We are thankful for the availability of vaccines, which are bringing significant relief to our communities. Cassia will continue to be transparent during this time of transition. Should a positive case of COVID-19 occur at any community, our practice is to inform residents, individuals designated as primary contacts and staff.
Coronavirus Vaccine: A Message of Real Hope
Cassia began administering vaccines to residents and staff in December 2020 through our own A & E Pharmacy. To date, 18,000 people have been vaccinated.
A & E offered the vaccine to all essential caregivers who provide direct care to Cassia residents, or to anyone who is in frequent contact with residents or staff in Cassia communities. This has provided more protection by vaccinating beyond direct contact with residents. A & E has completed a third clinic at all Minnesota Cassia sites by the middle of March. Ongoing, vaccines are available to new residents and staff.
After a thorough safety review, including two meetings of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that the recommended pause regarding the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine in the U.S. should be lifted and vaccine use should resume.” When available, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine may be used for eligible individuals.
While more information will be forthcoming, we want to respond to the questions we received to date. We are using the most reputable sources available, such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other federal and state guidelines. See our COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions.
We are pleased to announce new changes in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With vaccines on board, we can now open visitation, meals, and activities (depending on local health department guidelines). We are thankful to dedicated staff who continue to deliver care and services to residents and members. Despite the continued challenges presented by COVID-19, we remain steadfast in our mission to provide compassionate care and a safe environment for residents, clients and staff.
Our efforts are closely coordinated with the CDC, CMS, and state health departments. The most up-to-date details are available on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 website and your local state health department site; see links below.
We remain focused on helping residents live fully and joyously. Daily life includes numerous opportunities to stay connected to the people and passions that mean most to them.
Cassia continues to take the following steps:
- Routine resident screening and testing, following protocol
- Employee screening and testing
- Visitor screening upon entry
- Regular communication with residents, families and staff explaining new procedures
Cassia understands the importance of visits to help residents stay connected to family and friends, recognizing the crucial role family members and other caregivers play in residents’ lives. State and federal regulators have released guidelines on how we can safely open to more visitors and continue to protect the health of our residents and staff.
Residents will have access to in-person visits, within our building and within our buildings.
In addition to increasing the number of people who can come into our settings with fewer restrictions, the new guidance allows fully vaccinated residents to come and go without the need to quarantine upon return. If there is a confirmed COVID outbreak, the facility will need to close visitation for a short time to test and evaluate the test results. The site will then consider opening areas where there is no COVID exposure.
At the same time, vaccination does not change any of the precautions we take at Cassia or stop the need for personal protective equipment (PPE).
While we prepare for these exciting changes, here are a few details you can expect:
- Visitors will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 as they enter our setting.
- Visitors will be required to practice hand hygiene and wear facemasks per guidelines to observe appropriate infection control and prevention practices.
- We are thrilled to share that fully vaccinated visitors may visit vaccinated loved ones without masks, social distancing, or restrictions on physical touch/hugs. However, visitors are expected to remain socially distanced from other residents and staff.
- We encourage visitors to get vaccinated, but it is not required.
While visitation is greatly expanded under federal and state regulations, there are a few exceptions pertaining to unvaccinated residents and those with confirmed COVID-19 infections. Therefore, policies will not look exactly the same for every single resident in every circumstance.
Please see our Frequently Asked Questions page for more specific details.
Easing visitation restrictions does come with risks, and we will do our best to alleviate them. We are continuing our comprehensive infection control practices to ensure the safety of staff and residents. Please note all visitors will be held to the same standards and expectations of those who live and work here.
The continued risk of COVID-19 transmission in congregate settings and the need for visits with families and friends can be safely, appropriately balanced. Our goal in this next phase is to protect residents and staff as we create more opportunities for in-person connections.
We are taking all the necessary, required measures to protect residents and staff and are following the guidance provided by state and federal regulators. Please be patient as we roll out our new visitation policies. As the virus is still being transmitted across the country, we may need to change visitation options based on the overall status of COVID-19 in our community.
Safety is a shared responsibility.
- All visitors must comply with our screening protocols and other infection control measures.
- You are a partner in helping protect our residents and staff from this virus. The requirements and procedures we follow are based on state and federal guidance, and we invite you to work with us as caregiving partners to abide by them.
Our ability to relax visitation restrictions would not have been possible without two important factors: the high rate at which our residents received vaccination from COVID-19 and the dedication of staff who worked tirelessly to manage risks. We know that you, too, have made sacrifices during this difficult time, and thank you for your patience and understanding.
If you have questions, call the administrator or director of housing at the community where your loved one or friend lives.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Will I be notified if a case of COVID-19 occurs at one of Cassia’s locations?
A. Should either a resident or an employee show symptoms or test positive for the Coronavirus, our team shares information through a message or email and is available to respond to questions. Employees will not be allowed to work and will be recommended for medical evaluation. Residents will be quarantined and will receive additional care and attention.
Q. Is there anything family members can do to help?
A. It is a great blessing for us to care for your loved ones and we are honored you chose Cassia. We hope you will take care of yourself and try to get enough rest and reduce your stress. If you must work, please ask your employer if you can work from home and if you have symptoms such as a fever, cough and shortness of breath, please contact your physician immediately. We also ask that you stay connected to your loved ones through digital means such as emails, texts, calls and video chats.
If you would like to support Cassia’s preparations and response, please consider making a donation at https://www.cassialife.org/give or connect with Cassia’s Philanthropy team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your gift will help us purchase things like protective masks, iPads for social connections and make a significant difference for caregivers and those we serve as we adapt to carrying out our mission differently during this time.
Resources for National and Local Updates
State agencies where Cassia has communities
For additional information or questions, please contact Cassia at email@example.com or Sharon Wilson, Chief Clinical and Compliance Officer at 952-855-5141.