December 2020 Village Assisted Living Memory Care Updates

Dec. 31, 2020

Today I want to update you about where we stand with the testing performed since Sunday.

  • Monday, Dec. 28: We re-tested residents and associates of Memory Care 3 after a potential exposure on Dec. 13.  I am pleased to announce that all the results came back negative.  This was the final round of tests for this exposure and no more testing will be performed in this area.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 29: We tested Memory Care 1 residents and associates because of a potential exposure on Dec. 28.  These results all came back negative.  We will conduct additional testing for the residents on Dec. 31 and Jan. 4.  I will keep you apprised of the results.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 30: We tested Village Assisted Living residents and associates due to positive cases on Dec. 23 and Dec. 27.  We learned last night that one resident tested positive for the virus.  We will test all Assisted Living residents again on Jan. 4 and Jan. 7.

Additionally, we will continue to test associates two-times per week.  In 2021, the testing days will be Mondays and Thursdays, with the exception of the week that the COVID-19 vaccination clinic is being held.  That week we will move the dates to Tuesday and Thursday.

Village Care Center

Unfortunately, the Village Care Center lost two more residents to complications caused by the virus. Although the number of new cases continues to decrease, the pain and devastation this virus causes has not.  They continue to fight using all the tools and tactics possible. In addition, only one resident on the 200 side of the long-term care neighborhood tested positive for the virus this week. All other resident tests came back negative. Regarding its associates, three new associates tested positive for the virus; two are non-direct care and one is in direct-care.

Finally, the VCC has finally received the date of its COVID-19 vaccine clinic. CVS will be onsite Jan. 6-7 to administer vaccines to VCC residents and associates who have elected to participate in the first round of inoculations.

In other areas of the Village

Elsewhere in the Village, there have been four residents and nine associates who have tested positive since our last report. The vaccination clinic for independent living residents is set for the week of Jan. 25.

May each of you have a safe and comforting end to 2020.  Take reassurance in knowing that we continue to be steadfast in our fight against COVID-19 and that the primer vaccine is only 11 days away.


Dec. 30, 2020

We are excitedly gearing up for the COVID-19 primer vaccine clinic, which is set for Jan. 11, 2021!

To prepare for the clinic, we’ve been doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work. Last week, we found out which residents wish to receive the vaccine. (This has been noted in the medical records as a verbal consent.)  This week, we are busy completing demographic information on the Consent Forms and requesting orders for the vaccine from your loved one’s primary care physician.

On the day of the clinic, four immunizers from CVS Pharmacy will administer the vaccine to our residents and staff.  Our plan is to pair each CVS immunizer with a clinical supervisor and a member of our therapy team.  The clinic teams will begin administering the vaccine in our Memory Care neighborhoods – moving room to room – before heading over to our Assisted Living residents, again, moving room by room.

We will have a 21-day, immunity-building reprieve before CVS will again be on site for the COVID-19 booster clinic on Feb. 8, 2021.  (Individuals who weren’t able to get the primer dose on Jan. 11 may get it at this clinic.)  The primer and booster dose of the vaccine becomes effective approximately two weeks after the booster is received.

We continue to keep the pedal to the metal in this fight against the virus. However, we will not lose sight of our current situation. What’s more, I would be deceiving you if I didn’t confess that I am counting down the days until we are fully inoculated with all of the wonderful benefits of the vaccine.  If you are wondering, there are 54 days until Feb. 22!

Please let me know if you have questions or concerns about any of this.


Dec. 28, 2020

This evening I want to give you an update about what has been happening in Village Assisted Living since my last message.

I am very sorry to share that last week we had to say goodbye to two more residents who passed away because of COVID-19 complications.  We extend our sympathy to their grieving families and friends, and we hold those we lost, whom we consider members of our own extended family, in our hearts and prayers.

Testing

On Sunday, Dec. 27, we tested residents in Assisted Living who were potentially exposed on Dec. 23. Two residents tested positive for the virus. While we do not believe the other residents in the area were directly exposed to the individuals who tested positive, we will re-test all Assisted Living residents on Dec. 30, Jan. 4, and Jan. 7 out of an abundance of caution.

Today, Monday, Dec. 28, we tested over 100 associates, and discovered two associates tested positive. One is a non-direct care associate on the Memory Care 1 neighborhood, and the other is a non-direct care worker in Fireside Dining.  All of the Memory Care 1 families have been notified, and residents there will be tested on Dec. 29, Dec. 31, and Jan. 4.

Additionally, Assisted Living, Fireside Dining, and Memory Care 1 teams will wear N95 masks with face shield or goggles until testing is complete.  We will continue to monitor residents’ vitals four times per day, and we will deliver meals to their apartments. Staff will conduct doorway activities or organize one-on-one visits for video calls.  We will continue these practices through at Jan. 5.

Good News

Today, I received a long-awaited telephone call from CVS to schedule our first COVID-19 Moderna Vaccine clinic!  The date is confirmed for Jan. 11, and both residents and associates (who wish to receive) will receive the primer dose of the vaccine.  I will have more details to share tomorrow, but for now – what great news!

Optimism

As the month of December draws to a close, my optimism for 2021 grows stronger by the day. It is fueled by the hope that traditionally comes with the ringing in a New Year and the promise that the Moderna vaccine brings with it. However, I also know that we must not lose sight of where we are right now in this pandemic.  And I can assure you we will remain steadfast and vigilant in our fight against COVID-19.


Dec. 24, 2020

Today I want to give you an update with what has been going on in Village Assisted Living since my last update.

On Monday we tested the residents and associates on Memory Care 3 due to a potential exposure on Dec. 13.  I am pleased to share that all of those results came back negative.  We continue to limit staff who may work in the neighborhood, and will continue to have staff wear surgical masks with a face shield or goggles.  There will be one last round of testing on Dec. 28.

Also on Monday, we tested over one hundred associates using rapid tests.  All of those results came back negative.  We do believe that conducting twice-weekly rapid testing is providing us the platform to continue to have good conversations with the team regarding COVID-19 safe practices and sharing information about symptoms they should watch for and report.  As a side note, we have learned that the majority of our positive cases have started with an out-of-the ordinary headache.

We also learned this week of one Assisted Living direct care-giver who tested positive. Since their last day worked was Dec. 6, no additional testing should be needed.  Through our twice a week associate testing yesterday, Dec. 23., we learned one Assisted Living direct care associate tested positive.  The residents and families have been contacted, and we will perform testing on Dec. 27, Dec. 30, and Jan. 4.

At this time, I do not have any new updates on when we will receive the Moderna vaccine.  I am still waiting for a call from CVS regarding when they will be on-site to administer the vaccine to our residents and team.  However, when I do, I will be sure to update you as soon as possible.

Village Care Center
The Village Care Center has had only one resident from the 200 side of the long term care neighborhood test positive this past week! All other residents in the building tested negative. They are being cautiously optimistic about this sudden improvement in test results.  While it feels like they are nearing the end of their outbreak, they recognize that they can never take this for granted, and will remain highly vigilant.

Other Parts of the Village
Elsewhere in the Village, there have been four additional associates who tested positive, and five recoveries. To protect the privacy of associates outside of our licensed facilities, all future positive cases will be reported as a single overall group, rather than by department. John Knox Village conducts its own thorough contact tracing. Associates and residents will be contacted by the Village if there is a possibility that there was an exposure.

This week – and we are only four days in – has been a heartbreaking week.  It began with learning of the passing of two our residents from COVID-19, has taken us through the longest night of 2020, and will end with a day that many celebrate as a reminder of hope – hope that no matter how uncertain the days ahead may seem, there is light.  Please help me keep these families lifted in prayer during this difficult time.

May each of you have a holiday that is filled with love and virtual or telephonic togetherness.

With warm Christmas blessings,
Heather


Dec. 23, 2020

This is one of the most difficult letters I’ve ever had to write. I am incredibly sorry for taking so long to share this, but honestly, throughout this pandemic, I have had such a singular focus on working with my team to keep everyone safe that I never let myself imagine what I would say in this situation.

Late last week we lost two of our beloved residents to conditions related to COVID-19.  Each and every one of us who works here sees the residents as part of our extended families.  We spend years together, day in and day out.  So this is very personal for us, too.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the residents and families who have lost their loved one to this terrible virus.  There are no words that can help take away the grief their families are feeling right now.  Please join me in lifting them in prayer during this difficult time.

There will be more communication this week.  However, I wish to stop here for today.


Dec. 19, 2020

As promised, my letter today includes a general update about our neighborhoods and all the holiday happenings that are taking place for our residents. But before I get to that, I want to share some new developments on the vaccine front as well as news about the testing performed this week.
Regarding the vaccine, while we do not yet know a date as to when CVS will be on site for our clinic, we do know the following:

  • The state of Missouri has decided to distribute the Moderna vaccine to long term care facilities – skilled, assisted, and residential – due to the challenging nature of the cold-chain management that the Pfizer vaccine requires. Late yesterday, the Moderna vaccine received Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA, meaning distribution can happen as early as next week.
  • Each resident or Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare (DPOA) will be required to sign a consent form. (A sample is attached so that you can see the information that will be needed to proceed.) We will send out the official consent form once we receive it from CVS.
  • Each resident will be required to provide a copy of the front and back of their medical insurance cards (medical, prescription and/or Medicare cards).
  • Next Monday and Tuesday, our administrative team will reach out to our residents or Healthcare DPOAs to ask if their loved one wishes to receive the vaccine. If there are specific questions about the vaccine, a member of the clinical team will reach out to answer the questions.

Testing. On Thursday, Dec. 17, more than 100 associates were tested, which resulted in one positive. This associate has not worked for us since August and was tested before the shift began. We do not believe there was any resident or team exposure. We also tested the residents on Memory Care 3 due to an exposure on Dec. 13, and all of those residents tested negative! We will conduct more testing for both associates and Memory Care 3 residents on Monday, Dec. 21.

Holiday Spirit. The neighborhoods continue to show our hopeful Christmas spirit. Our little elves – Kristin, Treva, Christina, Amanda and Amber – have been busy decorating the halls. I hope you enjoy seeing what they’ve done (see pages 2-4)!

While we won’t be able to all be together this Christmas and holiday season, I hope that you will reach out to the team to schedule a video call with your loved one. tcalegari@jkv.org and klennard@jkv.org can assist you with scheduling a FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype call. I know a video call isn’t the same, but I hope this is the last Christmas we will have to be in this situation.

Next week, our teams are planning to spread even more holiday cheer through festive activities, yummy treats, sing-a-longs to holiday music, and of course – egg nog! I am sure there will be a few little elves running though the neighborhoods as well.

May your Christmas season be blessed and each of us continue to be well. If there is anything you need or have questions about, please let me know.


Dec. 15, 2020

I want to give you an update on where we stand with the presence of COVID-19 in our neighborhoods.

Monday, Dec. 14 we learned that a resident on Memory Care 3 has tested positive for the virus.  All families were contacted, and PCR (laboratory) testing was performed on that day.  Today we received the laboratory results back and all residents on the neighborhood have tested negative.  We are perplexed as to how this resident tested positive since all associates who work on the neighborhood have tested negative during weekly testing.  Almost all associates who worked on the neighborhood were tested yesterday (using a PCR and rapid test), to ensure we have not missed anything.  We are still awaiting one result from the lab, but so far all associates tested yesterday have been negative.   Residents and associates will be re-tested on Thursday, Dec. 17.

Also on Monday, Dec. 14 we performed rapid tests on more than 100 associates. All of those results were negative.

Today we learned of the results for the last round of resident testing for our Memory Care 2 neighborhood and 300-hall wing, and I am very pleased to share all results are negative!  As a result, today we will open the dining room on Memory Care 2, and tomorrow we will open Fireside Dining tomorrow at breakfast.  Activities for both areas will be resume, too!

As of Monday morning, the team on Memory Care 3 are wearing N95 masks with goggles/face shield, are not floating to other neighborhoods.  We are checking vital signs 4 times per day, and are serving meals to the residents in their apartments. Activities are being paused until we complete at least two rounds of testing.  And we are doing our best to get fresh air in the building by opening the courtyard door in the dining room.  Perhaps later in the week as the weather warms, we may be able to crack the windows in the resident rooms to let fresh air in, too.

Later in the week I will update you on what else is happening in our neighborhoods, as well as any movement on the vaccine front. I truly believe we are getting closer to the beginning of the end of this virus in the John Knox Village community.


Dec. 11, 2020

Today I want to share the results of our associate testing and give you an update on what’s happening around the rest of the campus.

Yesterday, we tested over one hundred associates, and I am pleased to share that all of the results were negative.  We will continue with our twice weekly testing of all associates scheduled to work each Monday – Sunday, for the foreseeable future.  Also yesterday, we tested residents in Memory Care 2 (Dec. 1 positive case) and Assisted Living (Dec. 2 positive case) and all results were negative.  We will re-test these residents one more time on Monday, Dec. 14.

Because we had so much testing to keep you updated on, it has been a few days since I updated you on what is happening related to COVID-19 in the rest of the Village. The information below was reported on Dec. 8:

In Independent Living, three residents have tested positive since I last reported; all three have symptoms. Contact tracing resulted in further testing connected to one of the residents.

Elsewhere in the Village, additional associate positives have been reported in Housekeeping (1), Village Home Health (1), and Village Hospice (1).

Village Care Center. I am so sorry to say that we have lost five additional residents to complications connected with COVID-19. I offer my most sincere condolences to these families, as well as to the associates who cared for these residents. These are incredibly difficult times for all. Other developments include:

  • 200 side of the Long Term Care (LTC) neighborhood.  Five new COVID+ residents have been moved to the isolation unit, where they are being treated.
  • VCC associates. One associate tested positive for COVID-19 since our last report. The individual is a direct-care associate who primarily works on the 200 side of the LTC neighborhood who took part in routine testing.

Actions. The team there is continuing to use all of the safety measures in their arsenal. Additionally, they have expanded the isolation unit to meet the growing need across all parts of John Knox Village. The Village decided early on that the VCC would be the hub for all COVID+ residents who need a higher level of care. Because we are now seeing an increase in John Knox Village cases, as a whole, the isolation unit expanded from 19 beds to 30, with the possibility of expanding to 45, should the need arise. The unit is completely sealed off from the rest of the building. All associates enter and exit through an exterior door, and all deliveries go through that same entrance, all in order to avoid the possibility of cross-contamination.

It seems that most of my communication lately has focused on COVID-related topics that pertained to Assisted Living and Memory Care 2.  However, next week I will give a glimpse of our Christmas Spirit that fills the neighborhoods, what’s on the Activity schedule, and a general update on each neighborhood.

Please continue your best safe practices throughout the holidays.


Dec. 9, 2020

Today I would like to give you a quick update on COVID-19 testing in our buildings, and then share what I know thus far about a SARS CoV-2 vaccine for residents in Assisted Living and Memory Care.

Testing

On Tuesday, Dec 8 we were notified that a direct care associate on Memory Care 3 tested positive for the virus.  This direct care worker last worked on Nov. 25. There was not any possible transmission of COVID-19 to the Memory Care 3 residents or team, due to the date last worked, so we will not be performing testing.

Tomorrow, Dec. 10, we will perform the second round of twice weekly associate testing.  I will keep you apprised of the results.

Vaccines

There has been a great deal of information shared this week about how the of SARS CoV-2 vaccine may be deployed, once at least one pharmaceutical company receives Emergency Use Authorization from the Federal Food and Drug Administration.  In short, here is what we know thus far:

  • John Knox Village has partnered with CVS for vaccine distribution and administration.
  • We do not know a date as to when we will receive the vaccine. We will have only 10 days advance notice prior to CVS arriving on site to administer the first dose of vaccine both to residents and associates who wish to receive the vaccine. (Both possible vaccines require two doses, a few weeks apart.)
  • During those 10 days, the Village Assisted Living team will work diligently to ensure all Vaccine Intake Consent Forms (see attached) are ready to go, and that all insurance cards are photocopied and ready to provide to CVS on the day of the clinic.
    • The attached form is not the final form, but we are providing it for informational purposes only.
    • If you have not given us a copy of your loved one’s 2021 medical insurance cards, please do so as soon as possible by e-mailing photos or scans of the front and back of each card to mheydon@jkv.org or asytowski@jkv.org.
  • If you are interested in learning more, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has created a very informative and user-friendly website about the vaccine, what it does (and does not do) and how it will be administered. Please visit https://covidvaccine.mo.gov/ for more information.

I hope you will take time now to learn as much as you can about the vaccine, talk with your loved one about the vaccine, and learn their thoughts about receiving it.  Given the very short turn-around time (see bullet 2) for Village Assisted Living to know when we will have CVS on site to administer the vaccine, it will be critical that to determine whether or not your loved one wishes to receive the vaccine before our ten day window begins.

Thank you for entrusting your loved one’s care with us during this truly unprecedented time.  It is my hope and prayer that the vaccine – once both the primer and booster have been administered – will allow us all to breathe a little bit, to look for the light at the end of the tunnel, and to, carefully, open our doors, again.


Dec. 7, 2020

I want to provide you with an update about the results of the resident testing performed on Friday, Dec. 4 and Sunday, Dec. 6, as well as share the testing schedule for the remainder of the week. I understand all of these dates are confusing. I will do my best to explain this in a way that makes sense.

Memory Care 2

Friday, Dec. 4: We re-tested Memory Care 2 residents due to the positive cases identified on the neighborhood on Dec. 1.

  • Those results came back late yesterday afternoon, and I am relieved to share those results were negative.
  • Today (Dec. 7) We re-tested these residents again.
  • Thursday, Dec. 10, we will re-test again.

Assisted Living

Sunday, Dec. 6 we tested Village Assisted Living residents due to a potential exposure on Dec. 2.

  • Late yesterday evening we received the results back, and we learned that two assisted living residents have tested positive.
  • Families and residents who have been potentially exposed have been notified.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 9, We will re-test the residents again.

Actions

  • Due to the Dec. 2 positive case in Assisted Living, on Dec. 3 we canceled all group activities, as well as in-person dining at Fireside Dining.
  • Due to the two positive cases today, we quarantined off the 300-hall area of Village Assisted Living, ensuring there is a designated team member available to care for only these residents.
  • The all teams continue to wear surgical masks with face shield or goggles and monitor residents’ vital signs four times per day.
  • Assisted Living residents are encouraged to stay in their apartments as much as possible – meals will be delivered to apartments.

Associate Testing

Today we conducted our twice-weekly associate testing. One direct care associate on Memory Care 2 tested positive. This associate last worked Nov. 29. We will not be doing additional testing on Memory Care 2 residents due to the positive case that occurred after Nov. 29.

As each day goes by, we are getting closer to having Emergency Use Authorization for a SARS CoV-2 vaccine. We are diligently working through logistics with CVS to deploy the vaccine. Today we attended a webinar with CVS to learn more about what needs to be done right now so that we will be ready to roll when CVS is ready to administer to our residents and team members who wish to receive the vaccine.

Until that times comes, though, please know we continue to work diligently each day to keep COVID-19 out of our building.  Thank you for being with us through this time.

It was important to me to get this information in your hands as soon as possible today. My next communication will provide updates about what’s happening elsewhere in the Village regarding COVID-19, as well as an updated chart.

I want to provide you with an update about the results of the resident testing that was performed yesterday as well as the results of the associate testing conducted today, Dec. 3.

Today, we received all the re-testing results (PCR laboratory) for the Assisted Living and Memory Care 2 residents who were potentially exposed to the virus on Nov. 22 and Nov. 23, respectively.  In Assisted Living, one resident tested positive for the virus. No Memory Care 2 residents tested positive.

Because of the Assisted Living resident who tested positive, we will test potentially exposed residents on Sunday, Dec. 6 and re-test them on Wednesday, Dec. 9.  In addition, today we canceled all group activities and in-person dining at Fireside Dining until further notice.  The Assisted Living team will continue to wear surgical masks with face shield or goggles and monitor residents’ vital signs four times per day.  Assisted Living residents are encouraged to stay in their apartments as much as possible – meals will be delivered to apartments. What’s more, we will accommodate the need to go outside for fresh air and stretch one’s legs.

While we did not have any positive resident cases on Memory Care 2, we will continue to test the residents because of a Memory Care 2 direct care associate who tested positive for the virus today.  This associate was tested using PCR on Dec. 1 due to an onset of symptoms.  We will test residents on Friday, Dec. 4 and re-test on Monday, Dec. 7.  We continue to limit the number of staff who may work on the neighborhood. Staff also will wear N95 masks with goggles or face shield and encourage the residents to wear masks and remain in their apartment as much as possible.

Finally, today we tested more than 100 associates using rapid tests.  No associates tested positive with this round of tests.  We will test the associates who were not able to make it in today before their next scheduled shift.

These are very uncertain times, but I can assure you we are working very hard to keep each other and our residents safe from the virus.  Each of us is doing our part to encourage the team to stay safe while not at work and report symptoms – even if it is just a headache – ASAP.  I also think it’s encouraging to see the news that the FDA will be reviewing vaccines from two major pharmaceutical companies next week. Village Assisted Living has been doing a lot of work behind the scenes to get ready to provide a vaccine to our residents when it becomes available, hopefully very soon.


Dec. 3, 2020

On Sunday (Nov. 29), I shared an update with you about the resident testing that was performed last week. Today, I want to inform you about some new developments that have occurred since then, and how our team is working through them.

Yesterday (Dec. 1), three residents on Memory Care 2 tested positive for the virus. We tested these individuals after they started experiencing COVID symptoms. Then, today (Dec. 2), we learned of another resident on Memory Care 2 who has tested positive, again, after an onset of symptoms.

Despite our efforts, we continue to see the virus spread on Memory Care 2.  We continue to follow protocols we have in place: monitoring our residents’ vital signs four times per day; wearing N95 masks with goggles or face shield; and limiting the number of associates who work on the neighborhood, while also encouraging the residents to wear masks and remain in their apartments as much as possible. What’s more, we’ve taken the additional steps of opening the doors to the courtyard and near room 36 to increase fresh air flow into the neighborhood.  We also have cracked open the windows in resident rooms to allow in fresh air – please know that we have turned up the heat in the rooms to ensure the residents’ preferred temperature is maintained.

Finally, as I mentioned in previous emails, today (Dec. 2) our team is re-testing (PCR laboratory) Assisted Living and Memory Care 2 residents who were potentially exposed to the virus on Nov. 22 and Nov. 23, respectively.  I will keep you apprised of those results once they have all been received.

If there is a silver lining in any of this, during our twice-weekly associate testing on Monday, we tested over 100 associates, and we did not have an associate test positive.  We will conduct another associate testing on Thursday, Dec. 3.

I also want to provide you with a brief update as to how other areas of the Village are handling the virus.

  • Village Care Center: It is with great sadness that I share with you that five additional residents have passed away due to complications from COVID-19. In addition, two more residents who live in the back of the memory care neighborhood tested positive for the virus. Both were transferred to the isolation unit and currently are being treated. Finally, four associates also have tested positive. Two work in nursing; the remaining associates work in non-direct care positions in different departments.
  • Independent Living Residents. Three additional residents of independent living tested positive for the virus late last week. Two were asymptomatic and will be retested. Both have been asked to remain in their homes. The third resident is symptomatic and has remained in their home since symptoms started on Nov. 23.
  • Associates Outside of VAL/VCC. Three associates who work outside of Village Assisted Living and the Village Care Center tested positive over the weekend. One associate works in Village Hospice, and two associates work in Village Home Health. Contact tracing is being conducted and further testing is being performed.