As if our physical, social, and emotional struggles with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) weren’t enough, we now have to face the impact this health crisis will have on the holiday season. Many of the traditions we’ve enjoyed with our residents and families over the years will have to be reimagined in 2020. This will require some patience, understanding, and an open mind on all of our part, especially as it relates to donations of food items.
Last week, NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo identified the top three areas where COVID-19 is spreading: bars, gyms, and people or items coming and going from private residences. New restrictions are currently being put into place all across the state based on this guidance.
For us, that means we must restrict our usual potluck-style food events, food donations, and related activities for the time being. This includes donations or deliveries of meals, desserts, candies, and other food items that have been prepared by resident families or community members for consumption by either staff and/or residents.
While you may have the best of intentions, we’ve seen how easily (and unknowingly) the COVID-19 virus can be spread to others. Even if food items are heated or chilled, contagions can still be spread via containers, wraps, utensils, and more. As an alternative, we recommend getting gifts or food items from local stores or restaurants for your loved ones or our staff where applicable. The difference between food items made at home versus a commercial kitchen or restaurant is that these businesses have COVID-19 safety protocols in place to help protect consumers from harm’s way. On the contrary, many of us have habits or routines we follow in the comfort of our own home (some we may not even be aware of) that can inadvertently spread contagions to others. The last thing we want is to see a good deed have such scary consequences! Though it hurts to do it, we must enforce this going forward or at least until COVID-19 cases in WNY and our own community begin to go back down.
In place of homemade cookies, consider getting cookies or donuts from a local bakery; in place of homemade soup or other entrees, consider getting soup or food specials from a local restaurant or grocery store. Sealed packages, bags, and containers work the best because the outside can be sanitized without affecting the quality of the products inside.
“When in doubt, give us a shout!” If you’re unsure whether or not it is OK to bring something in for your loved one, call their corresponding facility and/or unit to double-check first:
LHRC Units: (A1) 716-665-8164, (B1) 716-665-8115, (A2) 716-665-8165, and (B2) 716-665-8118
HP Front Desk: 716-720-9610
Lastly, we have received several calls lately by resident family members and community members asking if they can do something special for our healthcare heroes. Some aren’t sure what to buy or do. In light of this, we have created a special “Employee Holiday Food” donation fund on our website through the Lutheran Foundation. Donations made to this fund will be used to buy food and desserts for our staff during the holiday months.
To make a donation, just visit www.lutheran-jamestown.org and click “DONATE” at the top of the page. Donations can be made safely and securely online using a debit card, credit card, or PayPal account. You can designate which department or unit is to receive your donation and include a short note of encouragement if you’d like! Our staff are facing similar emotional challenges as many of you. Some have their own aging family members in the community they cannot visit, while others avoid as much social interaction in the community as they can. They do these things to keep our residents safe, so small tokens of appreciation go a long way to help boost their spirits and recognize them for the sacrifices they’re personally making.
If you had told me back in March that we would still be in this position come November, I would not have believed it. This emotionally draining life event is something our children and grandchildren will read about in history books and wonder how we ever managed to wrap our minds around it all, especially as it changes so rapidly. Regardless, we must move forward and work together as best we can to keep one another and our residents’ as safe as possible.
Please remember to wear your masks while out in public, wash or sanitize your hands when needed, maintain social distance in public as well as among friends, and consider the impact your holiday plans may have on those in attendance as well as others. Also, say a prayer for our staff and the work they continue to do; I’m proud of the work they’ve done and you should be too.
As a reminder, you can call our 24/7 COVID-19 hotline any time to check the current status of visitation at both of our facilities. Thank you for your understanding and help adhering to this ever changing world we live in.
Symptomatic LHRC Residents Tested for COVID-19 – 41
LHRC Residents Tested for COVID-19 – ALL*
LHRC Residents Currently Testing Positive for COVID-19 – 0
Former COVID-19 Positive LHRC Residents Recovered – 2
Symptomatic HP Residents Tested for COVID-19 – 0
HP Residents Tested for COVID-19 – ALL*
HP Residents Currently Testing Positive for COVID-19 – 0
Employees Tested Weekly for COVID-19 (State Mandated) – ALL
LHRC Employees Currently Testing Positive for COVID-19 – 2
HP Employees Currently Testing Positive for COVID-19 – 2
Former COVID-19 Positive Employees Recovered – 8
*not counting resident or representative declinations.
President and CEO