June 2020 Village Care Center Updates

June 27, 2020

I wanted to keep you up to date on some of the things that are going on this week.

 State Infection Control Survey

Because of the recent number of COVID+ associates we discovered at the VCC, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) conducted a second infection control survey yesterday. I am pleased to report that the two surveyors found zero deficiencies and voiced no concerns about our infection control program.  In their words, “We were very impressed with what we saw today.”  

 Plexiglass Visits

I wanted to update you on our plan to allow for courtyard visits between our residents and their loved ones.  With the recent number of COVID+ associates, DHSS is recommending that we put in-person visits on hold for 28 days from the last known COVID+ case.  Additionally, Jackson County’s recommendation is no in-person visits until the county reaches phase four of the re-opening plan (we are currently in phase two). 

I apologize for the stress this has caused, as I know we are all excited to allow safe visitation.  Please know that we disagree with the guidance and are working with local regulators to change course because of the very safe nature of these visits.  We believe there has been misinterpretation of the term “in-person,” as our visits are outdoors, require physical distancing, and have a Plexiglas plate between visitors.  I will keep you posted if we make any progress on this very important issue.

 Salons

We are excited to announce that DHSS is allowing us to begin salon services for our residents!  As you may know, John Knox Village employs all of our stylists (as opposed to contracting services out), which makes us unique in our industry.  In our mission to keep every associate employed during the pandemic, we have utilized our stylists in other departments. Each stylist has been screened, tested, and on campus this entire time. With all these factors, we recommended and received permission to begin providing services again under strict guidelines.  We are very excited to be able to offer this critical service to our residents once again.


Testing

We have worked closely and carefully with the Jackson County Health Department and DHSS on a sound testing strategy moving forward.  Due to our size, they have recommended that we strategically test associates by neighborhood in order to better mitigate and isolate in the event we see more positive cases.  We are testing associates who work in the long-term care neighborhoods this week. We will test associates on the memory care neighborhood and the rehabilitation unit next week.  Depending on the results, we will have a better sense on how to move forward.  We do not plan on testing residents unless we see more COVID+ cases within a certain area.

 Village Assisted Living (VAL)

Village Assisted Living has reported their first COVID+ associate this week.  They have started testing residents and associates who were potentially exposed. The VAL team continues to work hard to ensure everyone stays safe.  As we have mentioned in previous emails, we created an isolation unit in the beginning and are prepared to manage any COVID+ residents from the VCC or VAL.  I know many of you have loved ones in both VAL and the VCC, so we will keep you posted with any news we receive.  

 Please have a wonderful week. I’ll be in touch with you next week.


June 22, 2020

It’s important to me to get back to you today with a summary of the recent testing we have done for COVID-19 on our campus. We have all the results in, and the news is VERY good!

First let me summarize the situation:

In early June, one Village Care Center associate was sent home after a pre-shift screening showed a temperature of 99.9o or above. Later in the month, a second worker also did not pass the daily screening and was sent home. Both tested positive.

This spurred us to test associates with whom they may have come in contact. We saw a few more asymptomatic positive test results, one of whom is a non-John Knox Village health care professional who saw patients in the Village Care Center and Village Assisted Living on three days in June, after previously having tested negative. At this point, we chose to be proactive by testing all residents and all who work in the building.

I am thrilled to announce that were ZERO additional confirmed positives, and most of those with positive results are now recovered.

While this brings the VCC total for the year to nine positives, these associates did not work with one other, and there does not appear to have been any spread from these individuals to others here.

Village Assisted Living also tested all residents and associates who may have come in contact with the non-JKV health care professional, and they had ZERO confirmed positives. I know they, too, are breathing a big sigh of relief.

It was incredibly important to us to be proactive and test everyone – to see where we stood, once we saw a few positive cases show up at the same time. We have worked very hard on our infection control procedures, and we’re constantly updating and fine-tuning them, to keep everyone as safe as we can. It’s gratifying to see that those individuals who tested positive appear to have acquired the virus from outside, and that we do not appear to have had any spread within the building. This has been the best news I can think of!

I am so proud of the work my team has done. Every decision we make here is based on what’s best for the residents and how to keep them safe.

Thank you for your ongoing support through all of this.

Cumulative Totals From 3/16/20** to  6/22/20:
Village Assisted Living

  • 0 Residents and 0 associates have confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses.
  • 0 Residents and 0 associates have recovered from COVID-19.
  • 41 Residents and 39 associates have tested negative for COVID-19.

Village Care Center

  • 0 Residents and 9* associates have had confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses.
  • 0 Residents and 7 associates have recovered from COVID-19.
  • 240 Residents and 287 associates have tested negative for COVID-19.

*Of these, 3 Associates who originally tested positive, were re-tested and confirmed negative. While they may have been false positives, we are erring on the side of caution and counting them as having recovered.

**The date that the John Knox Village campus was closed to visitors.


June 20, 2020

As you know, earlier this week Tami and I shared communication regarding five people who work in our building who tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, June 13. This number includes an individual who is a health care professional who is not a John Knox Village associate. Since then, we have been administering tests to all our residents and every member of our staff.

I want to take a moment of your time to share the very “positive” news that we were just able to confirm: we have received all our resident tests results back, and all results for our residents are negative for COVID-19! We also received results for the remainder of our associate and, again, I’m pleased to report that the results are all negative for COVID-19, as well!

This has been a roller coaster of a week, and I appreciate all of your support throughout the last several days. Our entire staff has been working so hard, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for entrusting the care of your loved one with us.

I plan to send out a more comprehensive report early next week. Until then, please enjoy your weekend – Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, and happy first day of summer!


June 17, 2020

It’s been 3 days since our last communication. I have a few updates related to Sunday’s email to share with you and as soon as I learn anything – even if there isn’t any news – I will be in contact again.

First, we received the results from the tests we performed Sunday and Monday on the residents who live on the 100 and 400 units. So far, all the tests came back negative. On Monday and Tuesday, we collected samples from the residents of the 200 and 300 units. We will get those test results back by the end of the week. Finally,  testing of the remaining 30 or so associates who weren’t in the first batch of staff tests also were completed. Again, all tests have come back negative.

Second, I also want to touch base with you about the activity that is happening as a result of the announcement. As you may have seen Monday evening and Tuesday morning, multiple media outlets have reported on the positive test results in our employee population. I want you to know that the Village’s communications team has been working with the various reporters to ensure they have accurate information about what’s happening here at the Village.

However, because we are not the only community/facility that has been affected by the virus, some people may get our facts and figures and other communities’ facts and figures mixed up. So to reiterate my original message to you:

  • 5 people who work at the Village Care Center have tested positive for the virus.
  • All were asymptomatic and passed their daily pre-shift screenings.
  • One person, who is a non-JKV health care worker, also saw patients at Village Assisted Living the week prior to testing positive.
  • None have worked on the campus since the positive confirmations.
  • No residents have tested positive.
  • Between March 16 and June 10, four associates have tested positive for COVID-19 – one in March, one in May and two in early June. So between the first 4 and the 5 from the weekend, a total of 9 associates have tested positive since March.

Please know, that anytime there is news about what’s happening here at the VCC, I do everything in my power to make sure you know what is happening, why it is happening and how we are responding before anyone else.

With that said, if you hear any reports that differ from the information that I have shared with you, please let me know as soon as possible. It is a very confusing time right now, and I just want to make sure the information you have about the Village Care Center, Village Assisted Living and John Knox Village is accurate.

We continue to work extremely hard to keep everyone who lives and works here safe and healthy. Again, please call me a 816-347-2426 or e-mail acolumbatto@jkv.org and I will do my best to answer any questions and help keep your in contact with your loved one.


June 14, 2020

I want to provide you with an update regarding the presence of the COVID-19 coronavirus in our building. The safety and wellbeing of our residents and associates are our top priority and we are doing all that we can to limit and contain any possible cases of COVID-19 within our building.

Because we recently identified two unrelated cases of COVID-19 in care center associates, we decided on Thursday to be proactive and begin testing all associates working in the Village Care Center. We now have tested the majority of our associates, and have results from all of the samples sent to the lab Thursday and Friday. I want to be sure that you know we had 5 additional positive results. All of these associates have been asymptomatic, have passed their daily pre-shift screenings, and have not worked since we received their results.

These newest cases include associates with jobs in a variety of departments, most of whom have not had ongoing contact with residents, or each other, therefore we do not believe it is being spread within the building; rather it appears to show that our infection control procedures are doing their job. Because of these outcomes, we also are beginning to test residents. We expect resident and associate test results to continue rolling in over the next several days. I will continue to keep you informed as we gain new information.

Here is a more detailed update regarding the prevalence of COVID-19 in the VCC since March 16:

As of June 14:

  • 0 Residents and 9 associates have confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses.
  • 40 Residents and 261 associates have tested negative for COVID-19.
  • N/A Residents and 3 associates have recovered from COVID-19.
  • It has been 0 days since we were notified that a resident or associate has tested positive.

We currently have no known cases at John Knox Village outside of the Village Care Center.

Our facility is staying in very close communication with local, regional, county, and state authorities to ensure we are taking all of the appropriate steps under current circumstances. We also are following guidance from CMS and the CDC to reduce the impact of COVID-19.

These include:

  • Daily screening of residents for symptoms, with vital signs taken 4 times a day
  • Daily screening staff and essential visitors for symptoms
  • Use of social distancing and other infection control procedures
  • Enhanced infection control precautions
  • Stopping all new admissions for the next few days (except John Knox Village contract holders)
  • Restricting visitation and entry of people into the building
  • Carefully limiting communal activities

Unfortunately, government privacy requirements restrict us from divulging specific information about the individuals involved, unless they are your family member and you have the necessary permissions to receive such information. We will contact those people directly if your loved one is suspected or diagnosed with COVID-19.

Please know that we are working extremely hard to keep everyone who lives and works here safe and healthy. This is a responsibility that weighs heavily on us every day. Please call me a 816-347-2426 or email acolumbatto@jkv.org and I will do my best to answer any questions and help keep your in contact with your loved one.


June 12, 2020

I want to share some exciting news with you: We finally have received permission from our regulators to start hosting in-person courtyard visits!

Many of you have voiced – and we at the VCC are in total agreement – we need to expand our activity offerings to further support our residents’ emotional and psycho-social well-being. As you know, our residents can participate in iPad visits, hallway exercise sessions, and small group church and bingo gatherings. However, we know there needs to be opportunities to spend in-person time with your loved on, and we’ve been working on a plan. It’s taken a while, but we have finally gotten this idea approved.

Here’s how it works:

  • Our long-term care families will go to the 100 courtyard gate (if you are facing the building, it is to your right). We have installed Plexiglas on the gate to prevent droplets from entering. Residents will be seated three feet from the gate on the inside, you will be seated three feet away on the outside.  We will then ask you to call a phone number (if you cannot hear each other over the Plexiglas) and talk to your loved one. We will have a staff member available to assist your loved one if they need assistance with the cell phone. Right now, we need to limit visits 15-minutes, which will allow us to sanitize everything in between visits. The wearing of masks is required. Please call the front desk when you arrive, and we will bring your loved one out to the gate.
  • Memory Care – The process is exactly the same, but you will be visiting at the Village Rehab gate. (If you are facing the building, it will be to your left).

We know that it is getting hot out, so we will be providing water and shade to our residents so they can remain comfortable.

Because we do not have any guidance from local, state, or federal agencies about when we will be able to re-open, we will continue to work on new and innovative ways to bring our residents and families together. We cannot imagine how hard it has been on you all; but please know that it has been hard on our team, as well. We miss seeing our families, and the joy created by watching our residents/family interactions.

Finally, I want to share with you a news story produced by Cody Holyoke of KMBC Channel 9 News. He talks about the ways we are working to keep our residents engaged and connected. It is a fun story to watch! https://www.facebook.com/CodyKMBC/videos/891950597938979/

Thank you, again, for your patience, gratitude, and support.  As always, please let me know if there is anything I can do for you or your loved one.

June 11, 2020

I need to share important news. We have been notified that an additional John Knox Village associate was diagnosed with COVID-19, the illness resulting from the novel coronavirus.

The associate works in a direct care position in the Memory Care Neighborhood at the Village Care Center, and last worked on campus on June 9. This person showed no symptoms (asymptomatic) at that time and continues to be asymptomatic. The associate was notified of the positive test from an outside healthcare provider.

This is only the third case on our campus that we are aware of. Our team continues to follow infection control protocols and procedures recommended by the local and state health departments and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention to protect our residents and associates. We also are following Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services guidance and testing every associate who came in contact with this individual.

This testing began yesterday, and all known results, so far, have come back negative. At this time, we do not have any symptomatic residents or associates, which is great news. We’re still working on guidance for the process of testing residents, so for now we are doubling the frequency of temperature checks to four times a day. Additionally, we are working to complete systematic testing of every associate who works at the Village Care Center.

As you have likely heard on the news, quick and reliable testing has been an issue nation-wide. We have had similar experiences, so I am happy to report that we recently partnered with a local lab, Viracor, for all the VCC’s COVID-19 testing needs. Thus far, they have been extremely responsive and held to their commitment to return lab results within 48 hours. To assess their abilities, two weeks ago we tested 30 voluntary associates from various parts of this building. We received the results within 24 hours – and all were negative. Additionally, the results from the 20 associates we tested last week who came in contact with that COVID-positive associate all came back within 48 hours, and all results also were negative.

I understand that you may have questions, and we will share additional information, as appropriate, through our various communication tools. Please direct your questions to me at 816-347-2426 or acolumbatto@jkv.org.

Our focus remains squarely on the health and well-being of our entire John Knox Village community. Our associates have – and will continue to – work tirelessly to protect everyone who lives and works at the Village. The care, concern and commitment they have shown, and their willingness to step up to new challenges, makes me proud to work alongside them. Our mission to Enrich Lives and Build Community has never been more meaningful. Thank you for your support.


June 3, 2020

Dear Village Care Center Family and Friends,

I need to share important news. We have been notified that a John Knox Village associate was diagnosed with COVID-19, the illness resulting from the novel coronavirus. I understand that this news is concerning, so I hope this additional information will help calm your fears.

Given the size of the Village Care Center, we have always anticipated, and planned for the fact that an infection could happen here at any time. We are now actively putting those plans into action. My confidence in our procedures has been further bolstered by the results of a recent infection control inspection by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services (these are happening at all long-term care facilities) which showed us to be deficiency-free – their highest rating.

The associate works in a non-direct care position in the Village Rehabilitation Unit, and last worked on campus on May 20. This person showed no symptoms (asymptomatic) at that time. On May 26, during the pre-shift screening, the associate presented with a fever of 99.9oF or higher and was sent home. While we, the Missouri of Department of Health and Senior Services, and the Jackson County Health Department, consider this incident to be extremely low-risk for an outbreak, out of an abundance of caution we are going to test every associate who came in contact with this individual on May 20. We also are reaching out to patients who potentially came into contact with this individual.

Our team continues to follow protocols and procedures recommended by the local and state health departments and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention to protect your loved ones, including pre-shift screenings, which helped keep this person from exposing others once symptoms were known.

This is only the second case on our campus that we are aware of, and the first since March. Thanks to our early actions to keep COVID-19 out of the building, we have had time to acquire an adequate supply of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), and to enhance our ability to test people.

I understand that you may have questions, and we will share additional information, as appropriate, through our various communication tools. Please direct your questions to me at 816-347-2426 or acolumbatto@jkv.org.

Our focus remains squarely on the health and well-being of our entire John Knox Village community. Our associates have – and will continue to – work tirelessly to protect everyone who lives and works at the Village. The care, concern and commitment they have shown, and their willingness to step up to new challenges, makes me proud to work alongside them. Our mission to Enrich Lives and Build Community has never been more meaningful.

Thank you for your support.