We would like to provide our weekly update on how COVID-19 is impacting Luthercare communities and address how we are taking all precautions necessary for our residents’ safety. As the number of coronavirus cases rise in the greater community, Luthercare is preparing to serve residents with a COVID-positive diagnosis.
As with any admission, each situation will be reviewed by the interdisciplinary team to determine if the resident can be safely cared for and that all CDC criteria, including transmission-based precautions, can be met. A resident will be evaluated and admitted to the care setting within our system that best meets their needs. This may result in a temporary transfer to one of our three senior living communities. Personal Care and Independent Living Residents who have tested positive for coronavirus can be treated in their residence when asymptomatic or experiencing mild symptoms. Worsening symptoms, which may escalate to severe cases of COVID-19, cannot be managed at these levels of care, and a transfer to a higher level of care or a medical treatment center will be necessary.
We urge our residents, families and team members to continue to be diligent in mitigating the spread of the virus. 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 stay strong and continue to practice these precautions to keep yourself, your neighbors, your friends, and your loved ones healthy and safe.
In response to this critical time, 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 Luther Acres Healthcare Center recently admitted two residents from Independent Living who previously tested positive for COVID-19 to the center’s yellow zone unit, and they are on their way to recovery. We currently have a staffing agency nurse and a Dining Services team member in quarantine as a result of routine universal testing. This week, we welcomed back a staffing agency nurse and a certified nursing assistant who returned after meeting CDC guidelines. We are adhering to the regulatory standards regarding continued universal testing from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Testing is now taking place twice a week due to the Lancaster 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.
In Personal Care, four residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Two are receiving care within their residences, while two are being treated at a higher level of care at our Spang Crest community in Lebanon. A Personal Care team member tested positive during routine testing this week; however, the individual has not worked in the building in the last three weeks. In addition, two members of the Dining Services team within the Muhlenberg Building tested positive during routine weekly testing. The team members will quarantine. Residents and team members on all floors continue to be tested weekly.
In the Therapy Department, another outpatient therapist has tested positive, which brings the total to two therapy team members who are quarantining. Contact tracing and notifications have taken place, and residents have been placed in quarantine for the appropriate time frame. Additionally, two members of the Maintenance Department are completing their quarantine period and are expected to return next week.
Since last week’s update, there have been no new cases among Independent Living residents.
St. John’s Herr Estate
Seven residents who reside in the Independent Living Apartment Building have tested positive for the coronavirus. One has been admitted to a hospital for treatment, and the others are in quarantine.
A team member tested positive following last week’s round of universal testing and is in quarantine.
There are no cases among Personal Care residents, and both Personal Care residents and staff continue to undergo universal testing. 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.
During this week’s round of universal testing, one Spang Crest resident tested positive and is asymptomatic. The individual, as well as two residents from Luther Acres Personal Care, are isolating in our COVID unit.
Test results from last week’s round of universal testing identified four positive team members. Universal testing of residents and team members continues today and Monday. 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 now 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
On Thursday, Governor Wolf announced new mitigation plans across Pennsylvania to slow the spread of the virus, including closing all indoor dining in restaurants and many entertainment venues, such as movie theaters, for a three-week span. The measures are slated to begin at 12:01 a.m. Saturday and continue until at least 8 a.m. January 4.
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.