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 and offer a few important reminders to our residents, families and the greater community.
Our top priority remains the health, safety and well-being of our residents and team members. Luthercare team members continue to work on the frontlines of this virus. We are grateful for their dedication and the care, service and compassion they provide each day.
The impact of COVID-19 at Luther Acres Healthcare Center in Lititz is that 47 residents have tested positive or are presumed positive, 28 have passed away and 17 have recovered. It is important to note that presumed cases are based on consultation with the resident’s physician and our medical director. If we learn, following testing, that any presumed case was in fact negative, our numbers will be revised.
We have had 33 Healthcare Center employees test positive; 24 have been cleared to return to work, following current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
There are no active cases in Independent Living or in Personal Care at Luther Acres.
At St. John’s Herr Estate in Columbia, as previously reported, there had been five confirmed cases. However, at present, there are no active cases among residents or staff members. At Spang Crest in Lebanon, we have no cases of COVID-19.
Luthercare will continue to provide weekly public updates to our website and social media pages. To view our COVID-19 updates and other Luthercare announcements, please visit the “News” page of our website (https://www.luthercare.org/news/) or click on the banner on our homepage at https://www.luthercare.org/. Per the guidelines for reporting COVID-19 data from The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), if any newly confirmed cases or clusters of three or more residents or staff with respiratory symptoms occur within 72 hours, the residents and their representatives will be notified through personal phone calls, email and One-Call Now, our automated phone messaging system.
Luthercare also records daily updates to our Coronavirus Hotline. The hotline can be accessed by dialing 717-627-5533.
We will continue to be open and transparent with our residents, team members and the greater community. Doing so is consistent with our mission, To reflect Christ’s love through service to others, and with our core values: integrity, compassion, teamwork, connection and learning. At the same time, our organization will continue to protect our residents’ privacy and personal health information as required under HIPAA regulations.
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, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Our Luther Acres Healthcare Center leadership team continues to have regular communications with representatives from the state Department of Health and their infection control consultants, ECRI.
In recent weeks, the Lancaster County Commissioners approved a plan to provide assistance to local retirement communities and skilled nursing facilities in the areas of disinfection services, infection prevention and control, personal protective equipment (PPE) management services, and universal COVID-19 testing, to be paid for with federal funds received for COVID-19 relief. Last Friday, Luther Acres became the first county senior living community to utilize the consultation services of Cocciardi and Associates, a firm that specializes in occupational health and safety. The Cocciardi team reviewed current practices for infection prevention and control, our current PPE inventory, and made recommendations to assist with the emotional effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on the Luther Acres campus.
Next Friday, June 5, Lancaster County will officially move from “red” to “yellow” under Governor Wolf’s plan. However, Luthercare will continue to keep all aggressive infection control protocols and social distancing measures in place for the foreseeable future.
We would like to remind everyone to maintain social distancing practices and that visitors are restricted to our campuses. We have posted signs at entrances to remind the public not to visit or use the communities for recreation. 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. If you need assistance, please reach out to the Executive Director or Administrator at your campus. They can be reached at Luther Acres, 717.626.1171; at St. John’s Herr Estate, 717.684.0678; and at Spang Crest, 717.274.1495.
As our campus restaurants and dining rooms remain closed, residents may continue to order meals, snacks and grocery items from our dining team for delivery or take out. Our Dining Services Team have also prepared special grocery and produce packages that can be ordered.
We would like to express our gratitude to our residents and their loved ones for your patience, encouragement and understanding during this challenging time. The outpouring of support and positive messages we’ve received has been overwhelming! Please 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.