Dear residents, staff, families and supporters,

As you are aware, the COVID-19 vaccines have decreased the number of cases of COVID-19 in nursing homes throughout the country. During that time, nursing homes have encouraged all residents, families, visitors, and staff to become vaccinated. CMS issued a rule for all programs that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding to implement a vaccine mandate for staff, unless the staff member receives approval for a medical or religious exemption from the vaccine. This vaccine requirement has a phased-in approach, to be in full compliance by the January 4, 2022 deadline.

The facility policy and exemption forms are available to staff and there is a deadline of November 26th for exemptions to be reviewed and approved.

Visitation changes
Visitation is always allowed for all residents with the following guidelines:
Core Infection Prevention and Control Principles:
• All individuals who enter a nursing home must be screened for symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and are denied entry if displaying any symptoms, have recently tested positive for COVID-19, or currently meet the criteria for quarantine.
• Appropriate hand hygiene and face coverings used by all staff, residents and visitors.
• Cleaning and disinfection of high-touched surfaces.
• Continued testing of unvaccinated staff on a routine basis and testing of all staff and residents when a nursing home onset COVID-19 case is identified.
• Personal Protective Equipment as required by staff
• Isolation of residents that are suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 to one area.
It is vital to the safety of our residents and staff that all visitors always adhere to these core infection prevention and control principals during visits.
o continue to wear masks and physically distance, particularly if either is at increased risk for severe-disease or are unvaccinated. If the resident and all visitor(s) are fully vaccinated and the resident is not moderately or severely immunocompromised, they may choose not to wear face coverings or masks and to have physical contact. However, visitors must continue to wear face coverings or masks whenever around other residents or staff.
o Residents may choose to have close contact with visitors, however, residents who are unvaccinated should be aware of the risks of physical contact prior to the visit.
• If a resident is in transmission-based precautions confirmed for COVID-19, all visitors will be notified upon entry of the risks of visiting and the precautions necessary. Visits for residents in transmission-based precautions will only occur in the resident’s room.
• When a nursing home onset case of COVID-19 is identified, Bartels will continue to have indoor visitation. All visitors will be notified upon entry of outbreak and the potential risks of visiting, and visitors and staff will follow the Core Infection Control Principles.
• Special considerations may be implemented with the resident and family for residents who are immunocompromised
Communal Dining, Activities and Resident Outings:
• Bartels will continue to follow CDC guidelines related to communal dining and activities.
• Residents will be allowed to go on outings. Prior to the outing, the resident and the person transporting the resident on an outing will be educated about infection prevention and control measures to mitigate COVID-19.
• When the resident returns, they will be screened for signs and symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and to identify if they were possibly around someone with COVID-19. If the resident was possibly exposed to COVID-19 and is not fully vaccinated, they will be placed into quarantine and offered testing per CDC recommendations.
• In certain situations where uncertainty exists about the unvaccinated resident being exposed to COVID-19 (such as a large event like a wedding), Bartels may require the resident to quarantine upon return, regardless of duration of outing.
• Any unvaccinated resident leaving Bartels for longer than 24 hours will be required to quarantine for 14 days upon return.

For the safety of all residents and visitors, Bartels strongly encourages all residents and visitors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If you would like to be vaccinated, please reach out to myself or other Bartels supervisors, and we can assist you with a location to become vaccinated.

Please contact us if you have any questions regarding revised visitation, dining, activities, and resident outings.

We continue to test twice weekly due to the county and the state of Iowa showing above a 10% positivity rate and in the red status on the Federal Community transmission tracking program. We have had 3 employees test positive over the last two weeks. No residents have tested positive.

I hope everyone has a Blessed Thanksgiving Holiday.


Paula Geise, RN, MSN, CEO

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