Protecting our residents and staff

At Era Living, our number one priority has been helping to protect our residents and staff from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. While the loss of any life is devastating, we do have evidence that our overall approach has worked to limit the impact of the virus:

  • Our approach featured in two academic articles, one in the Journal of American Medicine and one published by the CDC
  • Early efforts lauded for averting an outbreak by UW Medicine researchers and a former CDC director.
  • Infection rate of 0.06% in last round of broad testing (June/July) vs 1.4%* in the Greater Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network (SCAN), a public health surveillance program for infection in the area
  • Conducted ~1800 tests to find a single positive result in last round of broad testing (Washington state targets 50 tests for every one positive result as a way to indicate the state is performing enough testing)
  • Limited number of current cases across our eight communities

We have taken a number of steps to help contain the virus, including broad testing at all eight of our communities and other precautions such as:

Safety practices:

  • Following our existing policies and procedures related to preventing the spread of communicable disease among residents and staff.
  • Following county and state guidance on restrictions in retirement communities, such as visitors, group dining, and in-person group activities.
  • Asking everyone in the community to practice physical distancing, maintaining a distance of at least six feet from others (except in the cases of caregiving that requires closer contact with residents).
  • Requiring cloth face coverings in our retirement communities, for all staff, any resident who leaves their apartment for an essential outing, and any visitors.
  • Maintaining a clean environment to help reduce the spread of germs, with double the normal frequency of surface cleaning in common areas.
  • Screening and taking temperatures of those who do need to enter our community, such as third-party caregivers and other vendors, to prevent higher-risk individuals from entering our communities. We screen above and beyond CDC recommendations.
  • Tracking and reporting current and upcoming staff and resident out-of-state travel to senior leadership, and based on current information, assessing appropriate actions and restrictions upon their return.
  • Actively communicating with staff and residents regarding precautions to protect themselves and the community.
  • Implementing additional precautions when there is a positive case identified in the community.

COVID-19 testing**:

  • Urging all residents and staff to report any sign of illness and conservatively treating anyone with any sign of illness as COVID-19 positive until they can be tested.
  • Performing contact tracing on any known or potential exposure and testing targeted individual residents, staff, and in some cases, private caregivers and family members.
  • Performing periodic broad testing of all residents and staff.

Additional precautions and support:

  • Delivering nutritious meals to resident apartments
  • Engaging residents with virtual and when possible, outdoor, distanced activities
  • Proactively screening all residents for any symptoms of illness, above and beyond CDC recommendations, at least once a day.
  • Requesting that residents who have a need to visit a clinical environment, such as a hospital, long-term care facility, or skilled nursing facility, discuss their planned visit with their community health team or executive director.
  • Encouraging residents to order groceries online or accept grocery deliveries that family or friends bring to our front door. Note: If needed, staff can help with ordering groceries online and add charges to the resident’s monthly bill.
  • Screening residents when they exit and reenter the building. Note: Residents may be asked to take further precautions, including self-quarantining in their apartments for 14 days after their return. We ask all residents to consider the risks to their own health, the health of other residents, and the health of our staff and their families when they have a need to leave their apartments.
  • Reminding residents of mental health support available from our on-site counselors and nutrition support available from our in-house dietician

Staff safety protocol:

  • Asking staff members to consider taking extra precautions in their personal lives given the vulnerability of the residents we serve, such as: staying home, avoiding large groups of people, wearing masks, etc.
  • Screening and taking temperatures of staff at the start of their shifts. Those with temperatures above 100.4 degrees will be denied entrance and remain out of the community until it has been deemed safe to return.
  • Providing ongoing refresher training and supplemental training materials regarding cleaning protocols and infection control guidelines.

Additional precautions if we learn of a positive case:

If a resident currently residing in one of communities is positive, then we will enact strict isolation procedures for that resident. Additionally, we will:

  • Rapidly identify potential exposure and take appropriate action.
  • Ask all higher risk staff members to stay home.
  • Screen staff members to find out if they are employed by, or visit any other location that serves seniors, and advise on additional precautions.
  • Increase the frequency of proactive screening of each resident to twice a day.
  • Conservatively treat any resident with any following symptoms as COVID-19 positive until they are tested:
    • Fever/sweating
    • Chills
    • Repeated shaking with chills
    • Cough
    • Sore throat
    • Runny nose
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Chest pain associated with breathing
    • Feelings of exhaustion or weakness
    • Loss of energy
    • Sleepiness
    • General body aches
    • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or bloody mucus
    • Presence of confusion or changes in mental status, such as confusion, loss of alertness, disorientation, defects in judgment, or strange or unusual behaviors
    • Changes in sense of smell or taste
    • Change in appetite
    • Red eyes
    • Headache
    • Muscle pain
    • Dizziness
    • Bluish lips or face
    • Unexplained falls or increase in falls
  • Depending on when we last tested broadly and availability of testing supplies, we may test all consenting residents and staff.
  • Ask residents to remain in their apartments. If they have a critical need to exit, ask that they contact the front desk first to discuss.
  • All other precautions will remain in place, and we will continue to follow any additional guidance from the CDC or King County Public Health.

 

Please note that these pages are not intended to be all-encompassing and should not be considered to be providing medical advice. In all instances, you should consult with a relevant expert for guidance specific to your circumstances.

Media inquiries should be directed to our publicist, Natalie Quick 206-779-0489.

 

* Based on SCAN data from June 10 and July 28

** We test residents and staff for COVID-19 when we have reason to believe they may have been exposed, and we also test broadly periodically. Our ability to continue testing is contingent on being able to maintain adequate testing supplies and personal protective equipment.