Live Update to Residents-November 24, 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; Windley Gravatt, Vice President Workforce Services; Beverly Beck, Resident; Debra Jacobsen, Administrator Resident Services; Gayle Hunter Haglund, Vice President Resource Development; and Logan Augustine, Chaplain. The next Live Update will be Tuesday, December 1.

The following updates were shared.

John Burns


On Saturday, November 21, Westminster Canterbury Richmond received the results of our Point Prevalence Survey (PPS) that was conducted in partnership with the National Guard on Thursday, November 19. During this testing, we learned that four Independent Living residents and four employees tested positive for COVID-19. Anyone who may have been exposed to these individuals has been contacted directly. Two of the four new Independent Living residents had been in quarantine due to a known potential exposure prior to the PPS. Two were unexpected as the residents were asymptomatic. This result underscores the importance of quarantine when you may have been exposed to anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Additionally, Westminster Canterbury tested all residents and staff of Assisted Living and Parsons Health Center last week. We did not discover any cases of COVID-19 in Assisted Living. We have found additional cases of COVID-19 in Parsons Health Center Second Floor, where we created a second COVID-19 positive unit.

Resident Cases

Twenty-nine residents have tested positive for COVID-19 in November. Seven are from Independent Living. The remainder are from Mary Morton Parsons Health Center. Six are being cared for in the hospital. Five recovered. We are sorry to report that two have passed away from COVID-19. The rest are being cared for in our dedicated COVID-19 positive units. Unfortunately, a number of the residents of Parsons Health Center second floor, where we experienced the most recent outbreak, were on hospice before they tested positive for COVID-19.

Employee Cases

Twenty-eight employees have tested positive for COVID-19 in November from Parsons Health Center, Housekeeping, Engineering, Dining, Transportation and Assisted Living. Anyone who may have been exposed to these employees has been contacted directly. Thankfully, many of our employees are doing well. Some have returned to work, and many others are reaching the end of their quarantine periods and will be able to return to work soon.

Stay Safe During the Holidays

Please consider not joining your families for Thanksgiving this year and instead spend time with them virtually rather than in person. If you do leave for Thanksgiving, please seriously consider self-quarantining for a week or so to ensure that neither you nor those you spent time with develop symptoms. If you stay at home for the holidays, in the coming weeks, consider asking your friends and neighbors whether they have been around friends and family off campus so you can make an informed decision about whether to spend time together in person.

Always Remember to Follow the Core Principles of COVID-19 Infection Prevention:

• Wear a mask at all times when around others.

• Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer.

• Always maintain social distancing of at least six feet.

• Stay home if you do not feel well and contact your physician or the Clinic.

• We discourage visitation in each other’s apartments at this time.

• We encourage you to stay connected by phone or in virtual ways and to celebrate the holidays in our hearts.

Unfortunately, our holidays look very different this year. We would all love to be with family, but we cannot. It’s the best way to get to the end of this crisis. We hope you have a happy Thanksgiving. Our next Live Update will be Tuesday, December 1.

Windley Gravatt

Employee Update

I am here today to talk about staffing levels throughout our community. We know some of you are concerned about the employees as a whole, as well as turnover and open positions. Since coronavirus began here in March our turnover percentage has remained steady at 17-18%. The bulk of the employees leaving are in key resident-facing departments like Parsons Health Center, Engineering, Dining and Housekeeping. We have had quite a few staff retire, some have left for other opportunities and some have left for cause. Quite a few have left because of fear of COVID-19, whether they have health concerns themselves or a loved one at home who they feared they would be putting at risk.

This pandemic is very hard on all of the employees. They are working tirelessly to keep things running as smoothly as possible. It has also been hard on the community as a whole, with departments struggling while multiple staff are on quarantine. Employees are tired, and they need our encouragement. Westminster Canterbury provided staff who are employed and who worked a minimum of 50 hours between June 7 and September 27 a recognition bonus last week. Your kind words and encouragement make a big difference.

We are very aware that staffing is a struggle, and many are working on it. The market landscape is a difficult one with passive candidates who are wary of making a change in a pandemic. Unemployment benefits incentivize candidates to remain out of the market. Desperate employers are competing for staff. The recruiting team and managers are hard at work trying to get new staff in the doors. They have been cold calling candidates and attending multiple virtual career fairs. We highlight specific jobs on job boards, pushing them to the top of the search list. We push our employment branding through our GRTC bus and other items and advertise through multiple media including social media.

Over the past year we have hired three in Engineering, 15 in Housekeeping, 35 in Parsons Health Center and Assisted Living and 44 in Dining. We have also partnered with Randstad to get additional permanent Housekeeping staff and other agencies to utilize temporary healthcare staff.

Thank you for your concern and continued support for our employees. You keep them coming to work every day.

Beverly Beck

Employee Christmas Fund

Thanks to everyone for your very generous contributions to the Employee Christmas Fund (ECF). Thanks to all of you, so far, we have raised $568,636.

YES! YES! We have exceeded our goal! Let’s not stop there! When the ECF Committee set this year’s goal, it was before the COVID-19 crisis! Since then we have seen our staff work in a remarkable way. While the past nine months have been very difficult for each of us and each of our employees, they have made the difference in our ability to LIVE WELL! They certainly deserve the best Christmas that we can give them!

Residents will be getting a letter from one of our recent residents, Phil Rohrbach, that you will relate to. We still have until December 3 to contribute. Let’s not stop giving to the Employee Christmas Fund so that we can give our employees the BEST CHRISTMAS ever. We will announce the final fund amount at the Live Update on Tuesday, December 8.

Debra Jacobsen


We are temporarily adjusting hours in Transportation. The grocery shuttle will only run Monday, Wednesday and Friday starting immediately. Store locations for those days will remain the same. To sign up for the Grocery Shuttle, visit the Tower Desk or dial zero. With the limited number of trips, please be considerate of those who do not have any other means of getting their groceries. If you can wait for your next grocery shopping trip, please do to allow others to go and to limit your chances for additional exposures.

Please limit your transportation requests to only essential appointments. If your appointments can be postponed, please do to allow transports for those who cannot postpone and to avoid further exposures.

Emergency Call System

The Emergency Nurse Call system changeover was originally scheduled to start in the Tower on December 1. This project entails having a contractor come into your apartment to change Healthsense equipment to SARA equipment. For health and safety reasons, we have decided to delay this project until January 1. We will communicate more as we approach that date.

Deliveries from Families and Friends

Courtesy Services are available for drop off services for those residents who need it. For those who are not quarantined and able to come down to collect items being delivered by friends and family, please meet them at the Center or Tower Entrances, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. or holidays and weekends 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

For Independent Living residents who are unable to meet your families or residents in Assisted Living and Parsons Health Center, please remind your families of the drop off times at the Tower Desk, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and holidays and weekends from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Our staff will collect the items and arrange to have them delivered to you.


Residents who would like to order a Thanksgiving meal on Thanksgiving Day should call for delivery at ext. 6259 between 10 a.m.-1 p.m. for midday dinner.

Salon Services

Please remember that while the salons are closed, you may call ext. 6281 for delivery of a large assortment of products you might need. The Salon employees are here to answer your questions.


Recreation has placed “I’m Thankful For” cards at the Tower and Center Desks, Business and Information Centers and on the large round tables throughout the community. Please fill them out and place on your door for others to enjoy or keep them for personal reflection if you prefer.


Wellness is working hard to find ways to keep you busy during this time of closures to the Fitness and Aquatic Centers. Look for information on a December BINGO. New walking maps will be available in the Business and Information Centers. They now include the Tower Green, where seven laps around will give you a mile.


The Galleria continues with deliveries Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Call before 3:30 p.m. for same-day deliveries. Order forms are available at the Tower and Center Desks to make it easier to place your order. The Galleria provides you an option for beauty, health, snack and miscellaneous items while you stay close to home. Call ext. 1523 for questions or to place your order.

Gayle Haglund

Saturday Night Movie

We apologize for the ongoing problems with the Saturday Night Movie. Our plan is to show Murder on the Orient Express on Wednesday, November 25, at 7 p.m. We will play The Odd Life of Timothy Green on Saturday, November 28, at 7 p.m. Both will be on TV971. Though it may seem it should be a simple matter to air movies on our closed-circuit television channels, we have learned the hard way that nothing could be further from the truth. Without boring you with the details, there are several pieces of required hardware and software that find it hard to work together. Troubleshooting has been ongoing. Replacement equipment is on the way again. Two staff members have offered to come in during the holiday to help ensure these movies play correctly. However, test runs and proper set up have worked before and still failed at the time it mattered most. Thank you to the staff who work so hard on this and all our communications. We are sorry that you are disappointed as our goal is always to improve your lives, not to frustrate you! We are striving to expand our TV971 content in December to include some holiday concerts. See the December 3 issue of The Tales for details. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving – we’re all so thankful for each and every one of you!

Logan Augustine

Pastoral Care Announcements

We invite you to join us on Thanksgiving Day on TV970 at 10:30 am for worship. Rev. Deacon David Curtis will preach.

Our December prayer booklets will be available soon. If you have requested one in the past, we will send a copy to you. If you have not received one in the past but would like a copy, please call David Curtis at ext. 5179.

Join us for our annual Star-Lighting Service this Sunday, November 29, at 4 p.m. on TV970. Resident Betty Clapp is our star lighter and will light the star for us! Star lighting booklets are available at the Tower Desk and Center Business Center.

Psalm 139:1-6

O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue O Lord, you know it completely. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.

Devotion from “Home Devotions for the Week of Thanksgiving, 2020” Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, South Dakota

Thought for the day

Many of the psalms of scripture can be attributed to King David, who understood well both the joys and sorrows of life. Although a devout man of God, King David also understood what it was like to be human. He made his share of mistakes, but God never gave up on David, and God never stopped loving him. There is an honest, compassionate, conversation of love within these prayers of David. In many ways, David lived a blessed life and had much to be grateful for; in other ways, David suffered greatly at the hands of both his enemies and even his closest friends. Joy, sorrow, anger, fear, everything that was in David’s heart he shared within these psalms; and God heard everything David said. In the same way, within our prayers, God listens to each of us.

Question for Today

What does it mean to know that God is always there to listen to you, that God understands you, and what you are feeling?


O God, you know me better than I know myself, and you understand the questions of my heart. In the midst of life, I give thanks God that you are with me, hemming me in with your love, and guiding me with your gentle hand. Amen.

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