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 team members has continued. 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 are pleased to report that we do not have any active cases among residents in our three communities at this time. All asymptomatic skilled nursing residents at Luther Acres and Spang Crest have exceeded the 14-day isolation period, per medical director consultation. We will continue to complete regular rounds of testing of both residents and team members in our Healthcare Centers as necessary.
At Luther Acres in Lititz, a third round of resident testing on June 26 confirmed there are no positive cases. For team members, a second round of universal testing was completed on June 25, and of the 129 results that have returned so far, there has been one asymptomatic positive employee. All required reporting and notification has occurred. The individual followed all proper precautions with appropriate personal protective equipment as outlined by the Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and contact tracing has been performed. Employees who test positive will return to work following current CDC guidelines.
At Spang Crest in Lebanon, the two skilled nursing care residents who previously tested positive have recovered and are no longer in isolation, as of today. Among team members, there are no positive cases; those who previously tested positive have recovered and are able to return to work, following current CDC guidelines.
At St. John’s Herr Estate in Columbia, we currently have no positive cases of coronavirus among residents or team members.
Luthercare will provide updates as more test results are provided to us.
The Department of Health conducted on-site, focused emergency preparedness and infection control inspections at both Luther Acres and Spang Crest in late June, and no deficiencies were found. 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.
Luthercare has also begun universal testing of Personal Care residents and team members. This testing began prior to a requirement from the Department of Health to complete a baseline universal test for coronavirus of all residents and staff by August 31, 2020. To date, we have completed all testing on residents and team members at Spang Crest, and all results are negative. At St. John’s Herr Estate, there are no positive cases among residents, and we are awaiting the results of staff testing. At Luther Acres, testing of team members began yesterday (July 9), and resident testing will begin next week.
Our top priority remains the health, safety and well-being of our residents and team members. Luther Acres and St. John’s Herr Estate 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 has been shared 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 team 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, and those plans will be forthcoming.
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 to our team members for their tireless dedication and to the greater community 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 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.