November 2020 Village Assisted Living COVID-19 Updates

Nov. 29, 2020

On Friday I shared an update on individuals who had tested positive for COVID-19.  Today I want to give you an update on the resident PCR (laboratory) testing performed on Friday.

On Friday we tested Assisted Living and Memory Care 2 residents who were potentially exposed to the virus on Nov. 22 and Nov. 23, respectively. All of the results came in over the weekend, with the last result this morning.

  • The residents who were tested in Assisted Living all had negative results.
  • I am saddened to share that of the Memory Care 2 residents who were tested, one resident has tested positive for the virus.

We will retest both groups of residents on Wednesday, December 2.

Our team is truly distressed to learn of the positive resident cases on Memory Care 2, because we know it will be a more difficult situation to manage. We will continue to do what we know to do:  monitor our residents’ vital signs four times per day, wear N95 masks with goggles or face shield, and limit the number of associates who may work on the neighborhood, while also encouraging the residents to wear masks and remain in their apartments as much as possible. As always, we will continue to remind our team to report any – even the slightest – symptom related to COVID-19, and continue to educate the team during our twice-weekly testing.

Thank you for entrusting your loved one’s care with us during this unprecedented time. If there is anything you may need or have questions about, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Nov. 27, 2020

I want to give you an update on individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Two Memory Care 2 direct care associates who had negative results during routine rapid testing on Tuesday, Nov. 24, have now tested positive. Both of these associates were sent for additional testing due to self-reported COVID-19 symptoms after testing on the 24th. It is not uncommon for someone who receives a negative result to test positive a few days later. It is in the nature of this virus that people typically do not begin to “shed” enough of the virus to show up during a test until we’re 3 days, or more, into the infection.

These recent associate positive cases in Memory Care 2 indicate a spread of the virus in that area. Please know that we are working very hard to keep the virus from continuing to spread on Memory Care 2. We are ensuring the residents’ vital signs are monitored four times per day, the team is wearing N95 masks with goggles or a face shield, and we are encouraging residents to wear masks and remain in their apartments as much as possible.  Needless to say, this is a significant challenge with memory care residents, but we are doing our best. We are also limiting the associates who may work on Memory Care 2, and we will move to twice-weekly testing, beginning next week.

Today we tested residents in Assisted Living and Memory Care 2 who have been potentially exposed. I expect to have all results in by Monday.

If you have questions about any of this, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Nov. 25, 2020

I want to give you an update on the remaining resident results as well as the results of the associate testing yesterday.

  • Assisted Living.  On Monday we re-tested some Assisted Living residents, due to a potential exposure on Nov. 11. All results are negative.
  • Memory Care 2.  Yesterday we tested Memory Care 2 residents due to a potential exposure on Nov. 18. Today we learned that three residents have tested positive for the virus. All families have been contacted.
  • Associates.  Also on Tuesday we tested roughly 120 associates.  Three associates who tested positive:
    • 1 direct care Memory Care 1 associate.  Last worked Nov. 6.  There is no potential resident exposure with this associate due to the length of time since last worked.
    • 1 direct care Assisted Living associate.  Last worked Nov 22.  Associate is asymptomatic.
    • 1 direct care Memory Care 2 associate.  Last worked Nov. 23.  Associate is asymptomatic.

All residents and families who have been potentially exposed to one of these associates have been contacted.  We will test potentially exposed Assisted Living and Memory Care 2 residents on Friday, November 27.

I am very saddened to share this message with you. I had hoped to be able to share a continued message of no cases of COVID-19 in our neighborhoods. Due to the results this week, we will be moving to twice weekly testing of associates, beginning next week. My hope is that testing twice a week will have a better outcome for everyone.

Here is a summary of the presence of COVID-19 elsewhere at John Knox Village:

  • Village Care Center.  Sadly, five more VCC residents have died over the past week. These numbers do appear to be slowing, and I know that team there continues to be heartbroken. Nine new COVID+ resident results came from the back of their Memory Care unit, and these people have been transferred to the Memory Care isolation area. While there have been 11 new positive associate results, more and more associates also are recovering and returning to work. [The VCC’s current numbers for residents and for associates can be found in the table below.*]

Additionally, there has been quite a bit of news media attention directed toward the Village Care Center, both because of the number of positive cases they have had over the last couple of months, and because of the number of residents there who have died with COVID-19 as a contributing factor. Overall, the coverage has been fair and thorough. They have mostly reported this story to demonstrate to the public that this is the end result of the virus numbers in our community spiking. I’ve included links at the bottom of this letter to two articles, as well as a heartfelt editorial column submitted to the Lee’s Summit Tribune by VCC Administrator Anthony Columbatto.

  • Independent Living Residents. I am extraordinarily sorry to report that a second Independent Living resident has died due to complications from the COVID-19 virus.
  • Associates Outside of VAL/VCC. Additionally, five associates outside of Village Assisted Living and the Village Care Center have now tested positive. These include one each in administration, human resources, dining services, renovations, and emergency medical services. Contact tracing was conducted, and further testing was performed in connection with two cases, but no further positive cases were discovered.

I hope each of us is able to honor Thanksgiving tomorrow by reflecting on the blessings in our lives, no matter how small. We can also make time to acknowledge those who might otherwise be seated at our tables – whether we are separated by choice or circumstance. And remember: It’s OK to say, “No thanks, I think I’ll stay home.” It’s OK to wear a mask when others aren’t. It’s OK to distance yourselves from others – for everyone’s protection.  Please be safe.

*Sample news media reports about the Village Care Center:

Nov. 23, 2020

My last update was last Wednesday, and it shared the results of our testing performed during the week.  Today I would like to share a brief update on what has developed since last Wednesday as well as what is scheduled for the rest of the week.

  • Memory Care 2.  This morning we learned that a direct care associate who last worked on Memory Care 2 has tested positive for COVID-19 today.  The associate last worked on Wednesday, Nov. 18 and tested negative on that date.  Out of an abundance of caution, we will test the residents on Memory Care 2 on Tuesday, Nov. 24 and re-test Tuesday, December 1.  All resident families were notified today.
  • Associates.  On Nov. 24 we were already scheduled to perform weekly testing on associates, so this will also serve as associate testing in connection with this newly-reported COVID+ result.
  • Assisted Living.  Also this morning, we re-tested some Assisted Living residents, due to a potential exposure on Nov. 11.
  • Memory Care 3.  Tomorrow, Nov. 24, we will re-test these residents, due to a potential exposure on Nov. 12.

I will keep you apprised of the test results as well as what is going on elsewhere at John Knox Village later in the week.

Until then, take care and be safe.

Nov. 18, 2020

Today I want to share with you the results of the testing performed this week – all of which is good news.

  • Memory Care 3.  On Monday we tested our Memory Care 3 residents, due to a potential exposure on Nov. 12. We received those results back, and I am happy to say all of our residents’ results were negative for the virus.
  • Assisted Living.  On Tuesday we tested some of our Assisted Living residents, due to a potential exposure on Nov. 11.  We received those results back, and I am happy to say all of those residents’ results were negative, too.
  • Associates.  Today we tested more than 120 associates and all of those associates were negative, too.  We still have eight associates who need to be tested, and they will be tested prior to their next scheduled shift.

The results this week allow us to breathe a sigh of relief.  They also afford us the opportunity to bring limited amount of small group activities back to the activity calendars.  When there isn’t a group activity going on, the activities will be either at the doorway, one-on-one, or self-led.

I also need to update you on the status of the rest of the Village.

Independent Living. Two residents have recovered, and one additional Independent Living resident has reported that they have tested positive. No exposures to others were reported.

Village Care Center. I am distressed to report that we have lost 10 more residents at the VCC. I send my deepest condolences to the families, and to associates here in Village Assisted Living and around the Village who may have provided care for these residents at some point.

Everyone at the VCC is continuing the fight. Unfortunately, the rest of the residents in the front part of memory care and two residents in the back part of the memory care neighborhood now have tested positive. Due to their dementia diagnoses, maintaining mask wearing and physical distancing is a constant challenge. These residents have been moved to isolation, per CMS guidelines.

Outside of memory care, the VCC has experienced the lowest number of new cases since the spread there started several weeks ago. I’m happy to report that, as of Tuesday, there were no new positive tests for long term care residents. Additionally, all of the residents and associates on the Village Rehab Unit tested negative last week. These are encouraging signs.

Elsewhere in the Village. There have been a handful of cases in other areas, but no sign of spread at this time. These include one associate in Public Safety, three in Village Hospice, and two in Village Home Health. In each instance, Public Safety worked with them to conduct contact tracing, and additional testing where needed.

While we did receive good news today with the testing we performed thus far this week, we know now is the time our team must be more vigilant than ever before to stop the virus from entering our buildings.  I know I say this often, but I sincerely mean it when I say, thank you for entrusting your loved ones’ care with us.

Nov. 14, 2020

Late yesterday afternoon we learned of a night shift direct care worker on Memory Care 3 who tested positive for the virus.  This associate last worked Thursday, Nov. 12.  All resident families on Memory Care 3 were notified last evening.  We will test residents on Nov. 17 and re-test residents on Nov. 24.

I will keep you apprised of the test results as we know more.

Rest assured I am still working on the finishing details for inside visitation.  Currently, we have three Plexiglas setups made for inside visitation.  One for apartment 194 in Village Assisted Living, one for the Ambassador room for Memory Care 1, and one for the Family Room on Memory Care 3.  Now we are just waiting for the Plexiglas setup for the family room on Memory Care 2 to be complete by Nov. 20.  Also next week, look for our complete plan on indoor visitation by Wednesday, Nov. 18. Please see below for a picture of the Plexiglas setup.

There has been quite a lot of COVID-19 activity around the campus since I last reported on this, but things do appear to be slowing.

I am very sad to tell you that we have lost our first Independent Living resident due to complications from COVID-19, and that over the last 10 days we lost another eight residents at the Village Care Center due to complications from COVID-19. We continue to grieve with and for their families during this time of ongoing loss. Making these announcements never gets easier. My heart goes out to these families. Yet again, we will have to grieve together while at a distance, because coming together as a community would only endanger more people.

Village Care Center
Things do finally appear to be slowing down here.

  • Case Numbers. The VCC has experienced the lowest number of new cases in since the spread there started six weeks ago.
  • Long Term Care. As part of continued routine testing on the 200 side of LTC, recent results showed only 3 COVID+ residents; all were asymptomatic at the time.
  • Memory Care. All residents in the front part of the VCC memory care tested positive for the virus; they are being isolated in the memory care neighborhood. One resident in the back part tested positive earlier this week.
  • Village Rehab Unit. Only 1 patient tested COVID+. After contact tracing, it appears the exposure was outside of the VCC. In testing all other Village Rehab patients, these results all came back negative.
  • Visits. VCC administration is working hard on a plan that they hope will allow for indoor, in-person visitation during the holidays and moving forward. Needless to say, this will be a flexible plan that will adapt, as needed, to keep everyone safe.

On Monday, Nov. 9, surveyors from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services performed the VCC’s eighth standard infection control survey since the building was closed to visitors. They spent 10 hours examining their COVID-19 policies and procedures, and once again, they did not find any deficiencies nor share any concerns about what the VCC is doing.

Elsewhere in the Village

In other parts of the Village, there also are several new cases of the coronavirus to announce on our campus.

  • Independent Living. Another resident has shared that they tested positive, bringing the IL total to four. Contact tracing has been conducted by Public Safety, and appropriate parties have been contacted.
  • Village Home Health, Dining Services and Emergency Medical Services each had one associate test positive.

All of this needs to be a wake-up call to all of us. COVID-19 spread is VERY high in our area. Intensive Care Units are at 80% of capacity throughout the metro area. Since Oct. 30, the prevalence rate for Jackson County, as well as Missouri and Kansas, have seen their sharpest 7-day increases since April and numbers are continuing to rise. For the sake of your friends and family, PLEASE use ALL layers of COVID protection:

  • DO NOT congregate with people outside of your immediate household.
  • AND keep six feet between you and the next person.
  • AND wear your mask.
  • AND wash your hands for 20 seconds – OFTEN.

To summarize the Village’s current status with COVID-19 cases:

Nov. 12, 2020

On Saturday I sent a brief update sharing the status of the previous day’s re-testing of residents in Memory Care 3 and some Assisted Living residents.  (All of those tests came back negative.)

Yesterday we conducted the remaining re-testing needed in Assisted Living, Memory Care 1 and Memory Care 2. These two sets of testing were due to exposures on separate dates. Today we received the results, and we have learned that one Assisted Living resident has tested positive for the virus.

Also today, we conducted our routine associate testing. None of the associates we tested had positive results, but we are still waiting to test about 10 associates. They will remain off the work schedule until tested.

Due to the positive case identified today, residents in the affected wing were notified they would be tested on Nov. 16 and re-tested on Nov. 23.

I will send an email no later than Friday afternoon outlining how we plan to move forward with things given the results from today.

If you have questions about any of this, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Nov. 7, 2020

I want to give you a brief update from the re-testing performed yesterday.

This morning we received all results from the resident PCR re-testing performed on Friday, Nov. 6.  I am pleased to say all results are negative!

We will continue the strategies we have put in place since early October, and until we can analyze the results of the Nov. 10 resident re-testing.

Nov. 5, 2020

My last update to you was on Monday, Nov. 2, so I want to update you on what has happened since then – all of which is an improvement from weeks previous.

Results and Re-Testing 

  • Nov. 2: Memory Care 1. Residents who were exposed Oct. 28 to the positive associate were re-tested. All results were negative.
    • We will complete the final re-test for this exposure on Nov. 10.
  • Nov. 2: Memory Care 2. Residents who may have been exposed to the resident who tested positive Oct. 28, were re-tested. All results were negative.
    • We will complete the final re-tests for this exposure on Nov. 10.
  • Nov. 5: All VAL areas.  One non-direct care associate tested positive for the virus. This associate did not have contact with residents.
    • We will continue weekly associate testing for the foreseeable future.
  • Nov. 6: Assisted Living. Residents who were exposed Oct. 20 to the positive associate will be re-tested.
  • Nov. 10: Assisted Living. residents who were exposed Oct. 28 to that positive associate will be re-tested.

We have taken a big sigh of relief, and also continue to be cautiously optimistic about this week’s negative results. We will continue the strategies we have put in place since early October, and until we can analyze the results of the Nov. 10 resident re-testing.

I wholly understand everyone is eager to see their loved ones.  I am currently working with a variety of networks to ensure we facilitate indoor visits in the safest manner imaginable. However, it is essential we get through the Nov. 10 re-testing to make sure there has been no further spread of COVID-19 to our residents. We also need to finish consulting with various groups about best practices, before we begin scheduling indoor visits. I promise this is a priority for me, and I will do my best to make sure we have a solid plan in place before the holidays are upon us.

One tool we are hearing quite a lot about right now, to prevent COVID-19 from spreading indoors, is good old-fashioned fresh air. Numerous health authorities, including the CDC and the Jackson County Health Department, are emphasizing the importance ample fresh air and good air circulation. Especially as colder weather sets in, and our natural tendency is to seal out the cold, they recommend opening windows and doors as often as possible. The weather this week is going to be absolutely beautiful, so why not start now? We encourage you to take advantage of it by opening up your windows for at least three hours to get some good air circulation in your home.  We’ll be doing the same thing here.

Village Care Center. I am so sorry to report that things are still moving rapidly there.

  • Three more residents passed away from complications due to COVID-19. We are brokenhearted for all of their loved ones and the hurt we know they are experiencing.
  • Unfortunately, the virus has now moved into their memory care neighborhood, and as of Monday they had 35 residents test positive.
  • They are continuing to add to their efforts to contain spread by installing air scrubbers and UV lights in portions of the building, and improving ventilation.
  • I am cheered to hear that the instances of new positives in the 100 and 200 long term care neighborhoods are beginning to slow, and as of Monday, 12 more residents were discharged to their homes from the isolation unit.
  • Six associates have new COVID+ results.

Elsewhere in the Village. Three associates (in administration, maintenance, and communications) have tested positive. One was asymptomatic and has already returned to work, and the other two exhibited symptoms.

Nov. 2, 2020

Yesterday afternoon (Nov. 1), we learned of an Assisted Living resident who tested positive for the virus.  The resident was exhibiting a COVID-19 symptom and was tested on Saturday, Oct. 31 via PCR (laboratory).  We plan to test all associates who came in contact with this resident on Thursday, Nov. 5.

On Sunday the results of the PCR testing performed on Memory Care 3 residents on Saturday, Oct. 31 came back, and all of the results were negative!  We will re-test the Memory Care 3 residents on Friday, Nov. 6 to ensure there is no spread of the virus.