Management Newswire

Tracing the Fight Against COVID-19

Masks, testing and contact tracing, according to most scientists, provide the firepower to help defeat the coronavirus. Amidst the often-confusing and contradictory information emanating about COVID-19, there is overwhelming agreement that contact tracing is a key tool. Matthew Adam Properties has created a contact tracing system to protect residents, guests and staff in our buildings.

What are our procedures? We maintain a ledger at the front desk with the names of all visitors, vendors and others who enter the building listing who they are visiting and their cell phone number. We also log which staff have entered an apartment, such as handymen. If a resident is infected with the virus, we know who has been in the apartment.

Currently, we are working to upgrade our efficiency with software to perform the same functions with a system that protects people’s privacy while providing the necessary information. We are close to finding one.

Our strategic COVID-19 plans include having ready back-up for emergencies. When a visitor or resident tests positive, we bring in a professional sanitation company that can respond in hours. They use the highest-grade materials, exceeding basic guidelines, and making certain to eliminate residue in the air or on furniture, doorknobs, etc.

This is one of many steps we have taken since the coronavirus charged full throttle into our lives last winter. We follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines and, as in the case of the ledger, we expanded in certain areas.

Those infected with COVID-19 should quarantine in their apartments and notify the superintendent, asset manager or resident manager. Their identities are kept confidential, but this permits us to provide assistance for food shopping and picking up garbage left outside the apartment door. In addition, if an infected person is going to a doctor or the hospital, we can provide a route for them that limits danger of infection to others. We encourage residents to help each other either through organized groups or individually with shopping and checking in on residents living alone, particularly the elderly, even if they are not infected. These can be lonely times.

While we impose certain requirements to protect everyone’s safety, final decisions on procedures are made by the boards of the properties we manage. We mandate doormen, concierge staff and all employees to wear masks and gloves. Doormen and concierges also wear face shields along with masks to provide greater protection, and protective shields have been installed at desks. Hand sanitizers are stationed throughout the lobby and public areas.

Elevators are cleaned on a regular basis with occupancy limited to three persons. Public areas are cleaned and sanitized throughout the day using top-grade materials. Whenever possible, we maintain our policy of using non-toxic cleaning materials for the safety of residents, guests and staff.

Staffs are checked every day when they report to work for any symptoms.

We maintain a very conservative policy on deliveries. Except for perishables, we recommend holding deliveries in our package rooms for about three days. I like to compare this to getting a gift for Christmas or Hanukkah and holding it for the holiday. If it is not perishable or essential, why not be very safe?

While many buildings opened gyms and pools, we follow city guidelines on opening and closing. One issue with indoor health facilities is air quality and having sufficient clean-air intake. Most fitness centers are in enclosed basement or first-floor areas, increasing the importance of having an effective air-filtration system.

Boards and residents are encouraged to make recommendations on safety improvements. As with most aspects of this pandemic, from gaining knowledge about the nature of the virus and its long-term impact on those stricken, to the use of masks, social distancing and size of crowds, we are learning each day. As we find and analyze new procedures and guidelines, we adapt those we believe will be useful always following our conservative policy. Even with positive news about vaccines, I believe a strong semblance of normal won’t return for at least a year, so we must be vigilant every hour of every day.

Ira Meister
Matthew Adam Properties Inc.
375 Pearl Street – 14th Floor
New York, NY 10038