June 12 Update - Fit Testing and Point Prevalence Study Status

Good afternoon,

We are proud to share with you that both Friendship and Salem Terrace at Harrogate continue to be COVID-19 free!  Thank you for your encouragement and cooperation.  We hope you are continuing to make every effort to keep you and your loved ones healthy and well.      

Governor Northam recently established a Long-Term Care (LTC) Taskforce with the objective to ensure long-term care facilities have the resources they need to fight COVID-19. This includes access to adequate testing and infection control supplies, as well as PPE.  This group is also tasked with working to educate the general public about the challenges long-term care facilities face in combatting the disease while caring for the most vulnerable populations.

As you may have heard from other states, part of this work includes mandatory Point Prevalence Studies in long-term care facilities.  A Point Prevalence Study (PPS) is an effort to conduct 100% of staff and resident testing at a specific point in time to determine the prevalence of COVID-19 in the facility.  The LTC Taskforce is working with the Virginia National Guard to achieve testing in all long-term care facilities by the end of July.  In the Roanoke/Alleghany Health District, however, it has been mandated that all direct-care staff who may work directly with COVID-19 positive patients be fit-tested for a N95 mask prior to any PPS testing being completed in the facility.  This means two things:

  • we will be completing fit-testing with our nursing staff (RN’s, LPN’s, C.N.A.’s, R.N.A.’s, and, for our Assisted Living Facilities, R.M.A.’s), then
  • all residents and all staff will be tested for COVID-19

The requirement to fit-test prior to a PPS is not uniform across the Commonwealth, but the theory behind our District’s policy is that we would need to ensure that we have adequate staff fit-tested so that they could care for any COVID-19 positive patients that are discovered during the PPS.  If we were to complete the PPS and have positive resident cases, we would employ a “household” model whereby all resident care, dining, housekeeping, activities, etc. would be performed by our nursing staff to minimize cross-contamination between departments.  Additionally, these patients would not be receiving therapy during their quarantine period.

So, we have commenced with fit-testing to accomplish this directive.  Testing started yesterday, 6/11/2020 at our Health and Rehab Center on our North campus, and today Friendship Assisted Living and Salem Terrace at Harrogate are being tested.  FHRC-South is working to complete fit-testing over the coming days as well.

Again, we are conducting this fit-testing as a requirement from local and regional authorities in order to be able to do future PPS testing.
 
We will continue updating you as we keep working with local and national leaders.  In the meanwhile, take care and stay well.

Sincerely,

Ben Higgins
VP of Healthcare Operations

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Friendship North Campus

367 Hershberger Road, Roanoke, VA 24012

540.385.8720

Friendship South Campus

5647 Starkey Road, Roanoke, VA 24018

540.777.8300