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.
Earlier this month, 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. We began to implement a testing plan ahead of this mandate because the most effective way to manage COVID-19 and to mitigate the spread of the virus is to complete universal testing. We anticipated an increase of asymptomatic positives among both residents and team members, and the testing results are crucial information as we continue to fight this pandemic.
We have completed the first round of universal testing for residents in skilled nursing care at Luther Acres and Spang Crest, utilizing Clarity Labs through Phoebe Pharmacy. We have also completed the first round of universal testing for our skilled nursing care team members. A second round of testing is currently underway for residents.
At Luther Acres in Lititz, the first round of results revealed that nine residents tested positive, and all are asymptomatic. A second round of testing for residents who tested negative during the first test will be completed today. Healthcare Center residents are cohorting in designated care areas, and all are in private rooms. All Healthcare Center team members were tested on Wednesday, June 17, and results are pending. With the new asymptomatic cases added, Luther Acres has had 56 residents who tested positive or were presumed positive; 29 passed away; and 18 recovered. Among staff, 37 Luther Acres Healthcare Center team members tested positive, with 33 cleared to return to work following current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
At Spang Crest in Lebanon, one skilled nursing care resident has tested positive, as we previously reported, and the individual has been placed in isolation and has their own assigned caregiver with appropriate personal protective equipment as outlined by the Department of Health and CDC. The first round of universal testing did not reveal any additional cases among residents; however, all residents have been tested a second time, and we are still awaiting the results of three residents. All others tested negative during the second round. Among team members, five have tested positive during the initial round of testing, and we are awaiting results on several team members. A second round of testing for staff will be completed on June 26.
At St. John’s Herr Estate in Columbia, we currently have no positive cases of coronavirus among residents or team members. As previously reported, we have had five positive cases in Personal Care; three residents recovered and two passed away. The last positive case at the community was on May 4, 2020.
Luthercare will provide updates as more test results are provided to us. Universal testing in Personal Care has not yet been mandated, but Luthercare believes it is the best strategy to be able to control the potential spread of the virus. Work is already underway on a testing plan for Personal Care residents and team members. Our top priority remains the health, safety and well-being of our residents and team members.
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.
As the potential for exposure still remains every day, we urge our residents, families and the greater community to continue to be vigilant even as restrictions begin to ease. The population we serve are the most vulnerable to viruses such as COVID-19. Please continue to practice social distancing, wash your hands frequently, and wear a mask when you are in public.
As a reminder, 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.