Update from Dan Fagin on CJE's Response to COVID-19 Pandemic—July 2, 2020

July 2, 2020

Dear CJE Clients, Residents, Family Members, and Caregivers:

Even though we are moving into Phase 4 of Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan, we continue to monitor our situation and following the recommended guidelines by the State of Illinois, Cook County Health Department, Lake County Health Department, IDPH, IDOA, the CDC and other health regulatory authorities. Since CJE has so many different programs throughout metropolitan Chicago, we need to be on top of the regulations that impact seniors in a wide variety of settings, whether they are living in their own home in the community or in one of CJE’s buildings, including Weinberg Community for Assisted Living in Deerfield or Lieberman Center for Health and Rehabilitation in Skokie. We continue to have leadership meetings with all our Jewish Federation partners and will let you know when our situation changes.

In the meantime, here is an update on what is happening at CJE as of July 2, 2020:

Bernard Horwich Building
In alignment with the JCC/ECC and Summer Camp plans to be at BHB this summer as of July 6, CJE staff will be allowed (but not required ) to enter the building as of July 13, but on a limited/staggered basis following consultation with their managers in order to maintain appropriate social distancing.  The main door will remain locked; children, camp counselors and parents attending these programs will not enter through the main entrance. Their camp program will run primarily outside, except on rainy or extreme heat days when they will use indoor BHB spaces, including the Rosenstone and Heller Rooms.  The JCC pool, gym, and front desk will remain closed for now (subject to change, of course).

  • Although people may see activity around the Horwich JCC Building, CJE continues to be closed to clients, future clients, community members and volunteers until further notice, in accordance with several local, state, and federal guidelines.  In an abundance of caution, and because we serve an especially vulnerable population, we will evaluate the situation daily to determine the best date and procedures for opening our doors for in-person visits. At the appropriate time, CJE will implement a phased re-opening for clients, most likely by appointment only to limit the number of people in our waiting room.
  • Anyone entering the Horwich building for any reason will be asked general questions about their health situation, have their temperatures taken and masks will be required. More details will be posted as the situation evolves.
  • In the meantime, clients and/or future clients can contact our main number 773.508.1000 to have telephonic consultations for consumer assistance, counseling, or care management. Documents and letters can be placed into the mailbox on the outside of the JCC/Horwich Building.  

Most administrative employees are still working remotely. Some employees have been re-assigned to help in buildings that need assistance. Employees are still prohibited from traveling to CJE’s different buildings to lessen the potential of virus spread.

Lieberman Center and Weinberg Community
As of June 29, we are excited to offer closely monitored patio visits and al fresco dining, for family members with residents at Lieberman and Weinberg.  We are allowing 1 visit a week from each family at this time so we can accommodate all families as soon as possible. We understand how long it has been since most of you have been in-person to visit. If you would like to set up an appointment, call Weinberg or Lieberman to make arrangements.

We must emphasize that families still need to respect the restrictions that we have put in place or risk endangering their residents and staff at our buildings. Although there are no guarantees, health experts have stated that these precautions can limit the spread of the disease.

IDPH has issued new guidance for nursing homes (but not Assisted Living) regarding testing and we are following all requirements. Although test kits have not been readily available until recently, we have now completed testing of all residents and most of the staff at both Lieberman and Weinberg. Many residents and staff who previously tested positive have recovered and have been released from isolation.

We have had no new cases, either residents or staff, at Weinberg Community. At Lieberman Center, 1 employee and 1 resident have tested positive in the past 2 weeks.  Due to the decrease in cases, Lieberman has only one remaining COVID isolation unit.

Both communities are taking new admissions, following a set of specific protocols and appropriate precautions.

We are continuing to limit the people in these buildings to only essential medical personnel and staff. This means that individuals are not allowed to come into these facilities except for special circumstances such as end-of-life situations or when it is medically necessary.  Anyone allowed to enter these buildings will answer a few simple questions and undergo a temperature check.

Community-Based Services
Adult Day Services in Evanston and Deerfield (at Friend Center) remain closed.  We will adhere to IDOA Guidelines and implement many precautions to protect clients when we are eventually permitted to open. When the ADS-Evanston program does re-open, it will be at its new temporary location at CJE’s Village Center building (5140 Galitz Street, Skokie) until the refurbishing of the Evanston location is completed.  More information will be available soon on this exciting new project to modernize and incorporate the Evanston ADS program into a new affordable housing apartment building complex that will be breaking ground this summer.

More home-delivered meals than ever are being brought to frail or homebound individuals. Volunteers who deliver meals have been given new protocols that practice social distancing and prevent them from entering any homes. Masks and gowns are provided to them. In addition, an increasing number of our regular volunteers have been calling hundreds of homebound clients, providing friendly “wellness checks,” which is just one way for seniors in our community to feel less isolated during this time.

All staff at Lieberman Center, Weinberg Community and designated community-based services, have been provided with appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) throughout the pandemic, without limitations. Those employees working with confirmed or suspected cases are given high levels of PPE, such as N95 masks, shields, etc. See the picture below that illustrates the amount of PPE we have to distribute throughout CJE!

We have also delivered PPE to clients of Holocaust Community Services and residents in our independent housing buildings.

PPE

We continue to be very innovative in re-imagining many of our programs so we can provide clients and residents with telehealth counseling and streaming life enrichment classes.  Check out some of our Cyber Club classes which are also available to community members—https://www.cje.net/cyberclub

Now for some more positive news: Our new independent living community in Deerfield, Tamarisk NorthShore, is nearly complete and residents will be moving into their apartment homes in August.  The first-floor living room, with a gorgeous fireplace where people will mingle, is furnished and is a sight to behold.  You can make an appointment for an individual tour now by calling Paisley Valentincic at 847.597.5772.  There is still time to join our Priority List and select the apartment that best meets your needs.

Finally, there are no words to describe the generosity of our community. We have had an amazing outpouring of support for our staff who are on our frontlines, risking their own health to take care of residents and clients.  Read more about the incredible acts of kindness we’ve received by so many individuals and organizations that feel deeply about CJE’s mission to serve some of the most vulnerable—and often forgotten—people in our community.

We are thankful for your patience, trust and support during this difficult time. Hopefully, things are starting to look brighter, but I will continue to stay in touch via our website, eblasts or phone calls to let you know of any significant changes or developments.

 

Stay safe and be well,

 

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Dan Fagin
President & CEO, CJE SeniorLife