To: Residents of Covenant Village
From: Dale Melton, CEO
Date: June 16, 2020
On Saturday, June 13, 2020, Covenant Village was notified that a current Resident in independent living was potentially exposed to the COVID-19 virus by a Family member who was being tested for the virus. The potential exposure took place off-campus from Covenant Village while the Resident was staying in an out-of-town, Family vacation-home.
Until COVID test results were documented, we decided not to allow the exposed Resident to return to campus. There was a second independent living Resident from Covenant Village who was with the exposed Resident in the same timeframe, and we asked this second Resident not to return to campus until we received documented test results.
Pam Paige, our Director of Resident Services, was in continuous contact with both Residents, as well as some Family members. Pam monitored the unfolding situation with support from Kevin Stewart, our Administrator, as well as Robbie Pendleton, our Security Supervisor. I want to express our appreciation for Pam’s, Kevin’s and Robbie’s diligent care and oversight in this matter.
Today, we were notified that the Family member has tested negative for the coronavirus.
We are thankful these Residents took the potential threat of exposure seriously, and they were willing to do what was best for the larger Covenant Village community.
As we all know, any such exposures are potentially serious for us at Covenant Village. We are being particularly guarded here at a time when Gaston County is experiencing its highest number of positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations since the Pandemic began (164 as of last Friday). New cases are up 400%, and hospitalizations have doubled in the last two weeks. Additionally, the State is recording record highs in new positive cases, as well as hospitalizations. The State’s percentage of active cases compared to total tested is one of the highest in the United States at 10%. We should be around 5% for the amount of testing that is taking place.
This virus is still here—in the local community—and remains quite dangerous. We CANNOT let our guard down.
During last Friday’s press conference, the Governor expressed deep concern on where the State’s metrics are and the trends they are indicating. We are three weeks into the State’s Phase 2 for re-opening the State. We may not be close to moving into Phase 3. In fact, we could be headed in the direction of returning to Phase 1.
Currently, we are tracking over 120 Residents on the 14-day self-isolation list at Covenant Village. This list is comprised of Residents who have left campus and returned—requiring a 14-day self-isolation period in their home on campus. There are several Residents who are on the list who have gone off-campus for essential and necessary reasons, but we continue to see more and more Residents going off-campus for non-essential and unnecessary reasons. This growing development is particularly disturbing—and the potential exposure of a Resident to the COVID-19 while off campus is a direct outcome of this increased activity.
As a result of this escalation and concern, I am sharing with you the following action steps we are taking for the health of the larger Covenant Village:
• If you travel away from campus and you are made aware that you have been exposed, while you were away, to someone who may have COVID-19 or to someone who is being tested for COVID-19, you will be required to remain off-campus until we receive documentation of the test results for the individual(s) who may have exposed you.
• If the test results are negative, you may return to campus, but you must undertake a 14-day self-isolation in your residence. You will be monitored for symptoms, care, and compliance.
• If the documented test results are positive, you will be required to be tested before we can consider the conditions for your return to campus. Additionally,
o We may require a second test, which is a CDC recommendation.
o Once you are able to return to campus, you will be required to undertake a 14-day self-isolation in your residence, while you are being monitored for symptoms, care, and compliance.
o You cannot assume—upon your return—that you will be admitted into the Health Center, where the most vulnerable on our campus live. 3
• Reminder: If you leave campus and return, not only are you required to undertake a 14-day self-isolation, but if you are married, your spouse is required as well. You are to stay in your home for the 14 days, except for opportunities to go outside during the day.
• Clarification: Recently, the question was raised as to how we communicate with the Families of independent living Residents. The information and memos we share with Residents on-campus are made public on our Covenant Village website, as well as our Covenant Village Facebook page. We do not send out information or memos directly to the Families of Residents. Our only obligation is to Powers of Attorney (POAs). If you live independently, it is your responsibility to communicate with your Family what you feel they should know about the information and memos we send out.
Thank you for your patience, understanding, and ongoing compliance with our current restrictions.
Update on the Recent Gaston Hospice Situation
I want to give you a quick update on the situation from last week where a Gaston Hospice employee tested positive after giving care to one of our Health Center Residents. Our Resident continues to do well and is not showing COVID-19-related symptoms. The Resident’s spouse, also a Resident, is also doing well.
As we have been sharing with you over the course of the last number of months, the COVID-19 virus is still active, dangerous, and in our larger Gaston County community. There are four significant Continuing Care Retirement Communities—just like Covenant Village—in Mecklenburg County. Between the four communities they are dealing with over 70 active cases on campus (including both Residents and Staff), and they have experienced 12 Resident COVID-related deaths. These are real lives and communities impacted significantly—just 30 minutes away.
While we have opened-up many services on campus, the current “shelter-in-place” executive orders implemented by the State keep the current restrictions in place between campus and the outside community:
• The Health Center continues to be shut down to any visitation, except for compassionate care at end of life and case-by-case situations.
• No visitation is permitted on-campus—including the Welcome Center area.
What should you continue to be doing when you are outside your home?
• Wear a facemask anytime you are out.
• Practice physical distancing of at least six (6) feet at all times.
• Wash your hands continually and use hand sanitizer in between.
• Practice good cough etiquette.
• Use common sense on what you should and should not do.
• If you experience any of the COVID-19 symptoms or are just not feeling well, you should contact the Arbor Wing Nurses Station at —704.917.7857.
We realize the significant and ongoing inconvenience to life, as well as the physical, spiritual, and emotional toll that this Pandemic has brought to our Village, our county, our state, our nation, and our world. Thank you for understanding and complying with the conditions we must put into place, as we all remain committed to preserving the health and well-being of our entire community. We are only as good as you are. We will get through this—together! A committed community conquers COVID!!
We will continue to keep you updated via community memos; Covenant Conversations on the internal TV channel and Facebook, and the Covenant Village website (https://covenantvillagenc.com/).
Let’s covenant with each other to Finish Strong this Journey!