Last Updated on October 27, 2020


I write this as a friendly but serious reminder of the importance of taking precautions when we hire any outside provider of personnel services, so you and I can remain COVID-19 free. Nothing new, but very important for us since it relates to our unique population’s health vulnerability. Dr. Fauci of the CDC has indicated several times that “40-45% of COVID-19 infections are caused by those who are asymptomatic”. So, why is this important to know? Or why should you care?

Those of us who live in Charlestown’s independent living apartments have been extremely ‘lucky’ in that we have had only 6 residents who have contracted the coronavirus, one of whom unfortunately died. This deceased was infected by someone from the outside providing private services and though vetted at the main gate, the carrier was asymptomatic and unknowingly infected the resident. The other residents were infected when visiting family, friends or using outside service persons while relaxing their guard to avoid infection.

Charlestown encourages us to take all precautions necessary when we bring anyone into our homes for whatever reason, be they family, friends or various service personnel (for example, pet-walkers, maids, beauticians, etc.), since any one of those visitors may be infected by the coronavirus, yet be asymptomatic. Both you and the visitor should be wearing masks properly, stay at least 6 feet apart, and frequently wash your hands. However, since visiting rules at Charlestown have been relaxed, many residents are not being as careful as they should be.

This week alone, I have nudged about fifteen residents/service personnel to “Please cover your nose” who were wearing their masks improperly. And to ask: Where is your mask? of those neighbors who were not wearing one. I’m afraid that mask fatigue is creeping on campus and people are letting their guard down, especially since red signs went to blue, giving a sense of it’s okay now to be less cautious.

This becomes most important when using home care personnel because it is your responsibility to ensure that these providers have been vetted, have had background checks, have liability insurance, etc. The aides may have been visiting a client outside of Charlestown and may have been infected. Ask, if they have been tested for COVID-19. I have seen a couple of private home health aides coming out of apartments without using masks and/or the resident not wearing theirs. I have reminded those persons to do so; nicely, of course. For peace of mind, I encourage you to make use of the Charlestown’s Home Care personnel who are vetted and tested and are your best bet to staying healthy.

Please, let’s help each other live another year!

Merci Izquierdo-Whitaker
Chair, Residents’ Council Health Services Committee