Weekly Aging Services Letter

January 19, 2022

To our Residents, Patients and Family Members:

Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to be a service to you and your loved one. We are seeing a slight decrease in the Duval County positivity rate compared to last week and our community transmission level remains at a high as detailed below. As the Omicron variant continues to spread rapidly across the US we want to remind you that we remain committed to keeping you, you’re loved ones and our staff safe. Please continue to wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet apart, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often.

Visitation Guidelines

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated nursing home guidance on visitation. We are now allowing Required Visitation which means “a facility must facilitate in person visitation consistent with CMS guidelines”. Please visit the website below: https://www.cms.gov/files/document/qso-20-39-nh-revised.pdf.

  • As the Omicron variant continues to spread rapidly we strongly encourage to limit the time and visits with your loved ones in our facilities for their safety and yours.
  • Masks are required when entering the facility and encouraged when visiting your loved one in the room. Visitors must remain in the patient/resident’s room throughout the visit. CMS Core Principles of COVID-19 Infection also include proper hand hygiene (alcohol based hand rub preferred) and social distancing (6 feet apart) in accordance with CDC guidelines.
  • Visitors who have a positive viral test for COVID-19, symptoms of COVID-19 or currently meet the criteria for quarantine, should not enter the facility.

Testing

Testing frequency for Bartram Crossing and University Crossing is now determined by the county community transmission level instead of county positivity rate. Level of community transmission refers to facility’s county level of COVID-19 transmission. This metric uses two indicators for categorization (1. Total number of new cases per 100,000 persons within the last 7 days and 2. Percentage of positive diagnostic and screening nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT) during the last 7 days), which can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Integrated County View site at https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view.

The community transmission level is high which means that we will continue to test twice a week for unvaccinated staff at Bartram Crossing and University Crossing until further notice. Our latest weekly COVID-19 positivity rate for Duval County from January 11 through January 17, 2022 is 36.85%. The governor’s order does not require weekly testing at assisted living facilities.

Maintaining appropriate staffing levels is essential to providing a safe environment for our staff and our patients. Due to concerns about increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant, the CDC has updated it’s guidelines for healthcare workers with infection to COVID-19 or exposure. In an effort to mitigate healthcare personnel staffing shortages we are following the contingency guidelines. Our current status is Crisis Standard. What this means is staff who have tested positive and are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic and feel well enough to work, can work with appropriate PPE. For a summary on the recent changes and to review the CDC strategies to mitigate healthcare personnel staff shortages please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/mitigating-staff-shortages.html

Vaccination Update

On January 13th the U.S. Supreme Court issued opinions in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) vaccination requirement cases.

The bottom line is as follows:

  • The preliminary injunctions against enforcement of the CMS interim final rule have been stayed, meaning that CMS can enforce its IFR nationwide.
  • What this means is that Nursing facilities and facilities that care for individuals with disabilities (ICF/IIDs) nationwide will be required to implement the vaccine mandate.
  • Our facilities will comply with the mandate and we continue to encourage our staff and residents to receive the vaccine so that we are in compliance.

The rule will be implemented in 2 phases:

Phase 1 – January 27, 2022: Staff must have received at least the first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine, except staff who have been granted exemptions.

Phase 2 – February 28, 2022: Staff must be fully vaccinated, except staff who have been granted exemptions, or those whom COVID-19 vaccination must be temporarily delayed as recommended by the CDC due to clinical precautions and considerations.

If you have any questions about vaccine distribution, please contact the Department of Health for more information. For a list of vaccination sites in Florida please visit the website below: https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/covid-19-vaccines-in-florida/

CMS is committed to continually taking critical steps to ensure America’s healthcare facilities continue to respond effectively to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). On May 11, 2021, CMS published an interim final rule. This rule establishes Long-Term Care (LTC) Facility Vaccine Immunization Requirements for Residents and Staff. This includes new requirements for educating residents or resident representatives and staff regarding the benefits and potential side effects associated with the COVID-19 vaccine, and offering the vaccine. Please open link below for our COVID-19 vaccine education letter: https://brooksrehab.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Education-for-families-and-residents-COVID-19-Vaccine-1.pdf

We also want to remind you that our weekly communications along with a schedule of our monthly activities and our menus are available on the Bartram Crossing, Bartram Lakes and University Crossing websites. We also encourage you to follow our social media channels for photos and information. Brooks Rehabilitation is on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Bartram Lakes is also on Facebook.

Safety continues to be our number one priority. Please know that we are strictly adhering to all directions from the local and state health departments. If you have any additional questions, please contact Maria Interiano, Angela Youngblood or Andy Andre directly.

We are committed to keeping your loved ones safe and keeping you informed. Thank you again for allowing us the opportunity to be of service to you and your loved ones.

Sincerely,

Doug Baer, President and CEO
Trevor Paris, MD, Chief Medical Officer
Maria Interiano, VP Aging Services, Bartram Campus (904) 528-3020
Angela Youngblood, Administrator, Bartram Lakes and Green Houses (904) 528-3515
Andy Andre, Administrator, University Crossing, (904) 345-8320