Updates from Heron’s Key Leadership Team
January 15, 2021
We are very pleased to share the good news that Heron’s Key first vaccination clinic was held on Wednesday, January 6th. Approximately 95% of Independent Living Residents received the vaccine in this first round; in total 344 residents and staff throughout Heron’s Key & Penrose Harbor participated in this first round of vaccinations. A second vaccination clinic is scheduled for Wednesday, January 27th. A third and final clinic is scheduled for February 17th.
We are also very happy to report that the current total of known active cases of COVID-19 at Heron’s Key is 0. There are no known cases of COVID-19 in Penrose Harbor Skilled Nursing, Assisted Living or Memory care, and the final case of COVID-19 infection in Independent Living has reached recovery. Below are communications to residents from Heron’s Key Executive Director, Amy Webb, sharing information about the outbreak that became known late in November. Further information about the safety protocols and practices already in effect is found in the message below.
Protecting the health and wellbeing of Heron’s Key residents and staff is our highest priority. We are continuing to monitor the COVID-19 situation very closely to ensure we are taking precautions to protect our community. Every decision is guided by our local public health jurisdictions, the CDC, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Washington State Governor. In August of, 2020, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) released extensive new guidelines for long-term care facilities such as Penrose Harbor at Heron’s Key and are planning to release a new update this month. All of these new guidelines are determined by two factors: the county’s phase and the county’s COVID-19 14-day case count. This continues to be true with the new “Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery” introduced by the Governor that went into effect January 11th.
Under the new “Healthy Washington” recovery plan, which is now set by region instead of by County and includes two phases at this point, our region is in Phase 1 of the plan. We also continue to be in Phase 1 of the Safe Start Plan for Long term care. In Phase 1, we must continue to restrict indoor visitors, however, we are able to offer outdoor visitation for up to 2 people per resident with very strict masking requirements and social distancing in place.
We are delighted to be able to provide an opportunity for our residents in Penrose Harbor to connect with loved ones and friends. In order to maintain our required precautions, we ask that visitors call to schedule an appointment so that we can ensure there is adequate outdoor seating for our guests. All scheduled visitors will be screened when they arrive and precautions reviewed. Potential visitors are asked not to plan to visit if they have been in any size of social or other type of gathering in the past 2 weeks, have not been able to consistently wear a mask in public or have any symptoms associated with COVID-19. Questions about the Safe Start Plan for Long Term Care and how it pertains to Penrose Harbor may be directed to Health Services Administrator, Tristan Lester.
From the onsite of this COVID-19 pandemic, residents and staff have been urged to follow the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html for prevention of any viral respiratory illness, including frequent hand washing, practice of good cough etiquette, advising those exhibiting any symptoms of the virus, or in direct contact with those exhibiting symptoms (sore throat, cough, fever) to remain at home until symptom-free for 72 hours.
Our State has taken significant actions to limit the potential spread of COVID-19. In 2020, Governor Inslee issued an official Stay at Home order that banned all public gatherings and closed non-essential businesses (unless employees can work remotely) and in 2021 introduced a new 2 Phase “Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery” plan. Many aspects of that the original “Stay at Home” order continue to be in effect in Phase 1 of the new “Healthy Washington” plan. While observing the Governor’s recovery plan and most current mandates, Heron’s Key also continues to follow the guidance of local health jurisdictions, the CDC, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid as we develop our own cautious re-opening plans for expanded services on campus. While in-person visits to Heron’s Key continue to be restricted, friends and family are encouraged to keep in touch using the new “Send a Greeting” page on the Heron’s Key website.
Heron’s Key and Penrose Harbor have also taken specific steps to increase protection for those that we serve against this virus. The precautions listed below remain in effect for Heron’s Key and Penrose Harbor.
- In-person indoor sponsored activities for residents are currently suspended; residents are encouraged to participate in programs and events spanning the 7-elements of Wellness through creative on-line videos, webinars and virtual meetings.
- Salon services for residents have resumed; the salon is providing service to one resident at a time.
- Seated dining services in Syren’s Grille remain suspended.
- Heron’s Key is offering limited grocery delivery services for residents on Mondays and Fridays.
- We continue to request no visitors to Heron’s Key at this time, other than the scheduled and controlled visits for residents described above and following.
- All essential employees at Heron’s Key are screened at the Concierge Desk using Washington Department of Health recommended health questions. All employees are required to have their temperature taken upon arrival to campus. Should a fever be exhibited they will not be permitted to enter further into the building.
- All employees are required to wear a mask while on duty; residents are required to wear a mask when outside of their apartment/cottage home and when staff members are providing service in their home.
- All deliveries to Heron’s Key are delivered to a single point of entry; Heron’s Key staff or resident volunteers will deliver items to their destination.
- Housekeeping and maintenance services to Independent Living are temporarily suspended.
- The importance of social distancing cannot be emphasized enough; however, social distancing does not mean social isolation. Phone calls, video chats, e-mail and good old-fashioned letters are encouraged, as are walks out-of-doors on sunny days (just keeping a 6-foot distance from walking partners.)
Specific to Penrose Harbor, our assisted living and skilled nursing communities within Heron’s Key we are following the protocols set forth by Washington State, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the heightened infection control practices and protocols recommended by the CDC:
- We continue to follow the Governor’s orders for long term care visitor restrictions and are monitoring closely for any changes. At this time, all visitors and non-essential health care personnel are restricted from visiting Penrose Harbor except described above and below.
- Penrose Harbor is offering “window visits” by appointment for both Assisted Living and Memory Care. Canopies with seating and intercom systems have been placed outside of vacant rooms to allow for visitation. Appointments are required to ensure disinfection of all areas between visits. Please call the Penrose Receptionist at 235-313-0800 to make an appointment.
- Bi-weekly COVID-19 testing is being completed for skilled nursing staff of Penrose Harbor and once weekly testing continues for all other Penrose Harbor and Heron’s Key staff.
- When allowed in the Safe Start Plan for Long Term Care, and in accordance with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recommendations for COVID free facilities, protocols with strict transmission precautions are in place to reinstate communal dining for residents. The mental health of our residents is of utmost importance during this pandemic crisis. In addition to plans for dining, and in accordance with CMS guidelines, we have also developed plans to reinstate limited group activities in Penrose Harbor when allowed. Life enrichment staff is continuing to work with residents individually for activity programming and support of ongoing communication between residents and their loved ones using video chat, e-mail, social media and phone.
- All residents, whether they have COVID-19 symptoms or not, are requested to cover their noses and mouths when staff are in their room. Masks are provided to all Penrose Harbor residents.
- Every resident in Penrose Harbor is assessed for symptoms and has their temperature checked every staff shift change.
- Residents in Penrose Harbor who receive a diagnosis of COVID-19 are isolated in their rooms away from other people and staff will follow the most recent Public Health recommendations for care of patients with COVID-19.
- Penrose Harbor and Herons’ Key staff and volunteers are prohibited from disclosing protected and confidential health information, except as otherwise provided by law or with the resident’s consent.
Penrose Harbor skilled nursing is accepting direct admissions as there are no current cases of COVID-19 on the Heron’s Key campus.. We remain highly focused on infection control best practices training with staff and residents.
Thank you for your support and understanding as we work diligently to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of residents and staff. For the most current information about COVID-19 and coronaviruses, we recommend visiting the CDC https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html or Department of Health https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus websites.
We hope you’ll be inspired by these additional thoughts on keeping engaged in a time of social distancing.