Solaris Response to Novel Coronavirus (COVID 19) – Updated 9/10/20

Updated 9/10/2020

Dear Residents, Families, and Friends:

I am writing to update you on the latest regulatory changes affecting our residents and families, most importantly Governor DeSantis’ recent Executive Order refining previously mandated visitation restrictions at Skilled Nursing Facilities throughout Florida. I will also provide an update on recent enhancements to staff and resident testing for COVID 19. As we have throughout this Public Health Emergency, each center Administrator will continue to share information specific to their individual location. You will find these updates simply by clicking on the link for your location. These center specific postings will be particularly important as we begin to navigate the reopening guidelines at each of our health centers. As you will learn through this update, and through the attached Executive Order and the LeadingAge visitation matrix, the regulations surrounding visitation are complex, with an equally complex list of benchmarks and standards that must be met before various types of visitors are allowed.

Visitation:

Let me start by simply stating that we are truly eager to welcome you back. Your visits have always been a vitally important part of each resident’s daily experience with us and, I think it fair to say, those visits have never been more important than they are right now.

With that said I want to direct you (just click on this link) to the LeadingAge visitation matrix which does an excellent job summarizing the three visitor types outlined in the Governor’s Executive Order; Essential Caregiver, Compassionate Care Visitor, and General Visitor, as well as outlining the requirements that both the facility and the visitor must meet, for each visitor type.

The most obvious barrier to a quick reopening to General visitation is a requirement that the facility must have gone at least 14 days without any positive tests for COVID 19, this applies to both resident and staff testing. Essential Caregivers and Compassionate Care Visitors may visit regardless of the presence of positive COVID cases in the facility. Anyone interested in General visitation can stay up to date on the presence of positive COVID cases by regularly checking the center specific link. Our spreadsheet data is updated daily when any new cases are identified, and when existing cases pass the 14 day benchmark.

You will also note, in the LeadingAge matrix, that some basic skills training will be required for Essential Caregivers and Compassionate Care Visitors. We are eager to assist with this training and each center will provide details on when that training will be available. For the safety of our residents and for you personally, all visitors will be required to follow our screening and temperature checks each time you visit, and follow our protocols for the proper use of personal protective equipment. Of course all visitors must be authorized and approved by the resident.

Resident and Staff Testing:

CMS has recently issued updated guidance on mandatory staff and resident testing for COVID-19. They are tying the frequency of required testing to the most recent weekly positivity rates in each County. Most of our Counties are currently above 5% and below 10% positivity rates which requires we test all staff weekly at those locations. Higher rates in the community logically means more frequent testing. The grid is attached here if you would like to see the full details of this testing matrix.

As you think about visitation and testing, I am sure I don’t need to remind anyone that we serve a very vulnerable population. We encourage anyone that is interested in visiting to consider getting tested. Testing is more widely available and it may offer some peace of mind. Visitors, especially asymptomatic positives, have the potential to bring the virus to their loved ones. Thank you all again for your patience and understanding as we continue to implement and follow the latest CDC, CMS, and AHCA guidance regarding visitation.

Solaris HealthCare’s Ongoing Response to Coronavirus (COVID 19):

As the COVID 19 Coronavirus outbreak continues, Skilled Nursing and Assisted Living Facilities nationwide are responding and adjusting to regulatory updates daily. The following is a quick list of some of our most important approaches we are taking to keep our residents and staff safe.

Screening staff, and now visitors, for:

    • Temperature
    • Flu-like signs and symptoms
    • Traveled internationally in the last 14 days
    • Traveled on a cruise in the last 14 days
    • Preventing staff and visitors from entering the centers when they meet any of the screening criteria

Residents:

    • Taking vital signs of all nursing home residents once every shift or more

Activities:

    • Cancelled large group activities within facility
    • Providing socially distanced activities within the center
    • Allowing Essential Caregivers and Compassionate Care Visitors
    • Cancelled all outside trips for residents – to grocery store, events etc.
    • Cancelled all outside volunteers
    • Encouraging remote visitation thru Skype etc.
    • Maintaining social distancing

Admissions:

    • LTC Centers may admit a resident with an unknown status (has not tested positive for COVID-19 nor been suspected of having COVID-19) as long as they isolate the resident for 14 days or at least until they receive a negative test result.
    • If a newly admitted residents tested negative in the hospital prior to admission, and they are not exhibiting any symptoms, the resident does not require a 14 day isolation but will be monitored for symptoms.
    • Grouping new admissions in specific areas of the building when appropriate

Emergency Transport Personnel:

    • Putting personal protective equipment on any COVID 19 suspected resident, who are to be transferred to the hospital, and meeting transport personnel at the door instead of having them come into building

Current scientific and medical evidence continues to suggest that these preemptive health and visitation measures are more effective than reactive measures. We believe this approach places Solaris centers in the best position to safeguard the health and well-being of our patients and team members.

Of course, as the situation and guidance from federal and state agencies continues to develop and evolve, so will our approach. As we navigate this public health emergency, we hope to do so together, by communicating openly with our residents and families. As you have questions, the staff at your local Solaris HealthCare and Solaris Senior Living centers can provide you with any needed information.

Important Document Links:

Sincerely,

Thomas J. Bell
President
Solaris HealthCare Properties