Live Update to Residents-December 3, 2020
Today’s Live Update on our in-house TV970 covered the latest news on COVID-19 at Westminster Canterbury Richmond. It featured John Burns, President and CEO; Gayle Hunter Haglund, Vice President Resource Development; Glendon Kemp, Manager of Security; and Lynn McClintock, Director Pastoral Care. The next Live Update will be Tuesday, December 8.
The following updates were shared.
Resident and Employee Cases
Eleven residents are currently infected with COVID-19. Six are being cared for in the hospital. Two are being cared for in our COVID-19 positive unit. Three are isolated in their Independent Living apartments.
This morning, a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) from Parsons Health Center Third Floor tested positive for COVID-19. Nine staff remain off campus recovering after testing positive. An additional seven are in quarantine due to exposure. Seven are out pending test results. Routine testing continues. Many test results are pending. We will continue to update you if we learn of more positive cases.
This week, we are learning more details about the COVID-19 vaccine and process for being vaccinated. We share information we received this week from LeadingAge and the Governor’s Long-Term Care Task Force.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices that serves in an advisory role to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) met on December 1 to vote on vaccine prioritization during Phase 1A. In a change from what was previously shared, they are recommending that all workers in healthcare facilities and all residents of senior care facilities receive top priority for COVID-19 vaccination. This recommendation goes to the CDC director for final approval. At that point, there will be an official recommendation to states on how COVID-19 vaccines should be allocated.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that the Vaccine and Related Biologic Products Advisory Committee will meet on December 10 to review the Pfizer vaccine efficacy and safety data. They will meet again on December 17 to review the Moderna vaccine. Those meetings are expected to result in emergency use authorizations for these vaccines. States, including Virginia, have been developing their plans for vaccine allocation and distribution.
Virginia Department of Health ensured that all Skilled Nursing Facilities and Assisted Living Facilities have been opted in for the COVID-19 Vaccine LTCF Pharmacy Program. CVS and Walgreens have been contracted to provide the vaccine to Skilled Nursing Facilities and Assisted Living Facilities. At Westminster Canterbury Richmond, CVS will provide the vaccination. Initial planning will start next week.
At an upcoming Live Update, we will strive to provide more detail about the efficacy and safety of the vaccine.
Once Virginia has enough vaccine allocated to it, it can activate the vaccination program. It will be at least two weeks before vaccines are provided in long-term care facilities. During this two-week period, we hope to learn when our vaccinations will be scheduled. Virginia currently does not have enough vaccine to activate the program.
The pharmacies will schedule on-site vaccination events and provide end-to-end services. That includes vaccine cold chain management, storage, delivery, administration, vaccination reporting and more that you have been hearing about in the news. The vaccine will be given in two parts. The vaccine provides full protection at about seven days after the administration of the second dose. As we learn more details about what this means for Westminster Canterbury, we will share the schedule and timelines with you. We are getting our policies and procedures ready so we will be ready to start when it’s available.
Even once we are all vaccinated, we will continue with all current COVID-19 infection prevention measures and precautions until further notice. The current COVID-19 testing requirements are likely to continue for the next several months.
A common question is whether we will make vaccination mandatory for all staff and residents. The federal government and Commonwealth of Virginia are not going to require vaccination. We feel we can achieve near 100% compliance without a mandate. If team members opt out, they will be required to continue to wear masks. We will be undertaking a major educational campaign in the coming weeks to do our best to encourage team members to participate.
Parsons Health Center is still in what is considered an outbreak. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) considers one positive resident or employee to be an outbreak. Our routine testing in Parsons Health Center continues for 14 days after our last positive resident or employee. Our last positive employee test result was today. We do not know yet when we will be able to resume visitation. The clock resets every time we have a new positive case. We must go 14 days with no positives, plus 14 additional days before visitation could resume.
Given the situation with new cases and rising infection rates in the Richmond region, we do not have immediate plans to restart visitation or reopen dining rooms or recreation spaces. John Burns was interviewed by NBC 12 yesterday. While the reporter used the term “lockdown,” what we were referring to is that Westminster Canterbury is closed to visitation and has temporarily suspended programs and services. We will share more in the coming weeks as we adjust or modify our programs and services.
CDC Quarantine Date Clarification
You may have heard in the news that the CDC has revised guidelines for people who may have been exposed to the coronavirus, recommending a quarantine of seven or ten days instead of the previous 14-day guideline, depending on one’s test results and symptoms. This becomes confusing. The CDC offers guidance, while the VDH works with us case-by-case and provides instruction on what to do. For individuals who have comorbidities, the quarantine periods are longer, and most of our residents and many of our staff fall into that category. It’s important to follow the guidance you receive from VDH or the Clinic. If you are in quarantine and have any questions, please check with the Clinic or your social worker.
Independent Living Quarantine
We are asking all newly quarantined Independent Living residents to reach out to their approved buddy to retrieve their mail for them. Each resident should have an approved buddy on file with Resident Services. If you are quarantined and can arrange for your buddy to pick up your mail for you, speak with your buddy first, and then let the Front Desk know by dialing “0.” Collecting mail for all Independent Living quarantine residents has become very time consuming for our postal carrier, so this buddy system could cut down on that labor.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Starting today, the Foundation team has been making some special poinsettia deliveries. This is very joyful but is happening very differently than every other year. We truly appreciate and celebrate every single gift to Westminster Canterbury Foundation. Our holiday tradition is to deliver poinsettias to resident donors who give $1,000 or more, have made arrangements for a gift from their will or estate and shared that news with us, and those who have given faithfully for 15 years or more. This year, because getting together for a reception is impossible, we are also delivering poinsettias to everyone we know who volunteered with the Shops on Main, Craft Fair or Unique Boutique. Thank you for your work, and we are surely missing you now. The financial impact on the Fellowship Fund has been a very real loss.
Normally, the poinsettias are delivered by a wonderful group of elves – trustees and volunteers who are generous donors themselves. This year, to minimize the chance of spreading viral bugs, we are simply leaving your poinsettia outside your door, on a table or ledge if you have one, or on the hinge side of your hallway door. Deliveries will continue as we receive gifts, right up to Christmas. There’s still time to make a gift to the Annual Fellowship Fund, Area of Greatest Need, or to support the program you are most passionate about! The Annual Fellowship Fund goal is $1.65 million, and we have about $250,000 to go by December 31. We miss the chance to see you and thank you in person for all you do. We hope this small gift will brighten your day and your home as we enter this sacred season with gratitude and hope.
There are four new types of fraud that we want to warn you about.
One of the newest forms is particularly aggressive in nature. You may receive a call from someone claiming to be an “officer” from the Social Security Administration. This person will ask you to get a pad and pencil so you can write his/her name, badge number and case number. He will tell you that you have property that has been recovered, usually a car, in another state, that has “blood and dope” in it. He will give you an option of answering a few questions on the phone, or the police will come and arrest you and take you in for questioning. They may even offer to transfer you to the “sheriff.” This is all a scam. The callers will use aggressive language and tone to scare you into giving them financial information. If you receive a call like this, hang up immediately.
The second new type of fraud is from callers claiming to be from Dominion Power. These scammers use aggressive tactics to scare you into giving them financial information or giving payment over the phone. The scammer will say something like, “You are two months behind on your payment, and if you do not pay immediately, your power will be turned off.”
The third type is callers claiming to be from Amazon saying that your account information has been compromised. They are trying to get you to repeat back to them some form of financial information. This one is particularly poignant at this moment, as many of us are ordering from Amazon and other online resources.
Scammers are using news of a COVID-19 vaccine to say they can send you a vaccine if you send money to pay for it. This is a scam. Please do not fall for it.
As a rule, do not give your financial or personal information over the phone. Keep contact with your financial institutions to make sure your accounts have not been compromised. If you have questions, contact Glendon Kemp at ext. 6079 or Rob Robinson at ext. 6084.
Pastoral Care Updates
The December Prayer Booklets were distributed on Monday of this week. Bulletins for Thursday worship on TV970 at 10:30 a.m. are included in the booklet. This month, the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day bulletins and a Living into Hope calendar are also included. If you did not receive a prayer booklet, please call Vanessa Perry at ext. 1502 or Chaplain David Curtis at ext. 5179, and we will deliver one to you.
A Sermon for Every Sunday airs at 4 p.m. on TV970. Father Michael Renninger, priest at the St. Mary Catholic church in Richmond, is preaching on Isaiah 40:1-11.
Our 2020 resident starlighter was Mrs. Betty Clapp, who has written a wonderful article for this issue of The Tales that we hope you will read.
Banners in the Sanctuary
We invite you to come to the new sanctuary to see two banners that have been conceptualized, created and offered by resident Rev. Vienna Cobb-Anderson. These two banners represent the Christian and Jewish faiths.
The Christian banner is a copy of an Ethiopian 18th century Coptic icon of the cosmic Christ, the original of which hangs in a museum in Paris. It represents Christ present in the entire cosmos, from the least particle of matter to the all of the human and created community. The four corners represent the four Gospels. You will see two predominant colors in the Christian banner: Red, which symbolizes martyrs and Pentecost; and gold, which reminds us that all of creation is in God’s hands. The Jewish and Christian banners include the theme of the circles to represent the oneness of humanity.
In the Jewish banner, you will see a surrounding of clouds referring to our seeing the divine partially. Vienna consulted with a rabbi on the design, and the rabbi told her that the one symbol that would be the most meaningful for us is the menorah, featured in the center. Other symbols are the Ten Commandments, the Torah with the star of David, the Ark of the Covenant and Hebrew script which translates the words spoken to Moses, “I am who I am.” The stunning blue and white colors are the colors of the prayer shawl.
These two banners will be displayed in the sanctuary during the holiday season. Vienna is making additional banners representing other faiths, and all of these beautiful pieces of art will be displayed in the future along the corridor to the Spiritual Center. We will have an opportunity as time goes on to learn more about these, and the additional banners. We are deeply grateful to Vienna for sharing her creativity, energy and artisanship with our community.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
All-knowing, all-loving God,
We thank you that from the beginning of time, you had us each in your sights. Through our childhoods, our middle and older years, you have been steadfast and true. You promise to even be with us beyond this life—how great a love we cannot fathom. Our limited human understanding is so small in your sight, so particular, and at times so short-sighted. As we contemplate our pre-COVID selves and now the insights that we are having when we are in the thick of it, remind us that you have offered your steadfast word and loving Spirit to prepare us for such a time as this. Through our fear, may we come to a new awareness of our dependency on you. Through our anxiety and struggle, may we know more than we ever had before—that we are not alone–and that soon, we pray, “this, too shall pass.” While we yearn to live into our post-COVID selves, may we have the wisdom to acknowledge that your hand guides us, teaches us, and enlivens us in all our seasons of life. We ask for continued protection from the virus, for strength for our devoted staff as they care lovingly for our residents, and for the thousands of people in our country and around the world who are bringing the COVID vaccine to us. Good Lord, may your great name be praised. Amen.