The City of Somerville has issued new directives to reduce the risk of coronavirus outbreaks in senior housing. All senior housing communities are required to have a plan in place in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19 in their buildings.
In accordance with those requirements and in an effort to reduce foot traffic in the buildings, Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) is suspending non-essential services in Somerville senior housing.
Non-essential services are supports that can be temporarily suspended without undue risk, such as homemaking and chore services.
SCES is continuing to provide essential services, such as personal care, medication management, and meals delivery. SCES Executive Director Paul Hollings said the agency is working hand-in-hand with the Somerville Office of Health & Human Services to balance limiting contact with meeting critical needs.
“We are committed to meeting the needs of our clients, and we also recognize the need to reduce non-essential foot traffic during this outbreak,” said Hollings.
The new directives come after an outbreak at the Mt. Pleasant Senior Apartments in Somerville, which resulted in a quarantine order for the building from the city. The Board of Health subsequently ordered all housing sites in the city to develop plans for addressing potential outbreaks.
SCES responded to the Mt. Pleasant quarantine by contacting every client in the building. SCES team members updated residents on the status of their services and checked to see if they needed additional help. Hollings thanked the Somerville Office of Health & Human Services, the Somerville Council on Aging, and Peabody Management (managers of Mt. Pleasant) staff for working together to meet residents’ needs.
In subsequent days, SCES has reached out to all clients in Somerville senior housing, to check-in and discuss suspending non-essential services, likely for two to four weeks.
Hollings anticipated those services will resume when the current statewide outbreak subsides.