The response to Coronavirus at Sharon Towers

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response at Sharon Towers

Home » About Us » The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response at Sharon Towers

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 4/15/21)

Currently, there are no new cases of COVID-19 at Sharon Towers. 

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 69% 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. While staff vaccination is not mandatory at this time, Sharon Towers expects that it will make it mandatory for staff at some point in the future, such as once the FDA has approved the vaccines beyond emergency use.

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.

Visitation (Updated 4/7/21)

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.

Visits to independent living residents only, from family and friends

The CDC came out with new guidelines the week of March 7th for vaccinated individuals which changes some of what residents can do in their homes. We ask that residents please keep in mind that the new guidance only applies to Independent Living and does not apply to health care settings.

The new guidance addresses “fully vaccinated” individuals. People are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 two weeks after they have received the second dose of the MNRA vaccine.

Fully vaccinated people:

  • Can visit with other fully vaccinated people in their residence without wearing masks or physical distancing. If residents have other fully vaccinated residents in their apartments, they do not need to wear masks or socially distance. This means it is ok to play cards and other games such as mahjong.
  • Are not limited to 30-minute visits, a certain number of visits per week or the number of residents visiting as long as the residents are fully vaccinated.
  • Can visit in residents’ apartments with unvaccinated people – limited to those from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease without wearing masks or social distancing. However, we still encourage outside visits in such cases – and visits must be with those from a single household.
  • Have no need to quarantine and test following a known exposure, if asymptomatic.
  • Have no need to quarantine after coming back from a trip within the U.S.

For now, fully vaccinated people should continue to:

  • Take precautions in public, like wearing a well-fitted mask and physical distancing.
  • Wear masks, practice physical distancing and adhere to other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease.
  • Wear masks, maintain physical distance and practice other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households.

Now that visitors are allowed in the Independent Living residences, there is no longer a visiting area in the South Terrace parking deck and the port-a-potty has been removed.

Visits to Healthcare and Assisted Living

On March 10th, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released revised visitation guidance for nursing homes. On March 11th, we received notification from our state membership organization, Leading Age, stating that North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) would be rescinding Secretarial Order 6 and updating NC guidance to point everyone to the revised federal CMS guidance on visitation.

As of March 15th, Healthcare and Assisted Living visitors are allowed to enter into Sharon Towers and visit with their loved ones in their private Healthcare or Assisted Living room as long as no active cases of COVID-19 have been identified. Please be aware that the even a single active case is considered an “outbreak” by local health officials. If and when that occurs, indoor visitation becomes suspended for that area.

All visitors must arrive and exit from the front entrance where the screening station is located. Visitors need to follow proper handwashing procedures at the outdoor sink and will be screened by the screener before entering the building. The screening station is staffed Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

New Indoor Visitation Procedures

New procedures went into effect on April 3rd for indoor visitation. Any visitor who does not follow these rules during their visit in healthcare or assisted living will be asked to leave immediately.

  • Residents are allowed only TWO visitors at one time in their rooms. Children 6 months old or older count as one visitor.
  • Upon arrival at the screening station, visitors in healthcare or assisted living will be asked to give their name, phone number, relationship to the resident and to sign in to the HealthCare and Assisted Living Visitation Log. The visitor’s signature indicates their understanding of the visitation rules. This information is necessary to allow us to do proper contact tracing if necessary.
  • The visitor’s arrival time and departure time will be documented. Visitors  are to notify the screener when they are leaving. Please note that the screener is not allowed to let additional visitors up to a resident’s room if the resident already has two documented visitors listed in the log book who have not departed.
  • Visitors must wear their surgical masks at all times during the visit while in healthcare or assisted living. There are no exceptions to this rule. A visitor seen with a mask not covering his or her mouth and nose will be asked to leave.
  • All visits MUST occur in the resident’s room or outside. No visits are allowed in the common areas, the hallways, another resident’s room or the dining rooms.
  • Visitors should place a mask on their loved one when they arrive in his or her room or ask a C.N.A. for assistance.
  • Visitors are not allowed to have a meal or snack during the visit since masks cannot be worn while eating.
  • New visitor procedure when leaving: Visitors are to stop by the nurse’s desk to notify the nurse, C.N.A. or other staff that they are leaving. The staff person who was notified will wipe down the door knobs, chair sand high-touch surfaces in the room with alcohol-based wipes.

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 3/18/21)

  • All staff and visitors must wear a mask.
  • Independent Living staff no longer has to wear goggles unless performing direct care (i.e. therapy, homecare or wellness).
  • Families and friends visiting independent living residents outdoors on campus do not need to be screened at the Main (East) Entrance. All indoor visitors must be screened.
  • 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.

Dining Services (Updated 3/25/21)

Community Dining is available for Independent Living residents only, with the following guidelines:

  • There is one seating for each meal and reservations will be required. Residents should dial 1165 or use this link to make a reservation. There is no limit. Residents may make reservations as often as they like during the week. Please note updated Hunter Hall dining hours as of April 1st.
    • Breakfast Hours 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. – Daily
    • Lunch Hours– 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Daily
    • Dinner Hours – 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. – Closed Sunday
  • There is a maximum of four residents at each table. Residents are not required to dine with the same people each day.
  • As of April 1st, Hunter Hall is now operating at 75% capacity. We feel we can accommodate all residents during meal times without requiring reservations. Because of the limited capacity, residents may be seated with others – or two parties may be combined at one table to maximize the seats. Please, no visitors or guests at this time.
  • Service is waited.
  • Temperature screenings will be taken 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.
  • As of April 1st, the buffet in the Sharon Room is open for carry out, or seating in Hunter Hall. Also, there will still be waited service available in Hunter Hall.
  • Menus will be distributed weekly in the format used last year. The buffet will offer two entrees and five vegetables at lunch and three entrees and five vegetables at dinner.
  • Due to health restrictions, there is no salad bar at this time. However, side salads and soups will be available in the Sharon Room. The refrigerator in the Sharon Room will also have items for purchase including desserts, milk, tea, bottles water and other items.
  • We hope to not limit the amount of time residents can remain seated in Hunter Hall. However, after residents have finished their meals, we would appreciate them taking note if others are waiting. Limiting seating times may be necessary if we are unable to accommodate residents due to other residents staying too longer after their meals.
  • We are currently offering beer and wine at dinner. We intend to open a bar for full service in the Harris Towne Center and the Harkey Terrace. More details to come.
  • A self-serve coffee station is now open near Allison’s.

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 and Allison’s To Go (Updated 3/25/21)

Allison’s will remain open for dinner with two reservation times: 5:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. This is to stagger food orders as the temporary cooking equipment limits the number of meals the chef can prepare at one time. We will not serve lunch or to-go meals in Allison’s until Hunter Hall and the buffet are running efficiently.

Allison’s is operating at 50% capacity. No guests at this time. And please refer to the guidelines above when dining at Allison’s.

Allison’s specialty meals are still available to order and will be delivered on Thursday. Delivery of these meals is complimentary with purchase.

Go Green Initiative (Added 3/25/21)

In 2019, the Dining Services Committee in combination with the Culinary Services Team introduced the Go Green Initiative to our independent living residents. The green container system can be used for To Go meals to help us reduce the use of disposable take out containers and paper products. So, it is now time for residents to find and wash their green To Go containers! Residents should call Lyndsey or Patrick at extension 3232 to purchase new containers, if needed.

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 3/18/21)

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 (Updated 3/25/21)

  • Current meal ordering and meal delivery options are still available. However, as of April 1st, meals will no longer be delivered unless the resident places an order. There will also be a $5 deliver fee charged, per household.
  • 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.

Miscellaneous Information (Updated 3/25/21)

Check-in Calls

When the pandemic began, we instituted daily check-in calls for independent living residents for monitoring of COVID symptoms and for ordering meals. Many residents opted out of these several months ago. However, some still receive them. We no longer be making these calls as of April 1st as we resume normal operations and since most residents are vaccinated.

Guest Room Reservations

At this time, we are not allowing guest room reservations. We expect we will be able to do this toward the end of the year and will let everyone know when we will begin taking reservations.

Nametags

Each Independent Living residents received a nametag to wear on Mondays in their cubby the week of March 7th. If there is a misspelling, residents should contact Vivian at extension 3801 to get a corrected tag.

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

Sharon Towers returned to normal dress code for staff the week of 3/15/21.

Vaccine Cards

Many residents have asked for an office proof of vaccine card. During the vaccine clinic, residents were given a photocopy of a card or an actual card. Either is adequate for the resident’s records. However, Independent Living residents with a photocopy who want an actual card should call Vivian at extension 3801. Healthcare and Assisted Living residents have vaccine documentation in their medical record and do not need a card.

Packages and Mail (Updated 3/18/21)

Residents are welcome to come to the East Reception Desk to pick up packages. Otherwise, staff will deliver the packages when there is an opportunity.

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.

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.

Shuttle Service (Updated 4/7/21)

The shuttle service has resumed and is 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.

Call 704-617-5643 for the service. Please note that the shuttle operates on the campus only.

Monday – Friday 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (Mark)
Monday – Saturday 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. (Sam & Tessa)

Vitality & Well-Being (Updated 3/18/21)

Starting April 1st, the Vitality Team will begin to increase the number of residents at certain group activities based on the size of the rooms. Residents still must wear masks at group activities and during fitness classes.

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 started a gradual resumption of group activities, including fitness programs, on Monday, March 1st.

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.

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.