Luthercare Issues COVID-19 Update: 7/02/2020

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.

Universal Testing of all Healthcare Center residents and staff is in progress. The Pennsylvania Department of Health has mandated that all skilled nursing centers must implement a mass testing plan for residents and staff by July 24, 2020. As previously reported, 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 will continue to complete regular rounds of testing of both residents and team members in our Healthcare Centers. 

At the Luther Acres Healthcare Center, all of our active cases have been resolved. Since we began our universal testing, we have a total of 12 asymptomatic cases among skilled nursing care residents.  Residents are cohorting in designated care areas, and all are in private rooms. A third round of testing for residents has been completed and we are awaiting results. Among skilled nursing care team members, we have had 13 test positive since universal testing began; all are asymptomatic. Employees who test positive will return to work following current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. 

At Spang Crest, two skilled nursing care residents tested positive after two rounds of testing. One resident has recovered. The other positive resident is asymptomatic and has been placed in isolation with assigned caregivers with appropriate personal protective equipment as outlined by the Department of Health and CDC.  The third round of resident testing and the second round of employee tests have been completed and results are pending.  Among team members, six have tested positive since we began the first round of universal testing. Luthercare will provide updates as more test results are provided to us. 

Per the Order of the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health Directing Testing at Long-Term Care Facilities, issued June 26, 2020, Personal Care Homes are required to complete a baseline universal test for coronavirus of all residents and staff no later than August 31, 2020.  Luthercare had already developed a testing plan for personal care residents and team members prior to the mandate. All Spang Crest Personal Care Employees have been tested and results are negative. The Personal Care Residents have all been swabbed with results pending.  Universal Testing for Personal Care Residents and Team Members at St. John’s Herr Estate and Luther Acres are scheduled to begin next week.  

At St. John’s Herr Estate in Columbia, we currently have no positive cases of coronavirus among residents or 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.

Luther Acres in Lititz and St. John’s Herr Estate in Columbia are taking careful steps to begin easing restrictions on a number of our Independent Living services, such as hair care and dining options. This information was shared this week with residents through virtual town hall presentations, printed material and posted reminders.  

In regards to visitation, guidelines for visiting Independent Living residents remain unchanged from the “Yellow Phase,” At this time the restrictions put in place to protect the residents and staff in our Healthcare and Personal Care centers remain.  To ensure a safe return to activities, visitation and other events for residents, the Pennsylvania Department of Health is implementing a three-step process of reopening so staff and residents can eventually safely welcome visitors and resume more normal routines. Luthercare is currently developing a re-opening plan for our Healthcare and Personal Care Centers which includes visitation requirements. Please visit the news section of our website to learn more.

As the potential for exposure to the virus remains, 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.

Thank you for your ongoing support. We ask you to continue to keep Luthercare in your thoughts and prayers.

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About Luthercare:
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.

2024 Luthercare. 600 E. Main Street | Lititz , PA 17543 | Telephone 717.626.1171 | Fax 717.626.1610