COVID-19 Update

June 4, 2020

To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff Members:

Update #28 | Dated: 6-04-20

As we approach the end of the week, we wanted to pass along a few updates.

  1. We received updated guidance from the Department of Health (DOH) regarding how we approach individuals who have tested positive for the virus. This updated guidance can be found linked here for residents and here for staff. 
    • Previously, it was recommended that individuals who tested positive for the virus (including those who remained asymptomatic) should test negative for the virus after their 10-day illness period/resolution of symptoms.
    • Over the past few months the CDC has gathered more information and has now recommended changing this approach as individuals can continue to test positive for the virus (for more than 6 weeks after initial positive test) and not be infectious.
    • Moving forward we will follow the new DOH guidance and not require testing clearance for staff or residents if they do test positive for the virus. We will follow the clinical clearance guidance which is:
      • Symptomatic persons with confirmed COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19 can return to Sterling Estates/end isolation quarantine procedures:
        • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications AND improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); AND,
        • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared
      • Asymptomatic persons with confirmed COVID-19 can return to Sterling Estates/end isolation quarantine procedures:
        • At least 10 days have passed since the positive laboratory test and the person remains asymptomatic.
        • Note: asymptomatic persons who test positive and later develop symptoms should follow the guidance for symptomatic persons above
  2. We have been working with the DOH and their team of Epidemiologists and feel confident that we will have updated policies and procedures around small group activities and dining soon; we hope to share those in the coming week.
  3. Our team has started the 3rd round of staff testing. We will provide those results as they become available next week.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any additional questions or concerns. Have a good end to your week.

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff Members:

Update #27 | Dated: 5-29-20

We hope everyone is having a good end to their weeks. As we begin our 12th week of quarantine procedures, we wanted to follow up with a few updates.

  1. The National Guard conducted their 2nd cleaning of all of our common spaces yesterday. Again, we are very grateful for their support through this time. We hope to schedule a 3rd round of testing for some time in early June. Once that is scheduled, we will be sure to let you know
  2. We were told that we are 1 of 3 communities in Fayette county that have been approved for universal testing through the National Guard. We have been in direct contact with the Fayette County Emergency Management Agency and their director and have been assured that we are on the list for scheduling. As soon as that date is finalized, we will communicate that out along with details on logistics for the actual testing.
  3. Along with working with the National Guard for universal testing for our residents, we are working to finalize a partnership with a private company in order to provide as-needed testing for residents. We have had initial conversations with a local provider which may be an option for as needed testing in the future. Our hope is that we will be able to finalize the details of this partnership soon. We will be sure to follow up with updates next week.
  4. As many of you may heard, Governor Kemp issued additional Executive Orders addressing the state’s state of emergency declaration and giving additional guidance for reviving a healthy Georgia. We are actively working with the DOH to review our current policies and procedures and what our dining, wellness and visitation procedures will look like as we continue to adjust to our “new normal”. We will have additional updates and details for you as those conversations continue into next week.
  5. A successful part of our “new normal” has been the fact that our new touring procedures for interested individuals are going extremely well. We are hosting one on one meeting in outdoor setting (as possible) while observing all safe social distancing measures. Tours of our community are mostly conducted outside of our buildings where the parties spend no more than 15 minutes inside any building and consist of fewer than 4 people (including our staff where all parties wear masks.

We continue to feel blessed that our residents and staff remain safe and healthy. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out. Have a wonderful weekend.

Sincerely,

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff Members:

Update #26 | Dated: 5-22-20

We hope everyone is having a good end to their weeks. As we begin our 11th week of quarantine procedures, we wanted to follow up with a few updates.

  1. As we mentioned in an earlier communication, we have been supporting our staff members in getting tested for a 2nd time. We are happy to report that all 55 staff members have been tested, 54 have returned negative test results and we are awaiting the results from 1 staff member. We will continue to have our staff tested regularly, approximately every 14 days.
  2. We are continuing to work with the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Guard to finalize a day/time to test our residents (excluding Memory Care residents). We have been told that the delay in scheduling is tied to the fact that Governor Kemp has tasked the National Guard with testing the over 43,000 residents of Long-Term Care Facilities across the state. We have also been informed that the National Guard is prioritizing communities with active outbreaks which has meant we have been pushed down their list. Although it is frustrating that we have not been able schedule a day and time for testing, we are thankful that it is due to the fact that our residents and staff have remained safe and healthy. That said, we are looking into other private organizations to see if we are able to have testing for our residents scheduled sooner. We should have an update on our progress on that initiative later next week.
  3. As a reminder, the National Guard will return for an additional deep clean this upcoming Wednesday, May 27th.

Although this crisis has caused a tremendous disruption for all of us, we look to the future with a hopeful eye. Thank you again for your continued trust as we have navigated the challenges this pandemic has thrown our way. Looking back over the last 70 days we feel incredibly blessed to have each and every one of you as part of our community. As the state and our community gradually “open up for business” you can rest assured that we remain committed to your health and safety.

We hope everyone has a good Memorial Day weekend and please do not hesitate to reach out if there is anything further we can be doing to better support you or your loved ones.

Sincerely,

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff Members:

Update #25 | Dated: 5-15-20

We hope everyone is having a good end to their weeks. As we begin our 10th week of quarantine procedures, we wanted to follow up with a few updates.

  1. As we mentioned in an earlier communication, we have started our 2nd round of staff tests. Thus far we have tested 33 out of 47 of our staff members with all staff returning negative test results. The remaining staff members will have their tests completed early next week.
  2. We are continuing to work with the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Guard to finalize a day/time to test our residents (excluding Memory Care residents). We have been told that the delay in scheduling is tied to the fact that Governor Kemp has tasked the National Guard with testing the over 43,000 residents of Long-Term Care Facilities across the state. As soon as we get an update on when this will occur, we will be sure to pass that information along.
  3. We have also scheduled the National Guard to return for additional deep cleans over the coming weeks. We have scheduled an additional cleaning on May 27th. We will of course continue our own rigorous cleaning procedures.
  4. Based on our collaboration with the Cobb County Public Health Long Term Care Facility Support Team, the DOH, the National Guard and the state Healthcare Associated Infection team we have developed a plan for the intake of new residents to our community. Unlike many communities, we have held off admitting any new residents to any of our 3 Georgia communities for over 2 months. That said, we feel that based on the guidance from these experts, the strength of our current quarantine policies and procedures, as well as our ability to effectively use PPE; we are in a good place to move forward implementing these guidelines. The safety of our residents and staff members has and continues to be our top priority and we wouldn’t be moving forward implementing this plan if we didn’t believe we could do it effectively. With that, any individual who is moving into our community will be required to have a negative clearance test prior to moving in.

We hope everyone has a good weekend and please do not hesitate to reach out if there is anything further we could be doing to better support you or your loved ones.

Sincerely,

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff Members:

Update #24 | Dated: 5-11-20

We hope you are having a good start to your week. We wanted to pass along a few updates as we head into our week:

  1. As a reminder, we have scheduled another deep clean for all of our communal spaces, this time through the Georgia National Guard.
    • The cleaning should begin around 8:30am and should be completed by midday.
    • The National Guard will look like they are from Mars wearing “space suits”. This is standard operating procedure for the Guard. Although it may look scary, the Guardsman are wearing this equipment to keep both you and themselves safe.
    • We will continue all of our additional cleaning procedures throughout the building which include: 3x a day cleaning of all high touch areas and common areas, regular cleaning of all door handles, medicine cabinets, etc.
  2. We are still waiting to schedule universal testing through the Fayette County Department of Health (DOH). Once we have an update from the DOH we will be sure to communicate those next steps to you and your loved ones.
  3. We have started to schedule our 2nd round of staff tests. We expect to have most if not all staff members tested by the end of this week.

Please continue to reach out to us with any additional questions or recommendations as to what we can be doing to better support your loved one.

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team

Contact Information:

Holly Woods: Executive Director: [email protected]

Marshall Gill: Chief Operating Officer/Partner: [email protected]

Nathan Madigan: Vice President of Operations: [email protected]


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff Members:

Update #23 | Dated: 5-08-20

As we begin our 9th week of quarantine procedures we wanted to follow up with a few updates.

Updates on Cleaning:

  • We have scheduled another deep clean for all of our communal spaces, this time through the Georgia National Guard. The cleaning is scheduled for the morning of May 12th. That said, we continue all of our additional cleaning procedures throughout the building which include: 3x a day cleaning of all high touch areas and common areas, regular cleaning of all door handles, medicine cabinets, etc.

Update on Staff Testing:

  • We worked with the DOH to set timelines for our regular retesting or our staff members. We will be conducting these retests through the CVS and Georgia Tech partnership starting next week.
  • Moving forward we will endeavor to have our staff members retested approximately every 14 days.

Update on Resident Testing:

  • We have reached out to the Fayette County Department of Health (DOH) and their team of Epidemiologists to work on a plan to get all of our residents tested for the virus. Once we have an update from the DOH we will be sure to communicate those next steps to you and your loved ones.

Planning for the future:

  • We met with the Cobb County Public Health Long Term Care Facility Support Team (a partnership between the DOH and Wellstar) at our East Cobb location this morning, to again review our policies and procedures as well as talk through what some of the “new normal” will look like.
  • The Support Team was complimentary of our policies, procedures and levels of PPE in our buildings.
  • Their official write-up will be delivered sometime next week. That said, we have started the conversations with their group regarding what our community procedures will look like after June 12th (the end of Governor Kemp’s shelter in place order). One of main focal points are our dining procedures in particular and are excited about having the opportunity to again serve you in our dining rooms and outdoors areas.
  • We’ve also had in depth conversations on the policies and procedures of allowing new residents to join our community.
  • As these plans are finalized, we will be sure to communicate those to you and your loved ones.

Family Visits:

  • It has been incredible to see so many of our families and loved ones coming to our community to partake in outdoor visits.
  • Please coordinate with the front desk at (770-461-0039) to set up a time to visit your loved one.

Please continue to reach out to us with any additional questions or recommendations as to what we can be doing to better support you or your loved one.

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff Members:

Update #22 | Dated: 5-01-20

Today marks our 50th day of quarantine procedures. It’s a testament to you and our incredible staff that we have been able to come this far. As we start of our 8th week of quarantine, we wanted to send over a few updates:

As you’re probably aware, Governor Kemp has allowed the initial statewide shelter in place order (signed on April 4th) to expire for most of the state of Georgia. However, he has extended the executive order (signed on April 8th) that pertains to the medically fragile, people older than 65, or residents who live in long-term care facilities through June 12th by signing the executive order yesterday found here.

We will continue our rigorous quarantine procedures based on this renewed shelter in place order through at least June 12th. We will also require our staff members to continue to follow our policies and procedures around staying safe and vigilant while both in our communities and out through that time as well.

That said, we are working on plans for what reopening (which includes communal dining) our communities will look like once we reach the appropriate time. We are coordinating these efforts with the DOH and other state agencies. We won’t make any changes to our current protocols or procedures without first having their input.

We are also rolling out protocols for planning visits between you and your loved ones. These visits will be outside of our buildings and will meet all social distancing measures. Please coordinate with the front desk at

(770-461-0039) to set up a time to visit your loved one.

Please let us know if you have any questions or if there is anything more we can do for you or your family.

Sincerely,

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team

Contact Information:

Holly Woods: Executive Director: [email protected]

Marshall Gill: Chief Operating Officer/Partner: [email protected]

Nathan Madigan: Vice President of Operations: [email protected]


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff Members:

Update #21 | Dated: 4-28-20

As we cross the midpoint of our 7th week of quarantine procedures we wanted to follow up with a few updates.

Staff testing:

  • To date we have tested 46 of our 47 staff members
    • All 46 staff members have tested negative for the virus.
  • In coordination with the DOH and through the CVS and Georgia Tech partnership we will continue our regular staff testing following guidance from the DOH.

We also wanted to update you on updated mask guidelines:

  • Based on the CDC guidance that individuals should wear a mask while outside their homes and in communal settings, we have updated our mask policies and procedures:
    • All residents will wear a surgical mask while receiving care
    • All residents will wear a surgical mask while in common space

We are happy to report that we have no residents or staff members exhibiting or expressing any COVID-19 related symptoms at this time. This is a testament to your vigilance, the dedication of our staff members and the fact that the policies and procedures in place are working. Our personal protective equipment (PPE) continues to keep our residents and staff members safe. We will be sure to update you on the status of our additional orders of PPE as we get updated shipping information. That said, we did want to let you know that through our relationship with the DOH we were able to receive additional: cloth masks, KN95 masks, face shields and gowns which were delivered this week.

Our ability to keep the virus out of our community to date has only served to reemphasize how important it is that we stay the course and rededicate ourselves to the measures that have been put in place to keep all of us safe. Thank you again for your continued trust and for your resolve as we fight every day to keep you and your loved ones healthy and safe.

Also, we have updated our website so as to curate both these letters and other helpful information regarding our response to the pandemic. Please visit our website here.

Please let us know if there is anything more we can do for you or your family.

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team

To Our Residents and Family Members:

Update #20 | Dated: 4-24-20

We wanted to touch base with each of you as we near the end of the week. Updates since our last communication can be found below:

  • As we communicated to you earlier this week and based on our experiences at our East Cobb location, we decided to have all Azalea Estates of Fayetteville employees tested for the virus through the CVS and Georgia Tech partnership. This was done out of an abundance of caution which is above and beyond what is recommended by the Department of Health (DOH).
    • We started testing Fayetteville this week and thus far have had 20 of 47 staff members tested. We hope to have all staff members tested by early next week. All 20 staff members have returned negative test results.
  • As more of our staff are tested, we will be sure to update you on their results and if we learn any additional information that would change our policies/procedures. We will continue our virus testing protocols at various intervals for the foreseeable future.
  • We’ve been asked about testing for our residents when deemed necessary by the DOH. We are working directly with the DOH who is endeavoring to make resources available for the testing of asymptomatic residents in senior living communities. As we coordinate with their team, we’re also working with the private sector to identify testing resources if needed. Of course, we will update you as we make progress on these efforts.
  • We continue to have ample supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning, food, and other supplies in all of our buildings.
    • We have been able to procure and deliver: surgical masks; N95 masks; cloth masks; gloves; face shields; other eye protection; gowns; thermometers; etc.
    • We have purchased and expect delivery by the end of the month:
      • 4,000 KN95 masks and 5,000 gowns
    • Many of you have reached out asking about our staff…interested to hear more about what we’re doing to support our team during these challenging times. In fact, we’ve had lots of offers to assist if there were any areas of need. Thank you for your interest and gracious offers; we feel fortunate and are in solid position to be able to offer additional supports to our team members and their families. Along those lines, our most recent staff communication is included below.
      • That said, please continue reaching out with your messages of support for our staff. When our staff read how their efforts are positively impacting both our residents and their families, it is a tremendous source of pride and serves as a reminder that the work they do each day has an incredible impact.

Thank you again for your continued support and encouragement. If there is anything that we can do to better support you and your family, please do not hesitate to reach out.

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team

 

Letter to Staff Update #8 | Dated: 4-24-20

 

Dear Staff:

Today marks the end of our 6th week of quarantine procedures (starting back on March 13th). This has been a difficult time for all of us here at Sterling Estates. Each of you has continued to answer the call to serve in the most difficult times. Your dedication and professionalism continue to inspire us all, including our residents and their loved ones. As seen on our “Wall of Praise,” your efforts are having big impacts on people’s lives. One recent resident compliment stands out:

“You certainly are ‘Care Warriors’ — I see evidence of it constantly.  You are the most committed and caring group of people I have ever encountered.  And I get to live here…and witness your fortitude day after day.”

Thus far, you and your teammates have done an incredible job implementing our policies and procedures and staying disciplined when not at work. We know that this discipline and sacrifice is not always an easy thing to do, and it can create personal hardships for both you and your loved ones.

We also know Governor Kemp’s latest order to restart the economy will put more pressure on your efforts to stay diligent and vigilant when away from work. We don’t believe the Governor’s decision should apply to health care workers including those in the senior living industry at this time. 

The easing of our state’s pandemic guidelines doesn’t apply to us here at Azalea Estates. Each of you have worked too hard to keep our residents and your teammates safe for us to let up now.

Your decisions and actions will continue to impact other people’s lives. We’ve experienced asymptomatic transmission of the virus. With a virus as dangerous as this, you must avoid all risks.

In order to reward you for your amazing efforts thus far and to emphasize what your efforts will mean into the future we are paying you another bonus…this one comes with continued behavioral expectations and responsibilities on your part.

We are paying you a bonus with the understanding that you agree to continue to live under the previous shelter in place guidelines.

Also, to keep everyone as safe as possible, we will continue our virus testing protocols at various intervals for the foreseeable future.

While it’s impossible to know exactly when we’ll be “back to normal”, we feel confident in saying there are better days on the horizon. Until then, please continue being the “Care Warrior” you are.

There are a lot of people counting on you.

If you have any questions about what’s expected of you, or if there is anything that we can do to better support you and your family, please do not hesitate to reach out to your manager/Executive Director.

“Perseverance: the secret of all triumphs”. We got this.

Mike, Steve, Marshall, Bryan, Pete, Ray and Nathan

The Azalea Estates Partners


To Our Residents and Family Members:

Update #19 | Dated: 4-21-20

As you’re aware by now, Governor Kemp issued an Executive Order (linked here) to begin restarting the economy, while trying to keep us all safe. This is a complex, multifaceted and difficult decision…and one that is wrought with challenges for us all, including senior living providers. As such, we wanted to begin to address what this means for our residents, families and staff members.

For the foreseeable future, we will continue our rigorous quarantine procedures as the virus continues to be transferred in the state of Georgia. We will require our staff members to continue following our policies and procedures around staying safe and vigilant while both in our communities and out.

That said, we are working on plans for what “reopening” our communities will look like once we reach the appropriate time. We are coordinating these efforts with the DOH and other state agencies. We won’t make any changes to our current protocols or procedures without first having their input.

Thank you again for your continued support and encouragement during these trying times. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any additional questions or concerns.  

Sincerely,

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team

Contact Information:


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #18 | Dated: 4-20-20

Today marks the halfway point of our 6th week of quarantine procedures, and we feel blessed that no residents or staff have tested positive for COVID-19. With that, we do want to share a few updates below.

At our East Cobb location, we continue to have members of our Sterling/Azalea family impacted by the virus. Due to these challenges, we’ve put in place even more and stricter policies and procedures to ensure we’re doing everything we possibly can to keep our residents and staff safe:

  • We’re moving forward with testing all of our staff members for the virus across all of our communities.
    • We’re working with the Department of Health (DOH) and National Guard to coordinate testing at the community, the CVS and Georgia Tech partnership and the private sector.
    • We started this process at our East Cobb location this past week. Thus far, we have tested 31 out of 50 employees with 28 employees testing negative and 3 testing positive (only 1 was symptomatic).
  • Updated policies and procedures based on our experiences at East Cobb and discussions with the DOH:
  1. All residents will wear masks while receiving care.
    1. We’re providing surgical masks to our residents and will replenish them as needed.
  2. We’ve updated our glove guidelines to require even more changes while delivering food and removing trash.
  3. We’re scheduling additional staff trainings on how to appropriately don and remove masks.
  4. As we get additional thermometers, we’re continuing to train and retrain staff on how to best use each type of device.
  5. We’re implementing additional observations to ensure our staff are following through consistently on our implemented policies/procedures.

After our call with the DOH, their Health Care Associated Infection team of specialists and the National Guard, where we reviewed the policies and procedures that have been implemented at all of our communities since March 13th, they stated: “The facility is very proactive with their infection prevention activities. The facility is diligently working to ensure a safe environment for their residents, families and staff.” While this reassurance gives us confidence in our policies and procedures, we take little comfort given the fact that we’ve experienced losses in our fight.

We continue to have ample supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) in all of our buildings. To make sure that this continues, we’ve identified vendors who will be able to provide us with more gowns and a derivative of the N95 masks. Even with the extreme stress this virus has caused to most supply chains, we expect shipments of the additional PPE to arrive by month’s end.

We’ve been asked about more universal testing for our residents. We are working directly with the DOH who is endeavoring to make resources available for the testing of asymptomatic residents in senior living communities. As we coordinate with their team, we’re also working with the private sector to identify testing resources if needed. Of course, we will update you as we make progress on these efforts.

As we mentioned earlier, we feel truly blessed that we have haven’t had any incidents of infection at our community. Despite this success, we cannot and will not become complacent. We have to push that much harder. Through our partnership with the state DOH and their team of epidemiologists, we’re seeking to gain additional knowledge, conducting investigations and continue to refine our procedures based on their consultation.

We must continue to stay vigilant and dedicated to keep up this trend. That said, there may come a day when the virus finds its way into our community as it has at so many others. Know that we stand ready if that day does come…we remain committed to providing you and your loved ones with world class care.

Thank you again for all your support and encouragement.

Sincerely,

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team

Contact Information:


To Our Residents and Family Members:

Update #17 | Dated: 4-11-20

As we head towards the weekend and the start of our 5th week of our quarantine, I wanted to take a moment to share how incredibly blessed we feel to have you and your loved ones calling our community your home. It has been inspiring to see how our communities have come together in these most challenging of times, to not only weather the COVID-19 storm but also grow stronger together in many ways.

On one of our daily Executive Director (ED) and owner calls, an ED shared what she viewed to be one of the clearest examples of that strength when talking about her staff:

“My staff leave their own families, find babysitters for their children and figure out how to get to work during this crazy time, every day, because they are committed to their jobs. This commitment comes from the fact that my staff look at our residents as their own families. This is more than just a job for them. They truly care.”

I can confidently say that this sentiment is shared across all of our communities and teams.

Even though these times are unlike any other, some things haven’t changed: we have much to be grateful for and the love of our families. I know we each have differing thoughts and beliefs but for those who celebrate Easter, I also wanted to share a message (click here) that our Chaplin Hal Cole shared this Good Friday morning.

Your enduring trust to allow us to serve you and your loved ones is not lost on us, and we work each and every day to continue to earn it.

Sincerely,

Michael S. Brown

Managing Partner


To Our Residents and Family Members:

Update #16 | Dated: 4-10-20

With such beautiful weather, it’s wonderful seeing many of our residents outside getting some much-needed vitamin D, fresh air and socialization (from 6 feet away!).

As you’re probably aware, Governor Kemp issued a new Executive Order (linked here) on Wednesday focusing on the safety of residents and staff in senior living communities. It went into effect last night and expires April 30. For us, this Executive Order only reinforces what we’ve been doing in our communities for right at a month now.

That said, there is a directive in the Executive Order which we would like to address, so as to add a little more clarity. The Executive Order states that “all internal and external group activities” must be canceled “as practicable”. Back on March 13th, we canceled all external visits for our residents, unnecessary visitors and all non-essential activities within our buildings.

The part that may need some clarity is our voluntary group gatherings.  As you’ve read in our earlier communications, we know our exercise activities and key engagement opportunities are very essential for the wellbeing of our residents. We will continue to host these activities following the CDC’s guidance for senior living communities, where essential activities are limited to 10 or less people who are all at least 6 feet apart. We also take roll at each activity in the event we’d ever need for contact tracing.

We have spoken directly with the Department of Health along with their epidemiologists on this matter. They are in agreement that this is the correct way to interpret the Executive Order, have signed off on and are in support of our policies and procedures.

We continue to feel blessed that all of our residents and staff remain safe and healthy. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Sincerely,

Holly Woods

Executive Director


To Our Residents and Family Members:

Update #15 | Dated: 4-07-20

Goes without saying: our #1 priority remains keeping all residents and staff healthy and safe by continuing to focus on keeping the virus out of our communities. That said, we know that our residents’ health and well-being goes much further than just staying virus free. We remain focused on ensuring that our residents remain active, social and engaged even during these most challenging times.

We’re asking that everyone, including residents themselves and family members, help us encourage residents to stay healthy beyond just virus free in the midst of this crisis. Residents can help each other stay accountable. Family members can remind their loved ones of the importance of participating in our engagement programming which has been tailored to ensure their safety during this pandemic. Motivation can come in many forms, all with the goal of keeping residents active and invested in their own health both now and when things return to normal.

Below are a few activities and samples of programming we’re offering our residents in order to stay as engaged and fulfilled as possible:

  • Indoor and outdoor exercising class of 10 people or less led by our wellness team
  • Small walking groups to enjoy the greenspace on campus. These groups are flexible and based on residents desired schedules.
  • Opportunities to support connection through technology like Facetime.
    • If you or your loved one needs any additional support on setting up video calls, please reach out to the community directly and we will help coordinate.
  • Engagement/entertainment supplies that are being delivered door to door by our team.

While we believe more challenges will come our way due to this virus, we know the danger that lack of movement and engagement poses to our residents.

Albert Einstein once said, “Nothing happens until something moves.”  So, let’s get moving!

If you have any other ideas or thoughts on what we can be doing to better engage our residents while keeping them safe through this quarantine, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Sincerely,

Holly Woods

Executive Director


To Our Residents and Family Members:

Update #14 | Dated: 4-06-20

We’re happy to report that we continue to have no residents nor staff members diagnosed with the Covid-19 virus. As we approach the middle of our 4th week of quarantine, we wanted to give you a few additional updates, including some on our other communities.

Updates on East Cobb:

  • Today is day 12 of our 14-day timeline at East Cobb. Day 1 for East Cobb was March 26th, the initial day where a resident reported symptoms; April 8th should end our 14-day quarantine.
  • At this point, no other residents or staff have exhibited or expressed any COVID-19 related symptoms.
  • Reaching the 12th day with no additional infections or reported symptoms is a big milestone as research shows that over 97% of individuals will show symptoms in the first 12 days (if they are to get sick at all).
  • Our resident who initially tested positive for the COVID-19 virus remains hospitalized but has now tested negative for the virus and is anxious to return to Sterling.
  • Our teammate who has been in self quarantine since March 26th continues to be symptom free and looking forward to getting back together with his/her residents and coworkers.

 Updates on West Cobb:

  • This past Saturday, April 4th, one of our assisted living residents at Sterling States of West Cobb was hospitalized after exhibiting symptoms tied to the COVID-19 virus. After our team assessed her, we reached out to emergency medical services (EMS). EMS determined that it was in the resident’s best interest to be hospitalized. A COVID-19 test has been administered, and we are waiting on those results.
  • The resident remains hospitalized. As we await the results of the test, prudence dictates that we proceed as if the resident does have the virus. Thus, we implemented additional procedures and protocols in order to ensure we do all we can to keep our residents and staff safe.
  • We are following both local and CDC protocols and have been in direct contact with the Cobb County Department of Health and their epidemiologists. As a reminder those protocols can be found summarized below:
    • Residents:
      • Residents must now remain in their apartments until further notice.
      • Residents’ temperatures will be taken twice a day.
      • We will continue to provide in-room meal services.
    • Staff:
      • All staff will wear a mask while in the community.
      • All companions will wear personal protective equipment (gloves, eye protection and mask) while providing care for our residents.
      • Staff members will receive symptom screenings three times a day, including a temperature check.
    • At this time, there are no known cases of COVID-19 at Sterling Estates West Cobb.

Updates on mask guidelines:

  • Last week the CDC recommended that the general public start wearing facemasks when out in public. This update can be found here.
  • With recent studies showing there is a large percentage of people who have the coronavirus being asymptomatic, wearing a cloth mask is meant to reduce the chances of you getting someone else sick if you are already sick.
  • Wearing a cloth mask is not to keep you from getting the virus.
  • The Epidemiologists with the Department of Health do not think it is necessary for our residents to wear masks while in the community, especially with our care givers wearing masks while providing care.
  • We have already received many donated masks (over 200) from family members, staff and friends of the partners. These masks have been deployed for our staff to use along with their surgical masks. Thus allowing us to extend the useful life of our surgical masks.
    • That being said, if anyone else is interested in trying to make cloth masks to donate, instructions from the CDC can be found here. Please reach out directly to the community if you are able to help.

 Finally, very pleased to report that we’re in receipt of 10 additional infrared thermometers.

As always, we’re here for you. Please let us know if there is anything more we can do for you or your family.

Sincerely,


Marshall Gill

Chief Operating Officer/Partner


To Our Residents and Family Members:

Update #13 | Dated: 4-04-20

Yesterday marked a big milestone in our fight against this virus, the end of our 3rd full week under quarantine (we started these procedures on March 13th). These are without a doubt difficult times, and we’ve received our fair share of challenges. However, we’ve had only one instance of the virus entering a community limited to only one individual thus far. Along with some careful planning and a little luck, our staff’s efforts, dedication, professionalism and bravery have enabled us to be in this position.

Thank you again for all your inspiring notes commending our teammates. These notes of support have sustained our staff as they continue to come to work each day and serve you and your loved ones. In fact, we’ve constructed a “Wall of Praise” where staff members can read the emails, letters, messages, etc. that you’ve sent…a welcomed boost at the end of a hard day.

Below are a few updates that we’d like to share as we enter our 4th week of quarantine:

Updates on East Cobb:

  • Today is day 10 of our 14-day timeline at East Cobb. Day 1 for East Cobb was March 26th, the initial day where a resident reported symptoms; April 8th should end our 14-day quarantine.
  • At this point, no other residents or staff have exhibited or expressed any COVID-19 related symptoms.
  • Our resident who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus remains hospitalized and is doing well.
  • Our teammate who has been in self quarantine since March 26th continues to be symptom free and looking forward to getting back together with his/her residents and friends.

New Executive Order for Georgia:

  • Governor Kemp issued an Executive order (linked here) on Thursday, April 2nd issuing a state-wide shelter in place to stop the spread of COVID-19 starting at 6pm April 3rd and running through 11:59pm April 13th.
  • All Sterling staff are considered essential employees and are under special guidance to continue to work.

Below are updates on supplies and supply chains:

  • Supply chains continue to be disrupted due to the high demand caused by this virus; like many others, we’ve had some delays in obtaining additional supplies. That said, we continue to purchase and supply personal protective equipment, cleaning and care supplies for our staff and communities. Just yesterday, we received a delivery of 20,000 surgical masks that will be distributed amongst our communities.
  • We are in contact with the state Department of Health as we seek to obtain access to any national stockpiled supplies. We are considered a priority, and we speak with them regularly. That said, due to high demand and a limited supply, we’ve yet to receive any of those supplies.
  • We’re centrally managing many of these critical supplies and making centralized purchasing decisions as needed. This approach allows us to deploy additional resources to our East Cobb community during their 14-day quarantine while still continuing to have ample care and cleaning supplies at our other communities.

As you well know, things are incredibly fluid as we learn more about this virus and the CDC and local health authorities distribute more guidance. We will continue to do everything in our power to communicate information to you as it becomes available as quickly and efficiently as possible in this very dynamic environment.

We’re here for you if you should have any additional questions or concerns, or if there’s anything that we can do to better support you or your loved one.

Sincerely,

 

Mike, Steve, Marshall, Bryan, Pete, Ray and Nathan

The Azalea Estates Partners


To Our Residents and Family Members:

Update #12 | Dated: 3-31-20

On March 26th, a resident at our sister community Sterling Estates of East Cobb reported abdominal pain. There was no fever, cough or shortness of breath but out of an abundance of caution we reached out to EMS. EMS determined that it was in the resident’s best interest to be hospitalized. While there, a COVID-19 test was administered. We learned on March 28th the resident tested positive with the COVID-19 virus.

At this time, no other residents or staff have exhibited or expressed any COVID-19 related symptoms at any of our other communities.

Six days have passed since the resident first reported the abdominal pain. Since that time, no other residents or staff have exhibited or expressed any COVID-19 related symptoms. The resident continues to be in stable condition at the hospital.

Based on guidance from the Department of Health and their team of epidemiologists, we looked into who had come in contact with the resident. We have identified one companion who meets the exposure guidelines. This companion went to the hospital for evaluation where the hospital determined a test was not warranted. That said, he/she will remain quarantined for 14 days, self-monitoring for any symptoms.

We’re in regular communication with the Department of Health and their team of epidemiologists. They have been very supportive of all the policies and procedures we had in place prior to the incident as well as the additional safety measures we have implemented since Saturday.

The additional safety measures that are now in place at Sterling Estates of East Cobb are:

Residents:

  • Residents must now remain in their apartments until further notice.
  • Residents’ temperatures will be taken twice a day.
  • We will continue to provide in-room meal services.

Staff:

  • All staff will wear a mask while in the community.
  • All companions will wear personal protective equipment (gloves, eye protection and mask) while providing care for our residents.
  • Staff members will receive symptom screenings three times a day, including a temperature check.

If the virus should enter any of our other communities, we will implement these same procedures.

Along with these procedures for Sterling Estates of East Cobb, we also implemented a new policy at each of our communities where care staff wear masks and gloves while delivering care to residents. We implemented this change to be extra cautious and to ensure we take the appropriate steps to keep both our residents and staff safe.

We have continued to focus on our supply chains in order to stay as well-resourced as possible. We have utilized the strength of our network of communities and deployed additional resources to our East Cobb community. That said, we continue to have ample cleaning and care supplies at all of our communities. *However, we’re in need of additional temporal thermometers; specifically, we’re looking for non-contact infrared thermometers. Please let us know if you can help.

Our staff continue to answer the call to serve each day, even during these difficult times. Their efforts have been without a doubt heroic. Many of you have reached out over the past few days and your words of encouragement and support have sustained our staff as we enter this new phase of our battle against the virus. In fact, we have been printing out your emails and distributing to our team, so they can see for themselves how much their work means to you and your families. 

Although we’ve been hopeful that the virus would not make it into our communities, we have been preparing for weeks as if it would. Now that it has occurred, we’re confident in our team, believe in our plan and without question remain resolute in our dedication to keeping all of our residents and staff safe.

Sincerely,

Mike, Steve, Marshall, Bryan, Pete, Ray and Nathan

The Azalea/Sterling Estates Partners


To Our Residents and Family Members:

Update #11 | Dated: 3-30-20

As we approach the midpoint of our 3rd week of quarantine, we are happy to report that none of residents or staff have been diagnosed with the Covid-19 virus.  We also wanted to update you on a few changes we are making to ensure that we are doing everything in our control to keep our residents and staff safe.

Over the weekend, our care team began wearing masks and gloves while providing care for residents and increasing the frequency of taking resident and staff temperatures. We are doing this out of an abundance of caution in order to both protect our residents and staff.

We’re also working on additional ways to engage our residents while they’re in their rooms. We’re hosting additional activities of 10 people or less in our assisted living building, where all participants will maintain 6 feet of social distancing. We’re also encouraging more outdoor activities for all of our residents to get some fresh air and sunshine (Vitamin D).

We’ve received some very positive reports from both our residents and families regarding our push for additional video calls through technology like Facetime. We know that not being able to see loved ones is incredibly difficult. Please reach out to us directly as we would love to support you on setting up these calls.

We have had many requests from both residents and family members asking how they can help. Now that we are taking more temperatures a day, we are in need of additional thermometers. In particular we are looking for: Non-contact infrared thermometers [NCIT]. We have multiple orders dating from over two weeks ago, but they are currently on backorder. Please reach out directly to the community if you are able to help.

 

Sincerely,


Marshall Gill

Chief Operating Officer/Partner


To Our Residents and Family Members:

Update #10 | Dated: 3-28-20

As we enter our third week in the fight against the virus, we wanted to ensure that you and your families understand our policies and procedures if the virus should enter one of our communities. Below is a summary of the steps we would take, the detailed procedures (following both the CDC and state guidelines) are linked at the bottom of the summary. Please click there for more details. At this point, we feel blessed that none of our residents or staff have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

As you know, we are monitoring both our residents and staff members for symptoms of COVID-19 on a daily basis. We are taking both assisted living and memory care residents’ temperatures once a day and our staffs’ temperatures every time they report to work or return from leaving the building.

If a resident should register a fever of 100.4° or higher, our care team will coordinate with that resident’s primary care physician and our Nurse Practitioner from Transitional Care Physicians of America to determine next steps and if a COVID-19 test is warranted.

If a test is not determined to be necessary, we will provide care for that resident in his/her residence. The resident will be quarantined in his/her room until:

  • There is no fever for 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use medicine that reduces fevers)

AND

  • other symptoms have improved (for example, no cough or shortness of breath)

AND

  • at least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

If a test is determined to be necessary, a test will be ordered and performed onsite. The resident will be cared for in his/her place of residence by our care team and our Nurse Practitioner. Our staff have been re-trained on the policies and procedures necessary to keep both themselves and the rest of the community safe as we care for a resident with a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 diagnosis.

If a staff member should register a temperature of 100.4° or higher, he/she is asked to return home and call his/her primary care physician to determine next steps. We will then conduct and internal investigation to determine any additional steps that may need to be taken (including additional quarantines for staff and residents) if the individual has a confirmed COVID0-19 diagnosis.

As you have read in our earlier communications, we have procured the necessary personal protective equipment for our staff, cleaning supplies and additional care supplies to care for all of our residents safely.

Please see more detailed information as to steps in case there is a confirmed or suspected incident linked here.

 

Mike, Steve, Marshall, Bryan, Pete, Ray and Nathan

The Azalea Estates Partners


To Our Residents and Family Members:

Update #9 | Dated: 3-27-20

It’s the end of our second full week of quarantine at Azalea Estates, and we are still virus free. I wanted to take a moment to reach out and thank each of you for your continued support, encouragement and prayers as we continue our fight against this virus.

To say that these past few weeks have been difficult would be an incredible understatement. And, while things may look different in our communities due to COVID-19, the feeling of a warm and vibrant environment continues to live on. We have shifted operations in our communities to ensure we all remain safe. But we also know that socialization and keeping an active body and mind are vital for our residents.

With that, I had a colleague share a quote that resonated with me the other day:

“Going outdoors is not canceled; listening to music is not canceled; reading a book is not canceled; singing out loud is not canceled; laughing has not been canceled; sharing HOPE with others has not been canceled. Let’s embrace what we do have.”

Each morning on our call with the Executive Directors, I have the privilege to hear many stories that illustrate the resiliency and hope so many of our residents and staff members display daily. Hearing how our communities continue to live out the values that have made Azalea such a special place by focusing on what we do have, steels all of our reserve to continue to do all we can to ensure the best possible outcome for our residents and staff members.

Thank you again for your support. Let’s continue to embrace what we have and do what we can to get through this together.

Sincerely,

Michael S. Brown

Chairman, Partner


To Our Residents and Family Members:

Update #8 | Dated: 3-24-20

We want to touch base and let you know what we’re doing to continue to keep our communities safe and virus free. As we enter day one of Governor Kemp’s shelter in place decree and approach the end of our second week of quarantine, we’re reaching important milestones every day. By making it through the end of this week and keeping the virus out of our buildings, this will prove to be a significant achievement in our fight.  

Across our three communities, we’re responsible for approximately 450 residents and 235 employees. The health and safety of the nearly 700 people we care for and work with every day is at forefront of each and every decision we make.

Many of you have reached out asking if there is anything that you can do to support our staff during this time. First, thank you for that as we too recognize what fantastic team members we have. Secondly, we implore you to stay vigilant, as we’re all in this together; if we all remain steadfast in our efforts to keep this virus out of our communities, we will all get through this together.  Along with that, we’ve attached a letter to our staff from earlier today which speaks to some of what we’re doing to ensure that our staff stays safe, healthy and whole during this challenging time.

Supply chains throughout the country have been stressed. As we’ve mentioned before, we’ve utilized the strength of our network of communities to make sure we’re well supplied. To that end, we’ve had deliveries of additional antiviral cleaning supplies, personal protective equipment and care supplies already this week and have plenty more on order. When we’ve encountered disruptions in supply chains, we’ve been resourceful, inventive and creative, making our own supplies: from face shields to home-made hand sanitizer. Link to face shield.

The partners and our Executive Directors connect every morning to talk through how things are going in the community and to discuss what we can do to better support our teams as we focus on the safety, health, and welfare of our residents and staff.

Along with following all implemented policies and procedures, many of our residents have figured out different ways to make it through this challenging period. You can see some of these stories here.

As always, we’re here for you. Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you or your family.