Coronavirus Updates

July 2, 2020

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

The pandemic continues to test the collective strength of The Buckingham family as well as the larger Houston area.  Over the just the past two days Texas has set consecutive single-day records for the number of new cases.  Houston is also experiencing a significant spike in the number of cases being reported.  We are very mindful of the surging number of cases and it serves as further motivation for us to continue engaging with our team members and reinforcing the vital importance of following the appropriate precaution and prevention measures.

The good news is that I am happy to report we celebrated two (2) new resident recoveries this past week!  Equally encouraging is that we are now down to only one resident in the COVID unit.  We are cautiously optimistic about their recovery in the near future.

Balancing the good news a bit is that we did identify three (3) new active cases among our team members. The individuals work in housekeeping, lifestyles and dining.  These team members are now recovering at home under self-quarantine. All were wearing the proper PPE, thus limiting potential exposure to others and have also completed contact tracing for each person. 

Currently, The Buckingham has twenty-two (22) active cases: twenty-one (21) team members who are all recovering at home, and one (1) resident who is asymptomatic and remains in our COVID unit. Fortunately, we’ve now seen thirty-three (33) recoveries: twelve residents (12) and twenty-one (21) team members.  While our staff cases have increased, we will begin recovery testing for most of our positive staff next week.  Hopefully the case number will decrease just as rapidly.

As we head into the holiday weekend, I hope you are able to enjoy it and celebrate all the great things about our country. Happy 4th of July and Independence Day to everyone!

Please send any inquiries or general questions to updates@buckinghamhouston.com.

Take care and stay healthy.

James Kneen,

Executive Director

 


Frequently Asked Questions

Responses will be updated and questions added as appropriate

Where are the active resident cases located in the community?
All positive resident cases are transferred to and being cared for in our on-site COVID unit located in skilled nursing. Currently, active resident cases are all skilled nursing residents except for one independent living resident. It should be noted all positive residents from assisted living have recovered and moved back to assisted living.

Where are positive residents and team members right now?
We have created a separate isolation wing in our skilled nursing center for residents who have tested positive for the virus. We also have designated a special COVID Treatment Team that cares for and treats only those residents. Any team members who test positive self-isolate at home, per our protocols.

Have other residents in The Plaza – assisted living, memory support – been tested in addition to those in skilled nursing?
Yes, all residents in The Plaza – skilled nursing, assisted living and memory support – have been tested. We have also selectively tested independent living residents based on contact tracing.

Are all staff in The Plaza being tested?
Yes, we have tested all staff who work in The Plaza and continue to expand testing as appropriate. We will test all staff communitywide as testing kits are available.

Are there plans to test all residents communitywide?
All residents in The Plaza have been tested. We have also informed independent living residents we can test them upon request. With the majority of our positive cases being asymptomatic, we will remain aggressive in our testing procedures and methodology. This includes identifying possible carriers or those who may have been exposed to a COVID-positive individual through detailed contact tracing.

Are there plans to do anti-body testing with residents or team members?
In consultation with our Medical Director we are looking closely at this issue but have not yet made the decision to proceed. This is due in part to the lack of an FDA approved test for antibodies. We feel using a non-FDA approved test would be premature and potentially lack the reliability of a well-studied and proven test. Residents and staff may choose on their own to take an antibody test through their personal physician.

How are you ensuring staff from The Plaza aren’t interacting with other areas of the community outside their designated level of care?
We have restricted our care staff to work in only one level of care (e.g. skilled nursing, assisted living or memory care). There is no “crossing over” from one area to another. We have severely limited other staff (e.g. maintenance) from entering The Plaza except for essential or emergency service and repairs, and these individuals have very limited, if any, contact with residents.

How are contract employees who may work in multiple communities being handled?
We currently do not use agency staff and at this time contracted personal caregivers/companions are not allowed in The Plaza. We have also asked our staff to limit work to only one community, but this is not something we can mandate.

Has there been any consideration to have staff stay on campus for multiple days?
We have considered this option, but don’t believe it’s necessary at this time with the stringent precautionary and mitigation efforts we have in place. There are many considerations we must weigh before implementing such a protocol, specifically the staff members’ personal and family responsibilities of their own off campus. That said, this is still a consideration and will be implemented if we deem necessary.

Is The Buckingham at risk of a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), and how are PPEs being used now?
As you may be aware from news reports, PPE supplies are in high demand. The Buckingham currently has primary PPE in stock (N95 masks, gloves, face-shields) and continues to follow CDC guidelines for its use as available.

PPE is used when caring for residents who are COVID-positive, and we continue to train and educate team members on proper use of the equipment. In addition, we require all staff and residents throughout the community to wear masks when in public or in common spaces (we are able to supply face masks for all residents who have requested them).

When is a COVID-positive resident or team member considered recovered from the virus?
When a person tests positive for the virus, they enter into a “recovery” time frame. That is a defined period of time, a minimum of fourteen (14) days plus at least three (3) additional days without any symptoms before they can be tested again. Once the person is retested and receives a negative result, we wait at least another twenty-four (24) hours and test again. If the second test yields another negative result, the person is considered recovered.

What is the process if I want to drop off a package for my loved one?
If you would like to drop off a package for a resident, please come to the Main Entrance (Gate 1) and let the security guard know. They perform our usual screening process and, if you pass, will allow you to enter, and also let the front desk staff know. Please enter the front door and leave the package with the Concierge staff. We will deliver the package, usually within the hour, to the resident. Please let us know if there are any perishable items in the package. Also, when entering the building, please remember to wear your mask.

How can I stay informed of The Buckingham’s updates and release of information related to COVID-19?

There are three primary ways you can stay up to date:

  • The Buckingham website: we post all COVID-19 related updates here.
  • The Buckingham Facebook page: updates and more general information about The Buckingham can be found here.
  • Sign up at Updates@buckinghamhouston.com for email notices on when we post updates.

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