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Montgomery Place experiences two sides of dealing with the virus in a single day during this time of COVID-19

Dear Friends and family,

Friday was a long day. The juxtaposition of two events gave me hope, but in two very different ways. First, Montgomery Place was featured in an article in the Hyde Park Herald online edition celebrating our success of achieving a COVID-19-free status since the end of April. All of what we learned during early April translated into safe, healthy behaviors showing we are learning to live in a world with COVID-19. Our staff, especially our team of managers, are proud of our accomplishments in keeping the virus at bay for more than two months.

And then, during our weekly COVID-19 testing routine of all staff and residents of skilled nursing care and assisted living, one test for a staff member was positive. This individual is self-quarantined at home. Reality set in! COVID-19 remains  a threat no matter how many precautions we take. What transpired? How did this incidence occur? Yes, we asked these questions and more.

Our first reaction yesterday was to again move into containment and education mode. I am proud of how quickly our team pulled together to conduct contact tracing, the process of determining who has had contact with a known positive COVID-19 individual during the last 14 days. I’m also impressed to see how our team reacted emotionally. When we had our first cases of COVID-19 back in March, fear and panic set in instantly. This fear paralyzed us and slowed our reactions to the situation. On Friday, our team, armed with knowledge of how this virus spreads and confidence in techniques of infection control, did not panic with fear.

Within an hour, contact tracing was completed. Within three hours, verbal communication was completed with all family members of residents who were possibly exposed through contact with the staff member. We are fortunate that the contact tracing showed a very limited potential exposure pool, so our containment routine could happen quickly.

Our staff members immediately heightened their infection control processes, focusing on  areas of contact, and they increased monitoring of residents who are our patients. Anyone who may have been exposed to the virus was tested for COVID-19. This coming week, we will resume testing for all staff members and residents in our assisted living and skilled nursing care wing.

We will review community-wide education about hand-hygiene, social distancing, safe social practices and especially mask wearing during the coming weeks. We also will stress how even when we feel safe, we must not let down our guard. I think this single instance is our warning to pay attention to our behaviors. In Illinois on Friday, the number of reported cases of COVID-19 increased. I certainly hope we will not see the same spikes in cases we are witnessing in many southern States during the last few weeks.

I plead with all of you to keep your precautions high. Do not become too lax in how you behave and arm yourself against COVID-19. Be honest with yourself about your health and any symptoms. Be proactive about taking care of early minor changes that need attention. Do not ignore that “little sore throat in the morning,” the “tiny itch in your nose or throat,” “the ’just don’t quite feel myself” feelings. Pay attention. Get tested.

COVID-19 tests are available to anyone at multiple drive-through locations in the metro area. Check out the IDPH website for locations. Or contact your local physician. But get tested if you have any concerns. Be Safe!

I will continue to openly communicate with you and share any and all developments regarding  COVID-19 and how we collaborate to abate it at Montgomery Place. Please, let me know your concerns and questions. You’re welcome to call my mobile phone number, 773-617-1317, at any time.

Being vigilant, keeps us safer.

Hyde Park Herald article

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