Dear Residents and Families of Birch Bay Retirement Village,
As we continue to screen and monitor our residents and workforce to identify and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 disease in our Birch Bay Community; we were notified that one of our on-call (non-regularly scheduled) staff members had tested positive for COVID-19. The staff member has not been scheduled for several weeks to provide resident care at Birch Bay. We want to assure the families and the residents that the staff member has had no recent resident contact. All staff members who may have come into close contact with this employee have been tested and all results from those tests are negative. Our Director of Health Services, Michael Smith, RN, and I will monitor any subsequent testing guidance in accordance with CDC guidelines.
While we strive for transparency in everything we do, please know that we are bound by federal guidelines under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which protect the privacy of our residents and staff. However, you will notify you in the event that we have any concerns about your loved one having suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
I would like to take this opportunity to also provide information and an update regarding the current state of our COVID-19 vaccination plan. Our first vaccination clinic was a huge success and we were grateful that the first stage of vaccinations in the State of Maine is under way. Vaccination is the first step to our return to “normalcy” and sets the foundation for re-opening our community fully. However, we remain cautious, as the full effect of the vaccine will not take place until two weeks after the second vaccine is administered in late January.
COVID-19 vaccines are an important tool to help stop the pandemic. However, even after vaccination, everyone at Birch Bay will continue following all the current guidance to protect themselves and others. Our guidelines regarding off campus travel or indoor visitation are dependent on the case count here in Hancock County per the Department of Health & Human Services and the Maine CDC. This is where we need help from our staff, your family and all our neighbors in our community. It is more important now than ever before that our entire community continue to be vigilant. Please social distance, wear a mask, limit your non-essential trips, and practice good handwashing. Thank you for helping us protect the health and well-being of all.
Peter Sullivan, MBA, RN-BC, CDP, LRCA, Executive Director, Birch Bay Retirement Village