March 2, 2020

Dear Residents and Family Members:

This letter is to update you on the actions Beth Sholom has taken and will continue to take to protect our residents and staff during the rapidly evolving coronavirus situation.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans.  In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus, and the one you are hearing about in the news, causes coronavirus disease or COVID-19.

Studies to date suggest that the virus is mainly transmitted through contact with respiratory droplets rather than through the air.  It can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch the virus by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth, or by breathing in air that has droplets from a person with the virus who has coughed. The virus spreads much in the same way that influenza spreads.

Beth Sholom has been prepared for influenza for months.  We have educated our staff in hand hygiene and respiratory (droplet) precautions, stocked the facility with Personal Protective Equipment or PPE.  We are concerned about the availability of additional PPE as we are learning that supplies are low or difficult to procure.  Additionally, we are monitoring our employees and new admissions for signs and symptoms of respiratory virus.

We also have asked that visitors who may not be feeling well postpone their visits.  We are heightening our vigilance of visitors or employees that have symptoms to avoid exposure to our residents.  We appreciate your cooperation in not visiting Beth Sholom if you have a temperature, cough or cold symptoms, and we will be requiring any visitor who is visibly ill to leave the campus.

Additionally, please do not visit Beth Sholom if you have recently returned from international travel.  We ask that you be back in the states for at least fourteen (14) days before visiting any building on our Campus.  We have the same expectation for any staff that travel out of the country. This may change as more is learned about the virus’ incubation period.

We will make every effort to keep our residents and families informed of the status of our resident population with respect to coronavirus as well as influenza.  If you have questions about managing coronavirus in long term care facilities, you may want to refer to this resource, which is updated by the CDC:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/healthcare-facilities/prevent-spread-in-long-term-care-facilities.html

We are also available to answer any questions you may have.

Sincerely,
Morris S. Funk
President and Chief Executive Officer