To all residents, caregivers, and professional partners:
We have received updated guidance and recommended practices from the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) during this next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional guidance will be released as necessary.
Below are some of the changes we will be implementing effective immediately:
- All staff, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear a face mask while inside the community at all times.
- All residents, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear a face mask while inside the community except for when they are alone in their apartments, actively eating or drinking in the dining room, and participating in outdoor activities.
- All visitors, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear a face mask while inside the community. Only fully vaccinated visitors visiting a fully vaccinated resident can remove their masks once inside the apartment. A health screening will be completed upon entry as will the visitor’s temperature be taken.
- We will be changing our visiting hours from 8:00 am—8:00 pm to 6:00 am—9:00 pm. We are also lifting the restriction of only two visitors at one time. We must continue to restrict overnight guests unless it involves a resident who is receiving end-of-life support.
- All common areas will be open for resident use. Signs will be posted regarding compliance with wearing a mask in a common space and there will be disinfectant wipes available in spaces that contained mutually shared items (i.e. gym, billiard’s room, computer room, puzzle room).
- Residents, staff, and visitors will be encouraged to self-assess for signs/symptoms of COVID-19 and can request rapid testing at any time there is a nurse available onsite.
- Residents, staff, and visitors are encouraged to get the vaccination, and can obtain resources on where to get the vaccination in the Wellness or Administration Offices. Residents and staff must provide copies of the vaccination record for the medical and personnel records.
- Residents, staff, and visitors are encouraged to perform routine hand hygiene and socially distance when possible.
- Housekeeping staff will continue to provide individual services to the residents as well as maintain our common areas. They will regularly disinfect surfaces, public restrooms, and commonly used items throughout the community.
- We will continue to have the plexiglass dividers in the dining room and in the Country Kitchen for the foreseeable future. Fully vaccinated visitors may join us in the dining room and remove their masks while actively eating or drinking. Guest meal charges will apply.
- Communal dining and activities have been in effect since March 15, 2021. During the summer months, we will continue to host as many activities (particularly vocal performances) outdoors as possible. In the event that the outdoor space is not being used by the Activities Department, residents and their caregivers may visit here.
It is important to note that we continue to have residents and staff in the community unvaccinated. In the event that we suspect or confirm a resident or staff COVID-19 case, we must conduct outbreak testing in the community and roll back our visitation policies to further prevent spread. Communal dining and activities may also be temporarily suspended. We will provide additional information if and when such a time occurs.
The Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) recommends residents do not participate in planned leaves of absence in areas with high community transmission. However, if a resident wants to schedule a planned leave of absence from the community, the Wellness Department will work with the resident and their caregivers to advise them how to plan for a safer leave. This plan will include appropriate education on vaccination, wearing face masks when required, practicing social distancing, limiting interaction to the fewest number of people possible while on leave, and considering a rapid results test upon return.
As with previous correspondence, the Whaler’s Cove Management Team will continue to provide updated information to residents, staff, and caregivers as soon as it is provided to us. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at any time.
Whaler’s Cove Management Team
We would like to address the newly released guidance by the CDC pertaining to vaccinated individuals and wearing masks both indoors and outdoors.
While we are cautiously optimistic about the new changes, and what it means as we move towards pre-pandemic normalcy, we must acknowledge that we remain a high-risk environment and the State of Massachusetts continues with a statewide mask mandate.
Until we receive specific guidance from the Governor of Massachusetts, the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, and our local Department of Health, we must continue to wear masks both indoors and outdoors at Whaler’s Cove.
Additionally, we have not yet received any additional guidance pertaining to how we can safely alter our visitation policies. We will continue to encourage visitation between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm both in and out of the community.
For those visiting from out-of-state, we are unable to ask your vaccination status or require you to be tested prior to entry. As a result, we are asking that you continue to complete the health screening at the Front Desk as well as wear a mask and face shield when entering an individual apartment, especially if the occupant is not vaccinated. Of course, you are welcome to visit without a face shield outside on our benches, in our gazebo, or beneath the tents in the gazebo area as long as activities are not in progress.
We fully anticipate guidance for our setting to be forthcoming and will continue to provide you with updates as they are received. We appreciate your continued understanding, patience, and compliance with the policies and procedures we have in place during what hopes to be the end of a very difficult year for us all. Take care & stay safe.
Whaler’s Cove Management Team
We have received updated guidance from Governor Baker and Mayor Mitchell as it relates to visitation. When we reemerged from lockdown measures in July 2020, there was an adjustment period, so again we ask for your continued understanding, support, and compliance.
Whaler’s Cove Responsibilities:
- We must continue to report incident reporting of any new COVID-19 case for residents and staff within 24 hours.
- We can offer testing to any resident, staff, or visitor, if there is suspicion of infection, as long as nursing staff is available and in the community at the time of request. Please contact the Wellness Department directly to learn more.
- We must continue infection prevention within the community—surface and hand hygiene, social distancing, face coverings for residents, face coverings/face shields for staff when in contact with each other and with residents and face coverings for visitors at all times.
- We must enforce that any resident who is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 refrain from having visitors or participating in communal dining and activities.
- We must maintain a visitor’s log as well as a list of residents who participate in communal activities if contact tracing becomes necessary.
- As much as possible, we will continue to encourage alternative electronic means of communication (i.e. FaceTime, Zoom) between residents and visitors.
- We will continue to encourage outdoor visits in the gazebo or under the tents (which will set up on or about April 1st), provided that social distancing, face coverings and hand hygiene is followed before, during and after the visit. The hours for the outdoor visits are 8:00 am – 8:00 pm, as long as there are no scheduled activities taking place.
- We will begin to allow in-unit visits for residents and caregivers up to between 8:00 am – 8:00 pm Monday – Sunday beginning Monday, March 15, 2021. No more than two (2) individuals may visit at the same time unless special arrangements have been made for an end-of-life situation.
- Visitors will be screened for fever or respiratory symptoms. Any visitors with symptoms of COVID-19 (fever equal to or greater than 100.0 F, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, chills, or new onset of loss of taste or smell) will not be permitted to visit a resident. Asymptomatic visitors should be asked if they have been in contact with someone known or suspected to be COVID-19 positive in the past 48 hours.
- Visitors will be asked to complete a form at the Reception Desk with contact information in the event that contact tracing needs to be completed. You will be asked to wear your facial covering for the duration of your visit. As we are not supervising these visits, we are expecting your full compliance with this request.
- Visitors should not stop in common areas or interact with other residents. If a visitor needs to speak to staff in Wellness or Administration, please do not visit the offices, but call the Front Desk and your call will be directed appropriately.
- For the immediate future, indoor visits are not permitted in any indoor common space.
- Any individual who enters the community and develops signs and symptoms of COVID-19 (as detailed under “In-Unit Visits”) within two (2) days after exiting the community or designated outdoor space must immediately notify Whaler’s Cove of the date they were in the residence, the individuals they were in contact with, and the location within the community they visited.
In-House Salon Services:
- Whaler’s Cove may resume operations of in-house salon and barber services. The first day of her return to the community will be March 16, 2021. The hairdresser must follow the same safety standards and checklists as hair salons and barber shops located outside of the community, including but not limited to maintaining social distancing between residents, hygiene protocols, staffing and operations, cleaning, and disinfection. Face coverings will be required at all times.
Vaccinated residents (or their families) have copies of their vaccination record. We will not require proof of vaccination of any visitors, however, should you choose to share your vaccination status with us, we will make note of it. Being vaccinated does not preclude you from following the guidelines we have laid out in this notification.
We will continue to discourage non-essential activities outside of the community because our population is the most vulnerable and there is still much to learn about the efficacy of these vaccines and the spread of the variants. The last thing any of us want is to impose new lockdown restrictions in the months to come.
Please forward any questions or concerns to our Management Team. We look forward to seeing you all again soon.
Whaler’s Cove Management Team
Now that we have successfully completed our vaccine rollout with CVS Pharmacy, we have been engaged in conversation about resuming communal dining in the Dining Room and group activities in our common area spaces.
It is our hope that we can resume communal dining and activities as of March 10, 2021. As we have gone through the steps to reopen back in September 2020, we will review our processes to ensure that we are best prepared to welcome residents back in the safest way possible.
These are the steps we will be taking to ensure a safe and comfortable dining experience:
- Each table will be fitted with plexiglass dividers to allow for 2 individuals to sit at a table without the risk of exposure to airborne droplets. These dividers will be transparent, easy to clean, and allow for necessary separation.
- Residents will be asked to wear face coverings upon entering and leaving the dining room, as well as while they are not in the act of eating or drinking.
- Residents will not be permitted to wait outside the dining room to gain entry due to the need to limit congregating in public areas. Residents will be asked to enter the Dining Room promptly at 7:30 am or 8:30 am, 11:30 am or 12:30 pm, and 4:30 pm or 5:30 pm (depending on the chosen seating time).
- We will refrain from using tablecloths and cloth napkins and will implement paper placemats, plastic silverware, and individual condiments.
- Hand sanitizer stations will be positioned outside of the Dining Room so that residents can properly sanitize their hands upon entering the public space as well as when they exit.
- While residents will not be rushed through their dining experience, we cannot encourage congregating in public spaces once meal service has ended.
- Personal care staff will resume escorting assistance to and from meals for those that require reminders or physical assistance.
These are the steps we will be taking to safely resume indoor and outdoor activities:
- Spaces such as the indoor gardens, Auditorium, and Country Kitchen will be utilized for small group activities beginning on March 10, 2021. Groups will not be larger than 10 people.
- All residents must be at least 6 feet apart from one another and wear face coverings for the duration of the activity. Proper hand hygiene will be encouraged before and after the activity program. No materials used during the activity will be shared among residents and the space will be cleaned in its entirety after the program concludes.
- We must limit the types of activities offered to bingo, exercise class, current events, puzzles, word games, movies, religious programs, and arts and crafts. We are unable to welcome back vocal performers or musicians that play wind instruments for risk of exposure through air droplets.
- Once the weather warms up, we will prepare the outdoor space near our gazebo to ensure shade and social distancing are possible. We will then resume outdoor visitation as well as musical concerts and larger groups. As with the indoor activities, all residents must wear face coverings during the outdoor programs and should perform proper hand hygiene before and after participation.
- We will resume small outings to grocery and retail stores, provided that residents are willing to complete their errands during the special hours for seniors (usually before 8:00 am). Our Activities Director and van driver will ensure that the residents are accompanied in the store and will ensure all appropriate precautions are taken before, during, and after the outing. No more than 4 individuals can be transported.
- The in-house hairdresser will return to the community on March 15, 2021. Anyone interested in scheduling a hair appointment can do so through the Front Desk. Appropriate precautions and social distancing will be enforced during her time at the community. Please note that the cost for hairdressing services is separate and should be made directly to the hairdresser.
Please do not hesitate to ask any questions of us as we begin our preparations for March 10, 2021.