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COVID-19 Update March 23, 2020

Posted By Jennifer Gill, Monday, March 23, 2020

 March 23, 2020

Coronavirus Update
March 23, 2020


As of this morning, North Carolina has 297 cases of confirmed COVID-19 in 45 counties. More than 8,400 individuals have been tested, ranking North Carolina in the top ten nationwide in this category.

New Executive Order from Governor Roy Cooper
Governor Roy Cooper earlier this afternoon announced a new Executive Order that lowers the ban on mass gatherings to no more than 50 people and continues the current closure of schools until at least May 15. The order also closes gyms, movie theatres, sweepstakes parlors, health clubs, hair and nail salons, barber shops, and massage therapists as of 5 PM Wednesday.

Essential Employee Designations
We continue to receive questions about “essential employee” designations. A LeadingAge member community in Ohio has provided its staff with letters that they think will help clarify the vital role they play during the current crisis. Governor Cooper’s Executive Order from last week provides wording about essential employees regarding child care that may be instructive.

New CDC Guidance on Risk Categories
The CDC last night issued new guidance around COVID-19 and risk categories.

Media Support & Materials
We know that members need help managing the media as the situation in their community changes or gets worse. LeadingAge national has a set of
crisis communications materials and a sample media statement already posted (along with news releases and relevant media coverage).

Let Congress Know What You Think
At the time of this writing, Congress is still working to pass a new coronavirus stimulus bill. This legislation must include strong support for aging services providers.
Urge Congress to include LeadingAge priority provisions in this bill today. Encourage your residents and staff to consider clicking on this Action Alert link to make their voices heard.

National Guard Deployments
We have received inquiries about the deployment of the Public Health Service Corps and the National Guard, which the President called up in New York, California, and Washington yesterday. And here are some
FAQs from LeadingAge national.

CDC Issues COVID-19 Guidance for Federally-Assisted Housing
The CDC has issued Interim Guidance, “Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in Retirement Communities and Independent Living Facilities.” This guidance is for owners, administrators, operators, workers, volunteers, visitors, and residents of independent living facilities and retirement communities that are not healthcare facilities, including federally-subsidized senior housing. 

The Interim Guidance notes several different kinds of independent housing “that is usually age-restricted” with support services for older adults it is applicable to various housing, including:

  • Public housing for low- to-moderate income elderly (i.e., HUD-assisted housing)
  • Assisted living homes that do not provide medical services
  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities, which include a range of housing options including independent living.

The CDC Interim Guidance takes into account that residents in retirement communities generally care for themselves. HUD senior housing communities are generally very porous buildings, where each resident may have their own network of service providers and volunteers that helps them age in community, in addition to any non-health and wellness visitors coming and going from the building. 

Telehealth Resources
Thanks for our friends at LeadingAge Iowa, here's a compendium of helpful telehealth templates and information.

LeadingAge COVID-19 Member Community
The LeadingAge COVID-19 member community is growing by leaps and bounds. Members from across the country are submitting lots of great examples, ideas, and questions and answers. Please join the community if you haven’t done so already by going to and signing up.

Handmade Face Masks
If you think that a handmade mask cannot be used, think again. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a place for them — in times of crisis, like the one we are in right now. On the CDC page: Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of Facemasks, they explain that as a last resort, a homemade mask is acceptable. Frankly, we are at that stage right now. Here’s how they explain it in the Crisis Strategy section, When No Facemasks Are Available, Options Include:

“Healthcare personnel (HCP) use of homemade masks:

In settings where facemasks are not available, HCP might use homemade masks (e.g., bandana, scarf) for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. However, homemade masks are not considered PPE, since their capability to protect HCP is unknown. Caution should be exercised when considering this option. Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face.”

Click here to view five DIY face mask tutorials.

Practical Tools for Staff Conversations
In an effort to help our leaders inspire and motivate their teams, we will be providing a short excerpt or tool that you can use each day:

Today’s offering includes a poem with a question to offer to your team. 

“And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so?

I did.

And what did you want?

To call myself beloved, to feel my self Beloved on the earth.”
Late Fragment by Raymond Carver

Check in with your team…what is one thing that we can do to ensure that our residents and/or team members feel beloved today?

LeadingAge NC COVID-19 Information Page
In addition to daily email updates, LeadingAge North Carolina is updating our COVID-19 information page daily with resources from trusted sources. Click here to view the page. LeadingAge national has also set up a resources page.


LeadingAge North Carolina | 222 N. Person Street, Raleigh, NC 27601
919-571-8333 | |

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