We would like to provide our weekly 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 as we approach the Christmas holiday.
The first supply of COVID-19 vaccines has become available, and healthcare workers and long-term care residents have been prioritized as the first to receive it. The Pennsylvania Department of Health controls the access, distribution, clinic dates, and all related aspects of vaccination. The Luther Acres Healthcare Centers has been notified that its first two clinic dates will be January 9 and January 30. Other clinic dates have not yet been received. 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.
The combination of getting vaccinated and following the CDC’s recommendations for personal safety offer the best protection from COVID-19. 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 Luther Acres Healthcare Center will be admitting two residents, one from Luther Acres Personal Care and one from St. John’s Herr Estate Independent Living, who both recently tested positive. Our Medical Director has reviewed both cases, and the residents will be admitted to the center’s red zone unit, where care can be provided under transmission-based precautions. Meanwhile, universal testing of staff and residents continued this week. One asymptomatic positive PRN nurse aide was discovered. The individual performs duties on an as-needed basis and last worked on November 2. The employee was removed from scheduling considerations and will not return until CDC guidelines are met. 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 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, a total of 10 residents have tested positive for COVID-19. So far, two have recovered; three are receiving care at our Spang Crest community in Lebanon; one remains in the hospital, and four continue to receive care and treatment within their residences. Two Personal Care team members are currently positive and are in quarantine. Residents and team members on all floors continue to be tested weekly.
This week, we have learned of one new case among Independent Living residents, and the individual has chosen to isolate in their cottage.
St. John’s Herr Estate
Ten residents who reside in the Independent Living Apartment Building have tested positive for the coronavirus. Four have been admitted to a hospital for treatment, and the others are in quarantine and recovering.
A team member who tested positive has returned to work. There are no cases among Personal Care residents, and both Personal Care residents and staff continue to undergo weekly 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.
A Spang Crest resident who tested positive and was asymptomatic has been discharged from our COVID unit. No additional residents tested positive following last week’s round of testing; routine testing continues this week. The COVID unit remains open, as three residents from Luther Acres Personal Care are isolating in the unit.
The universal testing of team members identified four positive employees, and they are in quarantine. 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
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.