A Cautionary Tale
This is going to be a serious entry today, so enjoy the goldfinch and skip over the rest if you're not in the mood.
In the US, as in many other parts of the world, we are being asked to refrain from gathering with others in our homes right now. The virus is spreading rapidly and many of the cases are being traced to small home gatherings. This is a difficult message for all of us, especially after so many months of lockdowns and social isolation. But let me share with you a true tale, one that involves the senior care facility where my MIL lives.
The facility she lives in is comprised of Independent Living (those needing no assistance but who like the community living aspect), Assisted Living (as the name implies, needing some assistance), and Long Term/Nursing Care (for those who required skilled nursing care, including my 91 year-old MIL). Since the Virus first reared its head here in New Jersey last winter, the facility where MIL lives has kept the virus completely out of their residential population, through strict adherence to State regulations and extreme diligence on the part of staff and residents. And, in the case of Independent Living, through the cooperation of those residents in wearing masks, social distancing, etc.
Several weeks ago, the first case of Covid was confirmed in the IL community; and in short order, there were 3 additional resident cases and 6 employee cases. On a Zoom call with the facility director this morning, he confirmed that the first case was from someone in IL who attended an event in a family member's home (outside the facility), didn't take precautions, and didn't self-isolate on returning to the facility. And just like that, 10 people are sick, including four in the high-risk age group. Hopefully no one will have to go to the hospital. Hopefully, no one will die. And maybe, just maybe, some lessons will be learned.
We will not be able to see MIL for at least another month as the facility will be in lockdown until they've gone 28 days without another infection. In the meantime, all staff will be tested every other day and all residents will have to endure nasal swab tests every week. And we will be holding our breaths, hoping and praying that the virus doesn't spread further into the facility.
Please, please, be careful. Don't let your guard down now, not when hospitals are reaching capacity and healthcare workers are exhausted and, in some cases, becoming infected. We can do this. If you are fortunate enough to have a yard or a balcony or a nearby park, enjoy some fresh air and nature.