As the coronavirus continues to affect our state and local area, we would like to provide our weekly update on how the virus is impacting Luthercare communities.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health has mandated that all skilled nursing centers must implement a mass testing plan for residents and staff by July 24, 2020. We began to implement a testing plan ahead of this mandate because the most effective way to manage COVID-19 and to mitigate the spread of the virus is to complete universal testing. We anticipated an increase of asymptomatic positives among both residents and team members, and the testing results are crucial information as we continue to fight this pandemic.
We have completed the second round of universal testing for skilled nursing care residents at Luther Acres and the third round at Spang Crest. We will continue to complete regular rounds of testing of both residents and team members in our Healthcare Centers.
At the Luther Acres Healthcare Center, all of our active cases have been resolved. Since we began our universal testing, we have a total of 11 asymptomatic cases among skilled nursing care residents. Another round of testing for residents will be completed today. Residents are cohorting in designated care areas, and all are in private rooms. Among skilled nursing care team members, we have had 13 test positive since universal testing began; all are asymptomatic. A second round of universal testing for team members took place yesterday, and results are pending. Employees who test positive will return to work following current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. Additionally, we learned this week that a Luther Acres Independent Living resident tested positive for COVID-19 when seeking medical attention for an unrelated matter. Internal contact tracing has been done, and no other residents were identified as having been in contact with the individual recently, with the exception of the individual’s spouse. Further contact tracing will be completed by Lancaster County’s contact tracing program.
At Spang Crest, two skilled nursing care residents have tested positive after two rounds of universal testing; one of them is asymptomatic. The individuals have been placed in isolation and have their own assigned caregivers with appropriate personal protective equipment as outlined by the Department of Health and CDC. A third round of testing is underway. Among team members, six have tested positive since we began the first round of universal testing. A second round of testing for staff will be completed today.
At St. John’s Herr Estate in Columbia, we currently have no positive cases of coronavirus among residents or team members.
Luthercare will provide updates as more test results are provided to us. Universal testing in Personal Care has not yet been mandated, but Luthercare believes it is the best strategy to be able to control the potential spread of the virus. Work is already underway on a testing plan for Personal Care residents and team members. Our top priority remains the health, safety and well-being of our residents and team members.
This week, the Pennsylvania Department of Health completed on-site, focused infection control inspections at both Spang Crest and Luther Acres, and based on the exit conferences, no infection control deficiencies were found. We continue to adhere to strict protocols and continue taking aggressive measures to protect our communities from exposure to COVID-19. Luthercare is adhering to the CDC’s Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Patients with Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Healthcare Settings. We are working closely with our medical director and following the guidelines of the CDC, DOH, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
As the potential for exposure to the virus remains, we urge our residents, families and the greater community to continue to be vigilant even as restrictions begin to ease. The population we serve are the most vulnerable to viruses such as COVID-19. Please continue to practice social distancing, wash your hands frequently, and wear a mask when you are in public.
Thank you for your ongoing support. We ask you to continue to keep Luthercare in your thoughts and prayers.
Founded in 1949, Luthercare, a social ministry organization affiliated with the Lower Susquehanna Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and a member of Lutheran Services in America, is a leading provider of independent, personal care and skilled care residences in Lancaster and Lebanon counties. Luthercare operates Luther Acres, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Lititz, Pa.; Spang Crest, a rehabilitation center, skilled nursing and memory support personal care community in Lebanon, Pa.; and St. John’s Herr Estate, an independent living and personal care community in Columbia, Pa. Additionally, Luthercare operates four PA Keystone Stars-accredited child care and early learning centers in Lancaster, Marietta, Reamstown and Annville. Luthercare, a pioneer in Child Care Programs, also offers a Mentoring Program, which aids home-based child care providers in Lebanon and Lancaster counties.