A Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) is a giant bubble.
I went swimming (okay, floating around) in the indoor pool for the first time in almost a month, since I got the flu.
Not another soul around.
On the way back, I went outside for a short bit – and we had dinner with friends.
This is as normal as it’s going to get. Our hatches are battened down. We are in a virtual lock-down – no one in from the outside who isn’t necessary.
Food selections are far fewer – but still someone else’s job. The servers, many of them high school kids and college kids, are doing a lot to keep us clean, and counter and door knobs wiped – and we’re going hard doing the same.
It’s going to be long – we were estimating it will take at least a couple of months. So we are cautiously supporting each other, and happy we moved here – this would have been soul-killing in NJ, even though there are so many more potentially infectious people here.
I don’t know what will happen – apparently this is Level 2 – and they have plans up to Level 5!
I wonder if the service was as good on the deck of the Titanic.
Outside people – staff
First, our staff. For 350 or so people, we have 200 staff.
TWO HUNDRED PEOPLE who go home every night and come back the next day.
All of our staff live in Davis and the surrounding communities, including Sacramento.
Outside people – family and friends
A very large percentage of our residents come from the city of Davis (where the University of California, Davis, is located). Many taught at UCD, reared children in Davis, and/or still have a child or grandchild in the city.
For Sunday brunches and holiday meals like Thanksgiving and Easter and others, we have to make reservations in advance because so many family members come here. For a quite competitive price, it is easy to have your whole family come here for the holidays. After, while the grownups are talking, it is easy for a few of the parents to take the more wiggly kids swimming to tire them out.
So the connection to Davis is strong – and large.
We have been asked not to have any nonessential visitors – INCLUDING family members. No restrictions on going out – yet. Our oldest from San Francisco will not be coming.
Outside people – everyone else
Firefighters and ambulances are common here – they respond to all kinds of 911 calls, from falls to potential fatalities.
Outside workmen are here all the time, involved in ongoing maintenance and refurbishing the 10% of apartments that turn over in a typical year. There was a guy walking on the roof on the other side of the building this morning. Our roofs have just been replaced – possibly some kind of inspector.
Delivery personnel, including post office employees, are here daily – the front desk handles a mass of packages from all over. These people are now being asked to stop at the front desk and take a temperature scan, and their entry into the building is being minimized.
Staying occupied and involved will be up to us, individually.
All other groups – and we have concerts, lectures, trips, movies – from the outside are being canceled. We are mostly staying in our apartments – not congregating in groups of more than 20 has been requested by management.
We’re trying to ‘flatten the curve’
All we can really hope for is slowing the contagion. The concept is well delineated in a graph from various sources; FastCompany has the story AND several versions of the graph, including one that emphasizes what place like our CCRC are trying to do.
The idea is simple – even for those with a limited science/math background: our healthcare system (NOT uniformly spread over the whole USA) has a certain number of beds in intensive care (under a million), of which about 10% can support critical patients who need help with breathing (about 90,000 beds).
If we have too many people getting to the critical point where they need breathing support (like currently in Italy), then there literally will not be enough of these hospital beds to go around, and doctors will have to make tough choices about who gets one, AND THEY’RE ALREADY PLANNING ON THROWING OLDER PEOPLE AND PEOPLE WHO ARE ALREADY DISABLED or ILL WITH OTHER PROBLEMS (like ME/CFS) UNDER THE BUS – BY DENYING THEM ACCESS TO THE LIMITED BEDS.
So it is crucial to have people get sick at a slower rate.
Because we have no tools to STOP the virus yet. No vaccine, no immunity.
Slowing contagion is done by increasing the distance between people beyond 6 ft. (droplets from coughs make it about that far). Not going out. Not bringing people in.
And by proper cleaning techniques for surfaces (the CCRC staff plus residents are decontaminating surfaces frequently).
And by not transferring any virus particles to ourselves: proper hand-washing, and NOT touching our faces with hands which might be contaminated.
By letting medical personnel know if we have any of the symptoms: fever, cough, headaches… so a sick person can be further isolated if appropriate – and helped to get better.
It still takes SEVERAL WEEKS in intensive care to recover, if you’re one of the critically ill. During that time, you will be occupying a bed and having a lot of help with breathing, and taking a LOT of time from medical personnel.
That’s it for the current state of our waiting, quietly trying to conserve resources and delay the onset of the inevitable as long as possible.
Be sure you have books to read, ahem – long fat complex books – while waiting out the storm.