COVID-19 Update

September 17, 2020
Categories: Wellness | Public Relations | Community Updates

To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #38 | 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 Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #37 | Dated: 8-13-20

Good Afternoon 

We were recently informed that one of our food service staff members tested positive for the COVID-19 virus earlier this week on August 10th.

We have completed our contact tracing investigation and there are no residents or staff members meeting primary contact criteria as this staff member does not have resident facing job responsibilities and did not work during his/her infectious period.

This staff member will continue to self-isolate for his/her illness period (at least 10 days from symptom onset, with at least one full day with no symptoms).

At this time, no other residents or staff members are expressing or exhibiting any COVID related symptoms and no other residents or staff have tested positive for the virus.

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

The Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #36 | Dated: 8-05-20

Good Morning 

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 Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #35 | Dated: 8-03-20

Good Afternoon 

As we start the week, we wanted to follow up with you now that we have completed our contact tracing investigation regarding last week’s incident.

  • No new individuals met primary contact guidance based off of last week’s positive test.
  • No new staff members or residents have tested positive. This includes those staff members who did meet primary contact tracing and were tested last week.
  • No new staff members or residents have exhibited or expressed symptoms.

Due to these findings, along with the fact that we have serving staff returning from some well-deserved time off at the end of this week, we will be able to resume independent, small group dining in the Grille and the Club starting Monday, August 10th.

Latest Executive Orders:
Governor Kemp’s latest Executive Orders were published the evening of Friday July 31st:

  1. The first 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.

Additional Updates:

  • We continue to have our staff members tested through the Department of Public Health (DPH) on a regular basis. At this point, no additional staff members (outside of last week’s positive with one of our severs) have tested positive for the virus or have expressed/exhibited 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 Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff:

Update #34 | Dated: 7-29-20

Good Morning 

We were recently informed that one of our meal servers, who works in our independent restaurants, tested positive for the COVID-19 virus yesterday, July 28th.

Up to this point in our contact tracing investigation, we have no residents meeting primary contact criteria as this staff member wore personal protective equipment while serving meals and only worked for one day during their infectious period. That said, we have identified three additional servers (all who remain asymptomatic) who do meet the criteria for primary contact. These staff members have been informed of this contact and will self-isolate for 14 days.

Out of an abundance of caution and due to contact tracing combined with server vacation schedules, we will be discontinuing small group dining in both the Club and Grille and returning to delivery only service for our independent residents.

We will deliver one meal per day; either lunch or dinner depending on which meal you signed up for while we were offering small group dining. If you would like to change that choice, please do let us know and we will of course accommodate your needs.

Once our investigation into this latest incident is complete, including obtaining employee testing results, we will follow up with additional details and an expected timeline as to when we will resume small group dining.

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 #33 | Dated: 7-17-20

We hope everyone is having a good end to their week. As we start our 19th week of quarantine procedures we wanted to pass along a few updates.

  1. Governor Kemp’s Latest Executive Order:
    1. Governor Kemp issued an Executive Order yesterday that extended the shelter in place order for 2 additional weeks for various individuals, including residents of senior living communities. This order can be found here.
  2. Update on Staff Testing:
    1. 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. We are no longer able to use the CVS and GT partnership for testing as it closed last month, and most other private locations are consistently booked. All of this makes it difficult for us to schedule our staff for testing appointments on our every ~14-day cadence. That said, we do continue to have our staff tested regularly (albeit with more difficulty), and we are now relying heavily on the Department of Public Health (DPH) testing locations.
    2. We are already on our 4th/5th round of testing for all of our staff members. As part of this regular testing, one of our staff members returned a positive test result earlier this week.
      1. The staff member last worked at Sterling on Sunday, July 12th and has not returned to work this week.
      2. This staff member began to experience innocuous symptoms on the evening of Monday, July 13th. The staff member went in for a test Tuesday, July 14th and, we were made aware of their positive result this afternoon. This team member will be eligible to return to work once he/she meets the DPH/CDC return to work guidelines: the longer of 10 days after the onset of symptoms or 3 days with no symptoms without any pharmacological supports; or 10 days after the first positive test if asymptomatic.
    3. In following the DPH and CDC guidance on contact tracing, primary contact is defined as:
      1. Anyone who was within 6 feet, for more than 10 minutes, with anyone who is known positive for the COVID-19 virus; beginning 2 days before the individual first becomes ill or who first tests positive but remains asymptomatic.
      2. We have identified only two residents and no other staff members who meet this primary contact definition. Both the residents and their loved ones have been notified and these residents will self-isolate for 14 days from July 12th. Both residents continue to be symptom free. Along with those two residents, no other residents or staff express or exhibit any COVID related symptoms.
  3. Update on PPE:
    1. At this time, we have ample supplies of PPE at each of our communities. That said, PPE supply chains have improved. With this improvement, we have been able to identify additional providers of both KN95 and N95 masks. We expect to make additional large orders to continue to build our communities’ stockpiles in the coming weeks.

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

Sincerely,

The Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff Members:

Update #32 | Dated: 6-23-20

We hope everyone is having a good week thus far. We are excited to share that we received the results of last week’s universal resident testing. We were able to test 231 residents last week with ALL residents returning NEGATIVE test results. This outcome is a testament to both your vigilance as well as the effectiveness of our PPE and the policies and procedures we have implemented over the past 15 weeks. Thank you and thank you to our incredible staff for all that you have done to get us to this point.

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 114 of our 117 staff members with all 114 staff returning negative test results (with the remaining staff members getting scheduled for testing later this week).
  2. We are starting our 4th round of staff testing and we will update you on those results as they become available.

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.

Thus far, our policies and procedures, as well as your dedication to adhering to the guidance on how to remain safe in this “new normal” have been successful in keeping all of us safe. Please continue to do so and please do 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 Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff Members:

Update #31 | 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.

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 in groups not to exceed approximately 25 individuals in any one location with at least 6 feet of separation between tables.
        • Our assisted living residents will be able to meet in small groups for dining in the following locations: our main dining room, front porch and outdoor courtyard patio.
        • Our independent living residents will be able to meet in small groups for dining in the following locations: the Grille, multiple seatings at the Club and the “Bluebird Café” (the outdoor patio at the Hampton), as well as other outdoor settings.
      • More detailed guidance on dining procedures can be found on Touchtown or by reaching directly out to the community: 770-255-7000.
    • 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 55 of our 116 staff members with all 55 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 we’ve been able to reschedule testing for all of our residents through the DOH and National Guard (NG).
  • As you recall, our original testing scheduled for June 3rd was canceled due to the fact the NG was called to respond to unrest in downtown Atlanta. After a short period of leave and having all Guardsman tested on June 10th, the NG is now restarting their previous testing mission.
  • This testing is scheduled for this upcoming Wednesday, June 17th. We are expecting to test all residents that day. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this testing, please do not hesitate to reach out directly to Deana: [email protected].

Update on National Guard Cleaning:

  • As mentioned above, the NG has resumed missions in place prior to last few weeks’ events. Our 3rd cleaning is scheduled for this Monday, June 15th.

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 Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff Members:

Update #30 | 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 Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff Members:

Update #29 | 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 earlier this week. Again, we are very grateful for their support through this time. We have our 3rd cleaning scheduled for June 5th.
  2. We are happy to report that we have been able to schedule testing for all of our residents through the Department of Health (DOH) and National Guard. This testing will be completed this upcoming Wednesday, June 3rd. We are expecting to test all resident that day. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this testing, please do not hesitate to reach out directly to Deana Harris: [email protected].
    • We will be able to provide more details regarding the actual day of testing plan after we have a our premeeting with the Guard this upcoming Tuesday.
  3. Along with working with the National Guard for universal testing for our residents, we have been able to partner with one of our providers, Transitional Care Partners of America, to provide onsite (as needed) testing for future needs. This testing will be available for any of our residents and will go through each individual’s insurance. We are happy to have this as a resource for our residents and in the coming days/weeks Sterling staff members will be distributing additional information that will detail what is needed for testing, including a consent agreement that has been included after this letter.
  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 Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff Members:

Update #28 | 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, all of our staff members have been tested for a 2nd time. We are happy to report that all 116 staff members returned negative test results. 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 Tuesday, May 26th.

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 Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff Members:

Update #27 | 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 97 out of 117 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. These cleanings will take place on May 26th and June 5th. 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 Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team


To Our Residents, Family Members and Staff Members:

Update #26 | 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 8:00am 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. As we communicated late last week we are approved for testing through the Department of Health (DOH) and National Guard. We are still working to finalize the day and time for this testing and will communicate out the schedule as soon as those logistics are solidified.
  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 Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team

Contact Information:

Deana Harris: 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 #25 | Dated: 5-08-20

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

Staff testing:

  • To date we have tested all of our 116 staff members:
    • 112 staff members have returned negative test results.
    • We are awaiting the results of 3 staff members.
    • 3 staff members originally tested positive, remained asymptomatic and after 10 days of quarantine have now tested negative.
    • 1 staff member who tested positive, remains asymptomatic and will remain quarantined at home through May 11th when they will be retested.
  • Based on this most recent positive test we conducted an investigation following the Department of Health (DOH) guidelines regarding contact tracing. Based on that guidance, we determined only one staff member met the primary contact tracing guidelines, with no residents being impacted by those criteria.
    • That staff member (who has previously tested negative) will again be tested later this afternoon. We will follow up with you regarding those results.  
  • 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.

Updates on Resident Testing:

  • We have been approved for testing for all of our residents through the DOH and National Guard. We are working directly with the National Guard to schedule this testing and will have an update on a day/time soon.
  • With that, we will be reaching out to each resident and their family over the coming days to confirm your desire/permission to be tested.

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 Supplies:

  • 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; hand sanitizer, etc.
      • Shipments continue to arrive at our communities on a weekly basis

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 the main focal points will be our dining procedures and we are excited about having the opportunity to again serve you in our dining rooms, award-winning restaurants 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 continue to schedule these visits by using the link here.

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

The Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team

Contact Information:

Deana Harris: 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 #24 | 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.

Below is additional guidance for our Cottage, Stratford and Hampton Residents:

  • We implore you to heed the guidance as laid out in Governor Kemp’s Executive Order.
  • We’re happy to help out on errands as we are able. Please reach out and schedule with us.
  • We ask that you continue to not enter buildings in which you do not reside: the main assisted living building, the Hampton building and Stratford building.
  • Please reach out to both the wellness and activities teams to better define what you can do in your homes.
    • We can also provide you with personal workout equipment so as to allow you to continue to exercise in your own home.
  • We ask that you follow applicable social distancing measures, which includes maintaining a minimum of 6 feet of separation from other people.
  • We recommend that you do participate in outdoor activities where the necessary safety precautions have been taken into account, including: Outdoor exercise classes, Outdoor walking groups, Gardening (where additional personal hygiene stations have been added)

Updates on scheduling outdoor visits with loved ones:

We’re pleased to report that starting this weekend we’re introducing protocols for outdoor visits between you and your loved ones. Of course, we’ll make sure everyone has all the necessary protective gear and meets all social distancing measures but know these “reunions” are way overdue.

  • For the assisted living families, please call the front desk (770-255-7000) to set up day/time for your visit or email Jennifer Bastion [email protected]. These visits can be scheduled starting today.
  • For the memory care families, please call the Grande front desk (770-672-7759) to set up day/time for your visit. We are finalizing these logistics and will have updates early next week.
  • For independent apartment residents, please arrange your own outdoor visits, ie visitors aren’t yet allowed inside the Stratford or Hampton buildings.  We continue to urge the use of facemasks and social distancing.
  • For cottage residents, please arrange your own visits, whether outdoors or in your own cottage. Again, we continue to urge the use of facemasks and social distancing.

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

The Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team

Contact Information:

Deana Harris: 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: 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 101 of our 113 staff members
    • 98 staff members have returned negative test results
    • A total of 3 staff members returned positive tests (one more staff member tested positive since last week)
    • All 3 staff members remain asymptomatic with one staff member even returning a negative test result the next day.
    • We are working to have all remaining staff members tested this week.
  • We have communicated with the Department of Health (DOH) regarding these 3 individuals and have followed all of their guidelines regarding contact tracing. Based on that guidance, we determined only one staff member met the primary contact tracing guidelines, with no residents being impacted by those criteria. 
    • That staff member was tested and came back negative for the virus.
  • These 3 staff members will follow the DOH and CDC guidelines regarding testing positive but asymptomatic: All such individuals will quarantine for no less than 10 days from their positive test date or 72 hours symptom free if symptoms do arise and last longer than 10 days.
    • We require a negative clearance test after that timeline prior to any staff members returning to work.
  • 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.
  • With these staff members testing positive and 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 spaces

Even though having any of our Sterling family test positive for the virus is concerning, we’re 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.

Having these 3 staff members test positive for the virus and remain asymptomatic 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 Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team

Contact Information:


To Our Residents and Family Members:

Update #22 | Dated: 4-24-20

We wanted to touch 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 Sterling Estates West Cobb 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 West Cobb this week and thus far have had 83 of 113 staff members tested. We hope to have all staff members tested by early next week.
  • Late yesterday and earlier today, we learned that two of our staff members tested positive for the virus while continuing to be asymptomatic.
    • The first staff member was retested this morning and returned a negative test. That said, out of an abundance of caution we will continue to follow all positive test protocols for this individual.
    • The second staff member will be retested tomorrow.
    • Along with these 2 positive tests, 81 staff members have returned negative
  • We have communicated with the DOH regarding these two individuals and have followed all of their guidelines regarding contact tracing. Based on that guidance, we determined only one staff member met the primary contact tracing guidelines, with no residents meeting those criteria.
    • That staff member was tested and came back negative for the virus.
  • These two staff members will follow the DOH and CDC guidelines regarding testing positive but asymptomatic: All such individuals will quarantine for no less than 10 days from their positive test date or 72 hours symptom free if symptoms do arise and last longer than 10 days.
    • We require a negative clearance test after that timeline prior to any staff members returning to work.
  • Based on guidance from the DOH and their team of Epidemiologists, these positive tests do not change our quarantine procedures as we have already implemented the policies and procedures recommended for instances of infections such as this; again, we always want to take the safe route on these matters.

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 Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team

Contact Information:

 

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 Sterling 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 Sterling Estates Partners


To Our Residents and Family Members:

Update #21 | 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 Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team

Contact Information:

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