Earlier this month, LifeSpire’s leadership team released communications regarding precautions for holiday celebrations for the safety of residents, families and team members. The previous memos stated that plans might need to change based on regulations and recommendations from various governing agencies. The governor released new guidance, which we would like to share with you.
On November 13, Gov. Ralph Northam released an executive order tightening certain restrictions due to COVID-19. This statewide order, which applies to all Virginia residents, went into effect on November 16. LifeSpire’s team consulted with the Virginia Department of Health and other subject matter experts to help us understand how to apply these additional restrictions to the communities reasonably.
After review and consultation, the LifeSpire leadership team determined that much of the governor’s directive is already in place in our communities. For the most part, the holiday plans previously shared will be carried out without modification.
For all levels of care, the approach to dining will remain the same as previously implemented. Tables will be six feet apart. Residents and guests must wear face coverings except when eating. The space will be cleaned and disinfected frequently. The number of visitors will be limited. Reservations are required.
Based on the recent governor’s order, the following will be effective immediately:
- Independent living programs and activities will not exceed 30% of allowed occupancy for the room in use. In previous directives, these spaces were allowed up to 50%.
- Twenty-five individuals will be permitted in assisted living, memory support and healthcare program and activity areas.
- Specific programs/activities may need a reservation/sign-up ahead of time. The number of participants for all care levels may be limited. Each community will provide specific guidance in this regard.
- Fitness areas: all participants should maintain a distance of 10 feet apart.
- Entertainment areas and events: all participants should remain six feet apart. However, if physical activity is to occur, residents and guests should maintain a distance of 10 feet of separation.
- More than 25 individuals may attend religious services in all levels of care with the appropriate precautions.
- Gatherings not covered above are limited to no more than 25 individuals.
LifeSpire communities will continue with the previously communicated plan to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission. These efforts include, but are not limited to:
- Seven-day quarantine for residents who live in healthcare, assisted living or memory support upon return from a family gathering/holiday celebration, with testing on day eight. (Any resident who declines a test on day eight will need to quarantine for a total of 14 days. The test will be sent to the lab for processing which may take 24 to 72 hours. Quarantine will continue while awaiting results).
- Monitor all healthcare, assisted living and memory support residents for any illness signs to quickly identify and respond.
- A recommendation that residents do not leave their home if diagnosed or have symptoms of COVID-19, are waiting for test results or are exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
- Encouragement for independent living residents to self-monitor and self-report immediately any signs/symptoms of illness and to avoid community gathering areas for at least seven days if attending a holiday celebration away from the community.
- The encouragement that all community members wear masks (when not eating), social distance and frequently wash hands.
- Screen all individuals before entering our communities.
Please consider the governor’s tightened restrictions as you make and revise your holiday plans. Please contact the community leadership team directly with questions or to discuss individual situations.
Though these frequent changes can be frustrating. The LifeSpire team would like to reassure residents, families and team members that the extended community continues to be our top priority. Community teams are working hard to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 while facilitating the essential connection between residents and their families. We continue to explore ways to make the holiday season as memorable as possible for all.