COVID-19 Updates

Dear Resident and Resident Representative,

Meadows Nursing and Rehabilitation Center is concerned for the ongoing welfare, safety, and health of our residents. The Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and local health departments are monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19. The people most likely to become severely ill from COVID-19 are older adults and those with underlying medical conditions.

This letter is to alert you that on October 14th we learned that during our monthly testing, one of our staff members tested positive for COVID-19. We are actively monitoring our residents for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and are working with our local and state health departments. As required, we will be completing testing on all residents and active employees. Weekly testing will continue until the testing identifies no new cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection among residents or Health Care Personnel for a period of at least 14 days since the most recent positive result.

All of our staff members continue to follow public health recommendations to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. These include strict handwashing procedures, universal masking and our screening process.

To minimize the risk of our residents becoming sick with COVID-19, we are suspending all visits to our facility, as this positive case pushes us back to PHASE 1 of Reopening, which only permits virtual or window visits. This decision is being made in accordance with recommendations from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). We understand that connecting with family members is important. Other ways to connect include telephone, email, text, or through Skype/Zoom, window visits or Facebook. Please contact Activities Department at (570) 675-8600, ext 139 to set up a virtual or window visit with your loved one.

For the most up-to-date information on this topic, please visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/covid19.
For updates specific to our facility, please go to https://themeadowsdallas.com. Results of our facility-wide testing on all residents and health care employees will be available by calling the Meadows Information Line at (570) 675-8735

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Sincerely,

Cristina Tarbox, LNHA, MHA, MPS
Licensed Nursing Home Administrator

Dear Resident and Resident Representative,

This letter is to inform you of new testing requirements issued by Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for nursing homes.
As per CMS, the Testing Frequency will be as follows based on three triggers for testing:
Symptomatic, Outbreak and Routine/Surveillance

Symptomatic Testing: Facility shall test any staff or residents who have signs or symptoms of COVID-19. Facility shall continue screening all staff, residents and other visitors.

Outbreak Testing:  Facility shall test all active staff and residents in response to an outbreak (defined as any single new infection in staff or any nursing home onset infection in a resident). All staff and residents that tested negative will continue to be tested every three to seven days. This testing frequency will last until testing identifies no new cases of COVID-19 infection among staff or residents for a period of at least fourteen days since the most recent positive result.

Routine Testing:  Facility shall test all staff based on the extent of the virus in the community, using CMS’ published county positivity rate in the prior week as the trigger for staff testing frequency (see table below):

 

Community COVID-19 Activity County Positivity Rate in the past week Minimum Testing Frequency
Low <5% Once a month
Medium 5%-10% Once a Week*
High >10% Twice a Week*

*This frequency presumes availability of Point of Care testing on-site at the nursing home or where off-site testing turnaround time is within 48-hours.

You may access reports of COVID-19 county-level positivity rates at https://data.cms.gov.  Our Infection Preventionist Nurse monitors Luzerne County’s positivity rate every other week and adjust the frequency of testing accordingly. Currently, the positivity rate for Luzerne County is 4.1% based on data from 8/13-8/19/2020.

In order to comply with these testing requirements, CMS has provided skilled nursing facilities with a rapid point-of-care (POC) diagnostic testing device.  Testing results are produced within fifteen minutes. Our facility has received the BD Veritor Analyzer to conduct rapid point of care testing.
Meadows Nursing and Rehabilitation Center conducted baseline testing on all active residents and healthcare employees in July and then again in August. Additionally, we have been completing testing every two weeks as part of our surveillance program on a random sample of healthcare employees.

Please note, our facility has set-up a special Meadows Information Line (570) 675-8735.  Weekly updates will be available pertaining to the status of COVID19 cases.

Remember to continue to do your part to keep Pennsylvanians safe and take the following steps to avoid spreading COVID-19:

  • Maintain social distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others
  • Wear a cloth face covering when in public
  • Wash your hands often, using alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap and water for twenty secondsIn the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me at (570) 675-8600, ext 102 with questions or concerns you may have.For the most up-to-date information on this topic, please visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/covid19.Sincerely,

Sincerely,

Cristina Tarbox, LNHA, MHA, MPS
Licensed Nursing Home Administrator

August 11, 2020

Dear Resident Representative and Resident,

As a follow-up to the information sent to you over the past few weeks, we are pleased to report no new cases of the virus since July 23, 2020. As you know, both the 1st and 2nd round of testing resulted in no new cases for our residents and employee. This allows us to move into Step 2 and forward with our plan for reopening the Meadows Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. As a reminder, our Facility Implementation Plan for Reopening is available on our website https://themeadowsdallas.com for your reference.

Please contact Laura Wingard, Activities Director at (570) 675-8600, ext 139 to set-up a visit. It is important that you adhere to the requirements as listed within this letter and our plan. The visitation requirements will be strictly adhered to for the safety of our residents. When visiting, you must enter/exit through the doors on the Chapel side.

Remember to continue to do your part to keep Pennsylvanians safe and take the following steps to avoid spreading COVID-19: Maintain social distance, approximately 6 feet or 2 meters, from others, wear a cloth face covering when in public and wash your hands often, using alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap and water for twenty seconds.

For additional resources regarding COVID-19 and SNFs in Pennsylvania, please visit the Department’s COVID-19 Information for Nursing Homes webpage or CDC.GOV for updates and recommendations. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me at (570) 675-8600 any time with questions or concerns you may have.

For the most up-to-date information on this topic, please visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/covid19.

Sincerely,

Cristina Tarbox, LNHA, MHA, MPS
Licensed Nursing Home Administrator

Visitation Requirements

In order to safeguard the safety of our residents and the facility’s operations the following plan has been established for visitors:

  1. The schedule of visitation hours will be BY APPOINTMENT ONLY as follows during Step 2 & 3 of Reopening Skilled Nursing Facilities:
    Monday through Friday: 915am-430pm for visits in the NEUTRAL ZONE. Visits in the designated outside or inside neutral zone will be scheduled for up to 30 minutes.
    Saturday & Sunday: Virtual (Skype/Duo) Visits and/or Window Visits ONLY
    -15 minute Virtual & Window Visits available on Weekends Only.
    *Contact Laura Wingard, Activities Director at (570) 675-8600, ext 139
  2. Visitation will be available in designated neutral zone(s). Facility has determined the
    All-Purpose/Chapel Area for inside visitation and when weather permitting, the Pavilion will be utilized, as it provides coverage and shade.
  3. All Visitors will be screened, which will include COVID-19 screening questions and a pre- and post-temperature. Residents will be transported to the designated neutral zone for the limited visit, as visitors will NOT be permitted to enter resident care areas/ resident floor/room. Staff will monitor visitation to ensure compliance with social distancing, universal masking and hand hygiene. Visitor and resident must maintain social distancing of a six-feet distance during the entire visit.
  4. Designated staff will wipe down visitation areas after each visit. Staff will use an EPA-registered disinfectant to wipe down visitation area between visits and ensure proper wait time in between visits.
  5. There shall be no more than the allowable number of visitors per resident based on the facility’s capability to maintain social distancing and infection control protocols. Facility has determined there shall be no more than six (6) resident visitations occurring simultaneously in a neutral zone.
  6. Facilities may leverage technology to use volunteers to perform scheduling activities remotely.
  7. Only residents residing in the unexposed (Green Zones) may safely accept visitors during Steps 2 and 3 of reopening.
  8. Visitation for residents with diseases that cause progressive cognitive decline (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease) and residents expressing feelings of loneliness will be given a priority.
  9. Each resident will be provided a facemask (if they can comply) to wear during the visit. Visitor MUST adhere with universal masking and observe social distancing during the entire visit.
  10. Children are permitted to visit when accompanied by an adult visitor, within the number of allowable visitors. Adult visitors must be able to manage children, and children older than 2 years of age must wear a facemask during the entire visit. Children must also maintain strict social distancing. Facility will allow no more than two (2) adults to visit a resident OR 1 adult and 1 child. This will be strictly adhered to and visitors attempting to visit with more than the allowed number will not be permitted to visit.
  11. Visitors will NOT be permitted to access facility or facility grounds if they do not pass screening.
  12. Alcohol-based hand rub will be provided to each visitor and demonstrated how to use it appropriately, if necessary.
  13. Visitors must:
    • Wear a face covering or facemask during the entire visit;
    • Use alcohol-based hand rub before and after visit;
    • Stay in designated facility locations;
    • Sign in and provide contact information;
    • Sign out upon departure; and
    • Adhere to and pass screening protocols.

This implementation plan and protocols shall be in effect during Step 2 and Step 3 and through the duration of the Governor’s COVID-19 Disaster Declaration. The Department may update or supplement this guidance as needed. Please note our Implementation plan is subject to change based on CDC Guidelines & Orders of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Governor Wolf.

Dear Resident & Responsible Parties,

We are pleased to report that we concluded our universal testing on 8/5/2020. On Monday 8/10/20 we were notified of the final results. At this time, all residents and staff members tested were negative. On 8/10/20 we entered Step 1 of our Facility Reopening Plan. This plan as well as our testing results were reported to Department of Human Services as dictated in our guidance.
At this time, we will move forward with planning on testing 20% of staff and residents every 2 weeks. As a reminder, if at any time a positive test result is received that will place us back at restricted visitation to Healthcare Professionals only and we will conduct universal testing again. Once we receive two consecutive weekly fully negative tests, we can once again start our reopening plan at Step 1.
At this time, we tentatively plan to enter Step 2 of our re-opening plan on Monday August 24, 2020.
Should you have any further questions, please reach out to us directly.
Thank you for your time and concern,
Melissa Margotta, PCHA

AN UPDATE FROM MEADOWS NURSING AND REHABILITATION CENTER

Census: 91
During the 2nd round of weekly testing, which occurred the week of August 3rd, all 91 residents and 151 Center Staff were tested. The results are as follows as of 8/8/2020 at 2:30pm
0 Residents Pending Test Results
0 Residents have tested Positive for COVID-19
0 Residents Considered Persons Under Investigation (PUI) for COVID-19
3 New Admissions/ Readmissions Persons Under Observation (PUI)
0 Residents have developed a new onset of Respiratory Symptoms within a 72-hour Period
N/A Residents have Successfully Recovered from COVID-19
0 New Cases for Center Staff testing Positive for COVID-19
0 Center Staff Pending Test Results
0 Center Staff are Considered Persons Under Investigation (PUI) for COVID-19
0 Center Staff have developed a new onset of Respiratory Symptoms within a 72-hour period
0 Residents have passed away due to COVID-19 during this pandemic
0 Center Staff have passed away due to COVID-19 during this pandemic
As this crisis continues to deeply affect all of Pennsylvanians but especially long-term care facilities where nursing home residents require assistance with all activities of daily living, we are taking all recommended steps to contain the spread of this virus.
Please note statistic above in regards to new admissions/readmissions to the Center as they are automatically considered under observation and are quarantined for 14 days.
A representative from the Department of Health and Human Services/ Center for Medicare and Medicaid made an unannounced survey on August 6, 2020 to conduct an infection control survey and found Meadows Nursing and Rehabilitation Center to be in substantial compliance and successfully met the requirements and was deficiency-free.
Per the Pennsylvania Department of Health Guidelines nursing home residents and all active staff are tested whenever there is an outbreak with additional follow up testing done on a weekly basis until all results are negative for 14 consecutive days.
Rigorous cleaning and sanitation of our facility continues to be completed.
We are committed to being as forthcoming and transparent as we can during this difficult situation. Weekly Facility Status Updates are posted on our website’s main page on the link for “Covid-19 Update.” We understand you may have questions or concerns regarding your loved one so please do not hesitate to reach out to the Director of Social Services, Susan Manjone or our RN Infection Preventionist, Melissa Neishell at (570) 675-8600. Please be aware they or a representative will return your call as soon as possible. Our thoughts are with the families of those lost to this unprecedented pandemic. Our entire staff continues to work tirelessly to care for all of our nursing home residents in this difficult situation.

Dear Resident Representative and Resident,

As a follow-up to last week’s letter in regards to the asymptomatic employee who tested positive, we would like to inform you that the employee has returned to work after adhering to the CDC Guidelines for isolation. As you know, the 1st round of testing resulted in no new cases for our residents and employee. We are currently awaiting the results for the 2nd round of testing which was completed this week.
We continue to monitor information and guidance from the CDC and are working with state and local public health and emergency preparedness officials to prevent the illness and strengthen our preparation for and response to outbreak.
We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause, but we are keeping your safety as our number one priority. Communication is key, and we will continue to update you on any news, emerging issues, or changes in our regular operations. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me at (570) 675-8600 any time with questions or concerns you may have.
For the most up-to-date information on this topic, please visit the CDC website at
http://www.cdc.gov/covid19.
For updates specific to our facility, please go to https://themeadowsdallas.com. Results of our facility-wide testing on all residents and health care employees will be posted on the site later this week once all results have been received.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Sincerely,
Cristina Tarbox, LNHA, MHA, MPS
Licensed Nursing Home Administrator

AN UPDATE FROM MEADOWS NURSING AND REHABILITATION CENTER

Census: 91
During the 1st round of weekly testing, 91 residents and 160 Center Staff were tested. The results are as follows as of 8/3/2020 at 12:30pm
0 Residents Pending Test Results
0 Residents have tested Positive for COVID-19
0 Residents Considered Persons Under Investigation (PUI) for COVID-19
4 New Admissions/ Readmissions Persons Under Observation (PUI)
N/A Residents have Successfully Recovered from COVID-19
0 New Cases for Center Staff testing Positive for COVID-19
0 Center Staff Pending Test Results
0 Center Staff are Considered Persons Under Investigation (PUI) for COVID-19
0 Residents have passed away due to COVID-19 during this pandemic
0 Center Staff have passed away due to COVID-19 during this pandemic
As this crisis continues to deeply affect all of Pennsylvanians but especially long-term care facilities where nursing home residents require assistance with all activities of daily living, we are taking all recommended steps to contain the spread of this virus.
Please note statistic above in regards to new admissions to the Center as they are automatically considered under observation and are quarantined for 14 days.
A representative from the Department of Health and Human Services/ Center for Medicare and Medicaid recently made an unannounced survey to investigate our infection control procedures and found Meadows Nursing and Rehabilitation Center was in substantial compliance and successfully met the requirements and was deficiency-free.
Per the Pennsylvania Department of Health Guidelines nursing home residents and all active staff will be tested with additional follow up testing done on a weekly basis until all results are negative.
Rigorous cleaning and sanitation of our facility has been completed.
We are committed to being as forthcoming and transparent as we can during this difficult situation. Weekly Facility Status Updates are posted on our website’s main page on the link for “Covid-19 Update.” We understand you may have questions or concerns regarding your loved one so please do not hesitate to reach out to the Director of Social Services, Susan Manjone or our RN Infection Preventionist, Melissa Neishell at (570) 675-8600. Please be aware they or a representative will return your call as soon as possible. Our thoughts are with the families of those lost to this unprecedented pandemic. Our entire staff continues to work tirelessly to care for all of our nursing home residents in this difficult situation.

Attention,

As indicated in our Facility Implementation Planfor Reopening Meadows Nursing and Rehabilitation Center if at any point during Step 1 of the reopening (14 consecutive days) there is a new facility onset of COVID-19 cases, the facility will cease Step 1 reopening and return to previous CDC guidance relating to the restriction of visitors and dining, respectively.
On 7/23/2020, our facility conducted random testing on 20% of our employees. Unfortunately, one (1) employee tested positive. Due to this one case, facility must conduct mandatory weekly testing on all active employees and residents. Additionally , this prevents us from moving forward with the reopening, therefore all visitations will continue to be restricted, as we must adhere to the most stringent CDC Guidelines to protect our residents and staff.
We understand that this has been a very difficult time for everyone. We will continue to update our website as more information becomes available. Please know that we are strictly adhering to all guidance and recommendations from our local and state health departments. For information on COVID19, please visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/covid19.