COVID-19 Update from Nye Health Services CEO, Russ Peterson
September and still in the throes of the worse pandemic in our lifetime. Some experts are saying that we are entering into the second wave of COVID, which is likely to be more significant that the first wave. I would tend to agree with that as we are seeing an increase in positive cases in the communities where we are located and a slight uptick in team members testing positive. We realize that our team members have a life outside of the campus and we encourage them to be extremely diligent when they are off work to protect themselves from getting the virus because we know that if the virus gets on a campus, it is likely to be an asymptomatic team member who will bring it in.
You have read or heard about the stringent infection control processes we have in place. When a suspected or positive COVID test result occurs we immediately put that campus or area of the campus into isolation protocol until we can determine if it is truly a positive case and the extent of any exposure. One challenge we face is that we are finding a fairly high false positive rate on the testing we are doing using the machines that were provided to us by the Federal government. For this reason, backup tests are utilized to verify results. As you know, when there is a confirmed positive case, you have been notified and updated on the situation.
As this battle has gone on, we are seeing the impact on the psycho-social wellbeing of our residents and families. We know it has been so hard to not be able to visit face-to-face, hug your loved one, or share a cup of coffee. It breaks our heart to see that too. Our team members have been doing everything they can to make life special for our residents. We have had ice cream carts going down the hall, socially distanced carnivals, drive-thru parades, outdoor concerts, and themed dress-up days for our residents and team members.
As we go forward, we are currently doing much more frequent testing based upon the community rate of positive cases. We continue to explore ways to positively impact each resident’s life, we are providing as much access as we can to family members, and reinforcing the infection control measures that are still critically important to protect the lives of our residents.
I want to thank the family members of our residents for their understanding and kindness extended to us. Not only has this been difficult on you but this has been a very tough battle for our team members. They have been warriors who go into battle every day armed with their mask, thermometer, and sanitizer because they believe in our mission and care about the residents they serve. I encourage them that we will emerge triumphant over this scourge.
The key to manage this virus is better therapeutic medication and effective vaccines. They are on the horizon, hopefully sooner than later. My friends have asked how long this will last. I am now telling them that by next March we will have a much better handle on this virus. Until then we will foremost protect the safety of our residents to the best of our ability and secondly, do everything we can to promote the quality of life of our residents.
Thank you again for your patience, grace and trust in us as we care for your loved one.