COVID-19 Update

October 16, 2020

To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #37 | Dated: 10-16-20

We hope this update finds both you and your loved ones doing well. As promised, we want to update you on our plans to help keep our residents “Safe and Social” during the coming Holiday Season and winter months.

Throughout the pandemic, we have been balancing our efforts to keep the virus out of our communities while maintaining the health and wellness of our residents and staff which of course goes way beyond just sheltering in place. Below you will find an update on our latest plans and procedures as well as guidance from both the Department of Public Health (DPH) and Governor Kemp.

Holiday Plans:

Our teams, partnering across all of our communities, have been working tirelessly to ensure that we are able to continue to make this holiday season special in the midst of our “new normal”. With that, we recognize how important spending time with one another is during this holiday season. That is why we pushed to find creative and proven safe ways to continue our in-person family visits indoors. The details on the equipment we have purchased and the policies tied to indoor visits can be found below.

Along with continued visitations, our calendars are full of opportunities to celebrate the season as a community and in safe, socially engaging ways. Our plans include: local choirs performing outdoor concerts; residents caroling throughout our community; resident-led service projects have already started to support local organizations; we’re organizing traditional family Holiday celebrations based on residents’ traditions; and more to come.

With that, please check out our Facebook page to learn more about our vibrant, safe and social community.

As you start your holiday planning please continue to keep in mind what you and your loved ones can do to minimize your risk and the risk posed to your loved ones and neighbors. As a resource holiday planning guidance from the CDC can be found here. We are also here for you if you should want to talk through any of your holiday planning.

Update to Policies and Procedures:

  • Visitation: We will continue scheduled in person visits for residents and loved ones in specially designed, large annex rooms as the weather cools. These rooms are specially equipped with top of the line air filtrations and surface cleaning technologies. That said, as the weather permits, outside visits are still the preferred option for visits as we have deployed heaters and additional seating to support these visits.
    • We will offer 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
    • 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.
  • Based on this new guidance, beginning November 2nd, Azalea Estates will start scheduling indoor visitations from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. Nearly all visitation 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 regarding how to best schedule these visits.
  • Activities: Our large indoor spaces afford us the ability to spread out and continue to safely conduct and participate in small group exercise classes, dining and engaging group activities throughout each of the DPH phases of reopening. More detailed plans tied to the DPH phased reopening schedule can be found here.
  • Preparation for the flu season: Our staff and many residents are getting their flu shots through one of our preferred providers. Getting your flu shot this year is more important than ever! If you aren’t participating in our flu shot program please be sure to go out and get your shot as soon as possible to protect yourself, your family and your community.

Latest Guidance from the State:

  • The DPH issued additional guidance for long-term communities (LTC) that outlines a phased approach for how to responsibly ease and strengthen restrictions for long-term communities. We have been working directly with the DPH and their teams of experts on this guidance for months now and much of what has been now communicated to all communities in the state has already been implemented at Sterling. This administrative order can be found here.
  • Governor Kemp has again extended the Executive Order which details the steps the state is taking to empower a healthy Georgia in response to COVID-19. This order extends the shelter in place order for residents of Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities (our communities) through October 31st. We fully expect that this order will continue to be renewed as long as there is still widespread infection of the virus in our state.
    • Sheltering in place means our residents should only prioritize essential/medical trips per the governor’s orders. 

We are excited for this next phase of responsibly defining our “new normal” and look forward to a wonderful holiday season.

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff Members:

Update #36 | Dated: 9-17-20

We hope this letter finds you and your loved ones doing well. With Fall upon us and Winter just around the corner, we wanted to update you on our planning and preparation for the change of seasons and all that follows. 

First, we couldn’t be more thankful that over the past 6 months we have been able to limit the impact the pandemic has had on our community through our policies, procedures, programming and use of PPE. We are proud of our staff as they continue to remain vigilant while in the community supporting our residents and while away from work with their own loved ones. Our team members remain committed to regular testing in line with the CDC, state and federal guidance. All of this to ensure we do all we can to keep our residents safe…and social!  We are happy to report that, at this time, we do not have any COVID positive residents or staff members with no one exhibiting or displaying any signs or symptoms of the COVID-19 virus.

With these changes of seasons comes the Flu season and maybe a “second wave” of the coronavirus. As such, we are in the midst of reviewing our current policies and procedures both internally and with our contacts at the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). Our goal is to make sure that our communities are prepared to react to any complications that the seasonal flu may present or changes in COVID-19, all while maintaining the engagement activities, family visits and other socialization activities that our residents and their families rely on. This remains a priority for us as we know that these activities, especially family visits, are essential to our residents’ health and wellbeing. As we move towards finalizing our plans, we will share these updates with you.

That said, we continue to have ample supplies of PPE and have been able to setup additional supply chains to supplement our current PPE supplies. Just this month we purchased an additional 10,000 KN-95 masks and 20,000 surgical masks to go along with the supplies that we’ve already deployed.

Update on Executive Order:

Earlier this week, Governor Kemp again extended the Executive Order which details the steps the state is taking to empower a healthy Georgia in response to COVID-19. This order extends the shelter in place order for residents of Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities (our communities) through September 30th. This executive order also introduced additional guidance from the DPH which details steps for how and when LTC facilities can ease policies and guidelines tied to the prevalence of the COVID-19 virus in each of our individual communities and larger counties. We will be including new phases of reopening in our updated policies tied to the change in seasons. 

As we were able to define our “new normal” this past Spring and Summer, we are confident that with your support and the partnerships that we have developed with our local experts, we will again be able to define our “new normal” this Fall and Winter whilst ensuring our residents remain both Safe and Social.

We will be back in touch regarding our updated policies and procedures soon. Thank you again and please let us know if you have any additional questions or concerns.

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff Members:

Update #35 | Dated: 8-11-20

Although we knew that it was just a matter of time (if the virus can infect Governors and individuals in the White House, it can go anywhere) we are disappointed to report that we have had a staff member test positive for the first time. This staff member was tested per our procedures to have all staff members tested on a regular basis. We were informed of the positive result through a Department of Public Health (DOH) testing site late yesterday afternoon.

This staff member has and continues to be asymptomatic. She/he is so surprised regarding the positive result she/he will be retested to confirm the initial result.

That said, we are treating this test result seriously and conducting our contact tracing investigation. At this point of our investigation, none of our residents or staff members meet the primary contact guidance from the DOH and CDC. This staff member wore their KN95 mask at all times and was not tasked with primary care of residents during their infectious period.

This staff member will self-isolate for the recommended 10-day illness period from their positive test date (August 5th through August 14th).

In a separate incident, a staff member was tested on July 29th after experiencing mild COVID related symptoms. This staff member has been out of the building since July 23rd. Even without a confirmed test result, out of an abundance of caution, we did conduct contact tracing once we were informed she/he went to be tested due to her/his symptoms. No residents or staff met the primary contact tracking guidance. Once we receive confirmation on their test results, we will be sure to let you know.

Although we’ve been hopeful that the virus would not make it into our community, we have been preparing for months 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.

Please let us know if you have any additional questions or concerns.

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff Members:

Update #34 | Dated: 8-03-20

Good Afternoon –

As we start the week, we wanted to update you on Governor Kemp’s latest Executive Orders which were published the evening of Friday, July 31st:

  1. The first Executive Order (found here) extends the statewide state of emergency through September 10th. This Executive Order also extends the guidance specifically tied to Long Term Care Facilities (no non-essential visitors, screen staff, etc.)
  2. The second Executive Order (found here) extends the shelter in place order through August 15th for various individuals, including residents of senior living communities.

We continue to have our staff members tested through the Department of Public Health (DPH) on a regular basis. At this point in time we have no staff members testing positive for the virus or expressing/exhibiting symptoms of the virus.

As an organization we recently made another large purchase of masks (both KN95 and surgical masks) in order to continue to ensure we have ample supplies on hand as we head into the late Summer and early Fall seasons. Along with this large order, we continue to have sufficient supplies of PPE at each of our communities. This latest order only continues to strengthen that position.

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

Thank you again,

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff Members:

Update #33 | Dated: 7-24-20

Good Afternoon Residents, Family Members and Staff -

We hope everyone is having a good end to their weeks.

We are happy to announce that we have received 67 of our 69 test results, with all tests coming back NEGATVIE thus far. We hope to have the remaining 2 test results in the coming days.

We have been informed by the Department of Public Health (DOH) that tests are processed as part of many different batches. With the influx of testing over the past few weeks/months, a long delay like this is for tests placed in separate batches is not abnormal.

We are proud of these negative test results, as they show just how effective our use of PPE and our policies/procedures have been at keeping the virus out of our building. During these challenging times, especially as the pandemic continues to increase its breadth of impact on our state and nation, we remain confident that Azalea Estates is the safest and best option for our residents, their loved ones and those in the community looking to live in a safe and social senior living environment.

We also want to thank each of you for your patience as we awaited results and your dedication to continuing to stay safe. We are excited that our porch visits have proven to be so successful, in both keeping our residents engaged while also healthy.  

Thank you for your continued trust, we feel incredibly blessed to have each and every one of you as part of our community.

Sincerely,

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff Members:

Update #32 | Dated: 7-13-20

Good Morning Residents, Family Members and Staff -

As we communicated to you last week, we have been working with the Department of Health (DOH) to procure additional testing kits to universally retest our residents. We are happy to report that over the weekend we were able to finalize a plan for kits to be delivered today for testing tomorrow.

Our staff (Marnie and Holly) will be administering the tests and then the DOH will pick these tests up to be processed by a state lab tomorrow afternoon. We expect our results within a week. That said, we will be sure to follow up with you once we get a firmer timeline for processing and the communication or results.

If you should have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out directly to Holly: [email protected].

Thank you again for your patience as we work through these testing challenges. Even in the midst of all of these testing challenges, our policies, procedures and supplies of PPE continue to be effective as no residents or staff members express or exhibit COVID related symptoms.

Sincerely,

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff Members:

Update #31 | Dated: 7-09-20

Good Afternoon Residents, Family Members and Staff –

This is a frustrating letter to write as it has taken far too long to get enough information to appropriately update you, but we were just recently made aware of an issue regarding the resident tests that were conducted by the National Guard (NG) on June 24th.

Over the past two weeks we had been reaching out to the Department of Public Health (DOH) asking for any updates on our test results or when we could expect them if they had not yet been processed. We were informed yesterday that, due to operational issues with how the NG handled the samples and the absence of coordination with the DOH, there is a lack of confidence in the few testing samples that were processed, thus invalidating our tests.

Although the testing environment has improved since the pandemic came on the scene earlier this year, the national and state testing infrastructure continues to be stressed. The NG no longer provides testing resources to Long Term Care facilities and the DOH is now providing tests when only critically needed as the state continues to strain under increased testing needs.

We are working directly with the DOH to procure additional testing kits which we will administer through our own nursing staff with the expectation that we are able to again offer universal testing sometime in the coming week.

We will follow up with you once we have more information and a firmer timeline for when to expect the tests.

We apologize for the inconvenience that this mix up has caused for you and your loved ones. That said, we are happy to report that at this time our policies, procedures and supplies of PPE continue to be effective as no residents or staff members express or exhibit COVID related symptoms.

Sincerely,

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff Members:

Update #30 | Dated: 6-23-20

We hope everyone is having a good week thus far. Midway through our 15th week of quarantine procedures, we wanted to follow up with a few updates.

Update on Staff Testing:

  1. Through our 3rd round of testing we have tested 54 of our 55 staff members (the last staff member is scheduled to be tested today) with all 54 staff returning negative test results. 
  2. We are starting our 4th round of staff testing and we will update you on those results as they become available.

Update on National Guard Testing:

  1. We are happy to report that we’ve been able to reschedule testing for all of our residents through the Department of Health (DOH) and National Guard (NG).
  2. The NG will be onsite tomorrow (Wednesday, June 24th) at 9am to test our residents.
  3. We are expecting to test all residents tomorrow. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this testing, please do not hesitate to reach out directly to Holly: [email protected].
  4. We expect to receive the test results by early next week and when we receive those results, we will be sure to share those results with you.

As a quick reminder, we are still under Governor Kemp’s executive order providing guidance for Long Term Care Facilities (found here) through July 12th.

We also wanted to encourage everyone to continue to stay vigilant and follow the guidelines as articulated by the State as well as the DOH. We know that these practices are getting “old” and harder to follow especially seeing so much of our state return to pre-COVID practices. That said, as we see cases climb nationally, we all have a responsibility to not only ourselves but our neighbors to continue to do all we can to keep one another safe. Our PPE, practices and policies are working and will continue to do so if we all continue to stay smart and vigilant.

We continue to be proactive in defining our operations during this time, including scheduling regular outdoor visits for our residents and their loved ones, providing safe opportunities for small group dining, ensuring we continue to offer engaging programming in small groups for all of our residents, and the continued screening of all essential visitors and staff. 

Please continue to let us know if there is anything else we can be doing to better support you and your loved ones.

We continue to get through this unprecedented time together. Thank you.

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff Members:

Update #29 | Dated: 6-12-20

We hope everyone is having a good end to their week. Through our partnership with the Department of Health (DOH) we are proud of the fact that we have been able to remain proactive in our policies and procedures which have allowed our residents and staff to stay safe but remain socially engaged.

  1. Updated Procedures (starting Monday, June 15th):
    • As we mentioned in our communication last week, we have been working with the DOH and their team of Epidemiologists to update our policies and procedures around small group activities and dining. These updates reflect the latest guidance from the DOH as well as Governor Kemp’s most current executive orders.
    • Governor Kemp issued an Executive Order yesterday that extended the shelter in place order for 2 additional weeks for at risk individuals, in the state’s definition this includes our residents. This order can be found here.
    • That said, we know that this has been an incredibly challenging 92 days since we started our quarantine procedures. After such a long time and with the opening of the state we understand that there are more and more “essential” activities our residents would like to take part in both inside and outside of our community. Please know that we want to support you in those activities so that you can continue to stay engaged while staying safe. When those instances do come about, please coordinate these plans with your Executive Director.
      • Updated Dining Procedures:
        • As of now, communal dining is still prohibited through mid-July; however, by working with the DOH and following guidance provided by the Georgia Restaurant Association (found here) we are able to roll out small group dining while following social distancing measures.
        • Residents will be able to eat lunch in groups not to exceed 25 individuals in any one location with at least 6 feet of separation between tables.
          • Lunch will be served at the following locations: the main dining room, activity room, on our screened porch and front porch.
          • For the time being, breakfast and dinner will continue to be delivered to our residents.
          • For more detailed guidance on dining procedures please reach out directly to our community at 770-461-0039.
      • Additional Guidance:
        • The executive order providing guidance for Long Term Care Facilities (found here) continues to be in place through July 12th. We continue to follow the guidance articulated in this order which includes:
          • Only allowing essential visitors into the community
          • We continue to offer small group activities (now defined as fewer than 50 individuals in one place with 6 feet of separation) both inside our community as well as outdoors.
          • Outdoor visits continue to be the main and best visitation option for most visitors. If a situation comes about where an inside visit would be deemed necessary, please coordinate these visits and plans with your Executive Director.​

As we continue to get your feedback on our procedures and as the DOH/state releases additional guidance, we will update our policies and procedures and communicate those changes to you and your loved ones.

Update on Staff Testing:

  • Through our 3rd round of testing we have tested 52 of our 55 staff members with all 52 staff returning negative test results.  We will continue to have our staff tested regularly, approximately every 14 days.​

Update on National Guard Testing:

  • We are happy to report that After a short period of leave and having all Guardsman tested on June 10th, the National Guard (NG) is now restarting their previous testing mission.
  • Once our testing is scheduled, we will be sure to communicate the when to expect the NG and what to expect on the day of testing.
  • If you have any questions or concerns regarding this testing, please do not hesitate to reach out directly to Holly: [email protected].

We hope everyone has a good 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 #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 Dire

 

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