January 28, 2021
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen:
It has been a particularly good week at The Buckingham! Notably, we hosted our second successful vaccination clinic for residents and staff. We, with support from our Walgreens partners, vaccinated 550 residents and staff over two days. Happily, most of those vaccinated were receiving their second dose.
It was very encouraging to have the participation (more than 95% of independent living residents have rolled up their sleeves!) during this latest vaccination effort. Our third and final clinic will be Wednesday, Feb. 17. Only second doses will be administered that day to those who received their first dose this week.
While much of our focus has been on vaccinations, we are still dealing directly with the virus. But again, the direction is increasingly optimistic, driven in part by our continued emphasis on our mitigation efforts. This past week we were able to celebrate five (5) recoveries since our last update (4 staff and 1 resident), which leaves us with 8 total cases (7 staff and 1 resident). A number of these individuals, including the resident, have already received their first negative test, so we are optimistic that further recoveries are just days ahead.
Per our normal protocols, COVID-positive team members remain self-isolated in their homes, while the resident is in our dedicated COVID unit.
Tentatively, we’ve identified March 15 as our target date to begin gradually re-opening many services on campus that have been closed for so long. It’s a fitting, albeit somber, anniversary, as it marks one year since many of our restrictions first went into effect. The majority of our community will have received their second dose by then, and this will allow the recommended time for the vaccine to take full effect.
I do want to caution – at this time, this date is still very much tentative depending on the COVID situation at The Buckingham and in Harris County. We’re encouraged by the recent downward trend in cases throughout Houston, but further conversations and details need to be worked through in coordination with our health partners.
For now, our visitation policies remain unchanged. In-person visits for independent living residents and those in The Plaza are still welcomed but must still be scheduled in advance and follow our protocols. Our vaccination clinics represent a major step forward, but we have not fully completed the process yet and therefore will still operate under our current visitation requirements. We also are required to follow existing state guidelines and restrictions regarding visitation. Please know we always stay up to date with any changes to these regulations and will notify families accordingly. Until then, and in the interest of safety for all members and guests of The Buckingham family, PPE use, social distancing and other requirements will continue to be strictly enforced.
Light is at the end of this tunnel and it is getting brighter. I ask everyone associated with our community to stay vigilant as we work toward our final vaccination clinic in a few weeks. In the meantime, please continue to adhere to basic mitigation efforts to protect yourself and your loved ones – use masks in any public space, wash hands frequently, and maintain social distance from others.
Take care and stay well.