COVID-19 Update: Government National Emergency Enforces New Restrictions to Visitors

Letter from the CEO

Following the declaration of a National State of Emergency in relation to COVID-19 on March 13, all skilled nursing centers and assisted living communities – Ciena Group facilities included – will be restricting all visitors, volunteers and non-essential health care personnel except for certain compassionate care situations, such as end-of-life situations.

The health and safety of our guests is our first and foremost priority. Because the population we work with is especially vulnerable to potential infection, it is absolutely essential – and mandated – that we take these preventive steps.

We understand visitor prohibition will disrupt important and meaningful family and friend interactions with our guests. Our staff will do their best to utilize alternative means to facilitate communication between guests and loved ones such as telephone conference calls, text message, FaceTime, or Skype.

In addition, the following procedures will remain in place at our facilities:

All associates, essential health care vendors and emergent visitors will be screened for:

  • A confirmed or suspected contact with any individual diagnosed with COVID-19 in the preceding 14 days.
  • Traveled to/from internationally in the preceding 14 days.
  • Had confirmed or suspected contact with anyone who has traveled to/from any international country with a CDC Level 3 travel advisory in the preceding 14 days.
  • Had a fever ≥100.4°F with a history of international travel within the last 14 days.
  • Had a diagnosis of pneumonia or lower respiratory tract infection in the last 14 days.

These enhanced measures are also in place:

  • Taking daily temperature readings for all associates, guests, and visitors.
  • Monitoring for CDC-recognized symptoms which include dry cough and shortness of breath.
  • Suspending non-essential group outings.
  • Applying social distancing of six feet for any required group engagement.

Required when in our facility:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Observe "social distancing" whenever possible
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when sick are when a loved one is sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Additional Resources:

How has Ciena worked to stop the potential spread of COVID-19?

  • Ciena has been implementing and acting on guidance from external agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and the Department of Health and Human Services since February 28.
  • We have restricted visitors from entering our facility since the national advisement in mid-March, ceased group activities within the building, and have continually monitored residents and screened staff members and essential external personnel for CDC-recognized symptoms daily.
    • Because of the unpredictability of the virus and the possibility of sudden changes in health, we are continually monitoring ALL residents – especially those who have tested positive – for symptoms and changes in conditions. This includes regularly screening for temperature.

What happens if a resident tests positive for COVID-19?

  • Residents who have tested positive receive supportive care in an isolated area of the building. If additional treatment for a resident is required, we will transfer to the local hospital and communicate with loved ones accordingly.

Will Ciena update me on the status of my loved one during visitation restrictions?

  • If you have a loved one who has tested positive, we will communicate with you regularly and keep you apprised of any changes to his or her health.
  • If you have a loved one who has NOT tested positive, we will contact you if he or she is suspected or diagnosed with COVID-19.

How can I stay in contact with my loved one during visitation restrictions?

  • You can send non-urgent messages – photos, updates, letters – to your loved ones facility. A member of our staff checks this email daily and will relay your message to your loved one.
  • We also encourage you to contact our facility to set up FaceTime, Zoom and Skype sessions with your loved one.

Why hasn't Ciena tested my loved one for COVID-19?

  • The attending physician, in conjunction with the county health department, is given ultimate decision authority by CDC and makes the decision on who and who not to test. It is not a decision made by administrative staff at the facility.
  • Skilled nursing facilities need to be a higher priority for testing. We need even more testing of both residents (our guests) and staff to truly know the extent of COVID-19 throughout the state. Testing only those who are symptomatic is not enough as many people who have the virus can spread it without showing symptoms.

Does Ciena have PPE?

  • You probably have heard about PPE shortages in the news. PPE stands for Personal Protective Equipment. Early on, PPE was in drastic shortages. We have been fortunate that our company has been able to secure PPE, though we have had to wait for what has seemed like a very long time to get our supplies in. With conservative practices in place as identified by CDC, we have PPE. Of course, it never feels like enough, but we have what we need today.
  • That being said, skilled nursing facilities need to be a higher priority for PPE.
    • In lieu of PPE, items like homemade masks, aprons, lab coats, open-back gowns, coveralls, and ponchos – to name a few – can be used as alternatives to provide some level of protection, with CDC guidance and recommendations.
    • We continue to accept donations of these items in the event future PPE shortages arise.

Why are skilled nursing facilities continually in the news?

  • Unfortunately, so much of what you hear about skilled nursing facilities in the media today is negative. By and large, news outlets are not familiar with our health care setting or the services we provide, and it is reflected in how they report and cover our facilities. Rest assured, our team is full of caring and compassionate individuals who are working day and night to care for our guests.
  • We encourage you to follow us on Facebook to see the many positive things happening in our facilities that often go unreported. Our employees remain committed to “exceeding expectations” even in an unprecedented time. Please feel free to leave a positive comment of encouragement or even share the positive vibes.

We truly apologize for the inconvenience. Thank you so much for your understanding and cooperation during this challenging time.