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For over half a century, a meticulously clean environment has been a hallmark of life at any Holiday community. But the arrival of COVID-19 in 2020 brought our disease prevention and mitigation plans into ever-sharper focus. While our cleaning schedules and methods were already quite rigorous, we understood that an even more aggressive defense would be needed to slow the spread of the novel virus.

At the onset of the pandemic, Holiday Retirement took immediate actions to protect residents and staff by introducing health screenings, curbing outside visits and procuring hard-to-get personal protective equipment.

We implemented an electronic COVID screening solution at all communities in early May of 2020. We've since screened more than 3.5 million residents and visitors throughout the pandemic to ensure people entering our communities were not experiencing any COVID related symptoms, fever and following all CDC guidelines, said Derek D'Alessandro, VP of Information Technology.

We also implemented an infectious disease tracker at the community level to ensure all positive and potential COVID cases were tracked and handled appropriately.

And in the months since the outbreak, Holiday introduced specialized cleaning measures and new technologies that further strengthen our protocols.

Read on to learn how we've committed to keeping residents and staff safe, secure and healthy in every Holiday Retirement community.

Enhanced Preventative Protocols

While the virus continues to pose huge challenges to our nation and the world, Holiday Retirement continues to meet the moment first by exceeding all state, local, and regulatory sanitation and hygiene guidelines.

Common areas are deeply sanitized multiple times per day, with great attention given to high-touch surfaces. Railings, doorknobs, handles, restrooms, counters, tabletops and elevators are cleaned with hospital grade, EPA-registered disinfectants proven to kill coronavirus, norovirus, H1N1, listeria, MRSA, and staph.

Regular housekeeping follows guidelines and checklists informed by the CDC and certified industrial hygienists. When needed, we also enlist third-party, specialized cleaning professionals into protocols.

Our cleaning teams have worked hard to care for our communities for over 50 years.Learn more about our patented 5-step cleaning processthat helps deliver the Holiday touch with a family feel.

New Tech Solutions for Today's Risks

Holiday Retirement has a long history of upgrading our safety protocols in an effort to prevent infectious disease outbreaks in our communities. We've been beefing up our current safety protocols by testing and introducing new technologies that help make our spaces safer, cleaner, and smarter than ever. Here are six of the best:

Thermal Imaging Temperature Screenings

A visitor will be denied entry into our communities if they do not pass a temperature screening. An elevated temperature is one of the most common symptoms of COVID-19. A CDCreporthas detailed that 96% of symptomatic COVID-19 patients surveyed had a fever. Our new thermal imaging systems detect the visitor's temperature through a contactless scanner. This type of technology decreases the risks associated with close contact temperature-taking or touching temperature devices.

Airless Disinfectant Sprayers

We've used an average of 15,000 gallons of disinfectant in our communities every month since March of 2020 to keep our spaces clean and safe. Airless disinfectant sprayers allow us to disinfect our communities faster and with more frequency.

Filled with cleaning solutions proven to kill COVID-19 and the flu, these devices spray up to 20 ounces of disinfectant per minute. Surfaces are coated with a fine mist that sanitizes in three minutes. This method ismore effectiveand efficient than spraying and wiping with a rag. We've already begun using this technology in several of our communities and continue to deploy more.

Touch-less Restrooms

In some of our communities, we're testing touch-less restrooms in common areas. Hands-free toilets, faucets, and soap dispensers provide heightened hygiene and limit germ transmission by reducing touch points.Researchshows that in addition to lowering the number of areas touched, these contact-less features can improve hand hygiene and lead to an increased frequency in washing.

Protective Dividers

Installed in all of our senior living communities, protective plexi shields add an extra barrier of protection between visitors, residents, and our front desk team. This is another way we're enhancing our social-distancing practices.

Keyless Entry

Keyless entry is a smartphone-based application that allows community staff to limit external access as needed.

UV-C Air Filtration System

We're testing UV-C air filtration systems in some of our dining rooms. These surgical-grade HEPA and UV-C filtration systems go beyond regular air filtration products, adding an extra layer of protection by inactivating viruses like COVID-19 with UV-C light. With space between tables that are over the recommended distance, temperature screenings upon entry, and use of PPE, UV-C filters will complement our protocols well and make our dining rooms even safer.

Food Prep and Dining Safety

Our new normal includes a new dining room setup, allowing for plenty of space between diners with residents eating in groups of 33 or fewer. We also offer a combination of delivery and dining room services.

Food preparation and serving always follow strict sanitary guidelines that include measures like:

  • Frequently changing gloves

  • Washing hands in between glove changes

  • Disinfecting all kitchen and dining area surfaces

  • Frequently cleaning work stations with food-safe sanitizer

  • Sanitizing workstations and cooking lines after each meal

If an independent living community is self-quarantining, our dining services follow enhanced cleaning protocols. These include:

  • Using face masks, gloves, and physical distancing while delivering meals

  • Spraying and sanitizing apartment doors, handles, and chairs after each meal delivery

  • Washing and sanitizing all kitchen surfaces and tools more frequently

  • Checking dish machine temperature and chemicals at least three times a day

Recovery Phase Cleaning Protocols

With over 260 senior living communities, home to over 30,000 older adults, some members of our Holiday family unfortunately did contract COVID-19—albeit at much lower rates than the national average. In these cases, we sprung into action to ensure minimal exposure, mitigate risk for residents and staff, and rally around our ill resident in whatever ways we could.

Holiday Retirement has always had infectious disease protocols in place that follow CDC guidelines for contagious illnesses like the flu. We've enhanced those protocols in response to the pandemic. Our infectious disease plans map out specific measures for every area of operation, including cleaning. The process of deep cleaning and sanitizing during a recovery phase from a COVID-19 case is pretty extraordinary to witness, said Timothy Rogers, special projects manager.

In addition to our everyday safety measures like physical distancing and use of personal protective equipment, our already-stringent cleaning protocols kick into overdrive if a resident, caregiver, or staff member tests positive for COVID-19. We clean anywhere there could have been a COVID-19 exposure, said Rogers. Rooms, common areas, dining rooms, etc. are cleaned -- and we begin a monitoring process from there.

The specialized, deep-cleaning procedures following a COVID-19 case include:

Deep Cleaning Common Areas

Our team does an additional deep cleaning of common areas at the end of a 14-day quarantine, including:

  • Machine cleaning all floor surfaces with EPA-registered disinfectants

  • Disinfecting all furniture and fixtures

  • Applying virus-destroying agents on all horizontal surfaces

  • Performing a hot water and sanitizer extraction of furniture

  • Conducting a cleaning extraction of all common area carpets

Deep Cleaning Apartments

If a resident or their caregiver tests positive for COVID-19, we disinfect all apartment hard surfaces and high-touch areas, including:

  • Doorknobs and door jambs

  • Cabinet handles

  • Windowsills, handles, and locks

  • Grab bars and railings

  • Appliances

  • Faucets

  • Remote controls

  • Restrooms

  • Counters and tabletops

  • Thermostats and light switches

  • Remote controls

Hard floor surfaces are also disinfected and a cleaning extraction of carpets is performed.

Everyday Heroes, Extraordinary Times

In a year marked by severely disrupted routines, intense anxiety and necessary but difficult isolation, we couldn't be prouder of our staff and residents who bravely stepped up, remained positive, and brought out the best in one another. We commend our housekeeping teams in particular, for their tireless work and adaptability. The residents are grateful that we're taking these steps, said Rogers. They're so happy that we're taking this initiative to keep their spaces safe. It's one of those things where we're stuck in the process, but you see on the other side coming out how happy they are that we took care of them.

We are also fortunate for the wider communities of neighbors who have rallied around us. Elementary schools have donated cleaning supplies, locals have made hundreds of hand-made masks for residents, and the Georgia National Guard has even helped with recovery cleaning efforts. The residents were thrilled to see the National Guard's presence, said Rogers. It was such a positive feeling, and they were excited that they were there to help them out.

While the health and well-being of our residents has always been our top priority, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed just how much more effort and resources we're willing to invest to keep our Holiday family safe.

Ready to learn more about Holiday Retirement? Pleasecontact ustoday! We look forward to welcoming you with a virtual or in-person tour soon.

Cleaning, community, senior independent living, safety

Click the Photo Above to View Our Cleaning Protocols

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