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 vaccination clinics for Skilled Nursing residents and team members began at our Healthcare Centers, and the clinics have been filled with hopefulness, optimism and positive energy. A CVS Pharmacy team provided staffing and vaccines at Spang Crest in Lebanon on Thursday and at Luther Acres in Lititz today. We are grateful to our team members who received the vaccine. The combination of getting vaccinated and following the CDC’s recommendations for personal safety offer the best protection from COVID-19.
The vaccines are being distributed by the state Department of Health (DOH), which controls all access, distribution, clinic dates and related aspects of vaccination. Healthcare workers and long-term care residents have been prioritized as the first to receive the vaccine under Phase 1a of the plan. Individuals residing in Personal Care have been placed on Phase 1b of the DOH plan. Personal Care residents and staff will receive the vaccine following the completion of Phase 1a. Dates for Phase 1b have not been determined. We will provide updates as soon as the information is available to us.
Luthercare wants all Independent Living residents to have access to the vaccine; however, we have no control over when and how it will be available to you. The CDC, through their Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, did not include Independent Living residents on their list, thus they are not included in the first vaccine group. Luthercare has expressed concern over this to our state association, as have many other Continuing Care Retirement Community providers, but this has not changed the outcome. We will continue to advocate for priority access of Independent Living and Personal Care residents for vaccination. Luthercare’s official position is that any and all individuals who are provided with an opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccine should do so.
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, or request a printed copy from your Executive Director or Administrator.
The Luther Acres Healthcare Center is pleased to report we are holding our first COVID-19 vaccination clinic today for Skilled Nursing residents and team members. The Healthcare Center has not had any new positive cases among residents or employees since Sunday. The center’s COVID-19 unit is currently providing care to six residents. Universal testing of staff and residents continues, with employee testing occurring twice a week and resident testing once a week. We are currently awaiting outstanding test results. 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.
Among Independent Living residents, the Luther Townhome Apartment resident who had been under quarantine after testing positive has now been released from quarantine.
In Personal Care, weekly testing of residents and team members continues, and we await test results. Two more residents were taken off transmission-based precautions and are considered to be on the road to recovery. We are saddened to report that one resident who was receiving care in the COVID-19 unit at Luther Acres passed away this week. Please keep the individual’s loved ones and our staff in your thoughts and prayers.
St. John’s Herr Estate
In Personal Care, there are no cases of coronavirus among residents, and residents are again able to enjoy socially-distanced visits with each other. One team member who tested positive and was symptomatic continues to recover at home. 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 who tested positive, three are quarantining in their apartments; three are currently hospitalized; and two are receiving treatment and rehabilitation services.
This week, Spang Crest had its first COVID-19 vaccination clinic, with 75 team members and 40 residents receiving their inoculation. A second clinic is scheduled for January 28.
Spang Crest currently has 17 active cases of coronavirus in our COVID-19 isolation units. Since our last update on Monday, 17 residents have recovered and moved out of the isolation units. Two residents and one team members tested positive this week, and all employees and residents were tested on Thursday, with results pending. 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.