Community Update: May 15, 2020
Dear residents, families, staff, caregivers and friends:
I hope you and your families are safe and well. Over the past few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered every aspect of our lives. We are all eager to know what the future holds and when our lives will regain some normalcy. I share your concerns, and I want to take this opportunity to provide some insights into our decision-making process moving forward.
As of today, there are no known cases of COVID-19 at Cedar Lane.
COVID-19 Testing and Contact Tracing
The expanded hours for drive-thru testing for COVID-19 at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital are 12:00 – 4:00 p.m. Testing is available Monday through Friday and is offered in front of the Outpatient Pavilion. In order to be tested in the drive-thru, individuals must be a St. Mary’s County resident and have a prescription for testing from a primary care provider or the St. Mary’s County Health Department. The Health Department will test anyone we feel warrants a test, so if you are experiencing shortness of breath, fever, cough, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat or a new loss of taste or smell and don’t have a medical provider, contact Kirk Turner, Service Coordinator at 301.475.8966 ext.14.
The St. Mary’s County Health Department is completing contact tracing for persons who tested positive for COVID-19. This is a tool to stop the spread of disease. If you receive a call from the Health Department regarding COVID-19, please take it seriously. They will ask where you have been for the last few days and the names and contact information of people that you had close contact with, so that they can call these individuals. The Health Department will not request your social security number or credit card information.
Maryland’s “Safer at Home” Public Health Advisory
Beginning 5 p.m. this evening, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan is lifting the statewide stay-at-home order that has been in place for more than six weeks, replacing it with a “safer at home” policy that relaxes some of the restrictions. The new policy allows clothing and shoe stores, pet groomers, animal adoption shelters, car washes, art galleries, bookstores, hair salons, barbershops and places of worship to resume services at 50% of their normal capacity or less.
We strongly encourage you to continue to self-isolate as much as possible, as you are “safer at home”. The number of COVID-19 cases in St. Mary’s County continues to increase daily. Not all eligible businesses or jurisdictions in the State of MD will be implementing Phase I on May 15. Counties are permitted to be more restrictive than the State, but not less restrictive.
The order to wear masks in indoor public settings, in retail stores and on public transportation remains in place. In addition, all Maryland residents must remain a minimum of six feet apart in public settings. This announcement is just Phase 1 of a gradual three-phase reopening that is expected to take many months. Most of the limits on social and business interactions will remain in place as coronavirus deaths and cases continue to climb.
As we shift into “Safer at Home” status, Cedar Lane will continue to be proactive in reducing COVID-19 related risks to residents and staff. Starting today, any resident or staff member who exits the property will receive a temperature check when they re-enter. Residents with a temperature should proceed directly to their apartment and immediately contact their regular medical provider and follow their instructions. If you do not have a medical provider and you are running a temperature, Cedar Lane will contact the St. Mary’s County Health Department on your behalf. Staff members and essential caregivers with a temperature will not be allowed in the building. They must immediately return home and contact their medical provider.
Other Changes to Operations at Cedar Lane
Please understand that the activities program, dining room lunches, church services, the store, and the beauty salon are operations that should not and will not resume with the flip of a switch. We are a densely populated community of seniors and disabled adults and what is safe and responsible for our unique situation is going to look different for a while. While we are making plans for the eventual return of these amenities, there are no projected dates as of yet. I do not foresee any immediate changes to current operations at Cedar Lane. Most of our reopening will take place in Phase 3 of the recovery plan. We will continue to take our direction from Dr. Brewster, Health Officer for the St. Mary’s County Health Department.
COVID-19 is still incredibly dangerous and we must continue to practice safe health habits, especially as things start to reopen. The last thing any of us want is a new spike in coronavirus cases that causes everything to shut down again. We can’t stop taking precautions. The truth is, we are each responsible for our own behavior, so let’s make good decisions. Continue social distancing, washing your hands, sanitizing the surfaces you touch frequently, and wearing face coverings. We have done an exceptional job at keeping COVID-19 out of our community. I am proud of the entire Cedar Lane team; let’s keep the good news going.
Beverly A. Stickles
President & CEO
P.S. If you haven’t already, please share your thoughts with us by filling out the activities survey we delivered to you this week. Completed surveys can be dropped off at the front desk. Your opinion matters! Remember to contact Wanda Fenwick at 301.475.8966 ext. 24, if you are in need of a new fabric mask or have other concerns or needs.