We would like to provide an update on how COVID-19 is impacting Luthercare communities and remind you of the importance of remaining diligent in mitigating the spread of the virus.
This week, COVID-19 vaccinations continued in Luthercare’s Healthcare Centers, with many residents and team members receiving their second dose or first dose at on-campus clinics arranged by CVS Pharmacy. Personal Care residents are receiving their first vaccinations this week, with a clinic being held today at Luther Acres and on Sunday at St. John’s Herr Estate. Vaccination is not complete until both doses are received.
As we shared last week, please know Luthercare is doing everything it can to secure a clinic for our Independent Living residents. The Pennsylvania Department of Health controls all access, distribution, clinic dates and related aspects of vaccination. Luthercare has no control over when and how it will be available. Many people, both locally and across Pennsylvania, are awaiting the vaccine and frustrated that they have not yet been able to receive it. Vaccine supply is still extremely limited. We encourage Independent Living residents to acquire a clinic time at a local pharmacy or healthcare provider if you are able. We ask for your patience and trust as we are doing everything possible to secure clinics on our campuses and will provide you with information as soon as we can.
The combination of getting vaccinated and following the CDC’s recommendations for personal safety offer the best protection from COVID-19. It is important to note that personal mitigation efforts, such as proper hand washing, wearing a mask, and physical distancing, must continue to occur even after getting the vaccine.
As a reminder to our residents, mask wearing is required when leaving apartments or cottages, when picking up meals, when going to the store, or anytime you may come into contact with others. This is a critical time, and we ask you to continue to practice these precautions to keep yourself, your neighbors, your friends, and your loved ones healthy and safe.
Visitation to Luthercare communities remains restricted. Visitors are not permitted in Healthcare or Personal Care, with the exception of compassionate care visits. Campus grounds are closed to the outside community; this includes biking and walking on campus. Visitation for Independent Living apartments and cottages is also restricted at this time. If you are an essential adult (age 18+) caregiver, please contact a campus director to arrange a visit. To learn more and review our updated visitation guidelines, please visit the news portion of our website, www.Luthercare.org/news.
The second Luther Acres vaccination clinic for Healthcare Center residents and team members was held today, with many receiving their second dose and some receiving their first dose. The third clinic for the Healthcare Center is scheduled for February 19. Also today, the first vaccination clinic for Personal Care residents was occurring. Thank you to all team members, residents and family members for your support in choosing to participate in this round of vaccinations.
Universal testing of Luther Acres Healthcare Center residents and team members continues, with employee testing occurring twice a week and resident testing once a week. Since our last update, 10 residents tested positive, with six being asymptomatic and four being symptomatic. All have been moved to our COVID-19 unit for care and treatment under transmission-based precautions. We are pleased to report that two residents who had been receiving care on our COVID-19 unit have recovered and returned to their previous rooms. The unit is currently providing care to 12 residents. In regards to staff testing, we had one team member test positive since our last update. The individual is in quarantine and will return to work after meeting CDC guidelines. Compassionate caregiver visits continue to remain on hold, future communication will occur directly with caregivers, when visits resume. The Healthcare Center is adhering to the regulatory standards regarding continued universal testing from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The Lancaster County positivity rate remains at a level Red, or high community spread. We will continue regular communication to all resident responsible parties to provide personal updates regarding their loved ones.
In Personal Care, weekly testing of residents and team members continues, and there are no known active cases. All previous staff cases have reached the end of their quarantine period and are eligible to return to work. Today, residents are receiving their first COVID-19 vaccinations. Staff are receiving their vaccinations at the Healthcare Center clinic.
Currently, there are no known active cases among Independent Living residents. As for a vaccination clinic for Independent Living residents, Luther Acres continues to communicate with external companies that may be able to conduct a clinic on campus. Of the health systems and pharmacies contacted, Phoebe Pharmacy, with a location in East Petersburg that services Healthcare Center and Personal Care residents, is looking like the most promising of the current options available. Luther Acres is hopeful that more information will be available next week on when a clinic can be held on this campus for Independent Living residents. In the meantime, we urge residents who are able to reserve a vaccination time if one becomes available with a pharmacy or healthcare provider. We will continue to advise residents of other options as they become available.
St. John’s Herr Estate
Personal Care residents and team members are scheduled to have their first COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Sunday. As a reminder, Independent Living residents are not included in the clinics, as determined by the DOH. St. John’s Herr Estate is pursuing all avenues for providing a vaccination clinic onsite for Independent Living residents. Those who do receive the vaccine must still follow precautions, including proper hand washing, wearing a mask, and physical distancing.
In Personal Care, there are no cases of coronavirus among residents. Among team members, one staff member tested positive this week and is in quarantine and will return to work after meeting CDC guidelines. Personal Care residents and campus staff continue to undergo universal testing, with staff receiving weekly tests and residents receiving monthly tests unless otherwise recommended. We are adhering to the regulatory standards from the Department of Human Services regarding continued universal testing based on the positivity rate within the county.
Meanwhile, among Independent Living Apartment Building residents, no new cases have been reported. Three residents continue to receive rehabilitation services.
Spang Crest held its second vaccination clinic on Thursday, with 68 residents getting their first or second dose, and 107 employees receiving their first or second dose. The third clinic is set for February 18. Thank you to all team members, residents and family members for your support in choosing to participate in this round of vaccinations.
We currently have two residents in our COVID-19 isolation unit. Monday’s rapid testing showed no new cases among residents or team members. All residents and team members were tested again on Thursday, and those results are pending. Last Thursday’s round of testing resulted in two positive cases among residents and five among employees. The staff are in quarantine and will return to work after meeting CDC guidelines.
Treatment measures remain in place to minimize risk throughout the building. We are adhering to the regulatory standards regarding continued universal testing from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Testing is taking place twice a week due to the Lebanon County positivity rate, which is at a level Red, or high community spread. We will continue regular communication to all resident responsible parties to provide more personal updates regarding their loved ones.
We encourage families and residents to communicate regularly through phone calls, texts, video chat, and other virtual means. We have team members who can help walk you through the process. If you need assistance, please reach out to the Executive Director at your campus. They are:
Luther Acres Executive Director Craig Shelly, 717.626.1171
St. John’s Herr Estate Executive Director Anita Martin, 717.684.0678
Spang Crest Executive Director Dan Deitzel, 717.274.1495
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 PA Keystone Stars-accredited child care and early learning centers in 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.