St. William’s Living Center Visitation and Infection Control Update January 20, 2021

Dear St. William’s Living Center Residents, Friends, and Families:

We are very excited to share news that we will soon be able to resume visitation and warmly welcome visitors back Monday, January 25, 2021.  St. William’s Living Center currently has no active staff or resident cases of COVID-19.  To resume indoor visits, Medicare rules require that the county positivity rate be below 10% and a facility must have no new COVID-19 cases for at least 14 days and two rounds of negative tests for all staff and residents.

Please find the enclosed visitation guide explaining the visitation process.  All visits must be scheduled, only two visitors may visit with one resident at a time.  We prefer visitors to visit during business hours, Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00pm.  If you are unable to visit during business hours, you must schedule a visit with the activity department by calling 218-338-1010.

We encourage loved ones to communicate with our residents by phone, video chat, or a window visit in Vogrin Hall if possible.  You may call our activity department at 218-338-1010 to set up a time to schedule a video meeting or window visit with a resident.

Over the course of the past two months, we have worked closely with the Minnesota Department of Health to evaluate and update our infection control program.  The handout included with this letter is intended help to educate residents, families, and visitors of proper hand hygiene, mask use, and personal protective equipment use.

Questions, Concerns, or Complaints

Should you have any questions, concerns, or complaints, please do not hesitate to contact us at: Tim Kelly, Administrator at 218-338-1001; Lori Roers, Director of Nursing at 218-338-1009.  We realize that this pandemic has been hard on residents and their families and I want to make sure that we are appropriately addressing any concerns that you have.

Sincerely,

Tim Kelly, Administrator

CLICK THIS LINK FOR PDF OF VISITATION GUIDE AND INFECTION CONTROL HANDOUT

RE: St. William’s Living Center COVID-19 Situation Update December 25, 2020

Dear St. William’s Living Center and McCornell Court Residents, Friends, and Families:

Merry Christmas!  Yesterday we received notification of one new case of COVID-19 in a nursing home resident.   

We currently have the following active COVID-19 cases:

  • St. William’s Living Center: Zero active staff cases, two active resident cases
  • McCornell Court Assisted Living: Zero active staff cases, and one active resident case.

The Minnesota Department of Health has set up a free hotline for anyone who has questions about Coronavirus (COVID-19).  Call the MDH hotline at: 1-651-201-3920. We will continue to provide updates to you to keep you informed of our ongoing work.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at: Tim Kelly, Administrator at 218-338-1001; Lori Roers, Director of Nursing at 218-338-1009.

Sincerely,

Tim Kelly, Administrator

COVID-19 Update December 16, 2020

We recently have had one new resident Covid case at our nursing home one and new resident Covid case in our assisted living. 

We currently have the following active COVID-19 cases:

  • St. William’s Living Center: 1 active staff case, 2 active resident cases
  • McCornell Court Assisted Living: No active staff cases, 1 active resident case

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at: Tim Kelly, Administrator at 218-338-1001; Lori Roers, Director of Nursing at 218-338-1009.

Sincerely,

Tim Kelly, Administrator

St. William’s Living Center COVID-19 Situation Update December 7, 2020

Dear St. William’s Living Center and McCornell Court Residents, Friends, and Families:

I am writing today regarding one new positive resident case and two new positive staff cases of COVID-19 at St. William’s Living Center.  We are in daily contact with the Minnesota Department of Health to ensure we are taking the appropriate steps to limit the spread of the virus. 

We currently have the following active COVID-19 cases:

  • St. William’s Living Center: 8 active staff cases, 13 active resident cases
  • McCornell Court Assisted Living: No active cases

Communication with COVID Positive Residents:

To speak with the nurse in charge of the COVID area, please call our main line at 218-338-4671, then dial extension 1104.  The nurse in charge of the COVID area can assist residents with phone calls.  We have additional phones available in the isolation area so that residents can make phone calls.  Residents in the isolation area can also do window visits near the Soo Street Lounge with visitors. 

Isolating residents who have tested positive: We have set up a separate isolation area in the nursing home to treat residents who have tested positive for COVID-19.  Only staff that are working with COVID positive residents may enter this area.

The Minnesota Department of Health has set up a free hotline for anyone who has questions about Coronavirus (COVID-19).  Call the MDH hotline at: 1-651-201-3920. We will continue to provide updates to you to keep you informed of our ongoing work.

Sincerely, Tim Kelly, Administrator

St. William’s Living Center COVID-19 Situation Update December 3, 2020

Dear St. William’s Living Center and McCornell Court Residents, Friends, and Families:

I am writing today regarding three new positive resident cases and four new positive staff cases of COVID-19 at St. William’s Living Center.  We are in daily contact with the Minnesota Department of Health to ensure we are taking the appropriate steps to limit the spread of the virus. 

As of today, we have not had any deaths related to COVID-19, but the reality is that at some point we will likely have a resident that will pass away with the virus.  One case is too many, one death will be too many.  Out of respect to the residents and their families, I will not be reporting resident COVID deaths in these updates.   New cases and COVID-19 deaths are reported to both the Minnesota Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control.  If you ever have questions or would like more information, please contact me by phone at 218-338-1001 or by email at tim@stwilliamslivingcenter.com.

We currently have the following active COVID-19 cases:

  • St. William’s Living Center: eight active staff cases, fifteen active resident cases
  • McCornell Court Assisted Living: No active cases

Isolating residents who have tested positive: We have set up a separate isolation area in the nursing home to treat residents who have tested positive for COVID-19.  Only staff that are working with COVID positive residents may enter this area.

The Minnesota Department of Health has set up a free hotline for anyone who has questions about Coronavirus (COVID-19).  Call the MDH hotline at: 1-651-201-3920. We will continue to provide updates to you to keep you informed of our ongoing work.

Sincerely,

Tim Kelly, Administrator

SWLC Level 1 Visitation Update September 11, 2020

Dear St. William’s Living Center Friends and Family,

Due to an increase in the Otter Tail County COVID-19 Case Rate, the nursing home will move to LEVEL 1 visitation rules.  Therefore, indoor visit will be suspended until the county case rate decreases.  McCornell Court Assisted Living will remain at LEVEL 2 visitation with no changes to indoor visits.

Fortunately, we have not had any positive COVID-19 cases in residents or staff.  We are regularly testing all our employees so that we can identify any cases. 

Visitors may call the activity department at 218-338-1010 to schedule an outdoor visit.  Appointments must be scheduled in advance for outdoor visits.  If activity staff are not available, visitors should leave a message and staff will return the phone call.  Outdoor visits are scheduled in half hour time slots, which will allow for a 20-minute visit.  This will allow staff time to assist residents to get to and from their assigned visit.  Longer visits will be taken into consideration for special circumstances.  Visitation hours are based on staff availability. 

The essential caregiver program will resume under the LEVEL 1 visitation.  The policy follows MDH guidelines and is a narrowly defined exception to visitor restrictions which may allow certain cares to be provided by a personal caregiver from outside our community.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at: Tim Kelly, Administrator at 218-338-1001, tim@stwilliamslivingcenter.com ; Lori Roers, Director of Nursing at 218-338-1009.

VISITATION MODIFICATION CHANGES BEGINNING AUGUST 31, 2020

Dear St. William’s Living Center and McCornell Court Resident, Friends, and Family,

We are very excited to share news that we will soon be able to resume visitation in our setting and warmly welcome visitors back in our buildings! After carefully developing a safe and comprehensive reopening plan, we expect in-door visits to resume on August 31, 2020.

As of today, we have not had any positive cases of COVID-19 in any staff or residents.  We developed a testing plan that includes ongoing surveillance testing of direct care staff through an agreement with the Mayo Clinic.  We are taking an aggressive approach to test residents and staff with symptoms by utilizing rapid testing available through Sanford Clinic in Parkers Prairie. 

INDOOR VISITS MUST BE SCHEDULED IN ADVANCE

Guests may schedule an indoor visit online at https://stwilliamslivingcenter.simplybook.me/ or by calling the business office at 218-338-4671 during business hours Monday – Friday 8am to 4:30pm.

VISITORS MUST BE SCREEND PRIOR TO ENTRY

All visitors entering the facility will be actively screened for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 at a screening station prior to the visitor walking through the facility.  All visitors to the nursing home should enter door A to be screened.  All assisted living visitors should enter door E to be screened.  Do not come for an indoor visit if you are ill or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.  

VISITATION RULES MAY CHANGE

Visitation rules may change for several reason’s including if a resident or staff person tests positive for COVID-19, if the case activity level in the community increases above an incidence rate of 10:10,000 in Douglas or Otter Tail county, or if the facility does not have adequate staffing or PPE

See below for a visitation guide to explain the process for Level 2 visitation at McCornell Court and St. William’s Living Center.  Please know we continue to provide outdoor visits, window visits, and visits through technology and encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities.  If you have any questions, please give us a call at 218-338-4671. 

Sincerely,

Tim Kelly, Administrator

ESSENTIAL CAREGIVER PROGRAM – JULY 24, 2020 UPDATE

Hello St. William’s Living Center and McCornell Court Resident, Friends, and Family,

We are pleased to announce that we are creating a new program called Essential Caregiver – in accordance with guidelines released from Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Our goal through this program is to help our residents who are missing care previously provided by a loved one or outside caregiver prior to the visitor restrictions required by state and federal guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The policy follows MDH guidelines and is a narrowly defined exception to visitor restrictions which may allow certain cares to be provided by a personal caregiver from outside our community. This new guidance is not intended to be a reopening of visitors, but instead is intended to provide essential care for high risk residents.

Below are some of the criteria we will use as we evaluate and designate Essential Caregivers in our settings:

  • Essential Caregivers will be determined based on consultation/assessment with our interdisciplinary team.  Residents will be consulted about their wishes to help determine whom to designate as an Essential Caregiver.
  • Essential Caregivers will be actively screened for symptoms of COVID-19 prior to entering the building and must wear all necessary personal protective equipment while in the building. They must also perform frequent hand hygiene and maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet with staff and other residents while in our building.
  • Essential Caregivers will limit their movement in our building, providing care and support in their loved ones’ room or a designated space in our building.
  • Essential Caregivers must inform us if they develop a fever or symptoms consistent with COVID-19 within 14 days of a visit to a resident.

With this new guidance, it is important to know that Essential Caregivers cannot take a resident out into the community except for essential medical appointments and must not visit a resident during a resident’s 14-day quarantine and must not visit when a resident is positive for COVID-19 or symptomatic, unless the visit is for compassionate care.  Please know we do retain the right to restrict or revoke Essential Care status if the designated person fails to follow our established policies and protocols. 

If, at any time, it is deemed unsafe for Essential Caregivers to enter the building—due to a rise in the number of cases in our community, either within our walls or in the broader community—it is our obligation per MDH guidelines to revisit and reassess the program.

We recognize the concern you may have that not everyone will be able to serve as an Essential Family Caregiver. We also deeply feel the desire of our residents and their loved ones to be connected in a more meaningful way.

Please know we continue to provide outdoor visits, window visits, and visits through technology and encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities.

Michelle Hartmann, our Social Services Director, will be the main contact for the Essential Care Program.  Michelle can be reached at 218-338-1008.

Sincerely,

Tim Kelly

Administrator

St. William’s Living Center

St. William’s Living Center Outdoor Visitation Policy:

Visitors should call activity department at 218-338-1010 to schedule an appointment.  Appointments must be scheduled for outdoor visits.  If activity staff are not available, visitors should leave a message and staff will return the phone call.  Families are encouraged to give as much advance notice for staff and residents to prepare for the visit.  Visits will be scheduled in half hour time slots, which will allow for a 20-minute visit.  This will allow staff time to assist residents to get to and from their assigned visit.  Longer visits will be taken into consideration for special circumstances.  Visitation hours are based on staff availability. 

Current COVID-19 positive residents, residents with COVID-19 signs or symptoms, and residents in a 14-day quarantine or observation period are not eligible for outside visits.

One staff person should be assigned to each resident for the duration of the visit.  Staff should maintain visual observation but provide as much distance as necessary to allow for privacy of the visit conversation.

Visitors must be screened by staff prior to the visit.  Staff should use the visitor log to gather contact information and document screening questions.  Temperatures of visitors must be taken.  Any visitor with a temperature of 100 or greater or any of the following symptoms will be asked to leave.  Screening questions include:

  • In the last 14 days, has had contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID19, or under investigation for COVID-19, or are ill with respiratory illness.
  • Do you have a new fever (100 F or higher) or the sense of having a fever?
  • Do you have a new cough that you cannot attribute to another health condition?
  • Do you have a new shortness of breath that you cannot attribute to another health condition?
  • Do you have a new sore throat that you cannot attribute to another health condition?
  • Do you have new muscle aches that you cannot attribute to anther health condition or that may have been caused by a specific activity (such as physical exercise)?   

Residents and visitors must wear a mask or other face covering during the visit, as tolerated and must support social distancing of at least 6 feet between the visitor and resident.  If visitors do not have a mask, a cloth mask will be provided by the facility to use during the visit.

Due to the risk of exposure, holding hands, hugging, kissing, or other physical contact is not allowed during family visits.  Visitors under age 12 years must be in the control of adults who bring them and must also comply with social distancing requirements.  Pets must be under the control of the visitor bringing them in.

SWLC will provide alcohol-based hand rub to persons visiting residents and staff will provide verbal reminders of correct use.

Weather: Visits should occur only on days when there are no weather warnings that would put either the visitor or resident at risk.

St. William’s Living Center retains the right to deny outdoor visitation to specific residents only if they believe:

1. Circumstances pose a risk of transmitting COVID-19 to the facility because the resident or visitor does not comply with infection control guidance, or

2. The resident or visitor is at risk of abuse/harm.

Is It True? Common Misinformation About the Coronavirus Outbreak

We are fortunate to live in a time when we don’t have to wait for the morning paper for our news. It’s easy to get the breaking news we need through twenty-four-hour cable news outlets, social media, and the internet.

This fast news cycle has its drawbacks too. Misinformation about the Coronavirus outbreak tends to get spread around just as quickly as facts. Sometimes, even legitimate news sources make mistakes in their reporting and spread misinformation about this deadly disease.

In this article, we’ll address some of the recent pieces of misinformation floating around out there. We’ll also tell you what you can believe during these uncertain times.

Recently Reported Misinformation

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently made claims that asymptomatic spread, or spread of the disease by those who carry the virus yet exhibit no symptoms, is a rare occurrence. A day later, they went back on this claim and said that much is still unknown about asymptomatic spread.

In early June, the Star Tribune reported a story that grossly misrepresented the impact of the disease in the state’s long-term care facilities. The article miscounted death totals and made no mention of the measures taken to care for those with COVID-19.

Some of the facilities mentioned in the article opened up entire wings to the care of COVID-19 patients and have high recovery rates. This information was completely omitted from the original article and only a small correction printed in the next day’s paper.

There have also been many reports about how the virus spreads. In the initial stages of the outbreak, scientists believed the virus was spread by touching surfaces. Now, some news outlets are saying that it can’t be spread this way, rather, it spreads by being close to someone who has the virus.

The truth? It’s more complicated than these limited online stories cover.

What We Know About the Coronavirus Outbreak

The examples we’ve given in this article are just a few recent examples of misreporting on this topic. Let’s concentrate on what we know to be true at this time.

1. We Don’t Understand the Disease Yet

Despite all the information out there on COVID-19, scientists really don’t know much about it. From the beginning, we’ve operated assuming asymptomatic spread and surface spread are dangerous to our residents. Until we have hard, scientific facts about how the disease spreads, we plan to air on the side of caution to protect our vulnerable residents.

2. It Is Deadly to Our Residents

We might not have scientific data about the disease, but we do know one thing for sure – it is deadly to the elderly and to those with compromised immune systems. The statistics verify this as a fact and we need to continue diligent safety measures to protect the residents of St. William’s Living Center.

3. Masks DO Help

Wearing a cloth mask won’t necessarily prevent you from contracting the virus. However, wearing a mask does protect others if you happen to be a carrier of the virus or if you haven’t developed symptoms yet.

In fact, disposable masks are now readily available at many major stores and pharmacies. Disposable masks provide a better fit, which gives you more protection. They are also more comfortable to wear than heavy, cloth masks.

4. Testing Is Very Important

Testing is the best way to prevent outbreaks in long-term care facilities. By testing our residents and staff, we can identify those who carry the virus, even if they do not show symptoms. We can keep infected staff out of the building, and we can isolate infected residents to prevent further spread.

At this time, St. William’s has had no positive cases of COVID-19.

5. Excellent Hygiene Works to Prevent Outbreak

We know for certain that practicing excellent hygiene is the best way to stay safe during this pandemic. Wash your hands thoroughly and often. Avoid touching your face.

Use hand sanitizer throughout the day as an added precaution. Hand sanitizer is now readily available in most major stores. Buy a bottle to keep in your car and use it every time you return from a trip out. 

What We’re Doing to Keep Our Residents Safe

Our top priority is keeping our residents safe from a Coronavirus outbreak. All St. William’s staff wear surgical masks and protective eyewear while on duty. We are also screening all employees before they enter the building to ensure someone with symptoms doesn’t come to work and infect others.

We worked with the National Guard to complete three rounds of testing on all residents and staff members. So far, we have had no positive cases of Coronavirus at St. William’s.

We are well-stocked in personal protective equipment for our staff members and we have plenty of hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies on hand. Employees that develop COVID-like symptoms are immediately asked to leave work, consult their physician, and get tested before returning to work.

Residents who report symptoms are isolated in their room and immediately tested. If a resident tests positive, we’ve prepared a separate area of our facility to act as a COVID unit. That resident will be separated from healthy residents and only COVID designated staff will care for them. Healthy residents will never share space or staff with the COVID unit when that time comes.

St. William’s is strictly following all Minnesota Department of Health and Center for Disease Control guidelines. If you have questions or concerns, please call us.