This week, we will pass the one year mark since we closed our doors to the public for the first time in our history. A year ago, we had no idea how long the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic would persist or how woefully unprepared we were as a nation to fight it. Though it is certainly no cause for celebration, we have to consider the bright spots where we can.
I’m extremely proud of the work our team has done, both on campus and in their personal lives, to keep you and your loved ones safe to the best of their abilities. Circumstances pushed us to learn new technologies, get creative with care delivery, and juggle a competing list of priorities in a time of “war” against an unseen enemy. Through it all, our healthcare heroes continued to overcome each obstacle put in their path.
Though we have avoided announcing this to the general public knowing it could change at any moment, our campus has had one of the lowest COVID-19 infection rates in all of western New York over the last year compared to similar senior care communities. It is too soon to forecast what the next couple months will look like, but ramped up vaccination programs, our county infection rate dropping, and state regulators connecting the dots between practicality and reality are finally leading us down the right path.
We expect (though we cannot guarantee) that we will be able to begin in-person visitation at the Lutheran Home and Rehabilitation Center and resume in-person visitation at the Hultquist Place Assisted Living Program this month. Our updated visitation policy is enclosed for your review and is also available on our website. You will need to read this document and follow all guidelines set forth to ensure you, your family, and others in our care are able to enjoy this experience to its fullest. A robo call will be sent to you to announce when visitation officially opens. The calls are much faster than our letters home. Also to piggyback off that, the hotline number on the reverse side of this letter is the best resource for you to access up-to-date information on the reopening status in both of our facilities.
LHRC and HP receive and must follow all federal guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and state guidance from the New York State Department of Health. We must follow them both. Unfortunately, misinformation continues to spread in the media each time new guidance is issued from either source, particularly on social media. We receive the information at the same time everyone else does which gives us little-to-no time to adjust our internal processes before it is being mass reported and our phones start ringing. Reporters and/or enthusiastic community members then scan and summarize this extremely complex information (often pages and pages worth of healthcare related data) so that it sounds good on Facebook, in a short newspaper article, or in a thirty-second televised newscast. These stories do not reflect the entire scope of our work and often do more harm than good.
Our administrators and care providers have to memorize all of this information, bring it to life within our walls, and hope the information does not change the next day or week, which is often the case. I can tell you from experience that this is no easy task during an average year, let alone during a global health crisis. Please know that we’re making every effort we can to get you through our doors ASAP.
Before I close this letter, I do want to be sure I share COVID-19 vaccine resources with you once more. As mentioned before, we’re heading down the right path but we are not to the finish line yet. Though our official on-campus clinics for residents and staff have ended, we’re still able to vaccinate new workers and new residents in batches as they come to us.
Please seek out accurate vaccine information. Ask your doctor or another health professional questions when you have them. If you’ve ever played the Telephone Game, you know that relying solely on word of mouth may not always be what we expect! Please make educated decisions for yourself and your family on whether or not the COVID-19 vaccine is right for you.
You can visit https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/ online for real-time data, information on the vaccines available in New York State, or click “Check Your Eligibility” to see if and when you will become eligible.
Thank you for your time and respect as our staff work through this new but exciting next few weeks. There will be hiccups along the way, but your patience and thoughtful recommendations will help us get better with each visit.
Symptomatic LHRC Residents Tested for COVID-19 – 68
LHRC Residents Tested for COVID-19 – ALL*
LHRC Residents Currently Testing Positive for COVID-19 – 0
Former COVID-19 Positive LHRC Residents Recovered – 12
Symptomatic HP Residents Tested for COVID-19 – 60
HP Residents Tested for COVID-19 – ALL*
HP Residents Currently Testing Positive for COVID-19 – 0
Former COVID-19 Positive HP Residents Recovered – 12
Employees Tested Weekly for COVID-19 (State Mandated) – ALL
LHRC Employees Currently Testing Positive for COVID-19 – 0
Former COVID-19 Positive LHRC Employees Recovered – 29
HP Employees Currently Testing Positive for COVID-19 – 0
Former COVID-19 Positive HP Employees Recovered – 13
*not counting resident or representative declinations.
For COVID-19 status updates on the Lutheran Campus, call our 24/7 hotline at any time: 716-720-9715
President and CEO