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.
Our top priority remains the health, safety and well-being of our residents and team members. Luthercare team members are on the frontlines of this virus. We are grateful for their dedication and the care, service and compassion they provide each day.
We currently have no resident positive cases of coronavirus within Luther Acres in Lititz or St. John’s Herr Estate in Columbia. The Luther Acres Healthcare Center resolved its last positive case on June 4, 2020. Previously at Luther Acres, 47 residents tested positive or were presumed positive, 29 passed away and 18 recovered. At St. John’s Herr Estate, we had five positive cases in Personal Care; three residents have recovered and two passed away. The last positive case at St. John’s Herr Estate was on May 4, 2020.
Unfortunately, we received the first positive resident case in skilled nursing care at Spang Crest in Lebanon on Wednesday. Two employees have also tested positive. In response, to mitigate the spread of the virus, we moved forward with testing all residents and staff members within the Spang Crest Healthcare Center, and those results are pending. Approximately 100 team members have already been tested, with another 80 to be completed as soon as possible.
On Monday (June 8), the Pennsylvania Department of Health mandated that all skilled nursing centers must implement a mass testing plan for residents and staff by July 24, 2020. At Luther Acres, work had already been underway on a testing protocol, and last Friday (June 5) a draft was reviewed by ECRI. ECRI is the infection control consultant that the DOH has partnered with to support healthcare centers during the COVID-19 pandemic. They acknowledged our plan as comprehensive and well-developed, and no changes were recommended. The Luther Acres Healthcare Center leadership team has been training on new protocol and related operational details and has tested the remaining Healthcare Center residents. Recovered positive residents will not be tested. Results will be back within 48 hours. While no residents are showing symptoms, it is anticipated that up to 30 percent will be asymptomatic positive. Residents will then be cohorted in red, yellow or green designated areas, and all will be in private rooms. Luther Acres is coordinating through Lancaster County to do an initial round of testing on staff members next week. To date, 34 Luther Acres Healthcare Center team members tested positive, with 32 cleared to return to work following current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. We anticipate a number of asymptomatic positives to come back for staff as well.
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, DOH, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
We have received a request to make more contact information for the Luthercare leadership team available to the public. In response, we will be updating our website to include contact information for the Executive Team and Corporate Leadership Team. This information can be found at https://www.luthercare.org/leadership/.
As a reminder to residents, families and the greater community, Luthercare began easing restrictions for our Independent Living residents only as we moved into Luthercare’s “Yellow Phase.” Please note that Luthercare’s “Yellow Phase” guidelines differ from the “Yellow Phase” designation by the state of Pennsylvania. Public visiting hours for Independent Living residents can be found under the “News” section of our website at https://www.luthercare.org/news/. The ongoing restrictions for our Personal Care and Healthcare Centers will remain in accordance with guidelines from the state Departments of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Thank you for your ongoing support. We ask you to 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.