All group events, activities, and outings are cancelled or postponed.
A respiratory disease named “coronavirus disease 2019” (dubbed “COVID-19”) caused by a novel coronavirus was first detected in China in late 2019 and has subsequently spread to dozens of other countries, including the United States. The World Health Organization (WHO) announced a Public Health Emergency of International concern on January 30 and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency on January 31, 2020. Since that time, we at Deerfield have been working around-the-clock to keep up with this unique and rapidly evolving situation.
What We’re Doing
Using information and guidance from World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Public Health, we have adapted Deerfield’s existing policies and procedures on outbreak preparedness and infection prevention and control to address COVID-19, specifically. We are consistently reviewing our interdepartmental operational procedures and are making changes as necessary to reflect updated public health guidance. Our Infection Preventionist and Medical Director are actively seeking to remain informed of the COVID-19 latest with the goal of ensuring that Deerfield’s approach considers all that is known about this novel pathogen and its epidemiology.
Key operational changes to date include removal of self-service dining options in favor of staff service from “behind the line”, discontinuation of resident life activities that encourage large congregations of residents, suspension of church services, increased disinfection of “high-touch” surfaces by housekeeping staff, and visitor restrictions. Educational outreach to employees and residents across campus will be ongoing.
We regret that, in keeping with the guidance of state officials and with the purpose of aggressively protecting our vulnerable resident population, all visitation to Deerfield campus is discouraged at this time. Visitors are asked to defer any non-essential visits whenever possible. Please be advised that we anticipate further limitations to campus visitation in the coming days and weeks.
Furthermore, visitation is expressly prohibited among individuals exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 (fever and/or new respiratory symptoms) or with particular risk factors: a) travel to or residence in an area experiencing known community spread of the virus; b) contact with a person known or suspected to have COVID-19 or with fever or respiratory illness of unknown cause.
Visitation to the healthcare facility (Skilled Nursing and Assisted Living) is fully restricted, effective March 13th, in immediate response to NC DHHS guidance. There are no visiting hours at this time. Limited visitation may be permitted by nursing administration in the extenuating circumstance of imminent end-of-life or, on a case-by-case basis, in response to other major emergencies.
Do not panic. Prepare.
While we aim to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on the Deerfield campus, we are cognizant that, should sustained community spread of the virus occur in Buncombe County, it is not plausible that we will be able to fully shield Deerfield residents from coming into contact with this illness. Therefore, we ask that residents prepare now for the possibility that they may be required to self-isolate in their homes if needed due to individual illness or a major outbreak disrupting services in our county. Suggested preparations include stocking up on non-perishable, easy to prepare food items, tissues, trash bags, disinfectants, and other items that one may need if asked to stay at home. In the event of an outbreak in Buncombe County requiring the institution of aggressive public health measures, residents should expect that some services to which they are accustomed may be interrupted.
The proliferation of COVID-19 is an unprecedented global phenomenon, the trajectory and ultimate consequences of which we cannot begin to reasonably estimate. With the safety and wellbeing of Deerfield’s residents and staff as our primary concern, we are hopeful for the best but preparing for the worst. We thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
Taryn Tindall, RN, Director of Clinical Services-IL / Infection Preventionist
William McLean, MD, Medical Director