As many of you have heard, CDC has put out some new guidelines to follow if you have received your vaccines. With 97% of our independent living residents having received their vaccines, the fact that we have been COVID free here at Dow Rummel for about a month and Minnehaha’s county positive rate has been under 10% for about 6 weeks, we feel the CDC’s new guidelines are appropriate for us to implement in our independent living areas here at Dow Rummel as we look at opening up more. These guidelines are for those who have been fully vaccinated. People are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their 2nd dose of a 2-dose series (like the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines) or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine (like Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine). If it has been less than 2 weeks since your shot, or if you still need to get your 2nd dose, you are NOT fully protected. Keep taking all prevention steps until you are fully vaccinated.

CDC’s new guidelines say that if you have been fully vaccinated:

  • You can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.
  • You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with family or friends who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • If you live in a group setting, such as our independent living apartments here at Dow Rummel, and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms. If you find yourself in that position, please contact Mike or Darla and we will work with you on getting tested.
    • You should still take steps to protect yourself and others in many situations, like wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. Take precautions whenever you are:
      In public
    • Gathering with unvaccinated people from more than one other household
    • Visiting with an unvaccinated person who is at increased risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 or who lives with a person at increased risk.
  • You should still avoid medium or large-sized gatherings.
  • You should still delay domestic and international travel. If you do travel, you’ll still need to follow CDC requirements and recommendations for travel which can be found on CDC’s website.
  • You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others for 14 days.

With all this in mind, we will be opening up the entrances to the Village North and Village West apartments (1100 North Lake, 1110 North Lake and 1409 W Dow Rummel Street) on Tuesday, March 16th. We will have the security entrances ready to go by noon on the 16th. Residents can invite anyone they choose to come visit in their apartment by coming in through their apartment entrance and coming directly to their apartment. For new residents, when a visitor comes to your building entrance, they will use our security entrance to ring your apartment. The system will call you on your phone where you can talk to the person to see who is at the entrance and then you simply push 6 on your phone keypad (holding the key for a couple seconds) to unlock the door and let them in. Please do not let someone in that you do not know. Visitors coming to see independent living residents in the Dow and Rummel wings will need to come in through our main entrance at 1321 W Dow Rummel Street and will need to complete our health screening. Masks will be required for all visitors and we ask them to come directly to the resident’s apartment for the visit. We are not allowing visitors to visit any of our common areas like the Rose Room, Wellness Center, Covell’s, Deli, Gathering Hall, Chapel or main street shops yet, as we want to be able to maintain those as safe areas for our residents to use. Guest rooms are not yet available to use but if family members want to stay with you in your apartment that would be fine. If you are on the elevator and a visitor wants to get on the elevator you have the right to ask them to wait if you are not comfortable sharing the elevator with them. You will want to keep a mask with you when out of your apartment here at Dow Rummel as you may run into someone in the elevator. And you will always want to have a mask with you with you leave Dow Rummel as you never know who you might encounter on your outings and need to be prepared to wear a mask at any time.

We will keep you updated on the status of COVID cases in Minnehaha County by posting a weekly update on the bulletin board outside Darla’s office each Tuesday afternoon. Should we have a positive case in your building or should Minnehaha County’s positivity rate exceed 10%, we will call you to let you know right away. We want to be able to provide you with the right information to help each of you make the right decisions about visitors coming to see you or you going out to visit others safely. The information we will post will look like this:

  • Currently Minnehaha County’s positivity rate is 9.6% with 582 active cases which is the highest it has been since January 27th.
  • We have no active cases here at Dow Rummel and have been COVID free since February 17th.
  • The Dept of Health has reported 2 cases of the UK variant of the COVID-19 virus in SD (Minnehaha County). The Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are effective vaccines for these variants.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call Darla at 575-0177 or Mike at 575-0199.