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Coronavirus Information and Resources

COVID-19 Preparedness and Policies

Today, more than 400 people enjoy life at The Forest and more than 275 staff members are an integral part of their lives. Coronavirus / COVID-19 may keep us socially distanced, but we are still a vibrant, active community dedicated to learning, moving, sharing, and growing.

Updated Friday, January 8, 2021

North Carolina is largely in Phase 1A of vaccine distribution, with smaller counties moving forward into Phase 1B. The Forest at Duke, located in Durham County, was proud to be included as one of the first communities to receive vaccines as part of Phase 1A. This meant that on January 6th, residents and team members of our Health & Wellness Center were able to receive the first of two Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations. A second clinic, for the second dose, has been scheduled.

The Forest at Duke is partnering with CVS Health to offer on-site vaccination clinics for Phase 1A. This ensures that vaccines are transported, stored, and administered by trained health care professionals.

As state and local health experts continue to share information and move through phases, we anticipate scheduling additional vaccination clinics for all residents and team members of The Forest community. Our Leadership team is in close communication with county and state entities, as well as our pharmaceutical partners, and will use all means of communication to send updates for the timing of future clinics.

Please view this infographic to better understand the phases of COVID-19 vaccination, as explained by the NC Department of Health and Human Services.

Updated Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Visitation Policy

The current Durham County recommendations from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services include limiting mixing between households and reducing public interaction to mainly essential activities.

Therefore, the following programmatic changes will take place effective Saturday, December 12, 2020. The restrictions will stay in place through Monday, February 1, 2021, and will be modified as federal, state, and local guidelines necessitate.

Visitation – Independent Living

Effective midnight on Friday, December 11, 2020, indoor visitation at The Forest is being suspended.

Outdoor visitation is permitted on campus for up to one visitor per household at a time. Residents need to continue to register their visitors with Reception (919-490-8000). We ask that these visitations are kept restricted to activities deemed essential.

All visitors are required to screen at the visitor kiosks but may not enter the building.

Residents and their outdoor visitors are required to wear a mask and maintain social distancing for the duration of outdoor visits.

For residents living in a cottage or ground floor apartment, outdoor visitation with one guest may occur on their carport or personal patio, respectively. If residents do not have access to a ground floor visitation area, visitation may take place elsewhere outdoors on campus, such as the tobacco barns or courtyard areas.

We are not prohibiting residents from inviting fellow residents into their homes, but we strongly recommend that they do not, per the current North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services recommendations.

Vendors providing in-home personal services will continue to be restricted, except for approved companions providing support for essential needs. The Forest may permit exceptions for vendor access for critical services, such as phone or internet, on a case-by-case basis. To inquire about this, please contact Nathan Summers at 919-419-4045 or

Visitation – Health & Wellness Center

The visitation protocol implemented in the Health & Wellness Center by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is as follows:

  • Scheduled outdoor visitation continues to occur 7 days per week.
  • Hospice visitation continues 7 days per week for 2 hours in the afternoon.
  • Compassionate Care visits are scheduled on an as needed basis.

All visitation is subject to change, based on necessary isolation or as directed by governing agencies.

As a reminder, visitation to and from the Health & Wellness Center remains heavily restricted, per state and federal mandates. Please contact Jessica Hackett, Resident Navigator, at 919-419-4086 or for information regarding the current Health & Wellness Center visitation policy.

***The degree to which we are open and have services is driven by the prevalence of coronavirus cases in the community; current infection, hospitalization, and death rates; and any other jurisdictional mandate. The Forest will always operate under local and state mandates for services, gatherings, and visitations.

All team members of The Forest at Duke, deliveries, and contractors must continue to be screened before accessing the community. A daily temperature must be recorded, and a brief health questionnaire must be completed.

Updated Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Resident Notifications

To keep The Forest community well informed, updates will be distributed to residents via Channel 1390, TouchTown screens, Telephone Emergency Notification System (TENS), and our brightly colored notices, as well as email, when possible.

Programs and Community Center Spaces

Effective Saturday, December 12, 2020, the Gym and Group Exercise Studio are available by reservation for one household at a time, up to three times per week total. (In other words, households may make up to three reservations a week across these spaces and NOT three reservations in each space per week.)

The Group Exercise Studio will have one treadmill and one NuStep.

The Pool is available by reservation for up to two people at a time, up to two times per week. Pool classes will remain suspended.

Outdoor fitness classes will continue as weather allows. Participants must remain 15 feet apart.

All in-person, indoor programs will remain suspended.

Masks and social distancing are still required in all hallways and other common areas.

Community Center rooms are available by reservation only and for use by same household members onlyFor instance, an individual resident or household may reserve the Art Studio or Billiards space for personal use if they wish. This includes the Art Studio, Living Room, and Taproot.

The Library and Hair Salon operating hours, availability, and parameters for use have not changed.

Updated Tuesday, December 5, 2021

We strongly recommend that residents remain on campus except for essential services or shopping. We also ask that residents postpone all upcoming travel, including flights, cruises, and third party transportation. Leaving campus only increases the risk of potential exposure for the entire community.

If residents do travel or conduct non-essential visitations away from campus, we ask that they self-isolate in their home for a period of 14 days and report any COVID-like symptoms by calling the Clinic immediately. Should they have any questions, residents may always reach out to the Clinic or Social Services to understand potential restrictions upon their return to The Forest.

If residents are feeling isolated or alone, they are encouraged to reach out to their Social Worker, a trusted friend, or a member of the Leadership Team so we can assist and support them as necessary.

Updated Tuesday, January 5, 2021

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services requires all employees who work in nursing home environments to be tested for coronavirus every other week. The Forest at Duke team members working inside our Health & Wellness Center began being tested at the end of July. If there are no positive cases, testing will continue every other week. If there are positive cases of coronavirus among staff, testing will move to every week until there are no new cases for 28 days.

As a result of testing, The Forest at Duke has had one team member and one contractor test positive for the coronavirus as asymptomatic carriers. Both isolated immediately. No residents or subsequent team members tested positive from this initial finding.

Since March 2020, The Forest at Duke has had three residents in Independent Living test positive for the virus. These residents self isolated in their residences immediately and have fully recovered. No residents or team members have tested positive from these findings.

If you have questions about the coronavirus, the following websites offer comprehensive information:

CDC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

NC Division of Public Health

The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine: AMDA Update on COVID-19