September 10, 2020

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am happy to let you know that the prevalence of the COVID-19 virus has dramatically decreased at The Buckingham.  From our peak levels in July and August, we are currently COVID free among our staff and have dropped to just one (1) positive resident case. This is a significant milestone and one in which we can all celebrate. 

One of the most difficult aspects of our lockdown was restricting visitation and your ability to see your loved ones…and for them to see you.  I know the lack of visitation has been very hard on everyone, residents and family members.   

We reopened parts of our community (e.g. the billiards room, fitness center, etc.) in July. 

As a next step in our reopening, I am happy to let you know that as long as our COVID numbers remain stable, we are going to start a trial program to allow outside visitors back into Independent Living beginning on Wednesday, September 16th

Federal, State and local rules and guidance for Assisted Living, Memory Support and Nursing still require that admissions be restricted for the safety and protection of those residents. The team is preparing for the day when visits in these levels of living will be permitted.

We want to make visitation for Independent Living a simple process for everyone, but still need to take a deliberate and structured approach to allowing visitors.  Listed below are the general guidelines that will apply for the pilot period.

Guidelines: 

  • Visitation hours will be from 9:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. We will add weekend visiting hours after we are confident our processes work well.
  • Visitors must make an appointment before visiting. Please call our Concierge at (713) 979-3100 to make your appointment. The last appointment time taken will be 6:00 p.m.
  • You will not be admitted without an appointment.
  • Standing appointment times will not be taken, nor will we permit multiple apartment visits
  • There will be a limit of two (2) visitors allowed per visit.
  • We will take up to five (5) appointments each half hour. This is to spread out the number of visitors coming at any one time.
  • Visits are limited to ninety (90) minutes.
  • All visitors must enter through the Main Entrance (Gate 1).
    • All visitors will be screened by Security per our normal procedure for temperature, any fever in the past 72 hours, any respiratory illness symptoms including shortness of breath or cough and verifying that the person is being truthful.
    • Please park in the main parking lot and check-in with the Concierge in the Main Lobby.
    • Once checked in, visitors may drive around to the door closest to the apartment they are visiting, or simply walk directly to the apartment they are visiting via the internal hallways.
  • Once in the building, the visitor(s) must take the most direct path to and from the resident’s apartment. The concierge can help if you have questions on the most efficient route.
  • While visiting:
    • Please do not use any of the common areas for your visit. Limit your stay to either the apartment or the outside.
    • If the resident/visitor wish to sit outdoors, please use the nearest exit door to go outside. When returning to the apartment, please use the closest entrance door to the apartment.
    • Visitors must wear masks at all times while inside the community.
  • Physical distancing of at least six feet is required at all times.
  • Failure to follow these necessary safety protocols may result in a suspension of your visitation privileges.

The Buckingham may need to modify any of the above guidelines as guidance, positivity rates and local conditions change. 

Please remember that while we have experienced a sharp reduction in the number of cases, the virus is still present in the broader Houston community.  Many experts are predicting that the virus may reassert itself in a “Fall Spike” of new cases.  Further, the annual flu bug which tends to appear in the later fall/early winter is potentially a threat as well.  We all need to remain vigilant and continue to practice the important mitigation efforts that includes wearing masks, washing hands and practicing social distancing.  

I am encouraged by our current state of affairs.  However, in the event we identify new positive cases in staff or independent residents, we may need to again restrict visitors.  We will continue to offer testing for residents and gently remind anyone exhibiting any symptoms of either COVID-19, the flu or any illness in general to not visit until you are well.

Please visit the CDC’s website for more information:  

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html

Your understanding, support and patience over the past six months has been greatly appreciated and very helpful.  I ask that you continue all three of those qualities as we enter this new phase. 

Welcome back!!

Sincerely,

James Kneen,

Executive Director

PS:  As a reminder and as stated above: The State of Texas currently has requirements in place that do not yet allow visitation in our Assisted Living, Memory Care and Skilled Nursing Centers.  Those areas are licensed and are subject to different State regulations and guidelines regarding visitation.  We are working with the State on qualifying to permit visitation and will inform you once that has been achieved.