Live Update to Residents-December 29, 2020

Today’s Live Update on our in-house TV970 covered the latest news on COVID-19 and vaccination at Westminster Canterbury Richmond. It featured John Burns, President and CEO; Dr. Danny Felty, Medical Director for Parsons Health Center; Debra Jacobsen, Administrator Residential Living; Gayle Hunter Haglund, Vice President Resource Development; Glendon Kemp, Manager of Security; and David Curtis, Chaplain. The next Live Update will be Tuesday, January 5.


The following updates were shared.

John Burns

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

COVID-19 Updates

Last week, on Christmas Eve, we learned that one resident of Mary Morton Parsons Health Center Third Floor has tested positive for COVID-19 after experiencing symptoms. We also learned that a Certified Nursing Assistant on Parsons Health Center Third Floor tested positive. All other residents and staff have tested negative since these two cases were confirmed. We hope these were isolated cases. Seven staff are currently recovering in quarantine off campus. Around 20-25 other staff are currently out due to experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 or after being exposed to someone who has tested positive.

Please remember that we must stay diligent in following all the protocols that keep us healthy and prevent the spread of coronavirus, including wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing of at least six feet and frequently washing hands or using hand sanitizer. If you have spent time with anyone outside your household, please stay close to your home and monitor yourself. If you start to feel any symptoms, reach out to your doctor or the Clinic so you can be evaluated and tested if needed. Throughout the holiday season and beyond, in-person gatherings are still discouraged. You are encouraged to plan to celebrate New Year’s by phone or in virtual ways.

Vaccine Updates

Westminster Canterbury Richmond is part of the priority group for vaccination. We will receive the vaccine in the earliest phase of vaccine distribution. We have confirmation that our first vaccine clinic will be Monday, January 4. This is exciting news! This clinic will be for Parsons Health Center residents and employees and some other employees. Vaccination for the whole campus will come in three waves. There will be a separate clinic for Assisted Living residents and staff and a third clinic for our Independent Living residents. We do not know the dates of the future vaccination events yet, but we will update you as we learn more.

In order for vaccination to be effective, you will need to receive two shots, three weeks apart. For those who will be vaccinated on Monday, please plan to be available for our tentative second vaccination date on January 25. Staff or residents who are not available on Monday, January 4, may receive their first shot at the clinic around January 25, and there will be a third date for those to receive their second shot.

This week we are hard at work collecting the necessary consent forms so that we will be ready for Monday. For any residents for whom a family member or medical POA must grant permission, Westminster Canterbury will need these responsible parties to quickly return consent forms. We are able to take verbal and email consent.

Many have asked how we will take care of anyone who may have an adverse reaction to the vaccination. There have been very small numbers of reactions during the vaccine trials. Please be reassured that both the CVS team and our Westminster Canterbury nursing team will be available to monitor residents and staff for reactions and provide care as needed. Every person will be monitored directly for 15 to 30 minutes after receiving the vaccination, depending on your medical history, and our nursing team will continue monitoring after that period.

Tomorrow we will share a memo and updated vaccine frequently asked questions document. We hope to have 100% vaccination of our residents and employees so we can begin taking next steps toward reopening our community.

There will be no Live Update on Thursday, December 31. The next Live Update will be on Tuesday, January 5.

Dr. Danny Felty will share his perspectives. He is the Parsons Health Center medical director, Chief Medical Officer at Legacy Care Group, President of the Virginia Chapter of the American Medical Directors Association (AMDA), and member of the Governor’s Task Force for Long-Term Care.

Dr. Danny Felty

Gratitude and sincere appreciation to the staff and leadership team at Westminster Canterbury for an outstanding job throughout the pandemic. Kudos to residents and loved ones. There have been significant challenges this year. With perseverance and patience, we’ll have success.

The challenges of the pandemic are real. The struggle to maintain physical, mental and spiritual health is a daily endeavor. It’s okay to feel isolated. Most of America feels isolated and has not experienced their normal life this year. If you need someone to talk to, Dr. Heck is a psychologist in the Clinic who is available to talk with you. If you would like to explore this option or make an appointment, call the Clinic at ext. 6231. Pastoral Care is also available if you would like to speak with one of them.


You may wonder how a vaccine like this one is developed and tested.

Approval of a vaccine for use in people involves multiple phases with different goals for assessing effectiveness and safety in different populations. There are a total of 4 phases and the vaccine must meet very intense safety criteria before completing each phase. Once a vaccine is approved for use after Phase 3, it has been tested in tens of thousands of people and if no significant harmful side effects are noted, it is considered safe for use. Phase 4 involves continued monitoring and gathering of safety data. This type of clinical trial has been used for decades to approve medications and vaccines.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires 50% efficacy of a COVID-19 vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are showing 94-95% efficacy in preventing COVID-19 disease during their trial phase. The FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for these vaccines. Our understanding is that Westminster Canterbury will be receiving the Pfizer vaccine. FDA required 8 weeks of safety data on the COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaccine safety has been assessed during the trials. Most adverse side effects occur within 6 weeks of vaccine administration, and the FDA has required 8 weeks of safety monitoring so it can track any side effects. FDA advises a minimum of 3,000 participants to assess safety. The Phase 3 trials had 30,000 to 50,000 participants. This really demonstrates how safety is a top priority for the FDA and the medical community.

None of the proposed vaccines for COVID-19 contain live or killed viral particles, even though some other effective vaccines for other diseases have.

These vaccines are messenger RNA vaccines. mRNA vaccines contain material from the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. This material gives our cells instructions for how to make a harmless protein that is unique to the virus. This protein cannot build a virus or cause infection. After our cells make copies of the protein, they destroy the genetic material from the vaccine. Our bodies recognize that the protein should not be there and build antibodies that will remember how to fight the virus that causes COVID-19 if we are infected in the future.

While mRNA technology is new in vaccine development, this technology is being successfully used in cancer treatments.

You may be anxious about the emergency use authorization, and the speed with which a vaccine has been approved. While the EUA is a shorter process, no steps are skipped in the safety evaluation process.

We don’t know yet how long the COVID-19 vaccine will protect us. Even when people receive the vaccine they will not be immediately protected and will need to continue wearing masks, social distancing and practicing frequent hand hygiene. The Pfizer vaccine will require 2 shots, with a few weeks between each shot, and protection will usually occur about 2 weeks after the second shot. While no vaccine is 100% effective, some of the vaccines proposed are anticipated to be more than 90% effective. This will greatly reduce your risk of getting sick with COVID-19 and spreading COVID-19 to your loved ones.

The vaccines currently being tested in clinical trials can cause short-term discomfort (such as headache, muscle pains, fatigue, chills, fever, and pain at injection site) in a percentage of the people who receive them. This is the effect of your body developing immunity. Clinical trial participants reported that the discomfort went away after a day, sometimes sooner. When you receive the second dose of the vaccine, the discomfort can be more pronounced. This is a normal reaction, so be prepared.

If you experience discomfort after the first dose of the vaccine, it is very important that you still receive the second dose a few weeks later for the vaccine to be effective.

This does not mean that the vaccine has given you COVID-19. Rather, this means that the vaccine is causing your body’s immune system to react and create antibodies to fight off the virus. In other words, if you feel some discomfort, then the vaccine is doing its job!

We are very excited to begin vaccination at Westminster Canterbury Richmond next week. We encourage everyone to take advantage of it. This is the best next step toward our community staying healthy and getting one step closer to being able to have more programs, services and visitation available.

Debra Jacobsen


We hope you enjoyed December Wellness Bingo. If you completed the challenge, call a Wellness team member or leave your Bingo card at the Front Desk in an envelope addressed to Wellness. We want to reward you for your hard work! Stay tuned for information about our January Wellness challenge.

The Fitness Center and Aquatic Center will reopen by appointment only on Monday, January 11. All appointments will be 30 minutes in length. Residents are allowed three appointment times per week. Appointments are available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. We will not take appointments until Monday, January 4. On Monday, you may call ext. 6669 to schedule an appointment for the Fitness Center and ext. 6539 for an appointment at the Aquatic Center. Please leave a message if there is no answer indicating a preferred day and time, and a Wellness staff member will call you back to confirm your appointment.

We will continue to offer Zoom exercise classes for our Independent Living residents. If you are interested in participating, please call Julie at ext. 6264. We hope small group exercise classes will resume again in a few weeks. Stay tuned for more information.


Beginning on Monday, January 4, Transportation will be available for you to schedule your non-essential transportation appointments, like salon visits or trips to the bank. To schedule a ride, fill out a transportation request slip at the Tower or Center Desk, or leave a message for Ethan Wilburn at ext. 6263.

Salon Services

Salons Services will reopen on Monday, January 4, working in the Main Salon and servicing Independent Living residents. Some of you have received a call from your stylist to set an appointment. Those appointments were made based on the clients scheduled for the day of our closure.

We will operate with the same protocols as we did prior to our last closure. All appointments are scheduled by calling ext. 6281. You must wear a mask during your entire service, no exceptions. Due to social distancing there is no waiting area in the Salon, so we cannot accept walk-ins or early arrivals. Please do not visit with other residents in the Salon or in the hallway outside of the Salon and Barber Shop. The Salon team adheres to the highest standard of sanitation and sterilization in the salons. This requires time to execute properly and limits our ability to service the same number of clients per day as we did prior to COVID-19. We cannot guarantee weekly standing appointments. Please limit your request for services to every other week to allow staffing to service more residents and their needs. Appointments are available one week out at a time. We hope to reopen the salon in Assisted Living in a few weeks.


During the holiday, some have been sharing food and treats in the hallways with your neighbors. Please do not put out foods to share with your neighbors to minimize the risk of transmitting illnesses in this way.

We will be monitoring as we open these programs and will update on further program openings in the coming weeks. Thank you for your patience!

Gayle Haglund

Westminster Canterbury Foundation Update

Westminster Canterbury Foundation’s Annual Fellowship Fund stands at $1,602,158.92. Our goal is $1.65 million by December 31. There are a few days left to send your gift to continue to help our neighbors who need financial assistance. A gift to the Fellowship Fund helps welcome very deserving people to our community who otherwise could not afford a healthy retirement. Your gifts are also an investment in our assurance that every resident here will never be asked to leave for financial reasons that are no fault of their own. Your gifts are also needed for our Area of Greatest Need, which helps us support campus programs in need of funding. Thank you so very much to those of you who have already been so generous this year and always. What a joy to serve such a generous, loving community.

Glendon Kemp

HealthSense to SARA changeover

Westminster Canterbury will proceed with changing the Emergency Nurse Call devices in the Tower, Glebe, and Garden. We planned to start this in December, but extra precautions in Independent Living caused us to wait. While we are still proceeding with an abundance of caution, we have developed safety measures in order to proceed with this project. It is important to ensure the safest and most up-to-date equipment is operating in your homes.

On January 5, Westminster Canterbury staff and contractors will begin replacing devices starting on the Tower Eighth Floor. While staff and contractors are in your home for 20 to 30 minutes to install equipment, we ask that you wait in the commons area of your floor. It’s important that you stay close by, since we will have a quick training and documents for you to sign once equipment is installed. If you have questions, feel free to reach out to Glendon Kemp or Rob Robinson in Security or Quang Le in Information Technology.

David Curtis

Pastoral Care Announcements

Evening Prayer airs Monday through Friday, at 4:45 p.m., on TV970. Please note that there will be no Evening Prayer on Friday, January 1.

Tune in for worship on Thursday, December 31, at 10:30 a.m., on TV970. David Curtis will preach, and Rev. Deacon Logan Augustine will preside.

A Sermon for Every Sunday will be shown on Sunday, January 3, at 4 p.m., on TV970. Fr. Mike Renninger, Pastor at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, will preach on Isaiah 60:1-6. We are grateful that we are able to offer A Sermon for Every Sunday. If you miss one or would like to watch a sermon again, you can do so online at

January Prayer Booklets will be available on Thursday, December 31. If you have received one before, we will place one in your box again. If you would like a Prayer Booklet, which contains a weekly rhythm of prayer along with the Thursday Worship Bulletins, please call Vanessa Perry at ext. 1502 or David Curtis at ext. 5179.

Malachi 3:1-5

See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness.


Gracious God: you have called us to be your people and your children. Change us with your spirit, so that we may bring about your reign on this island earth. Take away from us those things that do not serve us, and leave us that things that allow us to better serve you and each other. In your holy, refining, and transforming name we pray: Amen.

Return to the blog.