COVID-19 Update

June 23, 2020
Categories: Wellness | Public Relations | Community Updates

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:


To Our Residents and Family Members:

Update #20 | Dated: 4-20-20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you again for all your support and encouragement.

Sincerely,

The Sterling Estates Partners and Management Team

Contact Information:


To Our Residents and Family Members:

Update #19 | Dated: 4-11-20

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Michael S. Brown

Managing Partner


To Our Residents and Family Members:

Update #18 | Dated: 4-10-20

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Deana Harris

Executive Director


To Our Residents and Family Members:

Update #17 | Dated: 4-07-20

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

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

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

  • Indoor and outdoor exercising class of 10 people or less led by our wellness team
  • Small walking groups to enjoy the greenspace on campus. These groups are flexible and based on residents desired schedules.
  • Our Chaplin, Hal Cole, has been active in our community and is focusing on engaging on the spiritual side as we all deal with this “new normal”.
  • Opportunities to support connection through technology like Facetime.
    • If you or your loved one needs any additional support on setting up video calls, please reach out to the community directly and we will help coordinate.
  • Engagement/entertainment supplies that are being delivered door to door by our team.
  • Pushing content to each resident’s room through our Touchtown TV channel. This includes exercise videos, Ted talks, and other podcasts/shows through our Touchtown TV channel.

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Deana Harris

Executive Director


To Our Residents and Family Members:

Update #16 | Dated: 4-06-20

As we approach the middle of our 4th week of quarantine, we have some good news to share with you along with a few additional updates, including some on our other communities.

We just received the test results for our resident who was hospitalized on Saturday, April 4th and his/her test came back negative. This resident who tested negative continues to do well at the hospital.

Along with this negative test, no other residents nor staff members have been diagnosed with the Covid-19 virus at Sterling Estates West Cobb and there are no other residents or staff who have exhibited or expressed any COVID-19 related symptoms.

This means that we are returning to our previous quarantine procedures and are ending our isolation protocols. Residents may leave their rooms.

We feel incredibly blessed that this was the outcome for this incident and that our practices and protocols are proving to be effective. Thank you for your patience and support over the past 3 days.

Below are a few additional updates:

Updates on East Cobb:

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

Updates on mask guidelines:

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

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