Frazee Care Community and Vergas Assisted Living COVID-19 Update

Updated as of April 15, 2021 at 2:02 p.m. CDT

Dear Frazee Care Community and Vergas Assisted Living Residents, Families, and Team Members ,

Over the last several months, we have happily witnessed the dramatic decline of COVID-19 cases in senior living and care communities across the nation. Despite this promising development, we remain steadfast in our commitment to protecting the health and well-being of our residents, team members, and those residing in our broader community.

Frazee Care Community and Vergas Assisted Living’s COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Response Action Plan

First and foremost, our priority is to keep everyone safe and healthy. We continue following guidance from our medical director, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and state and local health officials to protect our residents and staff from this virus, and are taking every action possible to prevent it from spreading in our senior living and care community.

The following is a summary of our COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Response Action Plan.

Encouraging residents and staff to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best way to protect yourself and others, particularly older adults and those with underlying health conditions who are at increased risk for severe complications. We are encouraging all Frazee Care Community and Vergas Assisted Living residents, staff, and family members to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Utilizing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), as directed by CMS guidelines, including a well-fitting face covering or mask that covers the mouth and nose. Staff continues to wear PPE, including masks, eye protection, gloves, and gowns depending on the community’s COVID-19 status. Residents are asked to wear a face covering when interfacing with others.

Screening and monitoring residents and staff for symptoms. We have increased our screening and monitoring of residents and staff for COVID-19 symptoms. COVID-19 symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.

We all play a part in keeping ourselves and others healthy. Please wash your hands often, avoid touching your face, cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, wear a mask or face covering, and practice social distancing.

Residents: please let a staff member know immediately if you feel ill. We are here to support and care for you.

Staff:  Please don’t enter the building if you are ill. Any staff who exhibit symptoms at work should keep on their mask, isolate at home, call your medical provider, and notify your supervisor.

We continue to educate residents and staff on COVID-19. For additional information, please visit the CDC’s website or the Minnesota Department of Health’s website.

Using alcohol-based hand rub regularly.

Tracing individuals who come in contact with anyone affected. The community will work with the tracing staff from state and local health departments to assess all who may have come in close contact with an affected individual. We will continue to follow all requirements in implementing the next steps, which may include self-monitoring as determined by health officials.

Testing residents and staff for COVID-19 based-on federal and state guidance. We are following all guidance from federal, state, and local health officials on testing required for residents and staff. The frequency of routine testing is determined based on the number of COVID-19 cases in the local county. Additionally, those who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms are tested to quickly identify and isolate residents and staff who may be positive for COVID-19. Once there is a confirmed COVID-19 case, testing is increased to every three days to seven days until testing identifies no new cases of COVID-19 infection among staff or residents for a period of at least 14 days since the most recent positive result.

Quarantining COVID-19 positive residents and implementing enhanced infection control measures. We have established a designated area in the care center for any COVID-19 positive residents, and they are cared for and supported by designated staff. Any COVID-19 positive independent or assisted living residents will be quarantined in their apartments and supported by designated staff. We continue to follow all infection control protocols as outlined by the CDC, CMS, and state and local health officials. COVID-19 positive residents remain in quarantine until they are well and cleared by medical professionals, and meet the CDC symptom-based criteria for return to normal activity.

Advising COVID-19 positive staff to take all appropriate measures. For the health and well-being of our senior living and care community, any team member with a COVID-19 diagnosis is asked to quarantine at home, contact a medical provider for care, and notify their supervisor. We are following CDC guidance on the return-to-work criteria for health care professionals with confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses.

Taking environmental safety precautions. Our housekeeping team continues to take extra measures to clean and disinfect all high-touch areas throughout the building. This includes countertops and tables, faucet handles, toilet flush handles, doorknobs, door handles, crash bars, bathroom and kitchen areas, elevator call buttons, and handrails.

Assuring safe congregate dining and group activities. Communal dining and congregate group activities may be offered while adhering to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention. This includes social distancing, face covering, and appropriate hand hygiene by residents and staff.

Adhering to safe visitation procedures, including maintaining six feet of distance between persons. We are committed to offering visitation that supports each resident’s physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being, and quality of life. Visitation may be conducted through different means based on the community’s structure and residents’ needs, such as in resident rooms, dedicated visitation spaces, outdoors, and for circumstances beyond compassionate care situations.

Safe Visitation Procedures

Visitation options vary based on the community’s COVID-19 status, our county’s positivity rate, and the rate of vaccination among residents and team members.

Visitation options may include:

Virtual Visits: We encourage loved ones to communicate with residents by phone, letters, video chat, and/or social media. Please contact our team for assistance with these communication methods, if needed.

Window Visits: Closed window visits pose no risk of virus transmission.

Outdoor Visits: Outdoor visits pose a lower risk of virus transmission due to increased space and airflow.

Compassionate Care Visits: As aligned with state and federal guidance, Frazee Care Community and Vergas Assisted Living supports visits for all types of compassionate care needs, including those beyond end-of-life or hospice situations such as to support a resident grieving a recent loss or experiencing emotional distress. Compassionate care visits are allowed at all times regardless of a resident’s vaccination status, our county’s positivity rate or our outbreak status.

Indoor Visits: Effective immediately, based on the following guidance and criteria from CMS, we are overjoyed to support indoor visitation for all residents with exception in the following instances: 

  • Residents currently positive for COVID-19 may not participate in indoor visits, despite vaccination status, until they meet the criteria for discontinuing transmission-based precautions.
  • Residents in quarantine due to suspected or confirmed COVID-19 may not participate in indoor visits, despite vaccination status, until they meet the criteria to be released from quarantine.
  • Unvaccinated residents may not participate in indoor visits if our county’s positivity rate is greater than 10% and less than 70% of our residents are fully vaccinated.

While the option to visit indoors is now available, please note that state and federal health officials advise that it is safest for residents to participate in outdoor visits whenever comfortably possible.

General Infection Control Practices for all In-Person Visits: Each visitor will be screened for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and entry will be denied for those who exhibit signs or symptoms consistent with COVID-19. All visitors must complete hand hygiene with an alcohol-based hand rub upon arrival and wear a well-fitting face covering or mask that completely covers the mouth and nose. We also ask visitors to practice social distancing by maintaining six feet between persons, limit number of hugs, handshakes, and other physical contact, and avoid congregating in common areas.

To discuss safe visiting options or for help coordinating a visit, contact us: 218-334-4501.

Visitation Restrictions

In the event Frazee Care Community or Vergas Assisted Living confirms a positive case of COVID-19 among residents or team members, we will temporarily suspend indoor visits while we conduct facility-wide testing. If our first round of testing identifies additional cases of the virus within other areas of our senior community, indoor visitation will be suspended until we meet the criteria to discontinue outbreak testing.

We will resume indoor visitation per the following recommendations:

  • Residents of the COVID-positive unit or designated area may receive visitors 14 days after testing stops.
  • All other residents may accept visitors if our first round of testing reveals no additional COVID-19 cases in other areas of our senior living/care community.

We continue to be in close communications with our medical director, other providers, and state and local health officials. We are also monitoring new information from the CDC, CMS, and state and local health departments to ensure we are taking the appropriate next steps.

Everyone at Frazee Care Community and Vergas Assisted Living is overjoyed to welcome friends and families back for indoor visits. These revised guidelines provide us all with a refreshing, much needed step towards safely opening our community to normal visitation and operations. Please know our team is pleased to accommodate visits with our residents in a way that is appropriate for our physical setting, meets personal needs, and maintains the comfort and safety of all.

Thank you.

As state and federal guidance relating to the COVID-19 pandemic changes, we are committed to providing the most recent information. Some details in this update may have changed after publication.

For the latest on COVID-19, we encourage use of the following resources:

NOTE TO MEDIA PERSONNEL: Send inquiries to media@hdgi1.com.