome to that of Pfizer’s application. As soon as we know more, we will reach out.

That said, Azalea and Sterling Estates continue to be the only senior living communities in the state of Georgia that are direct providers of the COVID-19 vaccine and will be ready to offer the booster vaccines once approved. With that, we have started to offer 3rd doses of the vaccine to those who qualify as immunocompromised. Thus far, we have already vaccinated 30 individuals at our clinic late last month.

For those who qualify as immunocompromised and are interested in getting the 3rd dose, we highly suggest that you speak with your primary care physician or specialist. Then please reach out to us so we can schedule you for one of our 3rd dose clinics in the coming weeks.

We also wanted to give you an update on life here at Azalea Estates. In the midst of this latest surge caused by the Delta variant, we remain open, and our residents continue to stay safe and social. Azalea Estates’ policies and procedures, our use of PPE and the high vaccination rate for our residents and staff have proven to be very effective even during this latest difficult time.  And although we wish that the positivity rates were going down faster across the state, we feel confident that we will be able to continue to keep our residents and staff safe while ensuring our residents remain engaged and fulfilled.

We look forward to seeing you at Azalea Estates and please do not hesitate to reach out with any additional questions or concerns.

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #56 | Dated: 8-19-21

As many of you heard, the FDA along with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) have recommended a 3rd dose of the COVID vaccine for those who are considered immunocompromised. More details regarding their recommendation and who is considered immunocompromised can be found here.

As the only senior living community in the state of Georgia to be a direct supplier of the vaccine, we are positioned to start administering those 3rd doses immediately. With that, we will be hosting a clinic at Azalea Estates of Fayetteville for immunocompromised residents and staff members this Monday, August 23rd.

For our residents who qualify, we will speak with them and/or their POAs on an individual basis over the coming days.  We highly suggest that those who qualify speak with their primary care physician or specialist and then decide on getting a 3rd dose.

At this time, the CDC and FDA are recommending that those who are not immunosuppressed get a booster shot starting 8 months after their 2nd dose (that release can be found here). At this time, this is just a recommendation, and we are waiting for the full approval for this booster plan from the FDA and CDC which should occur in the coming weeks. Once we receive that approval, Azalea Estates will be uniquely positioned to offer our residents, staff and their loved ones this booster dose.

Below are a few questions and answers regarding this 3rd dose of the COVID vaccine:

Q: What is the difference between an “additional dose” and a “booster dose?”

  • An “additional dose” refers to people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised receiving an additional dose of an mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) at least 28 days after the completion of the initial mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series. This is because they may not have received adequate protection from their initial 2-dose vaccine series.
  • A “booster dose” is a supplemental vaccine dose given to people when the immune response to a primary vaccine series is likely to have waned over time. The CDC and FDA continue to review evidence and data as it is available and at this time the guidance is that individuals should receive a booster dose 8 months after the 2nd dose of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Once this guidance is fully approved a rollout for booster shots will be announced.

Q: Why only immunosuppressed people? What about people in long term care facilities, or those over 65?

  • Studies suggest some people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems don’t always build the same level of immunity after vaccination the way non-immunocompromised people do – and may benefit from an additional dose to make sure they have enough protection against COVID-19. In addition, small studies have found that among fully vaccinated people hospitalized with COVID-19, immunocompromised people accounted for a large proportion (40–44%) of those breakthrough cases even though they only make up about 3 percent of the adult population. These updated recommendations will help to potentially protect these individuals at a time when COVID-19 cases are on the rise.

Q: What about booster doses for the broader population? Are there new data supporting another dose in other groups?

  • At this time, additional doses are only recommended for people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems since they may not have received adequate protection from their original vaccine series.
  • The FDA and CDC are recommending that all individuals who received a Pfizer or Moderna full dose receive a booster shot 8 months after their 2nd dose but that is subject to the FDA conducting an independent evaluation and the determination of the safety and effectiveness of a third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines and CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) issuing booster dose recommendations based on a thorough review of the evidence which has yet to occur. That said, we are preparing for the most likely outcome that it will be approved.

Q: Will providers accept anyone who says they’re immunocompromised to receive a third dose? Will people need to show a doctor’s note/prescription or other documentation?

  • Immunocompromised individuals may discuss with their health care provider whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them. If their health care provider is not at a site administering vaccines, these individuals can self-attest and receive the additional dose wherever vaccines are offered. This will help ensure there are not additional barriers to access for this vulnerable population receiving a needed additional dose. CDC is providing further information regarding vaccine administration to immunocompromised individuals to states, pharmacies, health centers, and all vaccine providers.

Q: How long after completion of the initial vaccine series are you recommending the additional dose?

  • We’re recommending the additional dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine be administered at least 28 days after completing the initial two-dose mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series (such as for Pfizer and Moderna). The exact timing can be determined in consultation with a person’s healthcare provider to optimize both immunosuppressive treatments, as well response to vaccination.

Q: Can you mix and match the mRNA vaccines?

  • The additional dose should be the same vaccine product as the initial two-dose mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series (Pfizer or Moderna). If the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine product given for the first two doses is not available, the other mRNA COVID-19 vaccine product may be administered. A person should not receive more than three mRNA COVID-19 vaccine doses.

To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #55 | Dated: 7-29-21

Good Morning –

We’ve been getting some questions about the rise of the Delta variant of the COVID virus; some are concerned that the world may regress to the early, scary days of the pandemic. Not to worry, as that is NOT the case here at Azalea Estates.

As we have done throughout the pandemic, we continue to partner with the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) to confirm we have all the latest data and guidance to ensure the safety of our residents, their loved ones and staff. Our policies and procedures including universal mask wearing for staff and visitors, mandatory/regular screening for staff and visitors, daily cleanings and routine testing for unvaccinated staff have and continue to keep our communities safe.

The Delta variant is creating what many are calling “the pandemic of the unvaccinated” which has caused the CDC to update their guidance for vaccinated individuals as there has been an increase in transmission of the virus across the country. That updated guidance can be found here and is in line with the current DPH Long Term Care guidance and conforms to Azalea’s current policies and procedures. 

That said, we wanted to remind each of you that although we continue to be uniquely suited to keep you and your loved ones Safe & Social amid the uncertainty of this latest phase of the pandemic, we must all continue to stay steadfast and diligent in following both Azalea and the DPH’s guidance. This includes: (1) when visiting, be sure to wear your mask (a surgical mask for those who are vaccinated and a KN-95 or above for those unvaccinated); and (2) make sure that you are screened prior to entering the building.

Also, please continue to make informed and safe decisions regarding travel and measure the risk your decisions can pose to those who are at risk (namely the elderly/immunocompromised). If you should have any questions or concerns about this latest phase of the pandemic and/or our policies and procedures, do not hesitate to reach out.

We’re proud of the track record we’ve established together thus far and remain confident that we will continue to help keep you and your loved ones Safe & Social here at Azalea Estates.

If anyone you know who has yet to be vaccinated and now has a desire to be so, please let us know as we continue to have ample supplies of the Moderna vaccine.

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #53 | Dated: 3-26-21

Good Afternoon –

We are excited to follow up on our last communication regarding our plan to continue to unwind our policies and procedures tied to our response to the pandemic. This past week the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) adopted the guidance that was previously released by both the CDC and CMS. This updated guidance for Long Term Care Facilities can be found here.

Based on this updated guidance and due to our successful vaccination program, we are now able to adopt the least restrictive policies as articulated by the DPH for those who are fully vaccinated. That said, this is not a complete return to the pre-pandemic world but is a renewal of what helps make Azalea Estates a unique community.

These updated policies and procedures summarized below (and detailed further here), are meant to relax many of our current policies/procedures while still ensuring we do what we can to keep those most at risk safe. These updated policies put much of the responsibility now on you and your loved ones as opposed to squarely on Azalea Estates. With that, please find a summary of these updates below: 

  • Visitation Policies: We are moving from limited visitations to now supported visitations
    • Outdoor visits are still the preferred/safest visitation procedure
    • For those residents and their visitors who are fully vaccinated, visits can begin to take place in a resident’s apartment / cottage as opposed to our designated indoor meeting space. These visits will take place during our normal operating hours from 9am – 5pm, including weekends. We can only support visits during these hours at this time.
    • For those who are still unvaccinated, these visits will occur outdoors or in our designated indoor meeting area.
    • All visitors will continue to be screened prior to their visit; these screens will occur at our front desk. Proof of full vaccination (e.g., CDC vaccination card) should be provided and all visitors will be required to sign in.
  • Off campus trips:
    • For vaccinated residents, non-essential or non-medical trips should be limited but are now possible. Families and loved ones of residents who would like to take their loved ones off campus should coordinate with the community.
    • For unvaccinated residents, off-site visits should continue to be limited to essential trips.
    • Azalea Estates will again offer off campus activities for our fully vaccinated residents. These will take place in appropriate settings: outside, small crowds and with the ability to maintain social distancing.

We couldn’t be more excited to have many of you back in our community. That said, if we do experience an outbreak of the virus or the situation changes in Cobb County, we will again have to review our policies and procedures and will likely be forced to return to our more limited posture.

Also, if you have yet to be fully vaccinated, we are planning on hosting an additional vaccine clinic at Sterling Estates of West Cobb on April 9th. If you are interested in this clinic, please complete the survey found here.

We are looking forward to “turning the page” with each of you to this new and more vibrant chapter at Azalea Estates!

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #52 | Dated: 3-12-21

Good Afternoon –

We have been looking forward to writing this letter for quite some time…sure you’re aware that the CDC and the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services (CMS) have started to update their guidance for those who are fully vaccinated as well as for Long Term Care (LTC) Communities. These policy updates are major milestones, marking the fact that the tide of this pandemic has officially turned, and we are well on our way towards better days. The theme of the updates from both of these organizations is now that there has been such a high degree of vaccine adoption within communities like Azalea Estates and the fact that the vaccine is proving to be so highly effective in keeping people safe, we can begin to ease many of the restrictions that have been in place since the pandemic came onto the scene a year ago.

  • CDC’s updated guidance for fully vaccinated individuals can be found here
  • CMS’ updated guidance on visitation can be found here

What does this mean for Azalea Estates?

In general, this updated guidance is just catching up with what we have been doing in our communities for months. Due to our track record of helping keep everyone safe, ample supplies of PPE, our progressive policies and procedures, our continued staff trainings, as well as our large number of indoor/outdoor spaces, we have been supporting these types activities way before most other organizations. These activities include essential, outdoor, and indoor visits, small group dining, and small activity / group gatherings to name a few. The fact we have already instituted policies and procedures that allow for these activities continues to highlight how advanced Azalea Estates has been as we have strived to keep our residents and staff safe as well as social.

That said, as we have done throughout the pandemic, we are required to follow the guidance from our local health authorities at both the state and county level. Although the state of Georgia has not updated their policies yet, we are confident that they will do so soon. Meaning, we are still required to follow Governor Kemp’s latest Executive orders issued on February 26th renewing the state of emergency (currently expires 4/6/21) as well as the shelter in place order for LTC residents (currently expires 3/15/21) (orders can be found here and here). Once Governor Kemp’s guidance changes, we will follow up with those changes and how they impact our communities.

In summary, we are still in a place of status quo as we have been ahead in easing the restrictions the CDC and CMS addressed this week. As we are able to continue to relax additional policies, we will communicate those out to you as soon as possible…we hope and expect to be able to do so in the near future!


Azalea Estates Plan for “Expanding Our Ring of Inoculation”:

When we attained direct provider status for the vaccine last summer, we did so to ensure that our residents and staff had access to the vaccine as early as possible. With that, we were the first senior living community in the state to fully vaccinate our residents and staff. Further, we still remain the only senior living community in the state that is a direct provider of the vaccine.

Once that mission was completed, we went to the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) with a plan to continue to offer vaccine to those who need it most. We called this plan our “Expanding Ring of Inoculation” where we wanted to make sure that the loved ones and caretakers of our residents had early access to the vaccine as well. We did this with the hope that this early vaccination effort would lead to a return to “normal” sooner for those we serve in our communities.

In seeing the latest guidance from the CDC and CMS we feel confident that this plan is coming to fruition and will allow our residents and their loved ones/care takers to enjoy the eased restrictions (once they become official) that much earlier.

As of today, we have delivered over 2,500 doses of the Moderna vaccine placing us in the top 7% of the over 1,500 providers in the state of Georgia. We know we still have role to play in trying to end this pandemic as quickly as possible, and we look forward to continuing to do so.

“There are far, far better things ahead than anything we leave behind” – C.S. Lewis

 

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #51 | Dated: 2-22-21

Good Afternoon –

We hope that this letter finds you and your loved ones doing well.

After the snow and bad weather over the past few weeks, we noticed that we would enjoy some unseasonably warm weather this Wednesday and Thursday.

With that, we like to offer an opportunity to come to our community for a Safe and Social outdoor visit with your loved one.

If you are interested in scheduling time to visit with your family member, enjoy our wonderful courtyards and the beautiful weather during or first ever “Sip and See”, please reach out directly to our community to set up a time to visit. Timeslots will be offered from 1pm – 5pm.

We are excited to announce that this will also serve as an official kickoff to our return to our family visitations, whether outside or inside.

We are able to restart these visitations due to the fact that the Fayette County positivity rates have now dropped below 10%. This decrease in positivity rates places us in Tier 2 of the Georgia Department of Public Health’s (DPH) reopening guidance which allows for supported indoor visitations. These visits will be offered starting Monday, March 1st and can be scheduled by calling our community at 770-461-0039. As the weather permits, outside visits are still the preferred option and we will know day of if we are able to meet outdoors.

Like before, visits will be scheduled from 10am – 11am, 1pm – 2pm and 3pm – 4:15pm. Nearly all visitations will be during these hours unless prearranged in coordination with our management team. If circumstances change, obviously visitation guidelines in specific areas may change quickly as well. Please reach out to the community directly if you have any additional questions or concerns.

As a reminder, a brief summary of our indoor visitation procedures can be found below:

  • We will offer limited visitation timeslots separated by at least 15-minute cleaning buffers
  • There will be a limited number of visitors allowed in the room as dictated by square footage
  • All visitors who intend to have an indoor visit are recommended to obtain a regular COVID test
  • We also recommend that any regular visitors have been fully vaccinated (full vaccination means you received your 2nd dose of the Moderna/Pfizer vaccine at least 2 weeks ago but no more than 3 months)
  • All visitors will be screened prior to entering the building and will be required to wear a mask at all times. Due to the fact masks must be worn at all times, there will be no eating/drinking during these indoor visits.

We are heartened by the fact that county, state and national levels of the pandemic are improving, and we remain hopeful that we will see this trend continue.

We look forward to seeing you at our community soon.

 

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #50 | Dated: 1-13-21

Good Afternoon –

As we approach the midway point of the month, we wanted to send along a few updates regarding: the current status of the pandemic, our policies and procedures and our efforts regarding the vaccine.

Update on Policies and Procedures:

As many of you know from watching the news and following the current status of the pandemic both locally and nationally, we continue to set daily/weekly records for new cases and hospitalizations. As dictated by the Department of Public Health (DPH) in their administrative order, found here, we continue to follow the DPH’s most conservative pandemic response policies/procedures.

With that in mind, and in concert with the above guidance, we will be extending the suspension of all nonessential visits through January 31st.

We will continue small group activities and small group dining (as many of these activities can be done while wearing masks and our operating procedures during those activities have proven to be effective thus far).

Latest Guidance from the State:

  • Governor Kemp has again extended the Executive Orders which were in place earlier:
    • Executive Order: 12.30.20.01
      • This extends the state of emergency in Georgia through February 7th, 2021.
    • Executive Order: 12.30.20.02
      • This order extends the shelter in place order for residents of Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities (our communities) through January 15th.
    • Sheltering in place means our residents should only prioritize essential/medical trips per the governor’s orders.
  • We fully expect both of these orders to be extended in the coming days/weeks.

Moderna, 2nd Dose Booster Clinics:

We are happy to report that we received our 2nd dose, booster supply of the Moderna vaccine at each of our communities earlier this week. We have again partnered with Transitional Care Physicians of America (TCPA) and Guardian Pharmacy to help administer these booster vaccinations.

  • For those of you who received your 1st dose of the vaccine on December 24th or December 29th your booster clinic is scheduled for Monday, January 25th beginning at 8:30am.
  • For those of you who received your 1st dose of the vaccine on January 7th or January 13th we have tentatively set the date for your booster clinic on February 10th. We will confirm this date as we get closer to the end of the month.

For additional context on the dosing schedule for the Moderna vaccine (at least 28 days after the first dose) you can visit the CDC website here.

Testing Update:

We are also pleased to announce that we have recently received a shipment of rapid, antigen COVID tests through our partnership with McKesson. These tests offer our residents and/or staff the opportunity to receive a test in specific emergency situations where our regular testing channels aren’t readily available. 

If you should have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out.

 The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #49 | Dated: 1-06-21

Good Afternoon –

We are happy to report that all 11 outstanding staff tests have come back NEGATIVE. Meaning our last positive test for either residents or staff members was on 12/17 and we are officially past our 14-day incubation period.

And at this time, no residents or staff members are exhibiting or expressing any symptoms tied to COVID-19 or have tested positive.

With that we have resumed small group activities and some small group dining. Starting next week, we will resume our regular small group dining schedule.

We are pleased and excited to announce that we have received an additional order of the Moderna vaccine. Our team has reached out to any of our residents (or their loved ones as applicable) and any staff members who have yet to receive the first dose of the vaccine to ensure all who desire to participate in our immunization clinics have the opportunity to do so.

We are planning on hosting our immunization clinic for residents, staff and some of our 3rd party healthcare partners tomorrow.

If you should have any questions or concerns regarding our immunization clinics or our current policies or procedures, please do not hesitate to reach out.

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #48 | Dated: 12-30-20

Good Afternoon –

We hope that this letter finds you and your loved ones doing well after a very unique Christmas. We wanted to again thank you for participating in our immunization clinic on Christmas Eve. Those who did receive the vaccine were some of the first seniors and long-term care employees in the state to receive the vaccine. It was a resounding success, with no serious adverse reactions reported by any of our residents or staff…just a few sore arms. We were able to inoculate all residents and staff who opted in for this first round of immunization, including 11 more residents and staff members inoculated yesterday.

We expect to receive additional vaccine shipments in the coming days/weeks. With these additional doses we will be able to continue to offer the vaccine for any additional and/or new residents and staff members who choose to participate in the program. Again, we strongly encourage all residents, staff and other health care professionals who partner with Azalea to participate in our immunization clinics.

Now that we have started our immunization program what does that mean for Azalea Estates?

A large majority of our residents and staff have now received the 1st of 2 doses of the Moderna vaccine. The Moderna vaccine is 95% effective in preventing the coronavirus disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus after the 2nd dose. The 2nd dose must be administered 28 days after the 1st dose, which will be January 21, 2021 for the majority of our residents and staff. We are working with both Transitional Care Physicians of America (TCPA) and Guardian Pharmacy to schedule these 2nd dose clinics and will communicate a plan early in the new year.

Although having most of our residents and staff immunized protects them from becoming seriously ill, it doesn’t stop the transmission of the virus itself (meaning, you can give it to someone else who doesn’t have his/her immunization). As we await more people both in Azalea and in the surrounding area to get their immunization shots, we will continue to follow our policies and procedures that have been in place throughout the pandemic: universal mask wearing, 6 feet of separation, small group activities, regular deep cleanings, no nonessential visitors (at this time), regular staff testing, contact tracing with known COVID positive individuals, etc. We are currently working with the Department of Public Health (DPH) to define criteria for what our procedures will look like in future once the rate of immunization increases and a timeline for when those policies/procedures will change. We will update you in the coming weeks as those plans are developed.

Update on our policies and procedures tied to our positive residents and staff:

Our last resident who tested positive was on 12/17. We are sad to report that earlier today they passed away peacefully while hospitalized. We’ve been in contact with the family and out of respect for this resident and family, we aren’t in a position to mention names. We will honor this resident in the right way at the right time

At this time, no additional residents or staff members are exhibiting or expressing any symptoms tied to COVID-19.

We are on day 13 of our 14-day quarantine period. If no other residents or staff test positive for the virus, we will be able to resume small group activities and small group dining starting this Friday.  Obviously, we are very hopeful that this comes to pass and will update you in the coming days regarding our plan to resume our previous programming and activities.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out:

 Wishing, hoping and praying for a Happy and Virus Free New Year for us all.

 The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #47 | Dated: 12-23-20

We are excited to share that our first shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine arrived at all 3 of our communities today making Azalea Estates the first senior living community to administer the vaccine in the state.

We have contracted with Transitional Care Physicians of America (TCPA) and Guardian Pharmacy to help administer the first vaccinations starting tomorrow.

Through those partnerships we will have nurse practitioners, pharmacists, nurses and a litany of other support staff on hand to support in administering the vaccine safely to our residents and staff.

Our team has started to reach out to our residents, resident loved ones and staff to review consent forms as well as answer any questions regarding the vaccine or our plan for tomorrow.

Tomorrow is a large step for our communities, residents, staff and a testament to our strong partnerships that we will be at the leading edge of providing this life saving service to those who need it most.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out:

 The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #46 | Dated: 12-22-20

Good Afternoon –

Below are a few updates for you including: an update on our latest test results, our next steps based on those results, an update on our previous positive residents and an update on our meeting with specialists from the state this past Friday.

We have received our testing results from this past Thursday and wanted to follow up on those results next steps:

  • Total qualified residents tested: 70
  • Total negative residents: 67
  • Total residents requiring retests: 2
  • Total new positive residents: 1
    • This resident has a private sitter. We are retesting both the sitter and this resident. Based on our investigation there is no know primary contact with any other residents or staff. At this time, we believe that this is another incident of outside transmission in light of the fact all other residents (including prior positives) tested negative and all staff remain asymptomatic and with many testing negative this week (with plans for all staff to have retests before the end of the week).

 Currently, no additional residents or staff members are exhibiting or expressing any symptoms tied to COVID-19.

This past Friday our management team and owners had a conference call with the Fayette County Department of Health (DPH), their Epidemiologists and the Georgia Health Care Infection Preventionist team. On this call we reviewed our COVID related policies and procedures, our PPE usage as well as our physical plant to ensure that we are doing all we can to ensure we curb the spread of the virus and relax our more stringent quarantine procedures as quickly and safely as possible. Overall, their team agreed with our policies and procedures and were in agreement that we are on the right track as we combat these latest incidents. Their recommendations for how to improve our current approach centered on providing additional hand sanitizer stations in our hallways and adding additional trash cans to any COVID positive resident’s rooms. Both of these recommendations have been implemented. We will continue to communicate regularly with their team and implement any additional guidance they may provide.

Based on these test results and in concert with the advice from DPH and state infection control team we are:

  • Universally retesting all staff and private sitters starting today
  • Universally retesting all residents this upcoming Monday (12/28)
  • Continuing our more rigorous quarantine procedures until we receive these results
  • We know that continuing these procedures is extremely difficult for our resident especially during the holiday week. With that we are planning on doing all we can to safely engage our residents:
    • We are conducting hallway sitter-size classes this week where residents will wear masks while sitting in their doorways
    • Hallway bingo and other card games will be hosted by hallway with residents in masks sitting in their doorways
    • Special bags with fun snacks, games, puzzles and other activities are being delivered to our residents
    • Punch, eggnog and cookies will be delivered to our residents on Christmas

Below is an update on previous positive residents:

  • 6 previously positive residents have fully recovered and have retested negative or were asymptomatic for a 10-day period and have retested negative
  • 1 resident remains hospitalized but has tested negative for the virus
  • The resident who tested positive on 12/17 has very minor symptoms (fatigue) and continues to do well

Although we are disappointed that we are to continue our more rigorous quarantine measures, we feel confident that our testing plan, our policies/procedures and use of PPE will allow us to return to “normal” soon. We thank you and your loved ones for your patience and partnership as we have worked through these latest incidents.  

Chief Operating Officer/Owner, Marshall Gill, has been at the community today with Holly, communicating with our residents and staff.  If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Contact Information:

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #45 | Dated: 12-18-20

Good Afternoon –

We are happy to report that we were able to have all qualified residents tested yesterday with test kits returned to our lab yesterday evening. Our hope is that the tests will be processed this weekend with results reported to us early next week. As we await the test results, we will continue our rigorous quarantine procedures. As test results are reported we will of course communicate those out to you. Thank you again to our residents for their patience and partnership as we worked to get everyone tested yesterday.

Below is an update on our progress on our efforts to ensure that Azalea Estates has the earliest possible access to the COVID vaccine.

This weekend we were officially notified that our 2 communities in Cobb County (both Sterling Estates of East and West Cobb) and our community in Fayette County (Azalea Estates) have been approved to be Tier 1a (the highest priority) vaccine providers out of the 5 total tiers.

Below is a quick summary of the two paths we have taken to ensure that our residents and staff have the earliest possible access to the vaccine:

  • National Pharmacy Network Long Term Care Partnership:
  • CVS and Walgreens have partnered with the Federal government to ensure that all LTC communities have access to the vaccine through onsite clinics. We have applied for and been accepted to this program. Almost all LTC communities in the state are participating in this program.
  • Getting Approval to be a Vaccine Provider Ourselves:
  • We worked with both the CDC and Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) to be certified as a provider ourselves (just like CVS and Walgreens). We completed a rigorous application process, trainings, many weeks of conference calls, etc. to get added to the short list of Tier 1a providers.

Having both options available to us will allow us to ensure that you are offered the vaccine as early as possible.

What this means moving forward:

  • Our approval as a provider in the highest priority tier will allow our communities to receive either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine directly from the manufacturers in the coming days/weeks.
  • Pfizer has been granted their emergency use authorization with early shipments of the vaccine starting this past week and initial vaccines administered in the past few days. We expect Moderna to be approved later this week and to follow a similar timeline as Pfizer with vaccines being shipped in the coming days.
  • If for some reason CVS is able to obtain access to the vaccine before us and has enough to schedule onsite clinics at our communities, we will vaccinate our residents and staff through their team.

The decision by the DPH to accept Sterling Estates as a provider underscores how important it is for our residents and staff to have early access to the vaccine, as well as acknowledges how prepared our team at Sterling Estates is to be able to provide this service to our residents. We are proud of our onsite teams which have allowed us to be in this position and look forward to the opportunity of offering you this service as quickly and safely as possible. As a reminder there will be limited supplies early on, but that will be improving over the coming weeks.

We know that there are many questions regarding these new vaccines, with that we have included a few resources below that will hopefully answer some of your questions. Our residents are part of the generation that have always led the way in vaccines: smallpox, polio, whooping cough… and with our inclusion as the highest priority group to gain access to this vaccine, they will again be leading the way with COVID. Over the coming days our team will be reaching out directly to residents, resident loved ones and our staff to confirm their desire to receive the vaccine once it is on site.

More information on each vaccine can be found here:

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out.

The Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #44 | Dated: 12-16-20

Good Evening –

We were recently notified that 1 of our residents who was hospitalized yesterday for symptoms unrelated to COVID-19, returned a positive test today. This resident remains hospitalized and in stable condition. At this time, due to the fact we have been under rigorous quarantine procedures, there is no other primary contact with other residents or Azalea Estates staff members.

Currently, no additional residents or staff members are exhibiting or expressing any symptoms tied to COVID-19.

This resident and their daily private sitter both tested negative for the virus earlier this month (on 11/30 and 12/2 respectively). Even though in this instance the resident does have regular contact with someone who comes from outside the building for extended periods of time, we are still going to treat this as an event that would trigger universal testing for our residents. We do this to ensure that this is an isolated incident and not tied to any contact from the earlier transmission event in the building.

With that, we have been able to coordinate with our partners at Transitional Care Partners of America (TCPA) and will be providing COVID test starting tomorrow.

Depending on the results of this latest testing round we will revisit our policies and procedures which we were slated to update early next week.

Below are a few updates on our earlier positive residents and staff members:

  • Residents:
    • 1 resident remains hospitalized and in stable condition
    • 2 previously hospitalized residents continue to do well while back in their home at Azalea
    • 4 residents continue to do well self-isolating at Azalea where they all remain either asymptomatic or have very minor symptoms (fatigue/slight congestion).
  • Staff:
    • As of today, all 5 previously positive staff members have fully recovered from their illnesses (if they were symptomatic) and have returned to work in accordance with all Department of Health and CDC guidance.

Although we were hopeful that there would be no more positives after our earlier incident, we remain confident in our policies, procedures and PPE and confident that these latest round of tests confirm that this latest incident is an isolated event not tied to internal transmission.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Contact Information:

 

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team

Sterling Estates Schedules Second Round of COVID Vaccinations for its Atlanta Metro Residents and Healthcare Workers

January 21, 2021

Cobb and Fayette Communities Will Be First Senior Living Residences to Complete Dosing Requirements

Residents, Healthcare Workers and Staff to Receive Second COVID Inoculations Starting January 25, 2021

 

Marietta GA (January 19, 2021) – Senior living community owner and operator Sterling Estates has received shipments of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to schedule and complete the second round of doses for residents, healthcare workers and staff in all three of its Georgia properties. Sterling Estates administered the first round of vaccinations on December 24, 2020; its medical staff, working with Transitional Care Physicians of America (TCPA) and Guardian Pharmacy will administer the second round starting January 25, 2021 at Sterling Estates of East Cobb (4220 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta, Georgia 30068), Sterling Estates of West Cobb (3165 Dallas Highway, Marietta, Georgia 30064) and Azalea Estates of Fayetteville (105 Autumn Glen Circle, Fayetteville, Georgia 30215). Sterling Estates applied for and was designated a tier one distribution center for COVID-19 vaccinations, and will be the first senior living communities in Metro Atlanta to complete the inoculation of its residents and staff.

“We are pleased with the acceptance rate by our residents and staff, with close to 95% of our residents agreeing to take the vaccine,” said Sterling Estates Vice President of Operations and Partner Nathan Madigan. “Through our first round of doses, we haven’t had any residents or staff report material adverse side effects. Our senior residents are proud to be among the leaders for the nation in taking on this virus through the vaccines.”

Hart Williford, a resident at Sterling Estates of West Cobb, expressed excitement over getting his second shot. ‘We look forward to receiving our second dose of the vaccine and getting on with living. We got a lot to do.”

“Completing the vaccination process is a big step for our communities, residents and staff,” continued Madigan. “Our partnerships are an integral component in helping us provide this life-saving service to those who need it most; TCPA and Guardian and their trained personnel have been instrumental in the smooth implementation of our vaccination process. While many have complained about distribution and implementation bottlenecks across the country, we have not experienced that and are thankful that the supply chain and our ability to host clinics for the vaccine have been efficient and timely.”

COVID-19 Providers Stay Nimble, Prepare for Hurdles as Covid-19 Vaccine Reaches Senior Living

January 6, 2021

Sterling Estates Schedules COVID Vaccinations in Atlanta Metro Properties

December 24, 2020

Cobb and Fayette Communities Will Be First Senior Residences to Receive Inoculations
Residents, Healthcare Workers and Staff to Be Inoculated before Christmas

Marietta GA (December 23, 2020) – Senior living community owner and operator Sterling Estates has received a shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine and has scheduled vaccinations of residents, healthcare workers and staff in all three of its Georgia properties. On Thursday, December 24, medical staff, working with Transitional Care Physicians of America and Guardian Pharmacy will administer the first vaccinations at Sterling Estates of East Cobb (4220 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta, Georgia 30068), Sterling Estates of West Cobb (3165 Dallas Highway, Marietta, Georgia 30064) and Azalea Estates of Fayetteville (105 Autumn Glen Circle, Fayetteville, Georgia 30215). Sterling Estates applied for and was designated a tier one distribution center for COVID-19 vaccinations, and will be the first senior living communities in Metro Atlanta to inoculate residents and staff.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented significant safety and health challenges worldwide, but more so to our senior population,” said Sterling Estates Vice President of Operations and Partner Nathan Madigan. “Our senior residents are at a much higher risk of catching the coronavirus and getting seriously sick or dying from it than the general population, so it was important for us to secure a shipment of COVID vaccine and inoculate our residents and caregivers as soon as possible.”

“Tomorrow is a big step for our communities, residents and staff, and a testament to our strong partnerships that we will be at the leading edge of providing this life-saving service to those who need it most,” continued Madigan.

The trained medical personnel will administer the vaccinations at East Cobb first using the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, then proceed to West Cobb and then Fayetteville. This will be the first of the required two doses; the second dose will be administered sometime in late January 2021, after the required twenty-eight days from the first inoculation.

“We have prioritized the inoculation schedule so our residents and staff will receive the first dose before Christmas,” said Madigan. “We can’t think of a better holiday gift for our residents’ health and safety in the New Year.”

 

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