Rita Davis, BRC’s Infection Preventionist, began tracking the spread of the novel coronavirus shortly after the reports of infections in China began to circulate. At the time, she wasn’t greatly concerned about the possibility of the virus coming to the United States. But when it became clear that the virus was also spreading in Europe, she grew concerned that we may soon be dealing with a potential global pandemic.
As the Infection Preventionist, she had already implemented new infection prevention measures on campus that improved upon BRC’s already solid practices. In October, all team members are required to receive flu vaccinations and are retrained on proper handwashing protocols. Resident vaccinations (including for flu, pneumonia, and shingles) are kept up to date and documented. But with no vaccine or approved treatment options available, COVID-19 presents new challenges to safeguarding resident health.
Rita, along with Director of Nursing Barb Frye, has brought the expertise to develop effective, clinically supported new protocols. Together, they keep the COVID-19 response team apprised of current risk levels and make recommendations on how best to implement guidance received from the Centers for Disease Control, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Virginia Department of Health, and World Health Organization.
Now that access to campus has been restricted to those who live and work here, prevention efforts have shifted focus to preparing for the possibility of a confirmed case within the community. “Most of our next steps involve what will happen if we do have a case,” she says. “We’re designating a dedicated isolation area and looking at requiring all of our front-line team members to wear washable masks to further reduce risk of exposure to residents.”
It’s work that hasn’t gone unappreciated. Rita spent some time at the guardhouse over the weekend, training the security team on screening procedures. While there, several residents passed by and expressed their sincere gratitude for the effort to keep them safe.
“The vast majority of the response in our community has been positive,” she says. “People are happy that we’re taking the measures we’re taking.”
To stay up-to-date on how we are handling the COVID-19 situation, see Preventing Coronavirus (COVID-19) at BRC.