Live Update to Residents-May 14, 2020

Daily Live updates to residents on our in-house TV970 have become a popular way for us to stay in touch while social distancing! Today’s update featured John Burns, President and CEO; Windley Gravatt, Vice President Workforce Services; Debra Jacobsen, Administrator Resident Services; Logan Augustine, Chaplain; and The Rev. Canon Bob Hetherington, resident.

The following updates were shared during the live briefing on TV970.

John Burns

As of this morning, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reports:

• 185,551 people have been tested for COVID-19, an increase of 5,467.

• Total positive cases are 27,813, an increase of 1,067.

• Percent positive of those who have been tested is 14.9%, a slight increase.

• 3,592 people have been hospitalized.

• There have been 955 deaths.

We learned late yesterday that a tenth staff member tested positive for COVID-19. There is no risk to Westminster Canterbury Richmond. This employee serves as a part-time Certified Nursing Assistant in Parsons Health Center and last worked on April 19. The employee also works full-time at another continuing care retirement community in Richmond and tested positive as part of their outbreak response.

Three Parsons Health Center residents have been tested for COVID-19 because they had a fever, and we await their results. We test residents and staff nearly every day. To date we have tested a total of 78 staff members. The risks of COVID-19 are not reduced yet.

While Virginia is discussing reopening, Westminster Canterbury is not ready to share a plan or timing for reopening our campus. We are working on a detailed reopening plan while trying to mitigate as many risks as possible. We hope to share details late next week.

Financial Implications

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Westminster Canterbury is experiencing revenue, cost and occupancy pressures. Many Independent Living move-ins have been delayed but not cancelled. Move-in rates should improve as the broader community begins to reopen. Our occupancy rate is anticipated to decrease around 1% per month. The leadership team is reviewing the fiscal impacts associated with a limited, phased re-opening of service areas.

Virus containment is key, so we continue to maintain a high level of surveillance for mitigating the risks of an outbreak. We must create contingency planning for a prolonged impact from COVID-19 should the virus persist in the broader community. Expense pressures from costs of meeting new regulations and VDH guidance, infection control protocols and personal protective equipment are expected to continue for some time. Financial disruptions due to the pandemic include: the financial indicators of net operating margin and debt service coverage ratio will be below plan, staffing costs and capital project investing has been reduced, and Vibrancy! Project has been paused. Westminster Canterbury received a limited grant of $860,000 from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that will assist with revenue and expense pressure.

Forecast and outlooks are very fluid. We are cautious but optimistic that our sector will come back strong, though the impacts will likely linger in our business longer than most others. Leadership is working on 2021 business and financial plans.

Staffing Impacts

In many companies and industries, people have been furloughed or laid off. At Westminster Canterbury, we have taken many steps to avoid this, including adjusting how we work. Early in the crisis, we eliminated a portion of executive staff and director level compensation. All eligible staff received an annual cost of living increase on April 1.

As the crisis continued, many departments were not operating as normal or at all. While staff were working in new services and processes, we decided to reduce hours across the organization, impacting roughly 265 employees. Forty-hour staff went to 32 hours, and part-time staff went to 20 hours. While this was not an easy decision, it is necessary to protect employee jobs in the long run. As we have more needs, we will bring staff back to full time. Employees have many resources to help them, including waiving the cost of COVID-19 testing and treatment, the Foundation’s W·E·A·V·E program that provides emergency financial assistance for those in need, increased access to 403(b) funds and the ability to suspend loan payments and Employee Assistance Plan resources for coping with stress.

Windley Gravatt

Jasmine Mason, Dining Services employee, was featured in a Richmond Times-Dispatch article on May 12. She is a talented artist who is a National Gold Medal Portfolio winner in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, a major award that comes with a $10,000 scholarship. Her mother is Clara Mason, a Dining Services employee in Parsons Health Center and one of our Hall of Fame employees. Congratulations, Jasmine!

Thank you to residents who greeted staff as they left work yesterday, celebrating with signs, clapping and cheers! It was a wonderful way to end the day. If you missed it, you can see a video on TV971.

Debra Jacobsen

Thank you for your notes of appreciation for the special Mother’s Day bags that were organized by Whitney Woodruff.

Absentee Ballot Applications

For the Republican Ballots for the Dual Primary Election scheduled for Tuesday, June 23, please note that a witness is no longer required in order for you to fill out your ballot. Directions with these changes will be included with your ballot. If you previously submitted an application and marked either “General Election” or “Democratic Primary,” you should have received a new application to fill out indicating if you would like to vote in the “Republican Primary,” the only election happening in our district. If you choose to fill out a new application and send it to the Henrico Registrar’s Office, you should receive a Republican Ballot within two to three days. If you have any questions, please contact Resident Services at ext. 6082.

Memorial Day, Monday, May 25

There will be no Publix Grocery Delivery nor Azalea Parking Lot Deliveries from family and friends on Memorial Day.


In the beginning of our COVID-19 response and self-quarantine measures, we worked to resolve issues affecting all residents such as grocery shopping, mail, package and meal delivery. Now we are working on complicated issues that apply to some residents and not others, such as pet needs. Please be patient as we work to develop solutions that minimize residents’ exposure to the outside community.

Pastoral Care – Thoughtful Thursday

Logan Augustine introduced The Rev. Canon Bob Hetherington, resident and Episcopal priest, to share a reflection and prayer.

John 14:1

Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me.

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