To Whom It May Concern,
I’m writing to cover a number of topics, including a round of COVID-19 testing, Hurricane Eta preparedness, Thanksgiving thoughts, and more. Luckily it’s all good news.
In what hopefully doesn’t feel like boring repetitive news, all residents tested negative for COVID-19 again! All residents were swabbed and confirmed negative just this morning. This continues our perfect record of keeping residents virus-free throughout the entire pandemic!
We’re continuing to watch global data as well as advancements in the medical field. The most alarming of the data is that the US has had over 100,000 new cases every day since November 4th, which was previously thought of as a radical milestone not possible. Within the United States, the colder weather states seem to be most afflicted as of late compared to Florida, however we don’t believe that to be due to how our state has approached the virus. As many experts have suggested, colder weather exacerbates the spread of the virus and while Florida will not experience a subzero winter, the seasonal cool weather has potential to throw Florida into a pattern similar to the Midwest.
As I had suggested in my last letter, data from Europe was 4-6 weeks ahead of the USA for the first wave and was an extraordinary indicator for the timing of the second wave domestically. The situation continues to worsen in areas like the United Kingdom, despite their national lockdown, and we have to believe that is an indicator for domestic trends to come as well.
We’re encouraged by the news of treatments and vaccines and believe that even if data does not reverse, it is a light at the end of the tunnel. We hope more positive news comes from the medical industry and are grateful that early indicators suggest LTC residents would have priority to approved measures.
Moving to Hurricane Eta, it does seem the storm has refocused its aim on Florida’s Gulf Coast, including us. While we’re conservatively expecting a Category 1, rest assured that we are prepared for much worse. Attached to this email is our full Comprehensive Emergency Preparedness Plan for as much detail as you’d like to know.
The broad strokes are that our entire property is built to be a hurricane shelter through a Category 3 and our entire structure is hurricane proof. We also have a 1,000gal propane generator to power the property in the event of an outage. Beyond a Category 3, we have partnerships with east coast and west coast ALFs to take all of our residents, along with transportation, if need be since they evacuate the island automatically above a Category 3.
As for staffing, all staff are contractually obligated to be present during a hurricane as a condition of their employment. This allows us to overstaff, if need be, to 1×1 escort residents to their rooms. All walkways are covered, so residents wouldn’t be exposed to the elements, but would serve more as a precaution to have an escort.
Food services will continue normally as we have more than enough food and water beyond our normal supply to last us a long time should supply chain get shut down. We also have medication for all residents on property to last through the end of the month.
This is our position at any given moment, let alone when we’re expecting a storm. For Hurricane Eta, we are prepared beyond what the storm even remotely calls for, but we’re ready just in case.
We recognize the holidays are coming up with Thanksgiving next on the schedule. We will be having our annual Thanksgiving dinner here on property and have the place decked out with decorations to commemorate the holiday. We certainly won’t allow any holiday go unrecognized.
Understandably, families have been asking about options to celebrate with their loved ones. While the pandemic is roaring at unprecedented levels currently, we’ve gone out of our way to make arrangements to allow families to celebrate privately.
As many of you know, we have an outdoor visitor area, but it is not an ideal environment for a Thanksgiving meal. What we have decided to arrange is a socially distanced option to share a meal together in a different area of the property. On the east side of our property, we have a parking lot that belongs to us. This is where we host our biweekly food truck and music events. For Thanksgiving, we are going to clear out the lot and set up a patio table, two waist-high picket fences six feet apart, and then a larger table ripe with decorations. We will have two of these arrangements set up.
The week of Thanksgiving, we’re offering families to schedule a time where they can bring family, friends, and food to the property and share a meal with their resident. The resident would sit at the table on our side of the picket fence with the family on the other side of the other picket fence, but there would be no visual obstructions, it’d be open air, and masks would not be required. Unfortunately, we can’t allow any physical contact, but our staff will try to be as available as possible to assist with setting up the meals. I recommend scheduling these slots sooner than later (~90 minute slots) because they will be honored as first-come first-serve.
Throughout the pandemic, we’ve looked for ways to enhance our property even further. Recently, our property was recognized and certified as a Certified Butterfly Garden by the North American Butterfly Association. We’ve always looked to create exotic and interesting gardens, but we now have enough caterpillar food varieties, butterfly nectar varieties, and butterfly species attracted to qualify. We have plaques at a few different gardens identified the species they’re meant to conserve.
For years, we have had a mango tree, an avocado tree, and a bunch of coconut palms that have always been very popular on property when they bear fruit. To further capture that excitement, we’ve since planted dragon fruit, star fruit, passionfruit, tangerine, lychee, mulberry, strawberry, Jamaican cherry, and pink lemons. We’re very excited for them to begin bearing fruit and incorporating them into the dietary program.
We appreciate the continued understanding and cooperation that we’ve gotten from our ENTIRE community as we navigate an obviously difficult time in many different ways. We value the trust you’ve placed in us and will continue to honor our commitment to the health and safety of our community.
As always, please call my office directly if you have any questions.