The response to Coronavirus at Sharon Towers

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response at Sharon Towers

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We have set up this page as a source of online information for our residents and their families as well as the community at large as we address concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19) at Sharon Towers. We urge you to check this page regularly for updates as conditions change.

At Sharon Towers, the health and well-being of our residents, employees and visitors is our primary concern. Because of the type of care many of our residents receive, residents and employees are often in close proximity, making the potential spread of infectious disease a constant concern.

Anyone wishing to receive updates is encouraged to use the blue button on this page to sign up

Information Sources Guiding Our Response to COVID-19

Addressing communicable diseases is a fundamental part of our Emergency Response Plan (ERP). As new and specific threats emerge from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we use the foundation of our ERP to address the specific dangers and constantly evolve our tactics as new data become available.

We are also gathering specific information on the evolution of the outbreak from a variety of trusted public health sources. These include:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • The World Health Organization (WHO)
  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS)
  • North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services (NCDHHS)

Dr. Caprio Discusses the COVID-19 Vaccine (Updated 1/18/21)

Anthony J. Caprio, MD, medical director at Sharon Towers at SouthPark and geriatrician at Atrium Health, answers questions about the COVID-19 vaccine in two recent blog posts. Topics covered include availability, safety, side effects and more.

Anthony J. Caprio, MD

Current Status

Please see below for the latest information. Note that we have indicated the date the information was updated in each section.

How do you communicate with residents about processes and procedures during this time? (Updated 6/29/20)
Residents are notified in writing about procedures. Family members who wish to receive copies of correspondence to residents may contact Angela Rigsbee via email.

What is the process if a case of COVID-19, the illness resulting from the novel coronavirus, is diagnosed in a resident or staff member?
Any individual testing positive will be isolated in the appropriate setting (i.e., at home, in the hospital, etc.) Public health officials will be contacted as well as anyone determined to be in close contact with the person testing positive. Staff, residents and our Board of Directors will receive written notification.

Have you had any cases of COVID-19? (Updated 2/26/21)

Currently, there are no active cases of COVID-19 at Sharon Towers. All previous cases have resolved.

Since May 2020, Sharon Towers has conducted extensive testing for COVID-19. We continue to monitor residents and initiate testing for anyone who develops symptoms prior to any scheduled testing.

We believe this is the best possible way to determine if there are positive, but asymptomatic individuals. Not all who are infected show symptoms, and if they eventually do, it can be days after they have already been contagious. Knowing who tests positive is a powerful tool. That knowledge allows for isolating anyone testing positive to reduce exposure to those who did not test positive.

During February, 2021, more than 400 residents and staff of Sharon Towers received their second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. There is some evidence that maximum protection may not be achieved until a few weeks after the second dose.

Sharon Towers continues to hold clinics so that new residents and staff may receive vaccinations. At this time, more than 98% of residents and approximately 60% of staff have participated. The current COVID-19 vaccines have Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA. It is anticipated that the vaccine pharmaceutical companies will be applying for regular approval this year. Once the FDA has approved the vaccines beyond emergency use, Sharon Towers will require all team members to be vaccinated.

Please read blogs posts here and here about the COVID-19 vaccine from Dr. Anthony Caprio, Sharon Towers’ Medical Director.

What follow up information will you release about the status of any cases (i.e., recovered, hospitalized, deceased)?
Sharon Towers strives to be as transparent as possible. However, HIPAA and state privacy laws require that we maintain an individual’s medical privacy both during a person’s stay or term of employment and after a person passes away or is no longer employed by Sharon Towers. Accordingly, Sharon Towers does not release information regarding its residents and staff unless otherwise permitted under HIPAA and state privacy laws.

General Access (Updated 2/26/21)

Governor Cooper eased North Carolina COVID-19 restrictions beginning 5 p.m. on 2/26/21 to expire 3/26/21. The positivity rate in Mecklenburg County has dropped and Sharon Towers plans to loosen its own restrictions during the week of March 1, 2021. Indoor visitation will open up on March 1, 2021 if the positivity rate in Charlotte falls below 10%.

Residents must wear a covering over the face when outside of their residence. If residents are walking outside, we ask that they please carry masks with them in the event they come near another person. If a resident does not have a mask, scarf, bandana or anything that would work for this, we ask that they call Vivian at extension 3801 to request a mask.

  • Person-to-person transmission is by far the greatest risk of transmission.
  • Social distancing is critically important.

Independent living residents do not need to quarantine after attending off-campus activities. We encourage residents to visit stores during senior hours or at times when they are less crowded. We ask that residents please follow the safety instructions of their providers. Sharon Towers can provide transportation to medical appointments.

We are still highly encouraging residents to utilize the on-campus services offered by Sharon Towers. Each of us should assume that everyone we come in contact with could be carrying the virus. If a resident decides to leave campus, we ask that he or she be transparent with friends and neighbors on campus. While all are still required to wear a mask on campus, some people may not be comfortable being around the resident if he or she has been in contact with others. We also ask that, if the resident is notified that a location he or she has visited has a positive case of COVID that they contact Angela Rigsbee to discuss the exposure. We ask that all residents keep doors to their residences closed.

Visitation (Updated 2/26/21)

Visits to independent living residents only, from family and friends.

Outdoor visitation is strongly encouraged. Independent Living residents may visit outside on the grounds, with their family members or friends. Everyone must practice social distancing of at least six feet, limit groups to six or fewer and wear a mask. There cannot be any physical contact during these visits. Residents may meet outdoors on campus any place they choose, or on the patio of their cottage. We also created a covered visiting area in the South Terrace Parking deck. Residents and visitors should be sure to read the signage and follow the guidelines posted. The Azalea Terrace is a good visitation option on days when Healthcare visitation is not taking place. It is available for independent living visitation Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, as well as after 5:30 pm every day.

The following guidelines must be followed for indoor visitation:

  • Visits can occur any day of the week between the hours of 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • All guests will be screened at the East Entrance, have their temperature taken and receive a wristband.
  • All guests must wear a mask to the screening station and during their entire visit.
  • Residents must meet their guests at the screening station and escort them directly to their residence.
  • Residents must wear their mask during the entire visit inside their residence.
  • Residents must escort their guests out of the building at the end of the visit. At no time should visitors be unaccompanied in common areas.
  • Residents should limit visitors to those who are essential to maintaining their health, well-being, and safety. Social interaction is important. However, in-person social interactions are associated with increased risk of infection.
  • There is a limit of no more than two visitors at a time, up to two times a week.
  • Residents should limit a visit to 30 minutes or less. We will revisit this as vaccine distribution becomes more mainstream.
  • Visitors may not use any common area restrooms or be unaccompanied at any time while in the building.
  • COVID-19 can be spread to others even if the person does not feel sick or have symptoms.
  • Residents should continue to keep at least 6 feet between themselves and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
  • Residents should arrange tables and chairs to allow for social distancing. People from the same household can be in groups together and do not need to be six (6) feet apart.
  • Residents should avoid close contact with visitors. For example, residents and guests not shake hands, elbow bump, or hug. Instead, they should wave and verbally greet them.
  • We ask residents to consider keeping a list of visitors. This will help with contact tracing if someone becomes sick.
  • Everyone should wash their hands after any visit with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Visitors are only permitted in the resident’s home. No visitors or group gatherings will be permitted in our indoor common spaces.
  • For residents who live in a first-floor apartment or cottage and whose guest(s) can enter through their patio entrance safely, we ask that they please do so to minimize the number of individuals walking through our hallways.
  • People should not visit if they had contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 or someone who had symptoms of COVID-19 within the past 14 days.
  • People should not visit if they have a pending COVID test or someone in their household has a pending COVID test.

Visitation with other residents
Residents may gather with other residents, socially distant and with masks, in their apartments or other common areas. We ask that residents limit groups in the apartments to no more than four people at a time.

Visits to healthcare and assisted living. In order for visitation to occur, core principles and best practices that reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission must be followed. Visitations take place when there have been no new COVID-19 cases during the previous 14 days, and we offer window, outdoor (weather permitting), or indoor visitation when that amount of time passes between the onset of new cases. At times when visits can take place, it is recommended that visits occur outdoors whenever possible. Healthcare and Assisted Living residents and families work directly with the staff in these licensed areas when arranging visitation.

Visits for medical transportation. Sharon Towers can provide transportation to medical appointments. If a resident needs a family member to take them to a medical appointment, the family member must be screened at our front entrance. The resident must sit in the back seat of the car, and only two people can be in the car. Both the resident and the family member must wear a mask.

Screening (Updated 2/26/21)

  • All staff and visitors must wear a mask. As of 11/16/20, all staff is required to wear eye protection.
  • Families and friends visiting independent living residents outdoors on campus do not need to be screened at the Main (East) Entrance.
  • Family and friends should not visit if they have any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or have been around groups of people.
  • All essential staff and outside caregivers will be screened before entering the building, including temperature.
  • All staff must continue to enter through the Main (East) Entrance.
  • Only essential outside vendor services will be allowed and will approved by COO. All loading dock deliveries are being left on the loading dock.

Construction (Updated 10/1/20)

Independent Living Apartment Renovations

We have received guidance from the Department of Health Service Regulation that construction may occur on CCRC campuses with adherence to CDC guidance and screening protocols. We have met with Ross Allen and developed strict protocols for construction workers to resume the renovation of vacant apartments within the independent living areas of our campus.

All construction workers are screened at the main entrance and must wear a mask at all times when inside common spaces of any building. The construction workers enter the building at the entrance agreed upon by Facilities, which varies based on the location of the apartment. All workers use the stairwells to come and go from the apartments being renovated.

Workers use the elevators only for the delivery of supplies. Staff designates one elevator for use by the contractors, which is locked from resident use while the workers are present. The elevator is sanitized by housekeeping before it is unlocked for resident use.

Prior to the East Tower and West Tower apartments being renovated, all air returns are disconnected and covered. Air scrubbers are installed in the apartment with the ducting of air out of the facility to create a negative pressure situation. (This is not necessary in other areas of the building due to separate HVAC units for each apartment.) Whenever possible, temporary plastic walls (with a zipper) are installed in resident hallways to separate the apartment being renovated from the common space and entry doors of other IL apartments.

Public restrooms located on floors of apartments being renovated are locked as workers will use outside portable restrooms. At no time will construction workers enter the Health Care or Assisted Living units or interact with any residents.

We want to assure everyone that we continue to have the best interest of their health and safety in mind as we take these added precautions with renovations.

Phase I Construction Update and Ring Road Closures (2/26/21)

The restroom across from the mail alcove has been closed and will remain so until the completion of the construction project. The restrooms down the South Wing outside of Hunter Hall remain open.

Dining Services (Updated 2/26/21)

As of March 3, 2021, community Dining is available for independent living residents only, with the following guidelines:

  • Dining by reservation in Hunter Hall (for lunch and dinner) and Allison’s (dinner only) will begin on Wednesday, March 3rd.
  • There will be two seatings for each meal and reservations will be required. Residents should dial 1165 or use this link to make a reservation.
  • There is a maximum of four residents at each table. Residents are not required to dine with the same people each day.
  • Allison’s and Hunter Hall will be open at 50% capacity. These venues are for residents only, no visitors or guests at this time.
  • Service will be waited. There will be no buffet line in the Sharon Room.
  • Temperature screenings will be take prior to entry.
  • Residents must wear a mask at all times except while eating. Masks must be placed back on upon leaving the table for any reason during the meal.
  • The Dining Room will not be open for breakfast at this time. Breakfast will continue to be delivered, if the resident so chooses.

Current meal ordering and meal delivery options are still available. The coffee/beverage station is open and is located just beyond the Lemon Tree Shop.

Charlotte Mecklenburg has advised us that all dining take-out containers (regardless of the number on the bottom of the container) are trash. Please do not place any food containers in the recycle bins.

Allison’s To Go (Updated 2/26/21)

Dining by reservation in Allison’s (dinner only) will begin on Wednesday, March 3rd for independent living. Please refer to the guidelines above when dining at Allison’s.

Residents and staff can continue to order meal kits from Allison’s fine dining menu. Our chefs cook meals to the appropriate temperature, then package each one using a Cryovacking technique that allows for the rest of the cooking process to be finished at home. Numerous entrée options with sides are available, such as Salmon, Filet Mignon, and Lamb Chops. Entrée salad choices and appetizers are also available. Residents may pair meals with wine upon request.

Grocery Shopping Requests/Orders (Updated 2/26/21)

We continue to make Sharon Towers’ vendors available for most resident needs.
Residents have a list of over 50 items that Sharon Towers can order for them. Residents may use the automated ordering link, complete the form and leave it at the front desk or email it. Groceries ordered through Sharon Towers’ vendors will be delivered on Mondays only.

Once residents began visiting grocery stores again, the need for our assistance with off-site banking and community grocery pick-up declined. We continue to offer this service once per week on Tuesdays. For more information, please contact Jessie Velasquez at 704-553-3712 or email her.

Menu Ordering (Updated 2/26/21)

Ambassadors no longer take menu orders, although they continue to call residents who still wish to be contacted, for health checks. Residents who do not wish to come to the dining rooms should continue to use the dining ordering system. Residents receive a weekly menu every Thursday, and can submit meal orders by either 1) using an on-line link to place the meal order electronically or 2) circling choices on the paper menu and leaving it outside the residence door for next day pickup by dining services. If dining has not received an online order or the completed paper form by Friday, a dining services employee calls to take the menu order. Residents should call Lyndsey or Patrick at extension 3232 for questions or assistance.

Meal Delivery

  • Independent living. Meal delivery will be left at each resident’s door. Staff will ring the doorbell one time and leave the bag outside the door.
    • Breakfast will be delivered between 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
    • Lunch will be delivered between 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
    • Dinner will be delivered between 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Health Care and Assisted Living Residents
    • Meals will occur on a normal schedule.

Housekeeping Services (Updated 11/19/20)

  • Independent living
    • Housekeeping services resumed on a weekly basis (for those who wished to do so) in October. The same pair of housekeepers cleans the residences. When they arrive we ask residents to wear a mask and wait in another room of the residence or in a common area nearby while they work. The Housekeeping Department will be in touch with residents regarding cleaning day and time.
  • Health Care and Assisted Living Residents
    • Housekeeping will occur on a normal schedule.

Maintenance

Only emergency maintenance requests will be completed. These will be prioritized.

Miscellaneous Information

Car Owners

Any resident who has not started their vehicle in several days or weeks and would like our Facilities team to do this for them should call Christine at extension 3805.

Resident Chat with CEO (Updated 7/30/20)

Check Sharon Towers’ channel 1394 for the date and time of CEO Anne Moffat’s next CHAT.

Staff Dress Code

We have relaxed the staff dress code at this time. This will allow our staff to wear more washable clothing during this time.

Packages and Mail

There is research about how long the virus “lives” on a surface, but we do not really know how that relates to infections. In other words, just because virus cells may exist on a surface many hours or days, it is not proven that these cells are still capable of infecting people. Yes, we are worried about transmission from touching surfaces, but the bigger concern is being in close proximity with someone who is COVID-19 positive (for example, household contacts).

Many package delivery carriers and postal service workers are being cautious. Residents will see a lot of gloves when carriers are touching packages. If residents are concerned about mail or packages, we suggest that they leave mail for a day or two before opening or leave a package unopened until tomorrow if they don’t absolutely need the item today. Again, we are much more worried about person-to person transmission than about exposure from packages.

Pet Services

Pet Supply Plus is available to deliver dog or cat food for residents’ pets at this time. Residents should email Justin Young with their order and contact phone number for payment information. Residents can also place an online order at www.petsuppliesplus.com, noting “Sharon Towers” in the Notes section.

Physician Visits/Outpatient Services (Updated 6/6/20)

Medical appointments are being scheduled. Residents should contact their doctor’s office to discuss. When residents leave campus for a medical appointment, they do not have to ask for permission to go or quarantine when they return. We ask that residents please wear a mask and follow the safety instructions of their provider.

Both systems have bolstered their virtual visit and e-visit capabilities. Residents should use these services whenever possible. Here are links:

Medical Transportation

As medical providers in the community resumed appointments, our medical transportation requests increased. Please contact Michael Jordan at ext. 3702 to check transportation availability as we are only able to transport one resident at a time and allow for cleaning of the vehicle in between. We ask that residents please remember to wear their masks.

Physician’s Clinic and Wellness Clinic (Updated 8/25/20)

As we continue to monitor the COVID-19 Pandemic and its impact on our community, we are working diligently to keep safety of all residents and staff in mind.

  • Patients of Dr. Caprio. Clinic nursing staff are scheduling clinic appointments. Dr. Caprio and Kristen are also offering a brief phone visit in place of an in-office visit. This visit will be submitted to the resident’s insurance company as though the resident were seen face-to-face in the clinic. Appointments may also be rescheduled to a later date if the resident is healthy and has no medical concerns.
  • Wellness Clinic. Unless a resident is having a true medical emergency, we urge them to call the Wellness Clinic at extension 3227 with any health concerns. We do not want them to visit the Emergency Department or Urgent Care without guidance from a nurse.
  • Testing. In an ideal world, it would be wonderful to test everyone. However, the availability of tests is limited. Therefore, medical staff is unable to test residents unless they have symptoms and are unable to self- isolate. That is why it is important for residents to contact our wellness clinic so they may receive guidance from their physician – before they leave their apartment.

Shuttle Service (Updated 2/26/21)

We are working on hiring a driver and at that time will offer shuttle service.

In the meantime, villa and cottage residents will need to continue to walk or drive over to the building for programs/dining as there remains no shuttle service at this time.

When the shuttle service resumes, it will be limited four households at a time. Masks must be worn and residents will be directed to use hand sanitizer when entering the bus. Touch points on the bus will be sanitized between rides.

Therapy Services

Each day at Sharon Towers we are evaluating the COVID-19 situation. Non-essential therapy appointments have been put on hold.

Vitality & Well-Being (Updated 2/26/21)

Aquatics Center – The pool will continue to be open to visits of a maximum of two people at a time. Residents are able to register on Lifeloop for a scheduled time or call Patrice to schedule at extension 7117. Residents must have a scheduled appointment time to swim and wear the emergency pendant during time in the pool. We ask that residents please come ready to swim as the locker rooms are closed for infection control purposes.

In-Person Programs – The Vitality Team will start a gradual resumption of group activities, including fitness programs, on Monday, March 1st. We must follow strict guidelines for this re-opening to be a success:

  • Residents will be screened before entering.
  • Staff will thoroughly clean tables and chairs before and after each group. Groups will be limited to 30 minutes.
  • Groups will be limited to eight (8) people in HTC/CVC and four (4) people in the Chapel.
  • Residents must maintain social distance and wear a mask for the duration of the program.

To attend groups, residents must pre-register on LifeLoop or by calling Jessie at 3712 or Carmen at 3718 if the technology is not available. We expect that groups will fill up fast, so mastering Lifeloop would be each resident’s advantage.

Some groups will continue to have both an in-person and virtual option. We will continue to have the current programming on STTV- Channel 1394. Residents will receive a new calendar each week as we make updates and changes.

Fitness Center

  • The Fitness Center will be open Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with nine (9) 1-hour time slots.
  • Three residents can sign up at each slot using LifeLoop.
  • Residents must wear masks maintain social distance while in gym.
  • Residents are responsible for cleaning equipment before and after each use.
  • Some machines will not be in use so that we can ensure social distancing. Machines will be clearly marked.
  • Rules of Usage will be posted.
  • Residents should complete the sign in book upon arrival with COVID screening questions.
  • Therapy, Fitness Team and Housekeeping will also assist in additional cleanings of high touch areas throughout the day.

Massage and Personal Training – Both of these services continue to be available.

For More Information

Please share this information with your friends and family. This web page is a key source of information and you may sign up to receive information as new updates are posted using the blue “SIGN UP FOR UPDATES” button. Please encourage your friends and family to visit our website for up-to-date information.

We all have a responsibility to support and protect each other. Please feel free to contact Angela Rigsbee with any questions or concerns at 704-553-1670 or via email.

Everyone can prepare for COVID-19 as they do for many of the easily transmissible diseases and viruses we prepare for every day in our communities–by practicing everyday preventive actions now:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles) using regular household detergent and water.

These preparations will protect not only you, but also the other members of this community. We all have a responsibility to support and protect each other.