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Samaritas Response to COVID-19

Blog Post

Samaritas Response to COVID-19

Samaritas Organization wide response:

We know there is deep concern about the spread of COVID-19 (the new coronavirus) and how it may have an effect on us here at Samaritas. Ensuring our staff and residents are in a safe and healthy environment is our greatest concern.  At this time, we don’t have any cases in any of our communities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended a variety of steps that we are implementing to help reduce the potential for the virus to enter our building.

Effective March 9, 2020, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has also taken significant action to protect the health and safety of our nation’s patients, persons served and providers in the wake of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the United States. We are following CMS’s recommendation and they now effect the visitation to the residents of our community.

We are deeply committed to our residents and need your help in battling COVID-19. Due to CMS recommendations regarding visitation, we are implementing the following:

  • We are restricting all visitors in general from coming to the community during this time.  Please do not visit our community unless absolutely necessary. Limited visitation for certain situations will be considered such as: end-of-life situations, essential resident emotional well-being and care, etc.
    • For those visitations that fall under the limited allowed visitations, we are actively screening those visitors using a questionnaire and only allowing those who answer ‘No’ to the follower criteria:
        • Signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat.
        • In the last 14 days, has had contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID19, or under investigation for COVID-19, or are ill with any respiratory illness.
        • Reside in a community where community-based spread of COVID-19 is occurring.

We are restricting all vendor access inside our communities. Deliveries are being made to the door only.

  • We will support those who are able to visit by showing visitors how to properly use hand hygiene, limit surface touches, and use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • We are working to provide alternative means of visiting, such as Skype and will communicate with you as these are developed. We encourage phone and video-communication.
  • We require visitors to report to us any exposure or signs and symptoms of COVID-19 or acute illness if this occurs within 14 days after visiting our community.
  • We are also re-educating our staff on infection control and how to protect our residents and themselves. Below are some examples of how our staff can help protect our residents and themselves, as well as prevent the spread throughout the community:
  • Sick employees should stay home.
  • Notify us if they develop respiratory symptoms while at work. These include: cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, and/or shortness of breath.
  • Practice proper hand washing hygiene multiple times during their shift and wash their hands upon arrival to the site, and exit of the site. We are following the CMS and CDC guidelines for appropriate hand hygiene.
  • Cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning. Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label. No special cleaning is necessary for COVID-19.

Our community is following the recommendations of the CDC and CMS on using basic contact precautions to prevent the spread. We also are staying up-to-date with the CDC and CMS recommendations as they are updated.  In addition, our community is in close contact with the local and state health department and are following their guidance.

Additional measures taken at the Samaritas Family Shelter include:

  • Educating our families on COVID 19 and the CDC recommendations for social distancing, handwashing and other topics.
  • We are encouraging families to remain in their personal rooms unless necessary to be in common areas, when in common areas we are asking that whenever possible they maintain a 6 foot distance from others in the building.
  • We are serving all meals to residents by room and they will take meals back to their family personal room to eat with their own family.
  •  We have on site 3-4 months’ worth of cleaning and sanitizing items
  • We have stocked extra food for increased meals with children staying home from school
  • We are holding weekly huddle meetings with all Community Services cabinet leaders led by VP with quality team present
  • We have posted handwashing posters at all sinks etc. throughout sites , including child friendly posters and provided these to families individually
  • We have increased intensive cleaning efforts throughout the center.
  • We are cracking windows in community spaces
  • Implemented staff and resident observation tracking of any symptoms or illness
  • We have provided families extra games, toys, etc. to keep children experiencing engaging activities while schools are closed
  • Working with county to note that while we prefer not to take in any new intakes until the COVID emergency settles for our state, we are adhering to HUD guidance to admit new families. We will be taking each new persons temperature and not admitting anyone with an above average temp.
  • Holding center huddles with families to help them navigate this situation, providing guidance and clarity on all good practices as noted through the CDC
  • We have provided a social story specifically about COVID 19 to families to help explain to children
  • Allowing people to extend their stay in shelter beyond typical 90 day timeline
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