Dear NEMA Residents,
As you may know, local and state government took unprecedented action this afternoon when the Governor of Illinois announced a closure of all restaurants and bars to minimize community contacts in an effort to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Following their lead, we want to align ourselves and the NEMA residential community with those social distancing efforts as the situation continues to evolve.
Many of our residents are already staying in their residences as part of their effort to help the cause. As such, our amenity usage has gone down substantially as residents prefer to wait out the situation and do their civic duty to “flatten the curve” of the COVID-19 transmissions. In that spirit, and to safeguard the health of our residents and staff, we are closing the building’s amenities at 10:30 pm tonight, Sunday, March 15. This will allow us to not only focus our energies on continual deep cleaning of the lobbies and other common areas, including the hallways and elevators, but also be aligned with local and state government mandates. This is not a decision we take lightly, and there is no playbook for this situation. We know of several other buildings that are following this direction, and we hope to open the amenities as soon as practicable.
With the amenities closed, there should be limited opportunities for community transmission. We would add that one of the technological features of NEMA is the fact that our elevators are fob operated, a brand new “smart elevator” technology, and do not require touching of elevator buttons when going up to your residence. You may consider using a disposable tissue to touch the elevator pad when going downstairs, at your discretion. We will continue to clean the elevator pads daily.
We notified you last week of a resident who chose to self-isolate with flu-like symptoms. In addition, we recently received news that another resident has been exposed to and tested positive for COVID-19. The resident is maintaining self-isolation in their residence in the building. At this point, this is the only information we have regarding this situation. We respectfully ask that all residents monitor themselves for signs or symptoms of COVID-19, notify management if you have any symptoms (i.e., coughing, fever or breathing difficulties), and self-isolate, if applicable.
We want to do everything possible in an operational sense to minimize transmission and follow best practices until the virus passes and normalcy is returned. Therefore, going forward, additional procedures will be put in place for staff conduct. All staff are being advised that they should not enter the apartments of residents or enter the six- foot personal space of residents unless a situation requires (e.g., required maintenance or safety issue in an apartment).
To balance safety and privacy concerns, if there is a legitimate reason (e.g., that a resident has requested an employee enter their apartment as noted above or provide very close assistance to a resident), residents will be asked the following questions either via e-mail, text or in person:
• Do you have any symptoms such as a fever, cough and/or shortness of breath?
• Have you been overseas in the last 14 days?
• Have you had contact with a person who is has been exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19?
If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions and there is not a health or safety issue requiring immediate staff assistance, most likely, a staff member will not enter the apartment and may not be able to provide the usual level of personal assistance.
As you know, the safety of our residents and staff is of the utmost importance. That said, we are also obligated to respect the privacy of our residents as well as the privacy of staff members. Accordingly, to comply with federal, state and local privacy laws, we cannot disclose any specific resident's medical condition nor can we disclose an employee's medical condition or disclose any other information allowing anyone to identify any individual who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or may have been exposed to COVID-19.
As we emphasized in our earlier letter to residents, we must all take care of each other and be vigilant good neighbors. We will continue to do our part to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our residents by continuing to deep clean the common areas of the building and updating out building policies as new information is learned, and we ask you to do your part in safeguarding the health and wellbeing of our community by following the protocols recommended by the CDC and by being understanding, kind and considerate in this stressful time for our city and our country.
Please contact us should you have any further questions.
1210 South Indiana Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605