Coronavirus Updates

November 19, 2020

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

In a time where we continue to see an unprecedented rise in new cases throughout Houston and the country, we’re pleased to have had relative stability this week in regard to our own numbers.

The resident who recently tested positive in skilled nursing has recovered after receiving two consecutive negative tests. We also welcomed two team member recoveries, both therapists we mentioned in last week’s update.

This leaves us no positive residents at this time and four positive staff – a member of our transportation team, a concierge, a member of our administrative team and a nurse from skilled nursing. Per our protocols, these individuals are quarantined at their homes and won’t return to campus until they receive two consecutive negative tests.

We continue to be highly encouraged by the interest in visitation in independent living, and how respectful and cooperative all parties have been. We’re also pleased to announce that, barring a spike in positive tests, on Tuesday, Nov. 24, we’ll begin to reopen The Plaza (assisted living, skilled nursing and memory support) for visitors again.

Please contact updates@buckinghamhouston.com for support or reservation information. It should also be noted if new cases appear, visits to The Plaza will likely have to be paused again.

With Thanksgiving about a week away, there’s still time for independent living residents and their families to get their turkey dinner orders in (residents can contact the dining department directly if interested). Our Windsor dining room will be open for limited seating, but for a small fee, these residents can have the whole meal delivered right to their doors. As a reminder, there is a limit of two guests per resident.

Unfortunately, it seems that every other day we surpass a grim milestone set just 24 or 48 hours earlier. New cases are on the rise everywhere, and Houston and Harris County are no exception. As we’ve said many times, perseverance is going to help us win this fight, and masks, hand hygiene and social distancing remain our best tools.

Given the holiday next Thursday, barring any significant developments, we will likely not have an update next week. Please watch for our next correspondence the week of Nov. 30.

Stay safe next week, and Happy Thanksgiving to the entire Buckingham family.

Jamie Kneen,

Executive Director


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Responses will be updated and questions added as appropriate

What are The Buckingham’s protocols for any COVID-positive residents and team members?
We have 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.

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.

Is The Buckingham at risk of a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), and how is PPE 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).

What is The Buckingham’s current testing policy?
All residents and team members in The Plaza – skilled nursing, assisted living and memory support – receive weekly tests. Testing is also available to residents in independent living and other staff as needed or requested.

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.

Are visitors allowed on campus?
Currently, we are welcoming visitors for independent living only. Below are general guidelines that apply for interested parties:

  • 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) adult visitors allowed per visit, plus an additional two (2) grandchildren.
  • We will take up to five (5) appointments each half hour. This is to spread out the number of visitors present 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, and symptoms including shortness of breath or cough. Visitors must verify the accuracy and truthfulness of any responses to questions.
  • 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 and 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.

We are very eager to allow visitors in our health center and assure you we will work quickly to meet any State guidelines permitting visitors. 

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, assuming you meet all requirements for entrance, 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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