Local Health Department Clarifies Guidelines – COVID-19

Social gatherings are not permitted in Deerfield’s public spaces at this time. Deerfield’s stance on resident gatherings outdoors is derived directly from Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services guidance.

Social gatherings are not permitted in Deerfield’s public spaces at this time including outdoor spaces and even if appropriate space could be maintained between individuals to satisfy social distancing requirements and/or masks were worn for source control. The intention of “Stay Home” Orders (both North Carolina’s and Buncombe County’s) is to discourage citizens, and especially those who are higher risk for severe COVID-19 syndromes, from leaving the home except for essential purposes. Public health mitigation measures like social distancing and universal masking are for use when essential needs require citizens to leave their homes.

Exercise is absolutely an essential need, and exercise outdoors in encouraged for not only its physical but also its mental health benefits. However, while exercise is essential, group exercise is not; if you are exercising with someone who does not live in your household, you are (in most cases) socializing unnecessarily. To this end, the Deerfield Croquet Court will be limited to solo individuals or cohabitating couples who have their own equipment. In order to be in compliance with the state and county “Stay Home” Orders, groups or individuals from different households should not be playing croquet at the same time. Similarly, equipment should not be shared between different households.

Keep Up the Good Work!

Data readily available on the NCDHHS website suggests that North Carolina has been successful, to this juncture, at flattening the COVID-19 epidemiological curve. The amount of time that it takes for the number of cases to double, the COVID-19 doubling rate, has increased substantially in our state, from 2-4 days in mid-March to 13-14 days last week. From individual sacrifices to massive community efforts, all that we have implemented to shield our most vulnerable citizens and to protect the acute care infrastructure from an overwhelming volume of cases is working!

That wonderful news being said, our collective efforts are working; they have not worked. The state of North Carolina continues to report increasing numbers of both cases and deaths each day. Therefore, while there are reasons to be optimistic about the current rate of spread of COVID-19 in North Carolina, and while there is every reason to believe that loosened restrictions from the state and local government are to come in the foreseeable future, please be aware that hyperawareness of COVID-19 transmission risk and preventative public health measures are going to be a part of our everyday lives for a long time to come.

At Deerfield, leadership will continue to actively monitor COVID-19 locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. We will rely on evidence-based guidance from regulatory bodies, public health agencies, and all levels of government to inform our policies and procedures. We will remain ever-cognizant of our responsibility to protect the safety and wellbeing of those in our care, both the resident population (at higher risk for adverse COVID-19 outcomes due to age and comorbidity) and our staff (at higher risk for COVID-19 infection due to occupational exposure).

We will not succumb to the temptation of complacency. We urge you to fight this (quite natural) instinct, as well. The work of staying at home, of socially distancing, of practicing vigilant infection prevention measures—this is all tough. It’s exhausting. But it is working. Keep it up!

Taryn Tindall, RN, on behalf of the Deerfield Leadership Team