Spring is here!
We are happy to see the green grass and can’t wait to fill flower pots in the coming weeks. The nice weather means more time outside for everyone, which is something we all need these days. Outside visits at nursing homes continue to be MN Department of Health’s preferred method for visiting. Recently, MDH has loosened some of the guidance related to physical touch, however we are reminded daily that the threat of the virus is still very prominent in our lives. Despite the very low cases of COVID-19 in MN nursing homes, case rates in the community have climbed dramatically again which gives us concern and need increased vigilance. At this time Winona’s positivity rates remain below 5%, but it has been slowly increasing in the last few weeks, more so in other areas of the state. Nursing homes continue to test based on the federal government requirements and Sauer Health Care hasn’t had a positive staff person since January 5th.
MDH continues to require us to follow the Core Principles of COVID-19 Infection Prevention:
- Screening of all who enter the facility for signs and symptoms of COVID-19
- Hand Hygiene (use of alcohol-based hand rub is preferred)
- Face covering or mask
- Social distancing at least 6 feet between persons
- Instructional signage in facility providing education on COVID etc.
- Cleaning and disinfecting high frequency touch surfaces
- Appropriate staff use of PPE
- Effective co-horting of residents who test positive for COVID-19
- Resident and staff testing as required testing
The core principles are consistent with the CDC’s guidance for nursing homes and we are required to adhere to them at all times. MDH states that visitors who are unable to adhere to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention should not be permitted to visit and/or should be asked to leave. We really hope we don’t have to do that, so we ask that you please remember these are not our rules and we are doing our best to keep everyone safe.
Tara has been working on getting volunteers, entertainment and Chapel Services back in the building with our biggest challenges being space for required social distancing and singing. MDH does not recommend singing, saying “singing has the potential to increase the risk of exposure through respiratory particles.” Tara is working with local clergy on a plan. More information to follow. We are excited to have musical entertainment back in the building!
I realize this is a lot of information and not necessarily information that anyone wants to hear, but I wanted to be sure to provide you with the most up-to-date information on what we are doing to keep everyone safe, but also allowing for safe visits. We really do hope to see your smiling faces in our building in the near future. In the mean time, as the weather improves, please take advantage of our outside areas for visiting! If you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call Cindy, Director of Nursing (507) 494-6283 or me.
On 4/27/2021 CDC and CMS introduced new guidance that MDH is reviewing, we expect to hear from MDH the week of May 3rd on how we are to proceed. At first glance, it appears there will be some advantages for residents and visitors to be vaccinated. It sounds like facilities will be required to keep vaccination status of visitors on file. Visitors can refuse to provide that information, but then we would be required to treat that visitor as unvaccinated. More information to come!
May 4th 2021