Boundary Waters Care Center COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Response Action Plan
Dear Boundary Waters Care Center Residents, Families, and Team Members,
Our priority is to keep everyone safe and healthy. We continue to adhere to current guidance from our medical director, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and state and local health officials to protect our residents and team members from COVID-19, and are taking every action possible to prevent it from spreading in our senior community.
The following is a summary of our COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Response Action Plan.
- Requiring team members and encouraging all others to remain up-to-date* with COVID-19 vaccinations. Staying up-to-date with your COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others from complications of the virus. Team members with approved medical or religious exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine are subject to reasonable accommodations to protect the health and safety of everyone in our community. These accommodations include wearing well-fitting face masks that cover the nose and mask, disinfecting work and break areas, and practicing physical distancing. Several highly transmissible variants of COVID-19 pose a major risk to anyone unvaccinated. Therefore, we continue to encourage everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and will provide support those who need assistance.
- Assigning one leader at Boundary Waters Care Center to oversee all Training in Infection Prevention and Control and to implement our COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Response Action Plan.
- Utilizing appropriate source control and personal protective equipment (PPE), per CMS guidelines. All on-site individuals are asked to wear a well-fitting face mask that covers the mouth and nose when our community transmission rate is “high”. In addition, masks are required for individuals if they have, within the previous 10 days, experienced symptoms of any respiratory illness, had close contact or a high-risk exposure with someone who has confirmed COVID-19, they work in a COVID-19 outbreak unit or have been directly told to wear a mask by public health authorities, or they are a vaccine-exempt team member whose reasonable accommodations require masking. Team members will continue to use PPE correctly to prevent transmission of the virus as per federal and state guidelines.
- Screening and monitoring residents and team members for symptoms of COVID-19. We have increased our screening and monitoring of residents and team members for signs of COVID-19. COVID-19 symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.We all play a part in keeping ourselves and others healthy— please wash your hands often, avoid touching your face, cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, wear a well-fitting face mask, and practice physical distancing as appropriate.Residents: Please let a team member know immediately if you feel ill. We are here to support and care for you.Team members: Please don’t enter our senior community if you are ill. Team members with any COVID-19 symptoms should contact our community’s director of nursing or their supervisor to schedule a COVID-19 test. Anyone who begins experiencing symptoms at work should keep a well-fitting face mask on and notify their supervisor immediately.
- Using alcohol-based hand rub regularly.
- Tracing COVID-19 symptomatic individuals and testing residents and team members for the virus based-on federal and state guidance. We follow federal and state health officials’ guidance regarding testing our community members for COVID-19. Those with symptoms of the virus are tested three times following close contact or high-risk exposure to someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive for the virus. This process helps us quickly complete the appropriate contract tracing and investigation, in partnership with state and federal health officials, so we identify and quarantine residents and team members who are positive for COVID-19.
- Testing residents, tenants, and team members for COVID-19 based-on federal and state guidance. We follow all guidance from federal, state, and local health officials regarding testing residents, tenants, and team members for COVID-19. The frequency of routine testing is determined based on the number of COVID-19 cases in the local county. Those who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms are tested to quickly identify and quarantine residents, tenants, and team members who may be positive for COVID-19.In the event there is a confirmed COVID-19 case in our senior community, contact tracing will occur to ensure we investigate the outbreak properly and identify anyone who may have been exposed to the virus. We will test individuals per federal, state, and local guidelines, which may include testing everyone twice within 5-7 days of exposure.
- Quarantining COVID-19 positive residents and implementing enhanced infection control measures. COVID-positive community members will be quarantined and supported by designated team members as appropriate. We continue to follow all infection control protocols as outlined by the CDC, CMS, and state and local health officials. COVID-19 positive residents and tenants remain in quarantine until they are well and cleared by medical professionals, and meet the CDC symptom-based criteria for return to normal activity.
- Advising COVID-19 positive team members to take all appropriate measures. For the health and well-being of our senior living community, any symptomatic team member is asked to notify their supervisor and schedule a COVID-19 test. We follow CDC guidance on the return-to-work criteria for health care professionals with confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses.
- Taking environmental safety precautions. Our housekeeping team continues to take extra measures to clean and disinfect all high-touch areas throughout the buildings. This includes countertops and tables, faucet handles, toilet flush handles, door knobs, door handles, crash bars, bathroom and kitchen areas, elevator call buttons, and hand rails.
- Assuring safe congregate dining and group activities. Communal dining and congregate group activities will occur while adhering to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention. This includes physical distancing, covering faces with masks per CDC and CMS guidance, and practicing proper hand hygiene.
- Assuring safe visitation, congregate dining, and group activities. We support the well-being of our residents, tenants, and team members by adhering to the core principles of infection prevention and control when welcoming visitors and during communal dining and congregate activities. Especially when our community has “high” COVID-19 transmission rates, all residents, team members, and visitors will wear well-fitting masks, practice proper hand hygiene, and physical distance as appropriate.
We are committed to offering visitation that supports each resident’s and tenant’s physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being, and quality of life. Individuals are asked to postpone visiting our community if, during the previous 10 days, they have had a positive viral test for COVID-19, have shown symptoms of respiratory illness, or have been exposed to COVID-19. If a visit is postponed, please know our team is available to support residents and their loved ones stay connected in alternative ways, like by coordinating a virtual visit.
While visits are permitted for all residents at all times— even in the event of an outbreak—visitors should know there are risks of transmission that are associated with entering our community if we have any active COVID-19 cases. While federal officials do not recommend it, residents who are on transmission-based precautions (TBP) or quarantine due to active COVID-19 may still receive visitors. In these cases, visits should occur in the residents’ rooms, tenants’ apartments and the participants should adhere to the core principles of infection prevention and control, including wearing well-fitting masks, practicing proper hand hygiene, and keeping physical distance as appropriate.
We maintain close communications with our medical director, other providers, and state and local health officials. Our team closely monitors all information from the CDC, CMS, and state and local health departments to ensure we adhere to any applicable revision in guidance related to COVID-19 and infection prevention and control.
Please know our team is readily available to help coordinate and accommodate visits with Boundary Waters Care Center residents in a way that is appropriate for our physical setting, meets personal needs, and maintains the comfort and safety of all. Thank you.
*Per CMS, an individual is deemed up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations if they have obtained all first series of their initial COVID-19 vaccine as well as all boosters they are eligible to receive.
As state and federal guidance relating to the COVID-19 pandemic changes, we’re committed to sharing the most recent information. Some details in this update may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, we encourage you to use the following resources:
- Minnesota COVID-19 Information
- Minnesota Department of Health
- Minnesota Department of Public Safety
- St. Louis County COVID-19 Dashboard
- CDC – Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- CDC – Enfermedad del Coronavirus 2019 (COVID‑19)
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
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