COVID-19 Update

July 29, 2021

To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #55 | Dated: 7-29-21

Good Morning –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #53 | Dated: 3-26-21

Good Afternoon –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #52 | Dated: 3-12-21

Good Afternoon –

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

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

What does this mean for Azalea Estates?

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #51 | Dated: 2-22-21

Good Afternoon –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We look forward to seeing you at our community soon.

 

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #50 | Dated: 1-13-21

Good Afternoon –

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

Update on Policies and Procedures:

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

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

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

Latest Guidance from the State:

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

Moderna, 2nd Dose Booster Clinics:

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

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

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

Testing Update:

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

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

 The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #49 | Dated: 1-06-21

Good Afternoon –

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #48 | Dated: 12-30-20

Good Afternoon –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #47 | Dated: 12-23-20

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #46 | Dated: 12-22-20

Good Afternoon –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Below is an update on previous positive residents:

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

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

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

Contact Information:

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #45 | Dated: 12-18-20

Good Afternoon –

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

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

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

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

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

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

What this means moving forward:

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

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

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

More information on each vaccine can be found here:

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

The Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #44 | Dated: 12-16-20

Good Evening –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact Information:

 

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #43 | Dated: 12-10-20

We wanted to follow up on our earlier communication regarding our virus status as well as update you on our steps for safely operating this Holiday Season.

Resident Testing:

Below is a summary for all of our resident tests thus far:

  • Number tested: 80
  • Number positive: 8
  • Number negative: 72

Of our 8 residents who have tested positive for the virus:

  • 3 residents have been hospitalized
    • 1 resident was discharged back to Azalea yesterday evening and continues improve
    • 1 resident will be discharged back to Azalea by this weekend as they are doing very well
    • 1 resident will continue to remain hospitalized and is in stable condition
  • 4 residents continue to do well self-isolating at Azalea where they all remain either asymptomatic or have very minor symptoms (fatigue/slight congestion).
  • 1 of our residents, who was on hospice prior to testing positive for the virus, passed away peacefully yesterday. We’ve been in regular contact with the family and out of respect for the resident and his/her family, we aren’t in a position to mention names. We will honor this resident in the right way at the right time.

Staff Testing:

Below is a summary for all of our staff tests thus far:

  • Number tested: 42
  • Number positive: 5
  • Number negative: 35
  • Number awaiting results: 2

Of our 5 positive staff members, all have either recovered from their symptoms or have remained asymptomatic. These staff members are scheduled to return in the coming days/weeks after meeting all Department of Public Health (DPH) return to work guidelines (found here).

At this time, no other residents or staff outside of the known positive residents and staff are exhibiting or expressing any symptoms tied to COVID.

The last positive test occurred on 12/5. In following guidance from the DPH, we will continue our more rigorous quarantine procedures for 14 days from our last positive test. Meaning today is day 6 in our timeline with December 19th our target day for ending these protocols.

In light of the fact that these more rigorous quarantine procedures have been extended, we are supporting our residents in getting out of their rooms and outdoors (as the weather permits) as regularly and safely as possible:

  • This is done on a one-on-one basis with a staff member supporting each resident and ensures that we are meeting all social distancing requirements.
  • All residents and staff members will be wearing personal protective equipment.

Latest Guidance from the State:

  • Governor Kemp has again extended the Executive Orders which were in place earlier:
    • Executive Order: 11.30.20.01
      • This extends the state of emergency in Georgia through January 8th, 2021.
    • Executive Order: 12.08.20.01
      • This order extends the shelter in place order for residents of Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities (our communities) through December 31st.
        • Sheltering in place means our residents should only prioritize essential/medical trips per the governor’s orders.

Latest on The Vaccine:

Our hope is that we will not have to continue these types of changes to our policies and procedures for much longer, especially in light of the fact that we are now only days/weeks away from the first vaccines reaching Georgia. The FDA is expected to vote on approval for the Pfizer vaccine today. Once that approval is made official, we will obtain more solid timelines for when to expect the vaccine in Georgia. As of now we are expecting shipments to start arriving in the coming week with hopeful onsite vaccinations starting by the end of December. All of this can change, and we will be sure to follow up once we receive more information.

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

Contact Information:

 

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #42 | Dated: 12-04-20

Good Afternoon –

We have received initial results from our universal testing through Transitional Care Partners of America (TCPA) which was completed on Monday. Due to the increased incidence of the virus in local communities and the backlog of testing stemming from the Thanksgiving Holiday week, our lab results have been delayed. That said below is an update on where we stand for both resident and staff testing.

Resident Testing:

  • The 1 resident who tested positive for the virus over the weekend is doing well with minor symptoms. He/She continue to isolate in their unit with hourly checks from a dedicated staff member in full PPE.
  • Their husband/wife has since tested positive for the virus and remains hospitalized in stable condition.
  • Thus far, we have received an additional 74 test results of the 80 we administered on Monday.
    • 6 additional residents have tested positive for the virus
      • 1 residents are displaying minor symptoms (cough)
      • 5 residents continue to remain asymptomatic
  • Below is a summary for all of our resident tests thus far:
    • Number tested: 80
    • Number positive: 8
    • Number negative: 66
    • Number awaiting results: 6
  • We have continued our contact tracing investigation to determine how the virus entered our building knowing that we have been able to remain virus free for 260 days prior to our first positive residents this weekend. We have determined that an outdoor family visit where a loved one who later tested positive and was hospitalized with COVID unknowingly infected two of our residents which started our outbreak. We are continuing our investigation to determine the cause of the additional spread in our building and we will follow up with any additional findings.
  • At this time, no other residents outside of the 3 known positive residents are exhibiting or expressing any symptoms tied to COVID.

Staff Testing:

  • The 2 staff members who originally tested positive last week were retested at the DPH on which confirmed their positive status. Both staff members will continue to self-isolate at home for at least their 10 day illness period.
  • We have tested all staff members through TCPA, DPH and local private testing locations. Thus far we have received an additional 7 test results:
    • 1 staff member who last worked on 11/27 has tested positive and is self isolating at home
    • 11 staff members have tested negative
    • We await the results of 28 staff members
  • Even with these now 3 positive staff members who are all self-isolating at home, we continue to have ample staffing and continue to be able to provide excellent care for our residents.

Some of you have asked about a timeline of what we can be expected now. Based on CDC guidance the known incubation period for the virus (how long it takes for you to get sick, if you do get sick) is from 2 – 14 days. Day 1 for Azalea Estates of Fayetteville is day of the latest positive test which for us was Monday November 30th and day 14 will be December 13th.  This means that today, December 3rd is day 4 in our 14-day timeline. The median incubation period is 5 days with over 97% of individuals showing symptoms in the first 12 days (if they are to get sick at all). If we have no other positive tests or if no other residents exhibit or express symptoms of the COVID virus in that time we will be able to end our isolation protocols on December 14th.

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

We know that hearing the news that we have had additional positive tests is concerning news. That said, we have spent much of the past 9 months preparing for when this would occur. We remain confident in the effectiveness of our PPE as well as our policies and procedures and know that we will be able to get through this latest incident together.

Contact Information:

 

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #41 | Dated: 11-29-20

Good Afternoon –

This morning we were informed that a resident and two staff members have tested positive for the virus.

Our resident was sent out to the hospital yesterday due to change of condition, and the hospital administered a COVID test. We have been in touch with this resident’s family, and the resident remains hospitalized and in stable condition.

One staff member last worked on November 21st. They started to feel tired with a cough and per our procedures when any of our staff display COVID related symptoms, was kept off our work schedule and required to get tested. They were tested through CVS on November 25th. This staff member will confirm their positive test result by getting tested through the Department of Public Health (DPH) tomorrow. The 2nd staff member last worked this past Thursday. They first started to feel ill on Friday night and went for a rapid test this morning where they tested positive. They will confirm their positive test through DPH on Monday as well.

Up to this point in our contact tracing investigation, no residents or staff members meet the CDC and DPH’s definition of primary contact. And as of this morning, no other residents or staff members exhibit or express any COVID related symptoms.

Based on these circumstances, we are following our testing protocol which includes universal testing for our residents and staff through Transitional Care Partners of America (TCPA). We will be administering tests in the coming days for all residents with the hope of getting results by the end of the week. While all staff members are regularly tested through the DPH, they will all be retested on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

Out of an abundance of caution, we are suspending all small group dining, small group activities and non-essential visitations until we receive the results of our universal testing.  Starting this morning, we are delivering all meals to residents’ apartments. Once we receive the results of the universal testing, we will report those findings immediately and revisit our plans for small group activities.

Based on our experience with the virus, we are confident in our policies and procedures and know that we will be able to get through this latest challenge together.

If you have any immediate questions or concerns about the testing scheduled or this latest incident, please do not hesitate to reach out to:

Contact Information:

 

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #40 | Dated: 11-20-20

We hope that this letter finds you and your loved ones doing well. As we previewed in our earlier communication, we wanted to follow up on guidance for you and your families during this Holiday season, as well as update you on any changes to our policies and procedures.

Since we last wrote to you, much has happened regarding the pandemic including some encouraging news. Due to the change in weather with more people congregating indoors, as well as the fact that more people are getting together during this season and that “COVID fatigue” has caused many to lower their level of vigilance the pandemic has continued to increase its impact across the country.

That said, there have been incredible breakthroughs with at least 2 vaccines reaching final evaluation status with the hope that they will be approved soon.  Our communities have signed up to receive the vaccination services offered by the CDC in conjunction with CVS and Walgreens and we have also applied to be a point of distribution through the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH). You can rest assured knowing that we are doing all that we can to ensure that our residents and staff are first in line for when a vaccine is approved and ready to be distributed. We will continue to keep you updated as we know more.

Holiday Guidance:

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the DPH have issued guidance recommending against residents in long term care facilities leaving their communities to participate in family gatherings this holiday season. They make this recommendation knowing that some individuals will still deem these family gatherings as essential. And we understand that. Most of our residents are choosing to heed the advice to stay at Azalea Estates and not go out for family holiday celebrations. That said, we do have a few residents who will be leaving and visiting family. Those residents will be asked to self-isolate and not participate in small group dining for 14 days once they return to Azalea Estates. However, the goal is for all residents to continue to participate in other small group activities depending on each resident’s circumstances. For those of you who are planning holiday get togethers, please find guidance from the CDC on how to conduct these activities as safely as possible here and here.

As we have mentioned before, traversing our path through the pandemic has been a delicate balance between our efforts to keep the virus out of our communities while maintaining the health and wellness of our residents and staff. The policies and changes outlined above are our latest attempt to do just that. We are hopeful that a safe and effective vaccine will be made available soon. As we start to focus on the expected “end” to this pandemic, we all need to take extra precautions now which are essential to protecting everyone in our community until then. 

We wish you a happy holiday season!

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team

 


 

To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #39 | Dated: 11-11-20

We are happy to report that both staff members who tested positive last week through rapid antigen tests have returned negative test results through the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH).

We had these staff members retested in following with DPH guidance as both staff members were asymptomatic and returned positive rapid/antigen tests as there has been incidents (even in our own experience) that these tests can produce “false positives”.

Although we feel as if the initial test was flawed, we have treated these staff members as if they were positive and have asked that they remain home and quarantine for the full 10 day “illness period”.

We have had a few families reach out asking about our testing procedures for both residents and staff. Those procedures can be found below:

Testing Policy:

  • All of our residents have received baseline testing = 100% of all residents have received a COVID-19 test
  • All residents exhibiting or displaying COVID related symptoms are given a PCR COVID test
  • All new residents to the community must have a COVID test prior to moving into the community
  • Any time there is an outbreak in one of our communities, 100% of residents will be retested for the virus
    • An outbreak is defined as a single resident without any outside the community contact tracing proving the infection originated within the building or more than 1 resident testing positive even with exterior contact tracing.
  • Regular PCR testing is completed for staff members every ~3 weeks.
  • Testing Partners:
    • Resident Testing: CapStone Lab
    • Staff Testing: DPH

 With this latest development, we will be able to resume small group dining starting with this evening’s dinner and will restart indoor visitations tomorrow, November 12th.

We feel fortunate that both these staff members tested negative and remain asymptomatic and that and no residents or staff members are expressing or exhibiting any COVID related symptoms at this time.

That said, this latest incident serves as a reminder that we must all continue to stay vigilant and follow the guidelines as articulated by the State as well as the DPH. We know that these practices are getting “old” and harder. But 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.

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

The Azalea Estates Partners and Management Team

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

January 21, 2021

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

January 6, 2021

Sterling Estates Schedules COVID Vaccinations in Atlanta Metro Properties

December 24, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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