COVID-19 Health Campus Information - St. Augustine Health Ministries

COVID-19 Health Campus Information

COVID Statistics at St. Augustine

October 21, 2021 update

Health Campus
Currently Positive Cumulative Positive*(includes current)
Cumulative Recovered
Residents 4 49 41
Staff 1 66 65

* Note: Cumulative beginning on March 12, 2020 and includes current positive

Assisted Living Currently Positive Cumulative Positive*(includes current)
Cumulative Recovered
Residents 0 10 10
Staff 0 14 14

* Note: Cumulative beginning on August, 2020 and includes current positive

Coronavirus Campus Alerts and Updates

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Steps Taken to Mitigate the Spread of COVID-19

Since March 12, 2020, we have put a number of safety measures in place for the protection of residents and staff and these will remain in place for the foreseeable future. Following is an overview:

 

  • Essential personnel only are admitted in the building
  • Masks must be worn by all staff at all times
  • All staff must enter and exit through one door. All other entrances are closed.
  • Employees must complete daily wellness checks, including having their temperature taken.
  • Any employee who tests positive or shows symptoms must follow strict protocols regarding quarantine and re-testing before returning to work.
  • Health assessments and temperature readings of residents are taken each shift.
  • Isolation and quarantine wings were created in March with additional infection control equipment and measures for those residents with symptoms, newly admitted residents and residents who return from the hospital.
  • Activities moved to resident floors, by wing, with social distancing. Multipurpose rooms, recreation room and chapel closed.
  • Social distancing of 6 feet or more is practiced.
  • Continuous education of employees and residents on proper hygiene and safety measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
  • Masks are worn by residents when out of their room
  • High-touch areas are disinfected with greater frequency. Additional hand sanitizer is available throughout the building for employees.
  • Regular hand-washing is being followed by staff
  • COVID-19 testing for residents and staff with symptoms or if requested, along with regular mandated testing.
  • Adequate supply of PPE for staff.
  • Contract tracing is in place to notify employees or residents who have had potential exposure.
SAHC
Ohio Department of Health
VIRTUAL VISITS: We understand the vital importance of keeping our residents connected with their loved ones. We have 5 iPads to help us connect residents to their families via video chat using FaceTime, Duo and Facebook Messenger. To sign up, please call 216.939.7653 and leave your name, cell phone number, resident name and app you will be using. We will then connect with you.

We understand that this is not an easy time for anyone. As we facilitate increased virtual communication between all of our families and their loved one, we thank you for your understanding and patience as we learn this new form of communication.

• Visitors will be asked about signs and symptoms of illness and will have their temperature taken.
• Masks must be worn correctly during the duration of the visit by residents and visitors – including private rooms

• Visitors must use alcohol-based hand sanitizer upon entering and exiting the visitation area.
• Residents who are exhibiting possible signs or symptoms of COVID-19 may not receive visitors.
• Any visitor who develops symptoms consistent with COVID-19 within two days of a visit must alert the facility.
• As COVID-19 continues to evolve and new guidance is released from CDC, CMS and ODH, this information is subject to change.

We encourage everyone to follow the recommended safety practices in the community. Please continue to follow this page for updated information.

October 18, 2021

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

We have been made aware that during our required testing today, three individuals tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. We have notified public health officials as required. Per CDC, CMS and ODH guidelines, residents on the 4th floor will be quarantined and watched for signs and symptoms until two weeks of testing is complete with no additional positive cases.

Compassionate care visits with a 4th floor family member on hospice or who has significant decline for example, must be pre-scheduled with the social worker or the unit manager.

Please watch our website for updates: www. staugministries.org/coronavirus. We understand how difficult this is for the residents and you but our first priority must be to keep residents and staff safe at this time. Please know that we have followed and will continue to do so, all guidance set forth for privacy, patient care, employee safety, and efforts to mitigate any spread of this virus.

Thank you again for your support and understanding throughout this past 16 months. If you have any questions about this guidance or the vaccine, please feel free to contact me at 216.634.7435

Elayne Newcomb, LNHA
Administrator

October 12, 2021

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

I am writing to inform you that a resident on the 4th floor has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. We have notified public health officials as required. Per CDC, CMS and ODH guidelines, residents on the 4th floor are in quarantine and we are required to suspend all visitation on the 4th floor until the facility meets the criteria to discontinue outbreak testing (which is 2 weeks from last positive case). Residents on 3 South have completed their quarantine period.

To have compassionate care visit with a family member on hospice or who has significant decline for example, you must speak with the social worker or the unit manager. The security guard has been instructed not to let visitors into the building. Therefore, all pre-approved compassionate care visits must now be pre-scheduled so we can let security know the date and time of your visit.

Please watch our website for updates: www. staugministries.org/coronavirus. We understand how difficult this is for the residents and you but our first priority must be to keep residents and staff safe at this time. Please know that we have followed and will continue to do so, all guidance set forth for privacy, patient care, employee safety, and efforts to mitigate any spread of this virus.

Thank you again for your support and understanding throughout this past 16 months. If you have any questions about this guidance or the vaccine, please feel free to contact me at 216.634.7435

Elayne Newcomb, LNHA
Administrator

October 4, 2021

Dear Families,Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

We have been informed that a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. We have notified public health officials as required and are following all CDC guidelines for return to work. 

We have begun testing of all staff and residents and will move forward with visitation and reopening pending no additional positive cases. At this time the 4th floor is on quarantine and we have suspended visitation per CDC guidelines.  Please watch our website for updates: www. staugministries.org/coronavirus. Please know that we have followed and will continue to do so, all guidance set forth for privacy, patient care, employee safety, and efforts to mitigate any spread of this virus.

We encourage everyone to follow the recommended safety practices in the community. Please continue to follow our website for updated information.

Elayne Newcomb, LNHA
Administrator

October 1, 2021

Dear Families,Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

At this time we have been given the all clear to resume visitation on all units except the 3 South unit. Residents on 3 South are still allowed to have window visits. Those can be scheduled by calling Michelle at 216.939.7653.

Visitors must continue to follow all infection control guidelines including correct mask wearing and social distancing when inside of our building.

We encourage everyone to follow the recommended safety practices in the community. Please continue to follow our website for updated information.

Elayne Newcomb, LNHA
Administrator

September 24, 2021

Dear Resident Representatives, Residents and Staff,

As you know we have had to pause visitation due to positive cases within the building. Because we understand how hard this is on residents and their loved ones, we will once again begin window visits starting on Monday, September 27th and continuing until we are open for visitation again. Virtual and window visits can be arranged by calling Michelle at 216.939.7653 and specifying windw or virtual visit.

Window visits:
Must be pre-scheduled by calling Michelle at 216.939.7653 to arrange a time and date.

Visitors will enter through the Detroit Ave. entrance and will remain in the vestibule (inside between 2 sets of doors) for the entire visit. Your loved one will be on the other side of the glass wall in the Detroit Ave. lobby.

Please bring a cell phone or tablet that can be put on speaker phone. We will help your loved one call you from our speaker phone.

Parking is sometimes available on the street or in one of the first 2 spots (marked Visitors Parking) at the entrance of the main driveway (facing the side of the church).

Properly worn face masks are required inside of the building at all times.

Due to ODH regulations, restroom facilities are not available for visitors. No food or drinks are allowed to be consumed during the visit.

Our goal is to allow every resident an opportunity to visit with family during these next few weeks.

Approved Compassionate Care and newly admitted individuals in their 14 day observation period must arrange pre-scheduled visits with the unit manager or social worker at this time.
Limit 2 visitors

Full PPE must be worn through the entire visit. This includes protective eye wear, gown and an N95 mask. (available prior to entering room)

Social distancing from a roommate and staff must be adhered to at all times.

You must stay in the resident’s room the entire visit if you come out of room you must take off PPE before exiting the room and would need to reapply prior to reentry.

We are in the process of scheduling flu vaccines for residents. If you have not yet done so, please click here on the attached form to confirm or deny the flu shot for your loved one. We will be giving vaccines beginning early next week.

The Covid booster has now been approved. We will need consent prior to giving residents the booster. Forms will be sent out via email in the next week. Please watch your email, fill out the form (yes or no) or call the unit manager or social work to approve or decline consent.

We encourage everyone to follow the recommended safety practices in the community. Please continue to follow our website at www.staugministries.org/coronavirus for updated information.

Thank you,

Elayne Newcomb, LNHA
Administrator

September 21, 2021

Dear Towers Assisted Living Residents, Families, and Friends,

In a spirit of transparency, our community was informed today that an assisted living resident has tested positive for the COVID-19. This resident did not attend activities and did eat meals alone but was in the common areas, front desk, and in the nursing office.

Ensuring the  health and wellness of our residents is always, especially now, our top priority. We continue to  work diligently to mitigate any spread of COVID-19  within our assisted living by continuing to follow all required CDC and ODH guidelines including isolation, increased monitoring as required and extensive cleaning and sanitation processes.

We have notified public health officials as required and want to make residents, families and our dedicated staff aware of this situation and reassure everyone that we are on top of it. We are suspending visits at this time for the next ten days.

All staff and residents are screened once daily for fever and signs and symptoms of any respiratory illness. It has become mandatory that all staff not vaccinated be tested twice weekly for COVID-19. We are still waiting word on approval from the FDA for a booster vaccine and all the residents are very eager to get that, I have yet to hear one negative comment from any of them.

Thank you for your support, if you have any questions, please contact me at 216-634-7462 or Gail Francis RN, DON at 216-939-7584.

Brigid Nolan
Director

September 20, 2021

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

We have been informed that a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. We have notified public health officials as required. Per CDC guidelines, when a new case of COVID-19 among staff or residents is identified, a facility should immediately begin outbreak testing if contact tracing is not possible and suspend all visitation until at least one round of facility-wide testing is complete and no additional cases are identified.

We have begun testing of all staff and residents and will move forward with visitation and reopening when allowed to do so. Please watch our website for updates: www. staugministries.org/coronavirus. Please know that we have followed and will continue to do so, all guidance set forth for privacy, patient care, employee safety, and efforts to mitigate any spread of this virus.

We continue to balance ongoing infection control practices with a careful, phased approach as we implement activities, monitor the impact and determine when and how more openings can safely occur. 

Thank you again for your support and understanding throughout this past 16 months. If you have any questions about this guidance or the vaccine, please feel free to contact me at 216.634.7435

Elayne Newcomb, LNHA
Administrator

September 16, 2021

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

We have been informed that a resident admitted to our Isolation unit has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

We are following the Sept.10th revised CMS guidelines. Since this resident was admitted to the isolation unit with a dedicated team and had no contact with other residents, only staff and residents of that unit were tested based on contact tracing procedures. We have no additional positive results.

With the Delta Variant on the rise, we continue to be vigilant in the following procedures in order to protect our staff and residents.

Stringent infection control practices must be adhered to by all visitors, staff, and residents. This includes: wearing a mask completely covering the mouth and nose at all times while inside nursing facilities, including private rooms; hand hygiene; and social distancing.

Un-vaccinated staff are tested twice a week. Agency staff are tested prior to each shift. Vaccinated staff are tested upon request when they come back from a vacation or if they feel they might have been around others who are not as cautious. Visitors can request to be tested prior to their visit by asking for the nursing supervisor when they arrive.

We continue to educate and encourage all visitors, staff and residents to be vaccinated and at this time we only allow vaccinated volunteers to return. Approx. 79% of staff are vaccinated and 89% of residents. Although it has been announced that a mandate is coming requiring all staff to be vaccinated, we await guidance from the CDC and CMS regarding vaccinations and boosters. Please click on the Vaccine Mandate Frequently Asked Questions to learn more.We will forward additional information once the guidance has been clear.

Thank you again for your support and understanding of our staff, who continue their commitment in caring for others throughout this global health crisis and national staffing shortages, of the past 16 months. If you have any questions about this guidance or the vaccine, please feel free to contact me at 216.634.7435

Elayne Newcomb, LNHA

September 2, 2021

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

We have received the results from the Covid testing of all residents and staff and are able to report that we are all clear. There are no suspected or positive cases of the virus in our facility, therefore all visitation is being resumed.

Please note that all staff and visitors must wear a mask completely covering the mouth and nose at all times while inside this facility, including private rooms. Failure to comply can result in removal from the facility.

Be assured that if your loved one has had direct contact, is suspected or tests positive for the virus, the resident representative or guardian is notified by phone immediately.

Thank you again for your understanding and we appreciate your support of our St. Augustine employees who have walked through these unprecedented times with us for the past 16 months in order to keep your loved ones safe. If you have any questions about the vaccine, please feel free to contact me at 216.634.7435

Elayne Newcomb, LNHA

August 31, 2021

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

We were just informed that a contractor who works in our building has tested positive for the virus. Following CDC guidelines, we are immediately transitioning to outbreak protocol, cancelling visitation until we complete a full round of testing of all residents and staff, pending no further positive results.

Please watch our website for updated information.

Thank you again for your support and understanding throughout the past 15 months. If you have any questions about this guidance or the vaccine, please feel free to contact me at 216.634.7435

Elayne Newcomb, LNHA

August 27, 2021

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

We have received the results from the Covid testing of all residents and staff and are able to report that we are all clear. There are no suspected or positive cases of the virus in our facility, therefore all visitation is being resumed.

We are sorry that the communication was not more immediate. When we are made aware of a suspected or confirmed case, we must immediately transition to outbreak protocols. There are many critical steps to this and time is essential in containing any possible spread. This includes testing of all staff and residents, contact tracing, separating residents who might have been exposed from those with no exposure,and from those who have a positive test result.

Please be assured that if your loved one has had direct contact, is suspected or tests positive for the virus, the resident representative or guardian is notified by phone immediately.

Please note that all staff and visitors must wear a mask completely covering the mouth and nose at all times while inside nursing facilities, including private rooms. Failure to comply can result in removal from the facility.

Thank you again for your support and understanding throughout the past 15 months. If you have any questions about this guidance or the vaccine, please feel free to contact me at 216.634.7435

Elayne Newcomb, LNHA

August 25, 2021

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

As we continue to navigate through this ever changing health crisis, the safety and health of our residents and staff continues to be our top priority. We take extra precautions beyond what is required by the CDC and ODH, by testing all agency staff as they enter our facility prior to reporting to their work assignment. One such agency staff member tested negative prior to working on Monday of this week. Upon arrival Wednesday, this same staff member tested positive and was sent home immediately to quarantine following CDC guidelines.

Following CDC guidelines, we have immediately transitioned to outbreak protocol, cancelling visitation until testing of all residents and staff is complete, pending no further positive results and areas that “could” have been exposed.

At this time, visitation is allowed on the 2nd and 4th floors. Visitation for those on 3-South and 3-East can take place in the Commons or in the garden while we await test results for 3-North and 3-West.

Please note that all staff and visitors must wear a mask completely covering the mouth and nose at all times while inside nursing facilities, including private rooms. Failure to comply can result in removal from the facility.

Thank you again for your support and understanding throughout the past 15 months. If you have any questions about this guidance or the vaccine, please feel free to contact me at 216.634.7435

Elayne Newcomb, LNHA

August 11, 2021

Dear Residents, Families and Friends of the Towers Assisted Living,

I would like to inform you that a resident from the Towers has tested positive for COVID-19 virus.

We have notified public health officials as required and are following all required CDC guidelines including quarantining, increased monitoring as required and extensive cleaning and sanitation processes. Because of this, visitation has been suspended for the next 10 days pending no other positive cases.

We encourage all staff, residents, family and friends to continue to follow infection control guidance including frequent hand hygiene, distancing and the wearing of mask inside and outside of our facility. Even if vaccinated, with this new variant, it is better to be cautious than for us to go backwards.

Please watch our website www.staugministries.org/coronavirus for the update on visitation. Thank you for your support. If you have any questions, please contact me at 216-634-7462 or Gail Francis RN, DON at 216-939-7584.

Regards,

Brigid Nolan
Director,
St. Augustine Towers Assisted Living

July 24, 2021

Throughout the past 14 months, we have all made huge sacrifices for the health and well-being of our residents and those who care for them. Although we have come a long way since this time last year, we are not out of the woods. The chance of serious illness for the un-vaccinated and some of our most vulnerable residents, especially with new variants, is still a real threat. Individuals vaccinated can still carry and spread the virus to others. However, we must continue to move forward together – safely.

Pre scheduled visits will no longer be required. However, we ask that you follow the guidelines below in order for us to comply with CDC Infection Prevention and Control guidance.

  • You must have your temperature taken and screen for signs and symptoms when you arrive.
  • Masks must be worn correctly at all times inside the building, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Please wash hands/sanitize often.
  • Visitors are not allowed to visit other resident rooms or wander throughout the building.
  • Visitors, regardless of vaccination status, should physically distance (maintaining at least 6 feet between people) from other residents.
  • Visits can be in the resident room but for the health and wellness of the resident, it is preferred in the garden (as they have been inside for most of the past year), the commons or the library on the first floor.
  • Residents who share a room need to consider social distancing and may need to find an alternate place to visit. Staff are available to assist if needed.
  • The cafeteria is not open as we do not have staffing to accommodate at this time.

Suggested visiting hours are between 10am – 7 pm

We are required to conduct weekly testing of all un vaccinated staff. New residents and/or residents returning from a hospital stay are placed in observation. Please contact us regarding visitation procedures for them. If you would like to be tested or would like to get the vaccine, please contact the unit manager or nursing supervisor.

We are excited about the additional freedom, but it will be up to each of us to keep from going backwards. Please remember that a positive test result among a resident or staff member in the future will have a direct effect on visitation and resident activities.

July 1, 2021

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

I am pleased to tell you that visitation is no longer suspended so you are able to call and schedule your visit!

We received word that, due to a change in the Resident’s condition, the hospital retested the resident twice for COVID-19 and the result of both tests was negative. The hospital has taken the resident out of isolation and off of precautions and so are we.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July weekend. If you have any questions about this guidance or the vaccine, please feel free to contact me at 216.634.7435

June 29, 2021

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

I am writing to share that a resident has tested positive for COVID-19 upon admission to the hospital. In accordance with our infection control policy, this unit has been placed on observation for the next 14 days. Our staff is trained in infection control practices and they are experienced in managing and containing the spread of infection and illness. They are following established protocols based on that training. Upon return, the resident will be admitted to the quarantine unit.

We have notified public health officials as required. Per CDC guidelines, when a new case of COVID-19 among staff or residents is identified, a facility should immediately begin outbreak testing and suspend all visitation until at least one round of facility-wide testing is complete and no additional cases are identified.

We have begun testing of all staff and residents and will move forward with visitation and reopening when allowed to do so. (Please watch our website for updates:
www. staugministries.org/coronavirus). Please know that we have followed and will continue to do so, all guidance set forth for privacy, patient care, employee safety, and efforts to mitigate any spread of this virus.

We continue to balance ongoing infection control practices with a careful, phased approach as we implement activities, monitor the impact and determine when and how more openings can safely occur.

Thank you again for your support and understanding throughout this past 13 months. If you have any questions about this guidance or the vaccine, please feel free to contact me at 216.634.7435

Elayne Newcomb, LNHA
Administrator

June 18, 2021

Dear Assisted Living Residents, Families, and Staff,

 Governor Mike DeWine just gave the order that nursing homes and assisted living facilities may open up to visitors at any time, there is no longer a need to schedule an appointment. We feel that this is a big step in the right direction to getting things back to normal.

 All visitors of St. Augustine Towers Assisted Living must enter through the 7821 Lake Avenue entrance, there are no exceptions. There will be a sign in logbook that all must sign when entering the facility, you must document what resident you are visiting.

 The guard will key you to the 6th floor not the resident apartment where the receptionist will have you fill out a questionnaire about COVID-19 signs and symptoms and vaccination status and you will have your temperature taken. The receptionist will key you to the floor that your loved one resides on and you must use hand sanitizer before and after the paperwork has been completed.

 Visits are only allowed in the resident apartment or on the patio, you cannot use the common areas in the building and you cannot use the dining room to visit.

 Masks must be worn at all times and please use proper social distancing when in the Towers. We want to make sure everyone remains healthy and enjoys the summer months.

 Please call me at 216-634-7444 with any questions you may have.

 Sincerely,

 Brigid Nolan

Assisted Living Director

 

June 2, 2021

Dear Assisted Living Families, Residents, and Staff,

This has been a very long and difficult year and I believe we are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. We have had great success with the vaccination program here at the Towers Assisted Living and are still giving the vaccinations on a regular basis.

There have been huge changes in the community as far as mask requirements however, except for “those who are in nursing homes, assisted living facilities or other congregate care settings outlined in the order.”
The current CDC orders for assisted living facilities state:

  • Personnel necessary for the operations of the assisted living facility are allowed in the facility.
  • Assisted living facilities shall evaluate all of the following: case status in the community; case status in the assisted living; staffing levels; access to adequate testing for residents and staff; PPE; local hospital capacity.
  • Assisted living facilities shall maintain a log of visitors that include name and contact information.
  • Assisted living facilities shall require all staff and visitors to wear face coverings, regardless of vaccination status. In addition, St. Augustine’s infection control policy requires all unvaccinated staff to wear N95 mask while on duty.
  • No more than two visitors shall be permitted per resident per visit.
  • Residents and visitors shall be encouraged to have contact-free visits. However, if the resident is full vaccinated, they can choose to have close contact while wearing a well-fitting face mask and performing hand-hygiene before and after. Regardless, visitors should physically distance from other residents and staff in the facility.
  • All visits must be scheduled in advance. Visitors shall be provided a time for the visit as well as the length of the visit in advance of the visitation date.
  • Visitors will be escorted to and from the designated visitation area (outdoor) is preferred by the staff using the most direct route.
  • When a new case of COVID-19 among residents or staff is identified, the assisted living should immediately begin outbreak testing and suspend visitation until at least one round of negative testing is completed.

We continue to follow all infection control procedures to keep your loved ones and staff safe, and I am pleased to say that we are currently have no positive cases among residents or staff in the building. Both ODH and the CDC note that if there is at least one unvaccinated individual (resident, staff, or visitor) present, then masking and distancing practices must be followed by all, regardless of vaccination status. A positive test result among a resident or staff member in the future can have a direct effect on activities.

Currently we have mass daily, activities daily and the dining room is open Monday through Friday for morning and noon meals. We are working on getting it opened fully within the next month.

Please contact the receptionist Andrea or Dawn at 216-634-7444 to schedule a visit with your loved one. Thank you for the great support we received this past year and fell free to contact me at 216- 634-7444.

Brigid Nolan
Director

April 28, 2021

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

Today we were made aware that a resident who recently returned from the hospital has now tested positive for COVID-19. According to ODH guidelines, “when a new case of COVID-19 among residents or staff is identified, a nursing home should immediately begin outbreak testing and suspend all visitation until at least one round of facility-wide testing is completed.” We are following these guidelines.

The headlines in the news these past couple of weeks has been of the loosened restrictions here and across the country, as more people become vaccinated. Today’s headline reads: “No quarantine required after coronavirus exposure for fully vaccinated. “Any Ohioan who is fully vaccinated will no longer be required to quarantine after exposure to someone diagnosed with COVID-19”, Gov. Mike DeWine said during a coronavirus update Tuesday, April 27. Unless you read further, you miss the following, “The change applies to all adults “except those who are in nursing homes, assisted-living facilities or other congregate care settings outlined in the order,” DeWine said. “Nursing homes and long-term care facilities should continue to quarantine following U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.”

The current ODH Directors Orders for nursing homes state:

  • Personnel necessary for the operations of the nursing home are allowed in the facility
  • Nursing homes shall evaluate all of the following: case status in the community; case status in the nursing home; staffing levels; Access to adequate testing for residents and staff; PPE; local hospital capacity
  • Nursing homes shall maintain a log of visitors that include name and all contact information.
  • Nursing homes shall require all visitors and residents to wear face covering during the entire visit
  • No more than two visitors shall be permitted per resident per visit.
  • Nursing homes shall encourage residents and visitors to have a contact-free visit. However if the resident is fully vaccinated, they can choose to have close contact while wearing a well-fitting face mask and performing hand-hygiene before and after. Regardless, visitors should physically distance from other residents and staff in the facility.
  • Visits must be scheduled with the nursing home in advance. Visitors will be provided a time for the visit as well as the length of the visit in advance of the visitation date.
  •  Visitors shall be escorted to and from the designated visitation area by staff of the nursing home using the most direct route.
  • When a new case of COVID-19 among residents or staff is identified, a nursing home should immediately begin outbreak testing and suspend all visitation until at least one round of facility-wide testing is completed.
  • Visitation must occur in a designated visitation area.

In addition,this week the CDC released updated recommendations for the general public on communal activities, dining and routine testing for health care settings. The guidance allows fully vaccinated individuals to forego distancing and mask wearing during activities and dining. However, the Ohio Orders for nursing home and residential care facility visitation and testing are currently in conflict with the updated CDC recommendations and updated CMS testing memo. Ohio long-term care facilities must wait for the Ohio Orders to be rescinded or updated with the newest guidance.

Both ODH and the CDC note that if there is at least one unvaccinated individual (resident, staff, or visitor) present, then masking and distancing practices must be followed by all, regardless of vaccination status.

This information can change daily and sometimes differ between CMS, the CDC and ODH. Guidelines also differ for the community vs. assisted living vs. nursing homes. While we are painfully aware at how important visitation is for you and your loved one and how confusing this can be, we are required to follow the guidelines spelled out for nursing homes. This is not easy for any of us.

Thank you for your patience, understanding and continued prayers.

 

Elayne Newcomb, LNHA

 

April 19, 2021

Dear Assisted Living Residents, Families and Friends,

I am happy to announce that the Towers Assisted Living is COVID-free so the visitations will resume effective immediately! Please call the receptionist at the main desk at 216-634-7444 to schedule a visit. The visit days are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday at the set times as before. We will also extend the visitation days to include Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Please call me if you have any questions at 216-634-7444. Thank you.

 

Brigid Nolan
Director, St. Augustine Towers Assisted Living

April 15, 2021

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

This week we over conducted over 450 tests of residents and staff. Staff continue to be tested twice weekly and this week two staff members tested positive and are quarantined at home. We are following the criteria for “Return to Work” as issued by the CDC.

Because of this we have had to pause indoor visitation, however we will resume the window visits. Since we are only able to offer window visits to one resident at a time, we are scheduling those residents who have not had a visitor in the past two weeks, first. If we are able to provide outdoor visitation, we will make calls to those on the wait list.

Please know that we are all very disappointed in this news. It is important to encourage others to follow the mandated safety precautions at home and out in the community, as the result effects families and business everywhere.

I would like to once again acknowledge the continued outpouring of thanks and appreciation from residents and family members for the efforts of our staff throughout the past thirteen months. Your kind words and encouragement continue to sustain us as we work together to care for your most precious treasure – your loved one.

Thank you

Elayne Newcomb, LNHA

April 9, 2021

Dear Residents, Families and Staff,

We were informed today that a resident tested positive for COVID-19. We are following all procedures by the CDC and CMS. Unfortunately this means that all visits have been suspended until further notice.

Our focus remains on the health and well-being of our community. We must also recognize our team for the concern and commitment they have shown to our residents during this past year. Our mission has never been more meaningful.

Thank you all for your support. If you have any questions, please contact me at 216.634.7400

Regards,

Elayne Newcomb, LNHA

April 1, 2021

Dear Residents and Resident Representatives,

I would like to inform you that two staff members in the assisted living have tested positive for COVID-19 virus. We will suspend visitations until further notice.

In the spirit of transparency, you can now check our website daily to see our COVID-19 count. We feel this will keep our family members informed in a more immediate manner.

We continue to work diligently to mitigate any spread of COVID-19 within our assisted living by continuing to follow all required CDC and ODH guidelines including quarantining, increased monitoring as required and extensive cleaning and sanitation processes.

We have notified public health officials as required and want to make residents, families and our dedicated staff aware of this situation and reassure everyone that we are on top of it.

All staff and residents are screened twice daily for fever and signs and symptoms of any respiratory illness. It has become mandatory that all staff be tested weekly for the COVID-19 and this measure was put in place as an effort to keep our residents safe.

Thank you for your support. If you have any questions, please contact me at 216-634-7462 or Gail Francis RN, DON at 216-939-7584.

Brigid Nolan, Director

April 1, 2021

Dear Residents, Families and Staff,

The flowers are beginning to bloom and Easter is upon us – all signs of renewed hope and new life.

All staff continue to be tested for the COVID-19 virus twice each week.We have been informed that a staff member tested positive for the virus and is being quarantined at home.  We notified public health officials as required and are following all “return to work” procedures by the CDC and CMS. Unfortunately this means that all visits have been suspended until we receive clearance from ODH and CDC.

Our focus remains on the health and well-being of our community. We must also recognize our team for the concern and commitment they have shown to our residents during this past year. Our mission has never been more meaningful.

Thank you all for your support. If you have any questions, please contact me at 216.634.7400

Regards,

Elayne Newcomb, LNHA

Administrator

March 17, 2021

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

It is hard to believe that it has been one year since the pandemic caused our lives to change so drastically. While it has been an extraordinarily difficult year for all of us, we are grateful for the compassion and determination shown by our staff, residents and families, and for their many sacrifices during this unprecedented time.

Recently, ODH and the CDC loosened some restrictions within the building. Although they are not yet able to intermingle between floors, residents are enjoying Mass in the chapel and activities in the Rec. room, with each floor being assigned days/times. This has brought a renewed sense of hope for all.

With the vaccine becoming readily available and an increased number of individuals in the community becoming vaccinated, CMS is allowing us to resume indoor visitation based on each facilities structure. Staff, residents and visitors must continue to follow responsible infection control practices (masks, hand hygiene and distancing).

All visits must be pre-scheduled, and will take place in the commons or the garden, weather permitting. To schedule, contact Michelle: 216.939.7653.
• Visitations will take place Tues, Wed,Thurs. and Saturday with a limited number of evening visits.
• Limit two visitors per resident for entire 30-minute visit.
• Residents are limited to one visit per week, to be equitable to all 234 residents. Additional visits based on availability.
• Visitors will be asked about signs and symptoms of illness and will have their temperature taken.
• Masks must be worn correctly during the duration of the visit by residents and visitors.
• Visitors must use alcohol-based hand sanitizer upon entering and exiting the visitation area.
• Residents who are exhibiting possible signs or symptoms of COVID-19 may not receive visitors.
• Any visitor who develops symptoms consistent with COVID-19 within two days of a visit must alert the facility.
• As COVID-19 continues to evolve and new guidance is released from CDC, CMS and ODH, this information is subject to change.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 216.634.7435

Elayne Newcomb, LNHA

March 2, 2021

Dear Assisted Living Families,

We are all very excited to have received the vaccine and are beginning to enjoy more freedom around the Towers. Although we must continue to follow the guidelines set forth for assisted living facilities by the CDC and ODH, including social distancing and wearing of a mask, we have been able to loosen a few restrictions within the facility.

A limited number of residents are now able to attend Mass during the week. The dining room has been opened for the noon meal with each floor assigned a different day of the week. Tables are six feet apart and only one resident is seated per table. These alone are such a blessing and bring back that sense of community.

Governor DeWine wants us to try these few things to see what happens but has not lifted many of the other restrictions. Families are not allowed to come to the resident apartment as of yet, as the fear being the close contact and protection of others.

We have prescheduled indoor visitation now several days per week that include a 5:15 p.m. spot for those who work during the week. Currently all visitation in assisted living is guided by the ODH order which includes consideration based on case status in the surrounding community, case status in the individual facility, staffing levels, access to adequate testing for residents and staff, PPE supplies and local hospital capacity.

In addition, the ODH order includes:

  • Must be in substantial compliance with the Testing Requirement for all staff and residents  
  • Visitors must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms, including questions about exposure to COVID-19
  • All visitors must wear face covering for entire visit- residents should also wear face covering when possible- (procedure level mask)
  • Visitors must be escorted to and from visitation area
  • Routes should be planned to minimize contact with other visitors/residents/staff
  • All visitors must be old enough to facilitate social distancing, not be a distraction, and wear a face covering
  • No food or drink during visitation.
  • No more than 2 visitors per resident per visit
  • Must provide enough space if more than 1 resident has a visitor, to permit visitors and residents to maintain appropriate distance.
  • Encourage contact free visits, if unable – provide proper hygiene for both resident and visitor
  • Designated area for visitation separate from resident rooms,  cleaned/disinfected between visits, as well as hand sanitizer made available
  • Visits must be scheduled in advance

We are allowing the residents to see their doctors, go to the pharmacy, and pick up items at the store as masking, distancing and limited exposure to others can be adhered to.

However, if a resident goes out to a restaurant or to a family member’s home, we will have to isolate the resident for a two-week period of time. The orders do not allow us to have that close of contact with others as of yet. As you can see from the above, our guidelines for visitation are still strict.

Please contact either Gail Francis, RN, DON at 216-939-7584 or myself at 216-634-7462.

 

Thank you,

Brigid Nolan
Director, Towers Assisted Living

 

February 22, 2021

Dear Child Enrichment Center Families:

As part of St. Augustine Health Ministries, all employees are tested for the COVID every Monday and Thursday. We learned from today’s testing that two of our staff members tested positive for COVID-19 and are quarantined at home. We are currently following the “Criteria for Return to Work” issued by the CDC.

We notified public health officials as required and are continuing to follow all procedures recommended by ODJFS and the CDC to contain the spread. We want to make parents aware of this situation and reassure everyone that we are doing everything we can to contain further spread.

Per the Department of Health we will closing the preschool classes through March 6th. They will reopen on Monday, March 8th. Phone calls have been made to all parents affected by this. All other classrooms will remain open. We have kept classrooms separated just in case this should occur.

At this time you do not need to take any special precautions beyond monitoring your children and yourself for symptoms of COVID-19 as well as practicing social distancing and good hygiene. Please contact us immediately if someone in your home begins exhibiting any symptoms or has tested positive.

Once again, please know that we have followed and will continue to follow, all guidance set forth for privacy, the safety of your children and our employees and efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact Stephanie at 216. 939. 7681.

Thank you for your support and we will stay in communication with you as we continue to monitor this situation. We are sorry for the inconvenience that this has caused.

 Stephanie Moore
Director
smoore@st-aug.org

Julia Liechty
Assistant Administrator
jliechty@st-aug.org

February 9, 2021

Dear Assisted Living Residents and Families,

Beginning on Monday, February 15, we will begin indoor visitation again at Towers Assisted Living. These visits will allow two family members or friends to come in and visit for a total of 45 minutes. These visits will be in the basement of the Towers, right past the guard as you enter from the 7821 Lake Avenue entrance.

The same rules apply with filling out a questionnaire, temperature taking, and mandatory mask wearing. Food and beverages are not allowed to be shared during the visit, but you are allowed to bring in goods for your family members.

You must call Andrea Mumford at 216-634-7444 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday to schedule the visit. The days of visitation will be Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Visitation times will be 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. and each visit will be 45 minutes in length.

Please call me at 216-634-7444 with any questions you may have regarding visitation and welcome back!

Regards,

Brigid Nolan, Director
St. Augustine Towers Assisted Living

 

February 6, 2021

Dear Assisted Living Residents and Families,

We have learned that a resident has tested positive for COVID-19 and will be quarantined to their apartment.

Last Sunday 90% of our residents received their second Pfizer vaccination and all are doing very well.

We look to The Ohio Department of Health to issue updated regulations in the upcoming weeks regarding the easing of some restrictions.  As soon as we know something, we will pass the information along to you.

We encourage families, residents and staff to remain diligent in following the mandated safety precautions at home and out in the community, as an increase in the spread will impact all of us.

We continue to work diligently to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within our assisted living by continuing to follow all required CDC and ODH guidelines including quarantining, increased monitoring as required and extensive cleaning and sanitation processes.

All staff and residents are screened twice daily for fever and signs and symptoms of any respiratory illness. It has become mandatory that all staff be tested weekly for COVID-19 and this measure was put in place to protect our residents.

Thank-you for your support, if you have any questions, please contact me at 216-634-7462 or Gail Francis RN, DON at 216-939-7584

Regards,

Brigid Nolan, Director
St. Augustine Towers Assisted Living

 

February 4, 2021

 

Dear Resident Representatives, Residents and Staff,

As you have heard, Anita Gerrasch has retired from St. Augustine Health Campus. It is a privilege to accept this new position as Administrator of St. Augustine. Although I have been here for 18 months as the Assistant Administrator, COVID hit shortly after I arrived. Like many of you, I am eager to get back to normal, especially to experience all of the wonderful programs and activities that make this place so special.

As the days get longer we are seeing a little more sunlight. This week we completed over 630 COVID-19 tests among residents and staff with no positive results. Our residents and staff have received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine and we watch as the vaccine is now being given to more in the community – all positive signs of recovery.  

It is imperative, however, that we continue to follow the guidance of health officials and reduce transmission of COVID-19. While it is not the time to relax our focus and precautions, we should take comfort in signs that we’re making.  We will continue to follow these developments closely and remain steadfast in our efforts to ensure the safety and well-being for all residents and staff.  For now, we will stay the course.

We will continue with window visits until we receive new visitation guidelines from ODH, CDC and CMS. Visits must be pre-scheduled through Michelle in Activities at 216.939.7653 no more than once a week and is limited to 4 visitors. You will need a cell phone or tablet that is connected to Google Duo or Facetime.

Thank you for giving us the honor of caring for your loved one. I look forward to getting to know you in the weeks and months ahead.  Please feel free to contact me at 216.634.7435 with any questions or concerns you may have.

Thank you,

Elayne Newcomb, LNHA 

 

 

January 24, 2021

Dear Assisted Living Residents and Families,

We have had a resident test positive for COVID-19 and are following the protocols of quarantine per the CDC guidelines set forth in the State of Ohio.

The second dose of the vaccine will be given on Sunday, January 31, 2021 and I am happy to report 90% of our residents received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. It was truly a historic day and we were all so very excited take part in something that will one day end COVID-19.

The vaccination takes two weeks to build up in our systems and I know we have received many phone calls asking when will visitation begin, when can I take my parent out. Per Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health, all regulations stay in place for assisted living communities even after the vaccination process is completed. There is so much we do not know yet and the main goal is to keep all of our Towers residents and staff safe.

We continue to work diligently to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within our assisted living by continuing to follow all required CDC and ODH guidelines including quarantining, increased monitoring as required and extensive cleaning and sanitation processes.

All staff and residents are screened twice daily for fever and signs and symptoms of any respiratory illness. We continue to test staff twice weekly and residents on a as needed basis.

Thank-you for your support and understanding during this very long process and please call me at 216-634-7462 or Gail Frances RN, Don at 216-939-7462.

 

Regards,

Brigid Nolan, Director
St. Augustine Towers Assisted Living

 

January 7, 2021

Dear Assisted Living Residents and Families,

I would like to inform you that three staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 virus.

Residents on all floors within the Towers will be quarantined in their apartments through next week and we will evaluate the information we gather after next week’s COVID-19 testing cycle.

In the spirit of transparency, you can now check our website daily to see our COVID-19 count. Be sure to look at the Assisted Living chart on the left hand side of the page at www.StAugMinistries.org/coronavirus.  We feel this will keep our family members informed in a more immediate manner.

We continue to work diligently to mitigate any spread of COVID-19 within our assisted living by continuing to follow all required CDC and ODH guidelines including quarantining, increased monitoring as required and extensive cleaning and sanitation processes.

We have notified public health officials as required and want to make residents, families and our dedicated staff aware of this situation and reassure everyone that we are on top of it.

All staff and residents are screened twice daily for fever and signs and symptoms of any respiratory illness. It has become mandatory that all staff be tested weekly for the COVID-19 and this measure was put in place as an effort to keep our residents safe.

Thank you for your support. If you have any questions, please contact me at 216-634-7462 or Gail Francis RN, DON at 216-939-7584.

Regards,

Brigid Nolan, Director
St. Augustine Towers Assisted Living

 

January 4, 2021

Dear Assisted Living Residents and Families,

We have learned with our last week of testing that a staff member was positive for COVID-19 and we are following the “Return to Work” criteria as issued by the CDC.

Beginning December 10th, CVS/Omnicare will be on our campus to administer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to residents and staff of the Towers. While not mandatory, it is critical to get as many vaccinated in this first phase of the vaccination process. This is a two-step vaccine. The booster will be administered on January 31st.

Staff and residents will only be able to receive the vaccine on these dates, otherwise they may have to wait until it is available to the general public.

We started weeks ago getting lists of those whom would like the vaccine and are now in the process completed the paperwork just sent to us to complete. Residents and staff are looking forward to getting the vaccine as it will provide another line of defense in helping us mitigate the spread and severity of this virus. We are hopeful that it will help get us back to some kind of normalcy sooner rather than later.

We continue to work diligently to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within our assisted living by continuing to follow all required CDC and ODH guidelines including quarantining, increased monitoring as required and extensive cleaning and sanitation processes.

All staff and residents are screened twice daily for fever and signs and symptoms of any respiratory illness. It has become mandatory that all staff be tested weekly for COVID-19 and this measure was put in place to protect our residents.

Thank you for your support, if you have any questions, please contact me at 216-634-7462 or Gail Francis RN, DON at 216-939-7584.

Regards,

Brigid Nolan, Director
St. Augustine Towers Assisted Living

 

December 16, 2020

Dear Assisted Living Residents and Families,

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I hope this New Year brings us health and a return to the normalcy we all our praying for daily. We have been informed that a staff member within the assisted living has tested positive for the COVID-19 and we following the “Return to Work” criteria as issued by the CDC.

Residents will be quarantined to their apartment for a ten day period and are not allowed to leave the Towers. We want to ensure everyone stays healthy and safe.

We continue to work diligently to mitigate any spread of COVID-19 within our assisted living by continuing to follow all required CDC and ODH guidelines including quarantining, increased monitoring as required and extensive cleaning and sanitation processes.

We have notified public health officials as required and want to make residents, families and our dedicated staff aware of this situation and reassure everyone that we are on top of it.

All staff and residents are screened twice daily for fever and signs and symptoms of any respiratory illness. It has become mandatory that all staff be tested every two weeks for the COVID-19 and this measure was put in place as an effort to keep our residents safe.

Thank you for your support, if you have any questions, please contact me at 216-634-7462 or Gail Francis RN, DON at 216-939-7584.

Regards,

Brigid Nolan, Director
St. Augustine Towers Assisted Living

 

December 12, 2020

Dear Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

Our campus is decorated for Christmas and we continue to celebrate each day with a variety of special activities including Christmas Carols heard throughout the building; a Christmas sock day in which all residents received a pair of Christmas socks, and even a candy cane day.

Today was also the first day of our window visits (see the Dec. 8 letter below for information on scheduling a visit)

As we continue to test staff twice a week. Residents were also tested this week. From this weeks tests we have been informed that two staff members and three residents have tested positive. The staff members are quarantined at home. We are following the criteria for “Return to Work” as issued by the CDC. The residents are in our quarantined unit.

We continue to follow proactive measures that were put in place in early March by our Medical Director, clinical staff and administration to mitigate the chances of spread to your loved one or our staff:

  • All new admissions and residents who have been out of the facility are placed in a designated isolation wing for a 14 day observation. This unit is staffed with designated staff who are provided additional protective equipment.
  • All staff and residents are screened for signs and symptoms and have their temperature taken daily.
  • All staff must wear masks at all times.
  • Residents must wear masks when they are out of their rooms.
  • Additional personal protective equipment is provided to all staff as needed.

We encourage everyone to follow the recommended safety practices in the community. Please continue to follow our website for updated information as we receive it.

Thank you

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

December 11, 2020

Dear Assisted Living Residents and Families,

Ohio continues to experience a rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases on a daily basis. We are still under orders for our staff to be tested every two weeks. We were informed that three of our staff members in the assisted living tested positive and are following the criteria for “Return to Work” as issued by the CDC.

I realize how difficult it is during the holidays to not see your family members but we have to be vigilant to ensure we keep everyone safe. The staff and residents have decorated every floor in the Towers and it is very festive. We have been doing more arts and crafts and will do holiday’s themed activities during the next couple of weeks.

We continue to work diligently to mitigate any spread of COVID-19 within our assisted living by continuing to follow all required CDC and ODH guidelines including quarantining, increased monitoring as required and extensive cleaning and sanitation processes.

We have notified public health officials as required and want to make residents, families and our dedicated staff aware of this situation and reassure everyone that we are on top of it.

All staff and residents are screened twice daily for fever and signs and symptoms of any respiratory illness. It has become mandatory that all staff be tested every two weeks for the COVID-19 and this measure was put in place as an effort to keep our residents safe.

Thank you for your support, if you have any questions, please contact me at 216-634-7462 or Gail Francis RN, DON at 216-939-7584.

Regards,

Brigid Nolan, Director
St. Augustine Towers Assisted Living

 

December 8, 2020

Dear Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

As you know we are unable to provide indoor visitations at this time due to the spread in the community.

Throughout this Christmas and Holiday season, we are all painfully aware of how hard it is not to be with loved ones. Because of this, we have created a unique way to allow every resident the opportunity to schedule a safe holiday window visit with a few members of their family, following ODH, CDC and CMS guidelines. Please read the following carefully:

  • One 20 min. pre scheduled visit beginning Sat. Dec. 12th running through New Year’s Day. We will have weekend visits. No evening visits. Call Michelle at 216.939.7653 to schedule a date and time.
  • Limit 4 visitors throughout the entire visit. Please coordinate with other family members/loved ones. Visitors will enter through the Detroit Ave. entrance and will remain in the vestibule (inside between 2 sets of doors) for the entire visit. Your loved one will be on the other side of the glass wall in the Detroit Ave. lobby.
  • Please bring a cell phone or tablet that can be put on speaker phone. We will help your loved one call you from our speaker phone.
  • Parking is sometimes available on the street or in one of the first 2 spots (marked Visitors Parking) at the entrance of the main driveway (facing the side of the church).
  • Due to ODH regulations, restroom facilities are not available for visitors. No food or drinks are allowed to be consumed during the visit.

Our goal is to allow every resident an opportunity to visit with family for the Holidays.

We encourage everyone to follow the recommended safety practices in the community. Please continue to follow our website at www.staugministries.org/coronavirus for updated information.

Thank you

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

December 5, 2020

Dear Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

Ohio continues to experience a more intense, widespread surge in COVID-19 cases. With this increase in the community, our staff continue to test twice a week.

We have been informed that four staff members and two residents have tested positive this week. The staff members are quarantined at home. We are following the criteria for “Return to Work” as issued by the CDC. The residents are in our quarantined unit.

We continue to follow proactive measures that were put in place in early March by our Medical Director, clinical staff and administration to mitigate the chances of spread to your loved one or our staff:

  • All new admissions and residents who have been out of the facility are placed in a designated isolation wing for a 14 day observation. This unit is staffed with designated staff who are provided additional protective equipment.
  • All staff and residents are screened for signs and symptoms and have their temperature taken daily.
  • All staff must wear masks at all times.
  • Residents must wear masks when they are out of their rooms.
  • Additional personal protective equipment is provided to all staff as needed.

We encourage everyone to follow the recommended safety practices in the community. Please continue to follow our website for updated information as we receive it.

Thank you

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

December 5, 2020

Dear Assisted Living Residents and Families,

In a spirit of transparency, our community was informed today that an assisted living resident has tested positive for the COVID-19. This resident seldom left their apartment except for medical appointments.

Ensuring the health and wellness of our residents is always, especially now, our top priority. We continue to work diligently to mitigate any spread of COVID-19 within our assisted living by continuing to follow all required CDC and ODH guidelines including isolation, increased monitoring as required and extensive cleaning and sanitation processes.

We have notified public health officials as required and want to make residents, families and our dedicated staff aware of this situation and reassure everyone that we are on top of it. We have been suspending visits at this time as suggested in the guidelines established by ODH, and from Cuyahoga County being in red zone again. Activities will be scaled down and residents will be encouraged to stay in their apartments.

All staff and residents are screened twice daily for fever and signs and symptoms of any respiratory illness. It has become mandatory that all staff be tested every two weeks for the COVID-19 and this measure was put in place as an effort to keep our residents safe.

Thank you for your support, if you have any questions, please contact me at 216-634-7462 or Gail Francis RN, DON at 216-939-7584.

Regards,

Brigid Nolan, Director

St. Augustine Towers Assisted Living

 

November 20, 2020

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents and Staff,

Across the State and the Nation we are seeing a new surge in positive cases in addition to two of our neighboring counties turning to a level 4 status. This means severe exposure and spread with a warning to only leave home for supplies and services.

This week we completed a total of 637 COVID-19 tests of staff and residents. Two residents tested positive and therefore we completed a second round of testing on residents with no additional positive cases. Two staff members also tested positive and have been quarantined at home and we are following the criteria for “Return to Work” as issued by the CDC.

We continue to follow all local, state, and federal guidelines related to preventing and reducing the spread of COVID-19. All implemented safety measures, protocols, and recommendations are intended to protect our residents and our staff.

We encourage everyone to follow the recommended safety practices in the community. Please continue to follow our website for updated information as we receive it.

Thank you

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

November 19, 2020

Dear Families, Staff and Residents of the Towers Assisted Living:

 The holidays are just about to begin and I wanted to make sure everyone was aware of all we have put in place to ensure everyone stays safe during these difficult times.

 Along with State and National numbers, we are beginning to see positive COVID-19 test results at the Towers, as families and friends begin to gather without following masking and distance guidelines.  When a staff or resident tests positive, it affects everyone else who has been exposed to that person. Staff members, for example, are required to stay home for two weeks if they were exposed to someone who tests positive.  Likewise, residents must quarantine to their apartments if they have been exposed to others who test positive.

 Yesterday, new stay at home guidance was released. In an effort to keep everyone at the Towers safe and with the least amount of restrictions, we are asking residents to please comply with this guidance. Until numbers in the community begin to go down and we receive further guidance from ODH and the CDC, any resident who leaves the facility for any reason must quarantine in their apartment for a two week time period.  

I realize that this is very difficult and you all want to see each other but many of us have not seen our families since March in an effort to keep each other safe. With the stunning increase of COVID-19 in the community, we must keep vigilant to keep everyone safe.

 We continue safe practices here at St. Augustine Towers and appreciate all of your support during these difficult times.

 Please call Gail Francis, RN, DON at 216-939-7584 or myself at 216-634-7462 with questions you may have.

 Happy Thanksgiving.

 Brigid Nolan

Director, St. Augustine Towers

November 13, 2020

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

 Ohio is experiencing a more intense, widespread surge in COVID-19 cases. Although testing capacity in Ohio has nearly doubled, the number of people testing positive for the coronavirus has increased almost four times.

 With this increase in the community, our staff continue to be tested weekly for the virus. This week we conducted over 529 tests of residents and staff. Two staff member have tested positive and are quarantined at home. We are following the criteria for “Return to Work” as issued by the CDC.

 We continue to follow proactive measures that were put in place in early March by our Medical Director, clinical staff and administration to mitigate the chances of spread to your loved one or our staff:

  • All new admissions and residents who have been out of the facility are placed in a designated isolation wing for a 14 day observation. This unit is staffed with designated staff who are provided additional protective equipment.
  • All staff and residents are screened for signs and symptoms and have their temperature taken daily.
  • All staff must wear masks at all times.
  • Residents must wear masks when they are out of their rooms.
  • Additional personal protective equipment is provided to all staff as needed.

Although the holiday season may be different this year, we are getting creative to make the entire season one of Joy and Thanksgiving. Staff and residents are working on ways to adapt some of our usual Christmas events and we will be adding some new ones as well. In spite of the current situation, we are planning to bring cheer and laughter to all.

We encourage everyone to follow the recommended safety practices in the community. Please continue to follow our website for updated information as we receive it.

Thank you

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

October 30, 2020

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

Last week, Cuyahoga County reached a level “Red” on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System for exposure and prevalence of community COVID-19 spread. Because of this, we have had to pause indoor visitation and resume weekly COVID-19 testing of all staff.  

 We have received word that two staff member have tested positive for the virus. They are asymptomatic and quarantined at home. We are following the criteria for “Return to Work” as issued by the CDC.

 As Cuyahoga County nears the “Purple” level, this will have even more of an impact on all of us at St. Augustine, which may include more frequent testing of all residents and staff, and increased restrictions.

Please continue to follow updates on our website at www.staugministries.org/coronavirus

Thank you

 Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

October 26, 2020

Dear Families and Residents of the Towers Assisted Living,

 In a spirit of transparency, our community was informed today that an Assisted Living resident has tested positive for the COVID-19 and is quarantined in their apartment.

Ensuring the health and wellness of our residents is always, especially now, our top priority. We continue to  work diligently to  mitigate any spread of COVID-19 within our assisted living by continuing to follow all required CDC and OOH guidelines including isolation, increased monitoring as required and extensive cleaning and sanitation processes. All residents who are on the fourth floor will be isolated to their apartments until Monday November 2 , 2020.

We have notified public health officials as required and want to make residents, families and our dedicated staff aware of this situation and reassure everyone that we are on top of it. We are suspending visits at this time as suggested in the guidelines established by OOH, and from Cuyahoga County being in red zone again. Activities will be scaled down and residents will be encouraged to stay in their apartments.

All staff and residents are screened twice daily for fever and signs and symptoms of any respiratory illness. It has become mandatory that all staff be tested every two weeks for the COVID-19 and this measure was put in place as an effort to keep our residents safe.

 Thank you for your support, if you have any questions, please contact me at 216-634-7462 or Gail Francis RN, DON at 216-939-7584.

 Thank you

 Brigid Nolan, Director

 

October 23, 2020

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

On October 15th, after 14 days of no positive test results within our facility, it has been great to see residents out-and-about on their floors, participating in small group activities, enjoying meals in their dining rooms and some families being reunited for pre-scheduled indoor visitations. Staff and residents were also able to enjoy a week without COVID testing as we continue to stringently follow all established safety protocols.

There was an overall sense of hope that we’ve turned the corner and brighter days are ahead. However, this week Cuyahoga County reached a level “Red” on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System for exposure and prevalence of community COVID-19 spread. Because of this, we have had to pause indoor visitation and resume weekly COVID-19 testing as outlined by ODH, CMS, the CDC and the Governor.

 As Cuyahoga County nears the “Purple” level, this will have even more of an impact on all of us at St. Augustine, which may include more frequent testing of all residents and staff, and increased restrictions.

 Please know that we are all very disappointed in this news. It is important to encourage others to follow the mandated safety precautions at home and out in the community, as the result effects families and business everywhere.

 I would like to once again acknowledge the continued outpouring of thanks and appreciation from residents and family members for the efforts of our staff throughout the past seven months. Your kind words and encouragement continue to sustain us as we work together to care for your most precious treasure – your loved one.

 Please continue to follow updates on our website at www.staugministries.org/coronavirus

 Thank you

 

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

 October 19, 2020

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff

At this time, the very high exposure and prevalence of community COVID-19 spread in Cuyahoga County has reached a level “Red” on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System.

Because of this, we will have to pause indoor visitationat this time. We continue to review all data and guidance daily and will post any updates regarding visitation plans on the website daily

Please know that we are all very disappointed in this news. It is important that all individuals continue to follow the mandated safety precautions in the greater community as the result effects everyone.

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

October 9, 2020

Dear Families, Residents, and Staff,

Fall is in the air with crisp temperatures, beautiful skies and the turning of the leaves. This familiar time of year is still very unfamiliar as we continue to navigate into month seven of this pandemic. We continue to stand strong in supporting and caring for one another.

Once again this past week, residents were able to have beautician visits, choir practice and even celebrated Oktoberfest – in small groups, on their floor, while wearing masks and social distancing. It’s so good to feel even a small sense of normalcy.

Many of you have been bringing food for your loved one. We have begun to notice a stockpile of goodies in drawers. Please only bring enough food that can be consumed within two days. We don’t want opened snacks put in drawers or wrapped up on nightstands to attract unwanted visitors.

As we finish another week of resident and staff testing, we are hopeful that we will be able to move forward with pre-scheduled indoor visitations on Thursday, Oct.15 (barring no new positive testing results from this weeks testing).

Please keep in mind that it is important for everyone to follow social distancing, wearing of masks and following isolation/quarantine orders within our facility as well as in your personal lives. Our ability to continue to cautiously re-open resident activities and visitation is dependent on daily factors including:
• Case status in greater community
• Covid-19 cases within our building
• Staffing levels
• PPE supplies

Please check our website and your email often for updates/changes regarding visitation and to read the visitation guidelines.

Indoor visits will take place in the Commons. Please download and read the attached guidelines for the visitation and then call Michelle at 216.939.7653 to pre-schedule a visit. All visitors must also complete the Screening and Guidelines Acknowledgement Form attached.

Many of you continue to share your encouragement, kind words and prayers for our staff. These sustain us during the most difficult days and continue to motivate us as we work together to care for your most precious treasure – your loved one. Please stay safe and do your part to follow safety guidelines.

Thank you again for doing your part and for your continued support.

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

October 2, 2020

Dear Families, Residents, and Staff,

This week a total of 537 COVID-19 tests will have been completed of our residents and staff. Although results from today’s staff testing will not be received until next week, we are preparing for pre-scheduled indoor visitations to tentatively begin the week of October 12th (barring no new positive testing results).

Per CDC and ODH, the following will determine, on a daily basis, the ability to provide for visits:

  • Spread level in the Community
  • Covid-19 cases within our building
  • Staffing levels
  • PPE supplies

Weekly information is sent to the emails on file. This ensures immediate notification of any changes in facility restrictions, visitations, procedures, and testing.   Only those without an email will receive mailed updates.  To securely subscribe to immediate email notifications, please sign up at: www.staugministries.org/coronavirus

Visitations will take place in the Commons. Please read the guidelines including:

  • Visits must be pre-scheduled by calling Michelle 216.939.7653
     
  • Visits cannot be scheduled more than 1-week in advance
     
  • 30-minute maximum visitation from the assigned time
     
  • Limit of 2 assigned visitors for the entire visit (cannot split the visitation between visitors)
     
  • Visitors must be 8 years of age and older. (children over 8 are considered a visitor)
     
  • Masks must be worn correctly at all times by resident,  visitors and staff
     
  • 6 ft social distancing must be adhered to at all time (no physical contact with residents allowed)
     
  • No food or drink is allowed in the Commons. Items may be  sent to resident room directly.
     
  • Visitors are not allowed to leave the area or to be in other parts of the building
     
  • We do not have restrooms available for visitors.
     
  • All visitors must complete the Screening and Guidelines Acknowledgement Form enclosed
     

Conditions under which visitation may be changed:

  • May not be possible for medially complex residents
  • Residents who are exhibiting respiratory symptoms or possible signs or symptoms of the virus.
  • New admission/re-admission: no visitation for a 14 day period from admission
  • Doctor visits outside the facility may place resident in 14 day no visitation restriction (each occurrence)
  • If St. Augustine is not able to maintain risk mitigation strategies to ensure safety of residents and staff according to ODH, CDC and CMS
  • Non-compliance with guidelines by visitors and residents.
     

When you arrive, please park in the special event parking and wait in your car until you are called to come inside the building.

I know that has been a difficult time for all of us. We have been blessed by so many of you who continue to help and support our efforts through your understanding, patience, kind words and prayers.

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

September 18, 2020

Dear Families, Residents, and Staff,

September 18, 2020

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

This week a total of 504 COVID-19 tests will have been completed of our residents and staff. Although results from today’s staff testing will not be received until next week, I am pleased to say that we have had no new positive cases in the past week.

On Wednesday the 16th, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) arrived on Campus to conduct a COVID-19 Focused Infection Control inspection. This inspection was to determine if our if we are in compliance with State and Federal requirements related to implementing proper infection prevention and control practices to prevent the development and transmission of COVID-19. We were found to be in complete compliance with all requirements and no deficiencies were cited!

I am excited to share  that we have set a tentative date – September 29th – to resume pre-scheduled visitations. This is pending no new cases of the virus from residents or staff in the next week. With the weather getting cooler and yesterday’s approval by CMS to create a designated indoor visitation area, we will be ready to accommodate either. Please note that all visits must still be pre-scheduled and must follow all CDC and ODH guidelines.

For families who had visits scheduled but missed them due to the quarantine, you will receive a call from Michelle next week and you will have first priority. As the CDC prefers visitation be conducted outdoors, the weather forecast will determine in which designated area your visitation will occur.

We will send an email and update our website as soon as we have additional information to share regarding the visitation schedule.

I know that has been a difficult time for all of us. We have been blessed by so many of you who continue to help and support our efforts through your understanding, patience, kind words and prayers.

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

September 11, 2020

Dear Families, Residents, and Staff,

As required, today we will complete another round of weekly testing on all employees and should receive results sometime next week.   

Today we received results that one resident has tested positive, while one staff member and five residents have been cleared from their required quarantine.

We thank you for your continued support and prayers during these unprecedented times.If you have any questions please contact me at 216-634-7437 or Barb Barnette, ADON at 216-939-7688

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

September 9, 2020

Dear Families, Residents, and Staff,

During the past three weeks we have informed you through emails or letters that we have embarked upon a very aggressive testing of all residents and staff members. We have been able to do so with the increased availability of testing beginning with the assistance from the National Guard. We continued the bi-weekly testing as mandated. As many of you know, this testing is crucial as so many people who contract the COVID virus are asymptomatic, and as restrictions are lifted in the community the probability of contracting the virus increases.

A recent mandate by CMS increased testing further, and requires additional testing when one new staff or resident tests positive for the virus. The directive requires retesting within 3-7 days of all individuals (staff and residents) who initially test negative, until testing identifies no new cases of the infection among staff or residents for a period of at least 14 days since the most recent positive result. State and local health departments receive immediate notification directly from the lab, and the ODH updates the nursing home COVID dashboard.

In the past three weeks, over 500 resident tests and 1,300 staff tests have been completed. Eight staff members and 22 residents have tested positive. Testing positive does not mean they are exhibiting active symptoms, but all have been quarantined and are being closely monitored following CDC, ODH and CMS guidelines.

If your loved-one tests positive or is beginning to show any symptoms related to the virus, you will be contacted by phone.

In an effort to give you more immediate access to information we are making a few changes in our communication procedures. Regular updates go out on Fridays each week. Updates are sent to the designated resident representative, guardian or POA only, each Friday. It is up to these individuals to notify any other family members that need to know. 

 Weekly information is sent to the email on file. This ensures immediate notification of any changes in facility restrictions, visitations, procedures, and testing. Only those without an email will receive mailed updates. To securely subscribe to immediate email notifications, please sign up at: www.staugministries.org/coronavirus

 Website communication: The website will be updated daily to include:

  • Current numbers of residents and staff who tested positive that day
  • Current numbers of residents and staff who have recovered.
  • Cumulative number of residents and staff who have tested positive since March 12th
  • Most recent updates regarding activities, visitations, testing procedures etc.
  • Infection control procedures and steps to mitigate spread of the virus

We thank you for your continued support and prayers during these unprecedented times.If you have any questions please contact me at 216-634-7437 or Barb Barnette, ADON at 216-939-7688

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

September 4, 2020

Dear Families, Residents, and Staff,

As required, we have completed another round of mandated COVID-19 testing of all staff and residents. We are awaiting final results. Today we received word that two residents and three staff members tested positive. Residents have been moved to the quarantined unit and staff are quarantined at home and must follow the “Criteria for Return to Work” issued by the CDC.

Please know that we have followed and will continue to do so, all guidance set forth for privacy, patient care, employee safety, and all efforts to mitigate the spread of this virus as provided by ODH, CMS and the CDC.

Please continue to find updates on our website at www.staugministries.org/coronavirus

If you have any question please feel free to contact me at 216-634-7437 or Colleen Wilson at 216-939-7634.

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

September 2, 2020

Dear Families, Residents, and Staff,

Last week, the CDC mandated COVID-19 testing to be conducted for all residents and staff at all licensed long-term care facilities when one new staff or resident tests positive for the virus.  The directive requires retesting within 3-7 days of all individuals (staff and residents) who initially test negative in an effort to detect those with newly developed infection, and further retesting in accordance with CDC guidance.

In each of the last three rounds of staff testing we had a less than 1% positivity rate. However, we have amended our schedule in accordance with the CDC guidelines to include weekly testing of all residents and staff.

Testing began on Monday and the results are beginning to come back. As anticipated with universal testing, we have seen an increase in positive resident cases. Positive individuals have been moved to a quarantined unit, their families have been notified, and a dedicated team of nursing professionals, under the direction of the Medical Director, are caring for them as we watch for active signs or symptoms of the virus. In addition, we are currently following the “Criteria for Return to Work” issued by the CDC for the staff member who tested positive.

Please know that if your loved one tests positive, the guardian or designated resident representative will be called by the nursing team.

Please know that we have followed and will continue to do so, all guidance set forth for privacy, patient care, employee safety, and efforts to mitigate the spread of this virus as provided by ODH, CMS and CDC.

 We thank you for your continued support and prayers during these unprecedented times.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at 216-634-7437 or Barb Barnette at 216-939-7688.

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

August 30, 2020
 
Dear Families, Residents, and Staff,
 
Per new guidelines received from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS),all nursing homes are required to test all residents for COVID-19. Further guidelines are developing in regards to the frequency of resident testing and will be passed along as soon as we know.
 
We will begin testing all residents for the virus on Tuesday, September 1st.
 
If you are the resident representative, guardian, or healthcare POA and have questions or concerns about this testing, please contact Barb Barnette, Assistant Director of Nursing at 216.939.7688.
 
Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator
August 29, 2020
 
Dear Residents, Families, and Staff,
 
I would like to inform you that we have an Assisted Living resident that tested positive for the COVID virus.
 
We continue to follow the guidance of the CDC and ODH which includes isolation, increased monitoring as required and extensive cleaning and sanitation processes. At this time we are suspending all outdoor visitations until further notice.
 
We remain resolute in our commitment to take aggressive measures to mitigate risk and protect the safety of our residents and staff. As part of the Health Campus, our staff is trained in infection control practices and continue to follow the following protocols:
 
  • Public health officials have been notified as required, and all procedures recommended by the CDC and Department of Health continue to be followed.
 
  • Staff members utilize appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure the virus is not spread to other residents or staff.
 
  • We hold daily meetings to review our procedures and make adjustments where necessary and directed by ODH, CDC and CMS.
 
  • ·Prior to each shift, staff are required to wash their hands, take their temperature, and answer a series of questions to ensure they are not exhibiting any known COVID-19 symptoms.
 
Please know that we have followed and will continue to do so, all guidance set forth for privacy, patient care, and employee safety.
 
We know this is a difficult time for everyone and we will work to provide you with appropriate updates as they become available.
 
If you have any questions, please call me at 216-634-7462 or Gail Francis at 216-939-7584.
 
Regards,
Brigid Nolan, Director 
Aug. 28, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff,

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

I would like to inform you that we have residents that have tested positive for the COVID virus and have been admitted to our quarantined unit that was set up as a part of our emergency preparedness plan. These individuals are being cared for by a dedicated team of caregivers and their resident representative has been notified.  We continue to follow every protocol to properly care for persons who have contracted the virus with best practices in place to mitigate risk and protect the safety of staff and residents.

Please know that we have followed and will continue to do so, all guidance set forth for privacy, patient care, employee safety, and efforts to stop the spread of this virus as provided by ODH, CMS and CDC.

Today we will complete another round of staff testing. Until all results are received, we are suspending all outdoor visitations until further notice. If you’re planning a visit and you’re feeling unwell, recently traveled to or from a location with a high number of cases, or if you think you may have come in contact with someone who has the virus, please let us know immediately.

As we continue to balance our ongoing infection control with a careful, phased approach to a limited opening of a few resident activities and visitations, we ask families and staff to please remember to consider exposure to others outside of our facility and resident appointments that are not medically necessary.  Our ability to reopen these activities and visits is dependent on the actions of all – staff, families, residents and visitors.

We understand the disappointment this causes. Our first priority is the health of each resident and staff member. This decision is not an easy one. It has been made under the direction of our Medical Director, nursing management team and administration, following guidance from the CDC, CMS and ODH, in an effort to mitigate any future spread of the virus.

If you have any question please feel free to contact me at 216-634-7437 or Colleen Wilson at 216-939-7634. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

 

Aug. 28, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff,

As you are aware, Assisted Living facilities were mandated to begin the COVID testing of all residents and staff last week using the saliva based oral swab.

This week we received notification from the Ohio Department of Health stating that there are a large number of inconsistencies with lab results triggering false positives from these assisted living tests throughout the State.  This saliva based oral swab testing at assisted living facilities has been put on hold and all pending and received results have been cancelled.

Approximately 60% of our results had been received prior to this new notification. Any positive results were retested twice using the nasal swab and all results have come back negative. These individuals have not exhibited any signs or symptoms.

ODH still wants to have testing for all assisted livings, and the order will remain, but they feel that the impact of a false positive is so significant that they will continue investigating the issue before proceeding.  We will keep you posted.

If you have any questions, please call me at 216-634-7462 or Gail Francis at 216-939-7584.

Regards,

Brigid Nolan, Director 

Aug. 22, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff,

I am writing to inform you that a resident has tested positive for the COVID virus and has been admitted to a quarantined unit that was set up as a part of our emergency preparedness plan.  This individual is being cared for by a dedicated team of caregivers.  We continue to follow every protocol to properly care for the person who has contracted the virus with best practices in place to mitigate risk and protect the safety of staff and residents.

 As our community begins to slowly reopen, please remember to consider exposure to others outside of our facility and outings that are not medically necessary.

Please know that we have followed and will continue to do so, all guidance set forth for privacy, patient care, employee safety, and efforts to stop the spread of this virus as provided by ODH, CMS and CDC.

On Friday, we will conduct a third round of testing on all employees and contract personnel. This two-week cycle will continue every other Friday into the foreseeable future. The Ohio Department of Health has provided no end date at this time.

As we slowly implement outdoor visitation and opening resident activities, our focus remains on the health and well-being of our community. We will adjust practices and protocols as appropriate. We continue to recognize our team for the concern and commitment they have shown to our residents during these challenging times.

Thank you,

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA

Aug. 20, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff,

As required, we have completed another round of mandated COVID-19 testing of over 360 employees. We are very proud that out of the 90% of the results received thus far, we have less than a 1% positivity rate. Any staff member that tests positive must be quarantined at home and must follow the “Criteria for Return to Work” issued by the CDC.

As we begin month six of managing through the COVID-19 pandemic, the safety and health of our residents and staff remains our top priority. From the beginning of this health crisis, our response has been guided by our nursing management team and medical director, in compliance with mandates from CMS, CDC, as well as the State and local health departments.

We are slowing implementing outdoor visitation and opening resident activities. We are closely monitoring the impact to determine when and if more openings can safely occur. Should we begin to see changes that would put our residents or staff at risk, we will make adjustments to our procedures as necessary.

This week has brought many smiles and happy tears to our residents, families and staff with the start of the pre scheduled outdoor visits. While we know everyone is very excited to visit, we ask for your continued patience and understanding as we try to accommodate each resident’s family.

Thank you for your understanding and patience. We look forward to seeing you all again and sharing in the joy of reconnecting.

If you have any question please feel free to contact me at 216-634-7437 or Colleen Wilson at 216-939-7634.

Thank you,

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA

 

 

Aug. 14, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff

I am please to announce that  that we have had no confirmed cases of COVID this week among residents and staff. We look forward to the start of pre-scheduled outdoor visitations next week. Please contact Michelle at 216.939.7653 to get on the schedule.

Thank you,

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA

 

 

Aug. 8, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff of the Towers Assisted Living,

In a spirit of transparency, our assisted living community was informed today that a staff member has tested positive for COVID-19 and is quarantined at home. We are following the “Criteria for Return to Work” issued by the CDC.

Ensuring the health and wellness of our residents is always, especially now, our top priority. We continue to work diligently to mitigate any spread of COVID-19 within our community by continuing to follow all required CDC and ODH guidelines including isolation, increased monitoring as required and extensive cleaning and sanitation processes.

We have notified public health officials as required and want to make residents, families and our dedicated staff aware of this situation and reassure everyone that we are on top of it. We are suspending the visits on the patio as suggested in the guidelines established by ODH and the CDC, and will let you know when it is safe to resume these outdoor visits. All residents will be quarantined to their apartments for a two week period and are not allowed to leave the Towers unless there is a verified medical appointment that is critical. In addition, all Zoom meetings have been canceled at this time.

In late February, prior to CDC mandates, we implemented aggressive infection control and distancing protocol here at the Towers. We are constantly adapting to the changes daily to stay within the guidelines from the Governor, CDC and ODH. All residents and staff are screened two times daily for symptoms of fever and respiratory illness.

Our focus remains on the health and well-being of our community. We must also recognize our team for the concern and commitment they have shown to our residents during these challenging times. Our mission has never been more meaningful.

Thank you all for your support, if you have any questions, please contact me at 216-634-7462 or Gail Francis, RN, DON at 216-939-7584.

Regards,

Brigid Nolan, Director 

 

 

Aug. 7, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff,

I am writing to share that a resident who tested positive for COVID-19 has been admitted to a quarantined unit set up as part of our emergency preparedness plan. Our staff is trained in infection control practices and they are experienced in managing and containing the spread of infection and illness. They are following established protocols based on that training.

 As our community begins to slowly reopen, please remember to consider exposure to others outside of our facility and outings that are not medically necessary.

We are pleased to report that 90% of the results from the initial round of mandatory staff testing have been received and thus far only one staff member from within our Health Ministries tested positive for COVID-19. This staff member is quarantined at home is not showing active symptoms. We are currently following the “Criteria for Return to Work” issued by the CDC.  We are still awaiting the results from the remaining tests.

We notified public health officials as required and are following procedures recommended by the CDC and CMS to contain the spread. We want to make residents, families and our dedicated staff aware of this situation and reassure everyone that we are on top of it.

Currently, we are putting plans in place to meet ongoing testing requirements as outlined by ODH, CMS, and CDC.

Our focus remains on the health and well-being of our community. We must also recognize our staff for the concern and commitment they have shown to our residents during these challenging times. Our mission has never been more meaningful.

If you have any question please feel free to contact me at 216-634-7437 or Colleen Wilson at 216-939-7634.

Thank you,

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA

 

July 30, 2020

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

I wanted to share with you some good news regarding the COVID-19 testing required by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) in compliance with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mandate. Today, the National Guard completed the required testing on 83% of our staff. The remainder will be tested, per the mandate, over the next week. The tests have been sent to an independent lab and per ODH, results can take 7-10 days.

With this universal testing we may see an increase in “asymptomatic” positive results, of those who have not exhibited any symptoms. We will continue to screen all residents and staff for symptoms as we have over the past 4 months. Those results will be provided to you as part of our regular COVID-19 notification. We are pleased to say that we have no positive cases of COVID-19 among residents or staff this week.

In addition, this past weekend ODH announced that their initiative for resident testing that we mentioned in last week’s correspondence, is being replaced by a program that will conduct repeat testing of all nursing home staff.    

Once we are able to announce a date, prescheduled visits will begin slowly and increase with time in order to maximize opportunities for all 234 residents to visit with their loved ones. Visits will be limited to 2 assigned visitors per resident, once a week (based on availability) and will be limited to 30 min.  All visits will be pre-scheduled. Time requirements are required to allow for sanitation of visiting areas and accommodation of visitation for all residents and guests.  Additional information can be found on our website and will be updated as we receive it. Reservations for visits cannot be accepted at this time. We will update you with the procedure when the date is announced.

I would like to congratulate our employees on the great turnout today. Many who were off, on vacation or working later shifts made their way in so that we could meet the requirements as quickly as possible.

Thank you again for your continued support. And please join me in extending our gratitude to our staff members for the exceptional job they are doing in managing through this uncharted journey.

 

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA

July 24, 2020

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

We continue to be COVID free this week which has allowed us to take a few more steps in the gradual reopening, taking care to do so in a way that protects the safety and well-being of all staff and residents. The return of our beautician, resident choir practice and small group activities are carefully planned and consistent with all required health protocols and are bringing extra smiles to the residents!

We have been informed that staff testing by the National Guard will begin late next week along with testing of residents by our nursing staff. Once testing of all staff has been completed and results have been received we will be able to share the exact date that outdoor visitations can begin. Visitation of residents inside our building is still prohibited per ODH.

We know how challenging it has been for residents and families to be apart over the past few months and it will be wonderful to invite families back.

We ask for your understanding and patience as we implement limited outdoor visitation procedures that are equitable for all 234 residents while balancing the daily care of all residents and the continued safety of residents and staff. 

All information regarding procedures for scheduling a visit, along with outdoor visitation procedures, instructions and restrictions that families and residents must adhere to under the direction of ODH and the CDC are listed on our website at www. staugministries.org/coronavirus. This is updated as new details are received.

An email or letter will be sent with the above information once we have been given a date to allow outdoor visits.  If you do not currently receive our email notifications and would like to, please send an email with your full name, the name of the resident and your relationship to the resident to: dcarns@st-aug.org.

For all of us, the past few months have been unlike anything we’ve witnessed in our lifetime. Yet each day, I am inspired by the resilience and fortitude of both our residents and staff. In the brighter days ahead, I hope that we will look back on this as a moment in time when we made the best of a difficult situation with compassion and understanding.

Thank you,

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA

July 16, 2020

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

As we await testing of all employees by the National Guard before limited pre-scheduled outdoor visitations can begin, I want to share some additional information released by Governor DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health yesterday. With cases continuing to surge in Ohio, COVID-19 testing must now be conducted for all residents at all licensed nursing before August 21.

 The exact date to begin outdoor visitations is not yet known.  Visitation of residents inside our building is still prohibited per ODH. At this phase of reopening, our plan has been developed to be equitable for all 234 residents while balancing the continued care and programming for those in the facility, as well as the continued safety of residents and staff. Under the direction of ODH and the CDC, below are the guidelines that families and residents must adhere to:

  • All visits must be scheduled, no more than one week in advance, and will take place in designated outdoor areas under tents. The number to call will be provided when the date is announced.
  • Limit two visitors per resident
  • Visitors must be age 8 or older, must be able to social distance and wear a mask. Children over 8 are considered a visitor.
  • St. Augustine will assist you to arrange a day and time for the visit. There will be a limited number of morning and evening visits.
  • Thirty minutes allowed per visit from the time assigned.
  • Residents are limited to one visit per week. Additional visits based on availability.
  • Visits will occur only on days when there are no weather warnings that would put the visitor or resident at risk. If unsure, please call us prior to the visit.
  • Upon arrival, let the guard know you are here for a family visit. Remain in your car until you are called on your cell phone. You will be escorted to your designated area.
  • An employee trained in patient safety and infection control measures must be present at all times during the visit.
  • Visitors will be asked about signs and symptoms of illness and will have their temperature taken.
  • Each visitor will be asked to submit a Visitor Screening Form (click to download form) upon arrival and to sign-in with complete contact information.
  • Masks must be worn correctly during the duration of the visit by residents, visitors and staff. If you don’t have a mask, one can be purchased for $1.00.
  • Visitors must use alcohol-based hand sanitizer upon entering and exiting the visitation area.
  • 6 ft. social distance must be adhered to at all times and no physical contact with residents is allowed.
  • Residents who are exhibiting possible signs or symptoms of COVID-19 may not receive visitors.
  • Any visitor who develops symptoms consistent with COVID-19 within two days of a visit must alert the facility.

While we know everyone is very excited to visit, we ask for your continued patience and understanding as we try to accommodate each resident’s family. Throughout the past four months we have been able to mitigate the spread of the virus within our facility. The intent of this phase of the reopening is to offer the option of outdoor visits as the next best step in reconnecting residents with their loved ones. Virtual visits will still continue. As we learn what works and what does not, we will adapt, apply, and move forward. The goal is to connect you and your loved one while keeping the residents and staff safe from the virus.

To receive updates by email, please send an email with your full name, the name of the resident and your relationship to the resident to: dcarns@st-aug.org

Thank you,

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA

July 2, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff Members,

Many of you are aware that Governor DeWine recently announced that nursing homes may consider allowing outdoor visitation beginning July 20th with guidelines still to be determined by CMS and ODH.

While I know everyone is anxious to set up a visit, there are a number of factors suggested by CMS and ODH that will be considered to determine how and when these visits can safely take place. We will continue to keep you apprised of the plans and procedures as they are developed.

At this time as Ohio is seeing a resurgence in the numbers we must remember to continuously monitor ourselves and our families for symptoms of COVID19 and practice social distancing and good hygiene at all times.

Please have a safe and happy 4th of July weekend.

Thank you,

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA

June 27, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff Members,

As our nation continues to re-open and COVID-19 testing becomes readily available, we are seeing an increase in the number of positive results. We continue to take every precaution to keep our entire Health Ministries family safe.

ODH has outlined the process for notification in the event of a positive case of COVID-19. Our goal is to provide open communication to the greatest degree possible, but to balance that effort in a way that respects the privacy of our residents, patients, clients and staff.

In compliance with federal, state and local health agencies requirements, we want to let you know that a staff member from one of our divisions under the Health Ministries has tested positive for COVID-19 and is quarantined at home. We are currently following the “Criteria for Return to Work” issued by the CDC. This staff member has had no contact with any of our residents or patients.

We notified public health officials as required and are following procedures recommended by the CDC. We continue to follow an aggressive infection control and emergency preparedness protocol. All employees and residents are screened daily for signs and symptoms, are required to wear masks, and practice social distance as much as possible.  

At this time, when many of the states are seeing a resurgence in the numbers, we must remember to continuously monitor ourselves and our families for symptoms of COVID-19 and to practice social distancing, and good hygiene at all times.

Regards,

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA

June 25, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff Members,

Take a step outside and it’s easy to forget that there is still a virus that poses a threat.  However, we continue to be vigilant in our practices to keep our staff and residents safe. We received notification today that one of our staff members has tested positive for COVID-19 and is quarantined at home. This staff member has had no direct resident contact and we are currently following the “Criteria for Return to Work” issued by the CDC.

Please know that we have followed and will continue to do so, all guidance set forth for privacy, patient care, employee safety, and efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 as provided by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

If you have any question please feel free to contact me at 216-634-7437 or Colleen Wilson at 216-939-7634.

Thank you,

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA

June 18, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff,

With the arrival of summer and more businesses re-opening, we take comfort in signs that we’re making progress. However, COVID-19 continues to pose elevated risk to our nursing home residents and the staff that care for them.  Currently we have no positive cases of COVID-19 among staff or residents. Thanks to the diligence of our staff in following infection control procedures and our early implementation of stringent policies, we have been able to keep our community safe thus far. Both a resident who was admitted positive in early April and a staff member who tested positive in mid-May have fully recovered and with no further spread.

With continued efforts to mitigate the risk of spread of COVID-19 within nursing facilities, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently implemented additional plans to survey all skilled nursing facilities on their infection control practices and conduct universal COVID-19 testing of all employees.

Yesterday, the Ohio Department of Health completed this survey at St. Augustine Health Campus, reviewing COVID-19 policies/procedures and resident charts and observing infection control practices. St. Augustine was found to be in total compliance with all COVID-19 state and federal guidelines and regulations and received a deficiency free survey result!

As we prepare for this universal testing, we anticipate that we could see an increase in positive cases. These will be individuals who are “asymptomatic” positive,  as we have been screening all residents and staff for possible COVID-19 symptoms since March. Those results will be provided to you as part of the regular COVID-19 notification.  

Visitation to skilled nursing facilities remain prohibited, we suspect until all testing is complete.  In the meantime, we are working on detailed plans to safely reduce restrictions in accordance with our federal, state and local regulatory agencies, while protecting the safety and well-being of staff and residents. We will notify families as more information is available.

These past three months has been challenging for all. I am in awe of the resilience of our residents and am filled with pride as I see how our staff have managed through the, sometimes daily, changes with creativity and determination to make sure that everyone remains safe and healthy. We have been extremely blessed by the outpouring of love, understanding, patience and support that our families have shown.  Together we shine!

Thank you,

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA

June 2, 2020

Dear Assisted Living Families and Friends,

Per Governor Mike DeWine we are going to allow visitation outside of the Towers beginning on Monday, June 8. We will have one staff member Monday­ through Friday who will supervise these visits which will be on the Towers patio located on the first floor. You must enter through the 7821 Lake Avenue address and the security guard will let you up to the first floor. There will be a staff member there to screen you for temperature and signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and to give you a mask and gloves if you do not have your own.

The visitation times will be 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 2 p.m. daily. You cannot book weeks in advance, just one week at a time to start with only one visit per week. If we are overwhelmed with requests for visits I will have a lottery and names will be picked and times assigned.

Each visit is one hour and we will need time in between to disinfect the area. Staff will ensure social distancing for our residents who are still at risk for COVID-19. We are starting slowly as the governor has suggested and if all goes well we will see about increasing the number of visits each day.

Families are not allowed in resident apartments and must stay on the first floor for the entire visit. The visit has to be outside of the building no matter the weather and steps will be taken to keep you in a covered area on the patio.

If you bring items for your family member, staff will make sure it gets to their apartment safely.

Thank you for your understanding and call me at 216-634-7444 if you have any questions. My email address is bnolan@st-aug.org.

Brigid Nolan, Director
St. Augustine Towers

Click here to download the Towers Visitation Guidelines

May 29, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff,

Just to clarify the Governor’s message regarding visitation and opening outside visitation for family members on June 8th. This pertains only to ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES and NOT NURSING HOMES. It was unclear yesterday because ICF’s were included in the verbiage, but we have not been included in this lessening of restrictions for visiting at this point. We will let you know as soon as we hear anything.

Thank you for your understanding!

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA

May 20, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff,

As we continue to provide care to each of your loved ones I would like to thank all of you who have reached out to offer not only support for your family member, but support for the staff who have been walking this path of “new normal” with those you love. 

I am writing to share that we were informed today that we have one staff member who tested positive for COVID-19 and is quarantined at home. We are currently following the “Criteria for Return to Work” issued by the CDC.

While the State has begun to re-open, we have remained steadfast in our efforts to ensure the safety of our residents and staff. We continue to follow the guidance of health officials and have not relaxed our focus or precautions. The following protocols continue to be followed:

  • Public health officials have been notified as required, and all procedures recommended by the CDC and Department of Health continue to be followed.
  • Staff members providing care to residents utilize appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure the virus is not spread to other residents or staff.
  • We hold daily meetings to review our procedures and make adjustments where necessary and directed by ODH, CDC and CMS.
  • Prior to each shift, staff are required to wash their hands, take their temperature, and answer a series of questions to ensure they are not exhibiting any known COVID-19 symptoms. Employees also take their temperatures at the conclusion of their shift.

Please know that we have followed and will continue to do so, all guidance set forth for privacy, patient care, employee safety, and efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 as provided by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

If you have any question please feel free to contact me at 216-634-7437 or Colleen Wilson at 216-939-7634.

Thank you,

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA

May 7, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff,

We at St. Augustine Health Ministries would like to extend our warm wishes to each of you as we enter into Mother’s Day weekend and to acknowledge how different this holiday will be for all of us this year. With the restrictions on visiting and social distancing it will be unlike any Mother’s Day we have ever experienced. Please know that we share your desire for your family member to know how important they are to you and your feelings associated with Mother’s Day. I have received a number of calls from family members asking about sending gifts to their moms this weekend and what would be acceptable during this pandemic, and so I wanted to reiterate items that we would be able to bring up to the floors and present to your family member. These items would include flowers, clothing and food items that wrapped by the company that supplied them. Presently restricted items would include food items that are made in the home and food items that are not in their original containers. We appreciate everyone’s cooperation with these guidelines and hopefully in the near future we will be moving towards lessening these gift restrictions. If you have any questions pertaining to items that can be brought in at this time, please do not hesitate to call.

I am happy to say that we continue to have 0 number of residents and 0 number of staff members who have presently tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. We continue to practice stringent infection control practices and all recommendations from CDC (Centers for Disease Control). For some of our family members who have visited the Ohio Department of Health’s nursing home COVID list please note that there is an error in the column labeled Cumulative Staff Cases which lists St. Augustine Manor as having one staff member who has tested positive. This is an error and the correct number should be (0) zero. We are attempting to contact ODH to implement the corrected information for this category.

In closing we at St. Augustine would like to thank each of you for the outpouring of support that we have received from so many of you as we navigate this unprecedented time in our history. We will continue to keep you informed of developments and changes as they unfold. We hope to be able to loosen restrictions that are presently in place as guidance and safety allows.

Thank you for privilege of caring for your loved one,

Anita Gerrasch LNHA 
Administrator

 
April 27, 2020
 
Dear Residents, Families and Staff,
 
We continue to progress through the pandemic just as you and the rest of the nation continue to press forward. Daily life may have changed, but our commitment to our residents, patients and clients has not. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to re-emphasized the importance of adhering to the guidance they’ve already provided. We remain vigilant in our efforts to protect the health and safety of our residents and staff members. In doing so, we continue to follow our health and safety protocols-including restricting visitation; screening of staff and residents daily for signs and symptoms including temperature checks; wearing of masks by all staff at all times; social distancing and vigilantly managing our PPE. At this time we do not have any confirmed cases of COVID19.
 
As the Nation and Governor begin to discuss a phased “re-opening” within the coming days or weeks, we know you are wondering what that means for St. Augustine. Long Term Care facilities are likely to be one of the last businesses to re-open to the public as part of the final phase of the process. The residents we serve are the most vulnerable to this virus and their safety is our top priority. St. Augustine Health Campus will continue to follow the requirements and mandates of the CDC, CMS and Health Department and will plan to re-open on a schedule that follows the directives of these agencies. We all pray that will be sooner rather than later!!
 
We understand the hardship this may place on the families and residents of the facility; however, the vigilance that is required to protect this vulnerable population necessitates these measures. Thank you in advance for your understanding as we continue to move forward.
 
Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator
April 16, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff,

Many senior living communities in our area are now reporting positive cases of COVID-19 among both residents and staff. We remain resolute in our commitment to take aggressive measures to protect the safety and well-being of residents and staff.

I am writing to share that a resident who tested positive for COVID-19 was admitted to St. Augustine Manor.  The resident was directly admitted to a quarantined unit that was set up as part of our emergency preparedness plan. Our staff is trained in infection control practices and they are experienced in managing and containing the spread of infection and illness. They are following established protocols based on that training. The health of the resident continues to improve and is not currently showing active symptoms related to COVID-19. No other cases have been identified.

We notified public health officials as required and are following procedures recommended by the CDC and CMS to contain the spread. We want to make residents, families and our dedicated staff aware of this situation and reassure everyone that we are on top of it.

In early March, prior to CDC mandates, we implemented an aggressive infection control and emergency preparedness protocol and continuously adapt the plan in compliance with any new CDC and CMS guidelines.  In addition, we have been actively screening all employees and residents daily for symptoms of fever and upper respiratory illnesses.

Our focus remains on the health and well-being of our community. We must also recognize our team for the concern and commitment they have shown to our residents during these challenging times. Our mission has never been more meaningful.

Thank you all for your support. If you have any questions, please contact me at 216.634.7400

Regards,

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA

Administrator

April 10, 2020:

As we continue to provide care for your loved ones and  promote the best possible outcomes for our residents, we are temporarily prohibiting perishable food items from home being brought into the Manor. Although the risk associated with food items and containers is low, the possibility is still present and we want to mitigate such risks for our resident’s well being and health. This time period would include April 13th until April 27th and we will evaluate after that time to determine if we can resume allowing homemade food items to be brought in.

We know that so many changes have been implemented to combat this pandemic and we appreciate the support and encouragement that so many of you have shown to the staff during this period. The restrictions that have been enacted to keep both residents and staff safe are certainly challenging and at times seem almost insurmountable. But these restrictions and guidelines are helping to keep our precious and most vulnerable loved ones safe along with the dedicated staff members who care for them. Please know that much thought and discussion go into any change that has been enacted. We will continue to do everything possible to aid in our efforts to safeguard our community during the weeks ahead and sincerely thank each of you for being such an important part of this effort.

We at St. Augustine Health Ministries wish each of you a healthy and happy Easter and we will look forward to the day when we can extend our hands and open up our doors to welcome each of you.

March 22, 2020:  We understand the vital importance of keeping our residents connected with their loved ones. We received 5 IPads this week to enable us to connect residents to their families via video chat using FaceTime, Skype, Duo and Facebook Messenger.  To sign up, please call our temporary request line at 216.634.7477 and leave your name, cell phone number, resident name and app you will be using. We will get back to you within one day.  

To use Facebook Messenger please follow these steps (even if you follow our StAugMinistries.org facebook page):

  • Search MANOR AUGUSTINE under people. You should see the following:
  • Click add friend on the Manor Augustine that corresponds to the floor the resident lives on (2,3 or 4)
  • Send a private message to this person (Manor Augustine) to tell us the name of the resident you want to contact or call the temporary request line above.
  • We will accept the friend request and arrange to video chat.

 

 

 

 

We understand that this is not an easy time for anyone. As we facilitate increased virtual communication between all of our families and their loved one, we thank you for your understanding and patience as we learn this new form of communication.

March 21, 2020: St. Augustine Health Campus continues to take aggressive measures to protect our residents and staff from the COVID-19 (Coronavirus). As the number of cases in the United States continues to increase, we have implemented additional measures to ensure social distancing and to limit the potential for transmission. Ensuring the staff and residents are in a health environment are our primary concern. The following were put into place this past week:

  • All residents are asked to stay in their room or apartment.
  • All group activities including Mass, congregate dining and beauty/barber shop visits have been discontinued until further notice.
  • Daily Mass can be viewed through the residents TV.
  • Therapies are being conducted in the residents room.
  • The gift shop is delivering items to resident rooms upon request
  • Staff work with residents individually to provide activities in their room.
  • All building have one approved entry point. All employees are asked to complete a health assessment questionnaire and have their temperature taken prior to entering the building.
  • Staff are required to wear masks at all times.
  • Residents are being monitored for signs and symptoms on all shifts.

Thank you for your support and understanding as we navigate this process together.

March 13, 2020:  We know there is growing concern as the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) evolves.  St. Augustine Health Ministries continues to adapt our practices and respond to new information as it becomes available.

In alignment with guidance from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and announced by President Trump at Friday’s national press conference, we are restricting non-employee, non-essential visits to our skilled nursing and assisted living residences, until further notice.

We acknowledge that this is a difficult situation for families and residents. 

On Friday we implemented a number of protective measures including screening of all employees prior to each shift with questions related to symptoms and exposure, as well as having their temperature taken. Large group activities and trips have been postponed and small group activities are being adjusted to provide for proper social distancing. Events and meetings held on our campus by outside organizations have been postponed or cancelled. Modifications to our dining service have been made, which include changes to our cafeteria to ensure enhanced risk reduction.

We will continue to respond to this situation as it develops, and we will keep you informed as our practices change.

Thank you for your understanding and support as we navigate this together.

Coronavirus informationMarch 10, 2020:  Families, Residents, Staff, Volunteers and Friends,

We know that this is a time of high anxiety about the Coronavirus, (COVID-19), the news about the potential spread of this new disease, and the risks it poses for those who become infected. Please know that maintaining the health, wellness and safety of our residents & Patients is our number one priority.

Because of the nature of our work, St. Augustine Health Ministries is always prepared for a pandemic flu with emergency preparedness and infection control plans in place. This being flu season, our staff already have heightened awareness of the risks posed to our residents/patients by respiratory illnesses, are trained in the vital importance of effective infection control practices and follow established protocols based on that training.  With COVID-19, we have reviewed our preparedness plans and are incorporating new information on Coronavirus into those procedures as it becomes available.

We are actively educating staff, volunteers, residents and families on symptom awareness for Coronavirus and have clear protocols for staff to stay home and not come to work if they are ill or symptomatic.

We are closely monitoring the latest information from the Ohio Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and we are working with state and local public health and emergency preparedness officials to strengthen our preparation for a possible outbreak of Coronavirus. We may need to postpone activities, screen visitors or limit visitor access. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause, but we will keep you informed every step of the way should these or other steps become necessary.

You are a key partner in keeping yourself and others healthy – wash your hands often; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth; and if you are feeling ill or have been around others who have flu like symptoms, we ask that you not volunteer at this time.

Communication is key, and we will continue to update you on important news or emerging issues. Please visit www.staugministries.org for regular updates. Please do not hesitate to contact us 216-634-7400 with any questions or concerns you may have.

 

 

What is COVID-19
VIRTUAL VISITS: We understand the vital importance of keeping our residents connected with their loved ones. We have 5 IPads to help us connect residents to their families via video chat using FaceTime, Duo and Facebook Messenger.  To sign up, please call  216.939.7602 and leave your name, cell phone number, resident name and app you will be using. We will then connect with you.

To use Facebook Messenger please follow these steps (even if you follow our StAugMinistries.org facebook page):

  • Search MANOR AUGUSTINE under people. You should see the following:
  • Click add friend on the Manor Augustine that corresponds to the floor the resident lives on (2,3 or 4)
  • Send a private message to this person (Manor Augustine) to tell us the name of the resident you want to contact or call the temporary request line above.
  • We will accept the friend request and arrange to video chat.

 

 

 

 

We understand that this is not an easy time for anyone. As we facilitate increased virtual communication between all of our families and their loved one, we thank you for your understanding and patience as we learn this new form of communication.

Visitation Guidelines: Please Read Carefully

Although temporarily on hold, we will be excited to help our residents safely reunite with their families again by carefully following our (click here: Outdoor Visitation Guidelines.)  While we know everyone is very excited to visit, we ask for your continued patience and understanding as we try to accommodate each resident’s family.  Under the direction of ODH and the CDC, please follow the steps below to coordinate your visit:

Scheduling of Visits:  All visits must be scheduled by calling Michelle 216-939-7653 (Monday – Friday). We will assist you with arranging a day and time-slot for your visit. Visits cannot be scheduled more than one week in advance.

Frequency of Visits: Visit times will be limited to no more than one per week per resident, based on availability.

Number of Visitors: Limit 2 assigned visitors per resident, per visit. Visitors must be 8 years of age or older and are considered a visitor.

Visit Length: 30 minutes from the scheduled time. Visits will be timed according to the set schedule. Visits cannot be split between people

Prior to Arrival:  Each visitor must complete and bring this Visitor Screening Form & Guidelines Acknowledgement for each visit. If you are unable to print the form, we will provide a form for you.

Visitor Arrival: Please plan to arrive 10 minutes early. Check in with the guard and park in the designated area.Wait in your car until we call you. At that time:

  • Wear your mask as you proceed directly to the check-in table.
  • Please have the attached Visitor Screening Form & Guidelines Acknowledgement filled out.
  • Please use hand sanitizer supplied at the  table.
  • Staff will take your temperature.
  • Staff will escort you to the visitation area.

Supervised Visits: Please read carefully.

  • An employee trained in patient safety and infection control measures must be present at all times.
  • Masks must be worn correctly during the entire visit by residents and visitors
  • You may not leave the visiting area.
  • 6 ft. social distance and no physical contact with residents is allowed.
  • We do not have restroom facilities available to visitors.
  • No food or drink  is allowed during the visit.

Conditions under which visitation may be changed:

  • May not be possible for medically complex residents.
  • Residents who are exhibiting respiratory symptoms or possible signs or symptoms of COVID-19 may not receive visitors, until cleared by the facility.
  • New admission and re-admission residents will have a 14-day waiting period from day of admission before visitation will be allowed.
  • Doctor visits outside the facility may place resident in 14-day no visitation restriction (each occurrence).
  • Visitation is subject to change if St. Augustine is not able to maintain risk mitigation strategies to ensure safety of the residents and staff according to ODH, CDC and CMS.
  • Case status in the facility; case status in the surrounding community; staffing levels; access to adequate testing for residents and staff; PPE and local hospital capacity.

As COVID-19 continues to evolve and new guidance is released from CDC, CMS and ODH,this information is subject to change.

Click to Download the Outdoor Visitation Guidelines
Click to Download the Visitor Screening Form & Guidelines Acknowledgement

December 16, 2020

Dear Assisted Living Residents and Families,

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I hope this New Year brings us health and a return to the normalcy we all our praying for daily. We have been informed that a staff member within the assisted living has tested positive for the COVID-19 and we following the “Return to Work” criteria as issued by the CDC.

Residents will be quarantined to their apartment for a ten day period and are not allowed to leave the Towers. We want to ensure everyone stays healthy and safe. 

We continue to work diligently to mitigate any spread of COVID-19 within our assisted living by continuing to follow all required CDC and ODH guidelines including quarantining, increased monitoring as required and extensive cleaning and sanitation processes.  

We have notified public health officials as required and want to make residents, families and our dedicated staff aware of this situation and reassure everyone that we are on top of it.

All staff and residents are screened twice daily for fever and signs and symptoms of any respiratory illness. It has become mandatory that all staff be tested every two weeks for the COVID-19 and this measure was put in place as an effort to keep our residents safe.

Thank you for your support, if you have any questions, please contact me at 216-634-7462 or Gail Francis RN, DON at 216-939-7584.

Regards,

Brigid Nolan, Director
St. Augustine Towers Assisted Living

 

December 12, 2020

Dear  Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

Our campus is decorated for Christmas and we continue to celebrate each day with a variety of special activities including Christmas Carols heard throughout the building; a Christmas sock day in which all residents received a pair of Christmas socks, and even a candy cane day.

Today was also the first day of our window visits (see the Dec. 8 letter below for information on scheduling a visit)

As we continue to test staff twice a week. Residents were also tested this week. From this weeks tests we have been informed that two staff members and three residents have tested positive. The staff members are quarantined at home. We are following the criteria for “Return to Work” as issued by the CDC. The residents are in our quarantined unit.

We continue to follow proactive measures that were put in place in early March by our Medical Director, clinical staff and administration to mitigate the chances of spread to your loved one or our staff:

  • All new admissions and residents who have been out of the facility are placed in a designated isolation wing for a 14 day observation. This unit is staffed with designated staff who are provided additional protective equipment.
  • All staff and residents are screened for signs and symptoms and have their temperature taken daily.
  • All staff must wear masks at all times.
  • Residents must wear masks when they are out of their rooms.
  • Additional personal protective equipment is provided to all staff as needed.

We encourage everyone to follow the recommended safety practices in the community. Please continue to follow our website for updated information as we receive it.

Thank you

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

December 11, 2020

Dear Assisted Living Residents and Families,

Ohio continues to experience a rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases on a daily basis. We are still under orders for our staff to be tested every two weeks. We were informed that three of our staff members in the assisted living tested positive and are following the criteria for “Return to Work” as issued by the CDC.

I realize how difficult it is during the holidays to not see your family members but we have to be vigilant to ensure we keep everyone safe. The staff and residents have decorated every floor in the Towers and it is very festive. We have been doing more arts and crafts and will do holiday’s themed activities during the next couple of weeks.

We continue to work diligently to mitigate any spread of COVID-19 within our assisted living by continuing to follow all required CDC and ODH guidelines including quarantining, increased monitoring as required and extensive cleaning and sanitation processes.

We have notified public health officials as required and want to make residents, families and our dedicated staff aware of this situation and reassure everyone that we are on top of it.

All staff and residents are screened twice daily for fever and signs and symptoms of any respiratory illness. It has become mandatory that all staff be tested every two weeks for the COVID-19 and this measure was put in place as an effort to keep our residents safe.

Thank you for your support, if you have any questions, please contact me at 216-634-7462 or Gail Francis RN, DON at 216-939-7584.

Regards,

Brigid Nolan, Director
St. Augustine Towers Assisted Living

 

December 8, 2020

Dear  Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

As you know we are unable to provide indoor visitations at this time due to the spread in the community.

Throughout this Christmas and Holiday season, we are all painfully aware of how hard it is not to be with loved ones. Because of this, we have created a unique way to allow every resident the opportunity to schedule a safe holiday window visit with a few members of their family, following ODH, CDC and CMS guidelines. Please read the following carefully:

  • One 20 min. pre scheduled visit beginning Sat. Dec. 12th running through New Year’s Day. We will have weekend visits. No evening visits. Call Michelle at 216.939.7653 to schedule a date and time.
  • Limit 4 visitors throughout the entire visit. Please coordinate with other family members/loved ones. Visitors will enter through the Detroit Ave. entrance and will remain in the vestibule (inside between 2 sets of doors) for the entire visit. Your loved one will be on the other side of the glass wall in the Detroit Ave. lobby.
  • Please bring a cell phone or tablet that can be put on speaker phone. We will help your loved one call you from our speaker phone.
  • Parking is sometimes available on the street or in one of the first 2 spots (marked Visitors Parking) at the entrance of the main driveway (facing the side of the church).
  • Due to ODH regulations, restroom facilities are not available for visitors. No food or drinks are allowed to be consumed during the visit.

Our goal is to allow every resident an opportunity to visit with family for the Holidays.

We encourage everyone to follow the recommended safety practices in the community. Please continue to follow our website at www.staugministries.org/coronavirus for updated information.

Thank you

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

December 5, 2020

Dear  Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

Ohio continues to experience a more intense, widespread surge in COVID-19 cases. With this increase in the community, our staff continue to test twice a week.

We have been informed that four staff members and two residents have tested positive this week. The staff members are quarantined at home. We are following the criteria for “Return to Work” as issued by the CDC. The residents are in our quarantined unit.

We continue to follow proactive measures that were put in place in early March by our Medical Director, clinical staff and administration to mitigate the chances of spread to your loved one or our staff:

  • All new admissions and residents who have been out of the facility are placed in a designated isolation wing for a 14 day observation. This unit is staffed with designated staff who are provided additional protective equipment.
  • All staff and residents are screened for signs and symptoms and have their temperature taken daily.
  • All staff must wear masks at all times.
  • Residents must wear masks when they are out of their rooms.
  • Additional personal protective equipment is provided to all staff as needed.

We encourage everyone to follow the recommended safety practices in the community. Please continue to follow our website for updated information as we receive it.

Thank you

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

December 5, 2020

Dear Assisted Living Residents and Families,

In a spirit of transparency, our community was informed today that an assisted living resident has tested positive for the COVID-19. This resident seldom left their apartment except for medical appointments.

Ensuring the health and wellness of our residents is always, especially now, our top priority. We continue to work diligently to mitigate any spread of COVID-19 within our assisted living by continuing to follow all required CDC and ODH guidelines including isolation, increased monitoring as required and extensive cleaning and sanitation processes.

We have notified public health officials as required and want to make residents, families and our dedicated staff aware of this situation and reassure everyone that we are on top of it. We have been suspending visits at this time as suggested in the guidelines established by ODH, and from Cuyahoga County being in red zone again. Activities will be scaled down and residents will be encouraged to stay in their apartments.

All staff and residents are screened twice daily for fever and signs and symptoms of any respiratory illness. It has become mandatory that all staff be tested every two weeks for the COVID-19 and this measure was put in place as an effort to keep our residents safe.

Thank you for your support, if you have any questions, please contact me at 216-634-7462 or Gail Francis RN, DON at 216-939-7584.

Regards,

Brigid Nolan, Director

St. Augustine Towers Assisted Living

 

November 20, 2020

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

Across the State and the Nation we are seeing a new surge in positive cases in addition to two of our neighboring counties turning to a level 4 status. This means severe exposure and spread with a warning to only leave home for supplies and services.

This week we completed a total of 637 COVID-19 tests of staff and residents. Two residents tested positive and therefore we completed a second round of testing on residents with no additional positive cases. Two staff members also tested positive and have been quarantined at home and we are following the criteria for “Return to Work” as issued by the CDC.

We continue to follow all local, state, and federal guidelines related to preventing and reducing the spread of COVID-19. All implemented safety measures, protocols, and recommendations are intended to protect our residents and our staff.

We encourage everyone to follow the recommended safety practices in the community. Please continue to follow our website for updated information as we receive it.

Thank you

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

November 19, 2020

Dear Families, Staff and Residents of the Towers Assisted Living:

 The holidays are just about to begin and I wanted to make sure everyone was aware of all we have put in place to ensure everyone stays safe during these difficult times.

 Along with State and National numbers, we are beginning to see positive COVID-19 test results at the Towers, as families and friends begin to gather without following masking and distance guidelines.  When a staff or resident tests positive, it affects everyone else who has been exposed to that person. Staff members, for example, are required to stay home for two weeks if they were exposed to someone who tests positive.  Likewise, residents must quarantine to their apartments if they have been exposed to others who test positive.

 Yesterday, new stay at home guidance was released. In an effort to keep everyone at the Towers safe and with the least amount of restrictions, we are asking residents to please comply with this guidance. Until numbers in the community begin to go down and we receive further guidance from ODH and the CDC, any resident who leaves the facility for any reason must quarantine in their apartment for a two week time period.  

I realize that this is very difficult and you all want to see each other but many of us have not seen our families since March in an effort to keep each other safe. With the stunning increase of COVID-19 in the community, we must keep vigilant to keep everyone safe.

 We continue safe practices here at St. Augustine Towers and appreciate all of your support during these difficult times.

 Please call Gail Francis, RN, DON at 216-939-7584 or myself at 216-634-7462 with questions you may have.

 Happy Thanksgiving.

 Brigid Nolan

Director, St. Augustine Towers

November 13, 2020

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

 Ohio is experiencing a more intense, widespread surge in COVID-19 cases. Although testing capacity in Ohio has nearly doubled, the number of people testing positive for the coronavirus has increased almost four times.

 With this increase in the community, our staff continue to be tested weekly for the virus. This week we conducted over 529 tests of residents and staff. Two staff member have tested positive and are quarantined at home. We are following the criteria for “Return to Work” as issued by the CDC.

 We continue to follow proactive measures that were put in place in early March by our Medical Director, clinical staff and administration to mitigate the chances of spread to your loved one or our staff:

  • All new admissions and residents who have been out of the facility are placed in a designated isolation wing for a 14 day observation. This unit is staffed with designated staff who are provided additional protective equipment.
  • All staff and residents are screened for signs and symptoms and have their temperature taken daily.
  • All staff must wear masks at all times.
  • Residents must wear masks when they are out of their rooms.
  • Additional personal protective equipment is provided to all staff as needed.

Although the holiday season may be different this year, we are getting creative to make the entire season one of Joy and Thanksgiving. Staff and residents are working on ways to adapt some of our usual Christmas events and we will be adding some new ones as well. In spite of the current situation, we are planning to bring cheer and laughter to all.

We encourage everyone to follow the recommended safety practices in the community. Please continue to follow our website for updated information as we receive it.

Thank you

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

October 30, 2020

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

Last week, Cuyahoga County reached a level “Red” on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System for exposure and prevalence of community COVID-19 spread. Because of this, we have had to pause indoor visitation and resume weekly COVID-19 testing of all staff.  

 We have received word that two staff member have tested positive for the virus. They are asymptomatic and quarantined at home. We are following the criteria for “Return to Work” as issued by the CDC.

 As Cuyahoga County nears the “Purple” level, this will have even more of an impact on all of us at St. Augustine, which may include more frequent testing of all residents and staff, and increased restrictions.

Please continue to follow updates on our website at www.staugministries.org/coronavirus

Thank you

 Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

October 26, 2020

Dear Families and Residents of the Towers Assisted Living,

 In a spirit of transparency, our community was informed today that an Assisted Living resident has tested positive for the COVID-19 and is quarantined in their apartment.

Ensuring the health and wellness of our residents is always, especially now, our top priority. We continue to  work diligently to  mitigate any spread of COVID-19 within our assisted living by continuing to follow all required CDC and OOH guidelines including isolation, increased monitoring as required and extensive cleaning and sanitation processes. All residents who are on the fourth floor will be isolated to their apartments until Monday November 2 , 2020.

We have notified public health officials as required and want to make residents, families and our dedicated staff aware of this situation and reassure everyone that we are on top of it. We are suspending visits at this time as suggested in the guidelines established by OOH, and from Cuyahoga County being in red zone again. Activities will be scaled down and residents will be encouraged to stay in their apartments.

All staff and residents are screened twice daily for fever and signs and symptoms of any respiratory illness. It has become mandatory that all staff be tested every two weeks for the COVID-19 and this measure was put in place as an effort to keep our residents safe.

 Thank you for your support, if you have any questions, please contact me at 216-634-7462 or Gail Francis RN, DON at 216-939-7584.

 Thank you

 Brigid Nolan, Director

 

October 23, 2020

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

On October 15th, after 14 days of no positive test results within our facility, it has been great to see residents out-and-about on their floors, participating in small group activities, enjoying meals in their dining rooms and some families being reunited for pre-scheduled indoor visitations. Staff and residents were also able to enjoy a week without COVID testing as we continue to stringently follow all established safety protocols.

There was an overall sense of hope that we’ve turned the corner and brighter days are ahead. However, this week Cuyahoga County reached a level “Red” on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System for exposure and prevalence of community COVID-19 spread. Because of this, we have had to pause indoor visitation and resume weekly COVID-19 testing as outlined by ODH, CMS, the CDC and the Governor.

 As Cuyahoga County nears the “Purple” level, this will have even more of an impact on all of us at St. Augustine, which may include more frequent testing of all residents and staff, and increased restrictions.

 Please know that we are all very disappointed in this news. It is important to encourage others to follow the mandated safety precautions at home and out in the community, as the result effects families and business everywhere.

 I would like to once again acknowledge the continued outpouring of thanks and appreciation from residents and family members for the efforts of our staff throughout the past seven months. Your kind words and encouragement continue to sustain us as we work together to care for your most precious treasure – your loved one.

 Please continue to follow updates on our website at www.staugministries.org/coronavirus

 Thank you

 

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

 October 19, 2020

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff

At this time, the very high exposure and prevalence of community COVID-19 spread in Cuyahoga County has reached a level “Red” on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System.

Because of this, we will have to pause indoor visitationat this time. We continue to review all data and guidance daily and will post any updates regarding visitation plans on the website daily

Please know that we are all very disappointed in this news. It is important that all individuals continue to follow the mandated safety precautions in the greater community as the result effects everyone.

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

October 9, 2020

Dear Families, Residents, and Staff,

Fall is in the air with crisp temperatures, beautiful skies and the turning of the leaves. This familiar time of year is still very unfamiliar as we continue to navigate into month seven of this pandemic. We continue to stand strong in supporting and caring for one another.

Once again this past week, residents were able to have beautician visits, choir practice and even celebrated Oktoberfest – in small groups, on their floor, while wearing masks and social distancing. It’s so good to feel even a small sense of normalcy.

Many of you have been bringing food for your loved one. We have begun to notice a stockpile of goodies in drawers. Please only bring enough food that can be consumed within two days. We don’t want opened snacks put in drawers or wrapped up on nightstands to attract unwanted visitors.

As we finish another week of resident and staff testing, we are hopeful that we will be able to move forward with pre-scheduled indoor visitations on Thursday, Oct.15 (barring no new positive testing results from this weeks testing).

Please keep in mind that it is important for everyone to follow social distancing, wearing of masks and following isolation/quarantine orders within our facility as well as in your personal lives. Our ability to continue to cautiously re-open resident activities and visitation is dependent on daily factors including:
• Case status in greater community
• Covid-19 cases within our building
• Staffing levels
• PPE supplies

Please check our website and your email often for updates/changes regarding visitation and to read the visitation guidelines.

Indoor visits will take place in the Commons. Please download and read the attached guidelines for the visitation and then call Michelle at 216.939.7653 to pre-schedule a visit. All visitors must also complete the Screening and Guidelines Acknowledgement Form attached.

Many of you continue to share your encouragement, kind words and prayers for our staff. These sustain us during the most difficult days and continue to motivate us as we work together to care for your most precious treasure – your loved one. Please stay safe and do your part to follow safety guidelines.

Thank you again for doing your part and for your continued support.

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

October 2, 2020

Dear Families, Residents, and Staff,

This week a total of 537 COVID-19 tests will have been completed of our residents and staff. Although results from today’s staff testing will not be received until next week, we are preparing for pre-scheduled indoor visitations to tentatively begin the week of October 12th (barring no new positive testing results).

Per CDC and ODH, the following will determine, on a daily basis, the ability to provide for visits:

  • Spread level in the Community
  • Covid-19 cases within our building
  • Staffing levels
  • PPE supplies

Weekly information is sent to the emails on file. This ensures immediate notification of any changes in facility restrictions, visitations, procedures, and testing.   Only those without an email will receive mailed updates.  To securely subscribe to immediate email notifications, please sign up at: www.staugministries.org/coronavirus

Visitations will take place in the Commons. Please read the guidelines including:

  • Visits must be pre-scheduled by calling Michelle 216.939.7653
     
  • Visits cannot be scheduled more than 1-week in advance
     
  • 30-minute maximum visitation from the assigned time
     
  • Limit of 2 assigned visitors for the entire visit (cannot split the visitation between visitors)
     
  • Visitors must be 8 years of age and older. (children over 8 are considered a visitor)
     
  • Masks must be worn correctly at all times by resident,  visitors and staff
     
  • 6 ft social distancing must be adhered to at all time (no physical contact with residents allowed)
     
  • No food or drink is allowed in the Commons. Items may be  sent to resident room directly.
     
  • Visitors are not allowed to leave the area or to be in other parts of the building
     
  • We do not have restrooms available for visitors.
     
  • All visitors must complete the Screening and Guidelines Acknowledgement Form enclosed
     

Conditions under which visitation may be changed:

  • May not be possible for medially complex residents
  • Residents who are exhibiting respiratory symptoms or possible signs or symptoms of the virus.
  • New admission/re-admission: no visitation for a 14 day period from admission
  • Doctor visits outside the facility may place resident in 14 day no visitation restriction (each occurrence)
  • If St. Augustine is not able to maintain risk mitigation strategies to ensure safety of residents and staff according to ODH, CDC and CMS
  • Non-compliance with guidelines by visitors and residents.
     

When you arrive, please park in the special event parking and wait in your car until you are called to come inside the building.

I know that has been a difficult time for all of us. We have been blessed by so many of you who continue to help and support our efforts through your understanding, patience, kind words and prayers.

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

September 18, 2020

Dear Families, Residents, and Staff,

September 18, 2020

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

This week a total of 504 COVID-19 tests will have been completed of our residents and staff. Although results from today’s staff testing will not be received until next week, I am pleased to say that we have had no new positive cases in the past week.

On Wednesday the 16th, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) arrived on Campus to conduct a COVID-19 Focused Infection Control inspection. This inspection was to determine if our if we are in compliance with State and Federal requirements related to implementing proper infection prevention and control practices to prevent the development and transmission of COVID-19. We were found to be in complete compliance with all requirements and no deficiencies were cited!

I am excited to share  that we have set a tentative date – September 29th – to resume pre-scheduled visitations. This is pending no new cases of the virus from residents or staff in the next week. With the weather getting cooler and yesterday’s approval by CMS to create a designated indoor visitation area, we will be ready to accommodate either. Please note that all visits must still be pre-scheduled and must follow all CDC and ODH guidelines.

For families who had visits scheduled but missed them due to the quarantine, you will receive a call from Michelle next week and you will have first priority. As the CDC prefers visitation be conducted outdoors, the weather forecast will determine in which designated area your visitation will occur.

We will send an email and update our website as soon as we have additional information to share regarding the visitation schedule.

I know that has been a difficult time for all of us. We have been blessed by so many of you who continue to help and support our efforts through your understanding, patience, kind words and prayers.

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

September 11, 2020

Dear Families, Residents, and Staff,

As required, today we will complete another round of weekly testing on all employees and should receive results sometime next week.   

Today we received results that one resident has tested positive, while one staff member and five residents have been cleared from their required quarantine.

We thank you for your continued support and prayers during these unprecedented times.If you have any questions please contact me at 216-634-7437 or Barb Barnette, ADON at 216-939-7688

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

September 9, 2020

Dear Families, Residents, and Staff,

During the past three weeks we have informed you through emails or letters that we have embarked upon a very aggressive testing of all residents and staff members. We have been able to do so with the increased availability of testing beginning with the assistance from the National Guard. We continued the bi-weekly testing as mandated. As many of you know, this testing is crucial as so many people who contract the COVID virus are asymptomatic, and as restrictions are lifted in the community the probability of contracting the virus increases.

A recent mandate by CMS increased testing further, and requires additional testing when one new staff or resident tests positive for the virus. The directive requires retesting within 3-7 days of all individuals (staff and residents) who initially test negative, until testing identifies no new cases of the infection among staff or residents for a period of at least 14 days since the most recent positive result. State and local health departments receive immediate notification directly from the lab, and the ODH updates the nursing home COVID dashboard.

In the past three weeks, over 500 resident tests and 1,300 staff tests have been completed. Eight staff members and 22 residents have tested positive. Testing positive does not mean they are exhibiting active symptoms, but all have been quarantined and are being closely monitored following CDC, ODH and CMS guidelines.

If your loved-one tests positive or is beginning to show any symptoms related to the virus, you will be contacted by phone.

In an effort to give you more immediate access to information we are making a few changes in our communication procedures. Regular updates go out on Fridays each week. Updates are sent to the designated resident representative, guardian or POA only, each Friday. It is up to these individuals to notify any other family members that need to know. 

 Weekly information is sent to the email on file. This ensures immediate notification of any changes in facility restrictions, visitations, procedures, and testing. Only those without an email will receive mailed updates. To securely subscribe to immediate email notifications, please sign up at: www.staugministries.org/coronavirus

 Website communication: The website will be updated daily to include:

  • Current numbers of residents and staff who tested positive that day
  • Current numbers of residents and staff who have recovered.
  • Cumulative number of residents and staff who have tested positive since March 12th
  • Most recent updates regarding activities, visitations, testing procedures etc.
  • Infection control procedures and steps to mitigate spread of the virus

We thank you for your continued support and prayers during these unprecedented times.If you have any questions please contact me at 216-634-7437 or Barb Barnette, ADON at 216-939-7688

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

September 4, 2020

Dear Families, Residents, and Staff,

As required, we have completed another round of mandated COVID-19 testing of all staff and residents. We are awaiting final results. Today we received word that two residents and three staff members tested positive. Residents have been moved to the quarantined unit and staff are quarantined at home and must follow the “Criteria for Return to Work” issued by the CDC.

Please know that we have followed and will continue to do so, all guidance set forth for privacy, patient care, employee safety, and all efforts to mitigate the spread of this virus as provided by ODH, CMS and the CDC.

Please continue to find updates on our website at www.staugministries.org/coronavirus

If you have any question please feel free to contact me at 216-634-7437 or Colleen Wilson at 216-939-7634.

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

September 2, 2020

Dear Families, Residents, and Staff,

Last week, the CDC mandated COVID-19 testing to be conducted for all residents and staff at all licensed long-term care facilities when one new staff or resident tests positive for the virus.  The directive requires retesting within 3-7 days of all individuals (staff and residents) who initially test negative in an effort to detect those with newly developed infection, and further retesting in accordance with CDC guidance.

In each of the last three rounds of staff testing we had a less than 1% positivity rate. However, we have amended our schedule in accordance with the CDC guidelines to include weekly testing of all residents and staff.

Testing began on Monday and the results are beginning to come back. As anticipated with universal testing, we have seen an increase in positive resident cases. Positive individuals have been moved to a quarantined unit, their families have been notified, and a dedicated team of nursing professionals, under the direction of the Medical Director, are caring for them as we watch for active signs or symptoms of the virus. In addition, we are currently following the “Criteria for Return to Work” issued by the CDC for the staff member who tested positive.

Please know that if your loved one tests positive, the guardian or designated resident representative will be called by the nursing team.

Please know that we have followed and will continue to do so, all guidance set forth for privacy, patient care, employee safety, and efforts to mitigate the spread of this virus as provided by ODH, CMS and CDC.

 We thank you for your continued support and prayers during these unprecedented times.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at 216-634-7437 or Barb Barnette at 216-939-7688.

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator

August 30, 2020
 
Dear Families, Residents, and Staff,
 
Per new guidelines received from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS),all nursing homes are required to test all residents for COVID-19. Further guidelines are developing in regards to the frequency of resident testing and will be passed along as soon as we know.
 
We will begin testing all residents for the virus on Tuesday, September 1st.
 
If you are the resident representative, guardian, or healthcare POA and have questions or concerns about this testing, please contact Barb Barnette, Assistant Director of Nursing at 216.939.7688.
 
Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator
August 29, 2020
 
Dear Residents, Families, and Staff,
 
I would like to inform you that we have an Assisted Living resident that tested positive for the COVID virus.
 
We continue to follow the guidance of the CDC and ODH which includes isolation, increased monitoring as required and extensive cleaning and sanitation processes. At this time we are suspending all outdoor visitations until further notice.
 
We remain resolute in our commitment to take aggressive measures to mitigate risk and protect the safety of our residents and staff. As part of the Health Campus, our staff is trained in infection control practices and continue to follow the following protocols:
 
  • Public health officials have been notified as required, and all procedures recommended by the CDC and Department of Health continue to be followed.
 
  • Staff members utilize appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure the virus is not spread to other residents or staff.
 
  • We hold daily meetings to review our procedures and make adjustments where necessary and directed by ODH, CDC and CMS.
 
  • ·Prior to each shift, staff are required to wash their hands, take their temperature, and answer a series of questions to ensure they are not exhibiting any known COVID-19 symptoms.
 
Please know that we have followed and will continue to do so, all guidance set forth for privacy, patient care, and employee safety.
 
We know this is a difficult time for everyone and we will work to provide you with appropriate updates as they become available.
 
If you have any questions, please call me at 216-634-7462 or Gail Francis at 216-939-7584.
 
Regards,
Brigid Nolan, Director 
Aug. 28, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff,

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

I would like to inform you that we have residents that have tested positive for the COVID virus and have been admitted to our quarantined unit that was set up as a part of our emergency preparedness plan. These individuals are being cared for by a dedicated team of caregivers and their resident representative has been notified.  We continue to follow every protocol to properly care for persons who have contracted the virus with best practices in place to mitigate risk and protect the safety of staff and residents.

Please know that we have followed and will continue to do so, all guidance set forth for privacy, patient care, employee safety, and efforts to stop the spread of this virus as provided by ODH, CMS and CDC.

Today we will complete another round of staff testing. Until all results are received, we are suspending all outdoor visitations until further notice. If you’re planning a visit and you’re feeling unwell, recently traveled to or from a location with a high number of cases, or if you think you may have come in contact with someone who has the virus, please let us know immediately.

As we continue to balance our ongoing infection control with a careful, phased approach to a limited opening of a few resident activities and visitations, we ask families and staff to please remember to consider exposure to others outside of our facility and resident appointments that are not medically necessary.  Our ability to reopen these activities and visits is dependent on the actions of all – staff, families, residents and visitors.

We understand the disappointment this causes. Our first priority is the health of each resident and staff member. This decision is not an easy one. It has been made under the direction of our Medical Director, nursing management team and administration, following guidance from the CDC, CMS and ODH, in an effort to mitigate any future spread of the virus.

If you have any question please feel free to contact me at 216-634-7437 or Colleen Wilson at 216-939-7634. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

 

Aug. 28, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff,

As you are aware, Assisted Living facilities were mandated to begin the COVID testing of all residents and staff last week using the saliva based oral swab.

This week we received notification from the Ohio Department of Health stating that there are a large number of inconsistencies with lab results triggering false positives from these assisted living tests throughout the State.  This saliva based oral swab testing at assisted living facilities has been put on hold and all pending and received results have been cancelled.

Approximately 60% of our results had been received prior to this new notification. Any positive results were retested twice using the nasal swab and all results have come back negative. These individuals have not exhibited any signs or symptoms.

ODH still wants to have testing for all assisted livings, and the order will remain, but they feel that the impact of a false positive is so significant that they will continue investigating the issue before proceeding.  We will keep you posted.

If you have any questions, please call me at 216-634-7462 or Gail Francis at 216-939-7584.

Regards,

Brigid Nolan, Director 

Aug. 22, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff,

I am writing to inform you that a resident has tested positive for the COVID virus and has been admitted to a quarantined unit that was set up as a part of our emergency preparedness plan.  This individual is being cared for by a dedicated team of caregivers.  We continue to follow every protocol to properly care for the person who has contracted the virus with best practices in place to mitigate risk and protect the safety of staff and residents.

 As our community begins to slowly reopen, please remember to consider exposure to others outside of our facility and outings that are not medically necessary.

Please know that we have followed and will continue to do so, all guidance set forth for privacy, patient care, employee safety, and efforts to stop the spread of this virus as provided by ODH, CMS and CDC.

On Friday, we will conduct a third round of testing on all employees and contract personnel. This two-week cycle will continue every other Friday into the foreseeable future. The Ohio Department of Health has provided no end date at this time.

As we slowly implement outdoor visitation and opening resident activities, our focus remains on the health and well-being of our community. We will adjust practices and protocols as appropriate. We continue to recognize our team for the concern and commitment they have shown to our residents during these challenging times.

Thank you,

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA

Aug. 20, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff,

As required, we have completed another round of mandated COVID-19 testing of over 360 employees. We are very proud that out of the 90% of the results received thus far, we have less than a 1% positivity rate. Any staff member that tests positive must be quarantined at home and must follow the “Criteria for Return to Work” issued by the CDC.

As we begin month six of managing through the COVID-19 pandemic, the safety and health of our residents and staff remains our top priority. From the beginning of this health crisis, our response has been guided by our nursing management team and medical director, in compliance with mandates from CMS, CDC, as well as the State and local health departments.

We are slowing implementing outdoor visitation and opening resident activities. We are closely monitoring the impact to determine when and if more openings can safely occur. Should we begin to see changes that would put our residents or staff at risk, we will make adjustments to our procedures as necessary.

This week has brought many smiles and happy tears to our residents, families and staff with the start of the pre scheduled outdoor visits. While we know everyone is very excited to visit, we ask for your continued patience and understanding as we try to accommodate each resident’s family.

Thank you for your understanding and patience. We look forward to seeing you all again and sharing in the joy of reconnecting.

If you have any question please feel free to contact me at 216-634-7437 or Colleen Wilson at 216-939-7634.

Thank you,

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA

 

 

Aug. 14, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff

I am please to announce that  that we have had no confirmed cases of COVID this week among residents and staff. We look forward to the start of pre-scheduled outdoor visitations next week. Please contact Michelle at 216.939.7653 to get on the schedule.

Thank you,

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA

 

 

Aug. 8, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff of the Towers Assisted Living,

In a spirit of transparency, our assisted living community was informed today that a staff member has tested positive for COVID-19 and is quarantined at home. We are following the “Criteria for Return to Work” issued by the CDC.

Ensuring the health and wellness of our residents is always, especially now, our top priority. We continue to work diligently to mitigate any spread of COVID-19 within our community by continuing to follow all required CDC and ODH guidelines including isolation, increased monitoring as required and extensive cleaning and sanitation processes.

We have notified public health officials as required and want to make residents, families and our dedicated staff aware of this situation and reassure everyone that we are on top of it. We are suspending the visits on the patio as suggested in the guidelines established by ODH and the CDC, and will let you know when it is safe to resume these outdoor visits. All residents will be quarantined to their apartments for a two week period and are not allowed to leave the Towers unless there is a verified medical appointment that is critical. In addition, all Zoom meetings have been canceled at this time.

In late February, prior to CDC mandates, we implemented aggressive infection control and distancing protocol here at the Towers. We are constantly adapting to the changes daily to stay within the guidelines from the Governor, CDC and ODH. All residents and staff are screened two times daily for symptoms of fever and respiratory illness.

Our focus remains on the health and well-being of our community. We must also recognize our team for the concern and commitment they have shown to our residents during these challenging times. Our mission has never been more meaningful.

Thank you all for your support, if you have any questions, please contact me at 216-634-7462 or Gail Francis, RN, DON at 216-939-7584.

Regards,

Brigid Nolan, Director 

 

 

Aug. 7, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff,

I am writing to share that a resident who tested positive for COVID-19 has been admitted to a quarantined unit set up as part of our emergency preparedness plan. Our staff is trained in infection control practices and they are experienced in managing and containing the spread of infection and illness. They are following established protocols based on that training.

 As our community begins to slowly reopen, please remember to consider exposure to others outside of our facility and outings that are not medically necessary.

We are pleased to report that 90% of the results from the initial round of mandatory staff testing have been received and thus far only one staff member from within our Health Ministries tested positive for COVID-19. This staff member is quarantined at home is not showing active symptoms. We are currently following the “Criteria for Return to Work” issued by the CDC.  We are still awaiting the results from the remaining tests.

We notified public health officials as required and are following procedures recommended by the CDC and CMS to contain the spread. We want to make residents, families and our dedicated staff aware of this situation and reassure everyone that we are on top of it.

Currently, we are putting plans in place to meet ongoing testing requirements as outlined by ODH, CMS, and CDC.

Our focus remains on the health and well-being of our community. We must also recognize our staff for the concern and commitment they have shown to our residents during these challenging times. Our mission has never been more meaningful.

If you have any question please feel free to contact me at 216-634-7437 or Colleen Wilson at 216-939-7634.

Thank you,

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA

 

July 30, 2020

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

I wanted to share with you some good news regarding the COVID-19 testing required by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) in compliance with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mandate. Today, the National Guard completed the required testing on 83% of our staff. The remainder will be tested, per the mandate, over the next week. The tests have been sent to an independent lab and per ODH, results can take 7-10 days.

With this universal testing we may see an increase in “asymptomatic” positive results, of those who have not exhibited any symptoms. We will continue to screen all residents and staff for symptoms as we have over the past 4 months. Those results will be provided to you as part of our regular COVID-19 notification. We are pleased to say that we have no positive cases of COVID-19 among residents or staff this week.

In addition, this past weekend ODH announced that their initiative for resident testing that we mentioned in last week’s correspondence, is being replaced by a program that will conduct repeat testing of all nursing home staff.    

Once we are able to announce a date, prescheduled visits will begin slowly and increase with time in order to maximize opportunities for all 234 residents to visit with their loved ones. Visits will be limited to 2 assigned visitors per resident, once a week (based on availability) and will be limited to 30 min.  All visits will be pre-scheduled. Time requirements are required to allow for sanitation of visiting areas and accommodation of visitation for all residents and guests.  Additional information can be found on our website and will be updated as we receive it. Reservations for visits cannot be accepted at this time. We will update you with the procedure when the date is announced.

I would like to congratulate our employees on the great turnout today. Many who were off, on vacation or working later shifts made their way in so that we could meet the requirements as quickly as possible.

Thank you again for your continued support. And please join me in extending our gratitude to our staff members for the exceptional job they are doing in managing through this uncharted journey.

 

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA

July 24, 2020

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

We continue to be COVID free this week which has allowed us to take a few more steps in the gradual reopening, taking care to do so in a way that protects the safety and well-being of all staff and residents. The return of our beautician, resident choir practice and small group activities are carefully planned and consistent with all required health protocols and are bringing extra smiles to the residents!

We have been informed that staff testing by the National Guard will begin late next week along with testing of residents by our nursing staff. Once testing of all staff has been completed and results have been received we will be able to share the exact date that outdoor visitations can begin. Visitation of residents inside our building is still prohibited per ODH.

We know how challenging it has been for residents and families to be apart over the past few months and it will be wonderful to invite families back.

We ask for your understanding and patience as we implement limited outdoor visitation procedures that are equitable for all 234 residents while balancing the daily care of all residents and the continued safety of residents and staff. 

All information regarding procedures for scheduling a visit, along with outdoor visitation procedures, instructions and restrictions that families and residents must adhere to under the direction of ODH and the CDC are listed on our website at www. staugministries.org/coronavirus. This is updated as new details are received.

An email or letter will be sent with the above information once we have been given a date to allow outdoor visits.  If you do not currently receive our email notifications and would like to, please send an email with your full name, the name of the resident and your relationship to the resident to: dcarns@st-aug.org.

For all of us, the past few months have been unlike anything we’ve witnessed in our lifetime. Yet each day, I am inspired by the resilience and fortitude of both our residents and staff. In the brighter days ahead, I hope that we will look back on this as a moment in time when we made the best of a difficult situation with compassion and understanding.

Thank you,

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA

July 16, 2020

Dear Families, Resident Representatives, Residents, and Staff,

As we await testing of all employees by the National Guard before limited pre-scheduled outdoor visitations can begin, I want to share some additional information released by Governor DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health yesterday. With cases continuing to surge in Ohio, COVID-19 testing must now be conducted for all residents at all licensed nursing before August 21.

 The exact date to begin outdoor visitations is not yet known.  Visitation of residents inside our building is still prohibited per ODH. At this phase of reopening, our plan has been developed to be equitable for all 234 residents while balancing the continued care and programming for those in the facility, as well as the continued safety of residents and staff. Under the direction of ODH and the CDC, below are the guidelines that families and residents must adhere to:

  • All visits must be scheduled, no more than one week in advance, and will take place in designated outdoor areas under tents. The number to call will be provided when the date is announced.
  • Limit two visitors per resident
  • Visitors must be age 8 or older, must be able to social distance and wear a mask. Children over 8 are considered a visitor.
  • St. Augustine will assist you to arrange a day and time for the visit. There will be a limited number of morning and evening visits.
  • Thirty minutes allowed per visit from the time assigned.
  • Residents are limited to one visit per week. Additional visits based on availability.
  • Visits will occur only on days when there are no weather warnings that would put the visitor or resident at risk. If unsure, please call us prior to the visit.
  • Upon arrival, let the guard know you are here for a family visit. Remain in your car until you are called on your cell phone. You will be escorted to your designated area.
  • An employee trained in patient safety and infection control measures must be present at all times during the visit.
  • Visitors will be asked about signs and symptoms of illness and will have their temperature taken.
  • Each visitor will be asked to submit a Visitor Screening Form (click to download form) upon arrival and to sign-in with complete contact information.
  • Masks must be worn correctly during the duration of the visit by residents, visitors and staff. If you don’t have a mask, one can be purchased for $1.00.
  • Visitors must use alcohol-based hand sanitizer upon entering and exiting the visitation area.
  • 6 ft. social distance must be adhered to at all times and no physical contact with residents is allowed.
  • Residents who are exhibiting possible signs or symptoms of COVID-19 may not receive visitors.
  • Any visitor who develops symptoms consistent with COVID-19 within two days of a visit must alert the facility.

While we know everyone is very excited to visit, we ask for your continued patience and understanding as we try to accommodate each resident’s family. Throughout the past four months we have been able to mitigate the spread of the virus within our facility. The intent of this phase of the reopening is to offer the option of outdoor visits as the next best step in reconnecting residents with their loved ones. Virtual visits will still continue. As we learn what works and what does not, we will adapt, apply, and move forward. The goal is to connect you and your loved one while keeping the residents and staff safe from the virus.

To receive updates by email, please send an email with your full name, the name of the resident and your relationship to the resident to: dcarns@st-aug.org

Thank you,

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA

July 2, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff Members,

Many of you are aware that Governor DeWine recently announced that nursing homes may consider allowing outdoor visitation beginning July 20th with guidelines still to be determined by CMS and ODH.

While I know everyone is anxious to set up a visit, there are a number of factors suggested by CMS and ODH that will be considered to determine how and when these visits can safely take place. We will continue to keep you apprised of the plans and procedures as they are developed.

At this time as Ohio is seeing a resurgence in the numbers we must remember to continuously monitor ourselves and our families for symptoms of COVID19 and practice social distancing and good hygiene at all times.

Please have a safe and happy 4th of July weekend.

Thank you,

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA

June 27, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff Members,

As our nation continues to re-open and COVID-19 testing becomes readily available, we are seeing an increase in the number of positive results. We continue to take every precaution to keep our entire Health Ministries family safe.

ODH has outlined the process for notification in the event of a positive case of COVID-19. Our goal is to provide open communication to the greatest degree possible, but to balance that effort in a way that respects the privacy of our residents, patients, clients and staff.

In compliance with federal, state and local health agencies requirements, we want to let you know that a staff member from one of our divisions under the Health Ministries has tested positive for COVID-19 and is quarantined at home. We are currently following the “Criteria for Return to Work” issued by the CDC. This staff member has had no contact with any of our residents or patients.

We notified public health officials as required and are following procedures recommended by the CDC. We continue to follow an aggressive infection control and emergency preparedness protocol. All employees and residents are screened daily for signs and symptoms, are required to wear masks, and practice social distance as much as possible.  

At this time, when many of the states are seeing a resurgence in the numbers, we must remember to continuously monitor ourselves and our families for symptoms of COVID-19 and to practice social distancing, and good hygiene at all times.

Regards,

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA

June 25, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff Members,

Take a step outside and it’s easy to forget that there is still a virus that poses a threat.  However, we continue to be vigilant in our practices to keep our staff and residents safe. We received notification today that one of our staff members has tested positive for COVID-19 and is quarantined at home. This staff member has had no direct resident contact and we are currently following the “Criteria for Return to Work” issued by the CDC.

Please know that we have followed and will continue to do so, all guidance set forth for privacy, patient care, employee safety, and efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 as provided by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

If you have any question please feel free to contact me at 216-634-7437 or Colleen Wilson at 216-939-7634.

Thank you,

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA

June 18, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff,

With the arrival of summer and more businesses re-opening, we take comfort in signs that we’re making progress. However, COVID-19 continues to pose elevated risk to our nursing home residents and the staff that care for them.  Currently we have no positive cases of COVID-19 among staff or residents. Thanks to the diligence of our staff in following infection control procedures and our early implementation of stringent policies, we have been able to keep our community safe thus far. Both a resident who was admitted positive in early April and a staff member who tested positive in mid-May have fully recovered and with no further spread.

With continued efforts to mitigate the risk of spread of COVID-19 within nursing facilities, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently implemented additional plans to survey all skilled nursing facilities on their infection control practices and conduct universal COVID-19 testing of all employees.

Yesterday, the Ohio Department of Health completed this survey at St. Augustine Health Campus, reviewing COVID-19 policies/procedures and resident charts and observing infection control practices. St. Augustine was found to be in total compliance with all COVID-19 state and federal guidelines and regulations and received a deficiency free survey result!

As we prepare for this universal testing, we anticipate that we could see an increase in positive cases. These will be individuals who are “asymptomatic” positive,  as we have been screening all residents and staff for possible COVID-19 symptoms since March. Those results will be provided to you as part of the regular COVID-19 notification.  

Visitation to skilled nursing facilities remain prohibited, we suspect until all testing is complete.  In the meantime, we are working on detailed plans to safely reduce restrictions in accordance with our federal, state and local regulatory agencies, while protecting the safety and well-being of staff and residents. We will notify families as more information is available.

These past three months has been challenging for all. I am in awe of the resilience of our residents and am filled with pride as I see how our staff have managed through the, sometimes daily, changes with creativity and determination to make sure that everyone remains safe and healthy. We have been extremely blessed by the outpouring of love, understanding, patience and support that our families have shown.  Together we shine!

Thank you,

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA

June 2, 2020

Dear Assisted Living Families and Friends,

Per Governor Mike DeWine we are going to allow visitation outside of the Towers beginning on Monday, June 8. We will have one staff member Monday­ through Friday who will supervise these visits which will be on the Towers patio located on the first floor. You must enter through the 7821 Lake Avenue address and the security guard will let you up to the first floor. There will be a staff member there to screen you for temperature and signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and to give you a mask and gloves if you do not have your own.

The visitation times will be 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 2 p.m. daily. You cannot book weeks in advance, just one week at a time to start with only one visit per week. If we are overwhelmed with requests for visits I will have a lottery and names will be picked and times assigned.

Each visit is one hour and we will need time in between to disinfect the area. Staff will ensure social distancing for our residents who are still at risk for COVID-19. We are starting slowly as the governor has suggested and if all goes well we will see about increasing the number of visits each day.

Families are not allowed in resident apartments and must stay on the first floor for the entire visit. The visit has to be outside of the building no matter the weather and steps will be taken to keep you in a covered area on the patio.

If you bring items for your family member, staff will make sure it gets to their apartment safely.

Thank you for your understanding and call me at 216-634-7444 if you have any questions. My email address is bnolan@st-aug.org.

Brigid Nolan, Director
St. Augustine Towers

Click here to download the Towers Visitation Guidelines

May 29, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff,

Just to clarify the Governor’s message regarding visitation and opening outside visitation for family members on June 8th. This pertains only to ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES and NOT NURSING HOMES. It was unclear yesterday because ICF’s were included in the verbiage, but we have not been included in this lessening of restrictions for visiting at this point. We will let you know as soon as we hear anything.

Thank you for your understanding!

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA

May 20, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff,

As we continue to provide care to each of your loved ones I would like to thank all of you who have reached out to offer not only support for your family member, but support for the staff who have been walking this path of “new normal” with those you love. 

I am writing to share that we were informed today that we have one staff member who tested positive for COVID-19 and is quarantined at home. We are currently following the “Criteria for Return to Work” issued by the CDC.

While the State has begun to re-open, we have remained steadfast in our efforts to ensure the safety of our residents and staff. We continue to follow the guidance of health officials and have not relaxed our focus or precautions. The following protocols continue to be followed:

  • Public health officials have been notified as required, and all procedures recommended by the CDC and Department of Health continue to be followed.
  • Staff members providing care to residents utilize appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure the virus is not spread to other residents or staff.
  • We hold daily meetings to review our procedures and make adjustments where necessary and directed by ODH, CDC and CMS.
  • Prior to each shift, staff are required to wash their hands, take their temperature, and answer a series of questions to ensure they are not exhibiting any known COVID-19 symptoms. Employees also take their temperatures at the conclusion of their shift.

Please know that we have followed and will continue to do so, all guidance set forth for privacy, patient care, employee safety, and efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 as provided by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

If you have any question please feel free to contact me at 216-634-7437 or Colleen Wilson at 216-939-7634.

Thank you,

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA

May 7, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff,

We at St. Augustine Health Ministries would like to extend our warm wishes to each of you as we enter into Mother’s Day weekend and to acknowledge how different this holiday will be for all of us this year. With the restrictions on visiting and social distancing it will be unlike any Mother’s Day we have ever experienced. Please know that we share your desire for your family member to know how important they are to you and your feelings associated with Mother’s Day. I have received a number of calls from family members asking about sending gifts to their moms this weekend and what would be acceptable during this pandemic, and so I wanted to reiterate items that we would be able to bring up to the floors and present to your family member. These items would include flowers, clothing and food items that wrapped by the company that supplied them. Presently restricted items would include food items that are made in the home and food items that are not in their original containers. We appreciate everyone’s cooperation with these guidelines and hopefully in the near future we will be moving towards lessening these gift restrictions. If you have any questions pertaining to items that can be brought in at this time, please do not hesitate to call.

I am happy to say that we continue to have 0 number of residents and 0 number of staff members who have presently tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. We continue to practice stringent infection control practices and all recommendations from CDC (Centers for Disease Control). For some of our family members who have visited the Ohio Department of Health’s nursing home COVID list please note that there is an error in the column labeled Cumulative Staff Cases which lists St. Augustine Manor as having one staff member who has tested positive. This is an error and the correct number should be (0) zero. We are attempting to contact ODH to implement the corrected information for this category.

In closing we at St. Augustine would like to thank each of you for the outpouring of support that we have received from so many of you as we navigate this unprecedented time in our history. We will continue to keep you informed of developments and changes as they unfold. We hope to be able to loosen restrictions that are presently in place as guidance and safety allows.

Thank you for privilege of caring for your loved one,

Anita Gerrasch LNHA 
Administrator

 
April 27, 2020
 
Dear Residents, Families and Staff,
 
We continue to progress through the pandemic just as you and the rest of the nation continue to press forward. Daily life may have changed, but our commitment to our residents, patients and clients has not. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to re-emphasized the importance of adhering to the guidance they’ve already provided. We remain vigilant in our efforts to protect the health and safety of our residents and staff members. In doing so, we continue to follow our health and safety protocols-including restricting visitation; screening of staff and residents daily for signs and symptoms including temperature checks; wearing of masks by all staff at all times; social distancing and vigilantly managing our PPE. At this time we do not have any confirmed cases of COVID19.
 
As the Nation and Governor begin to discuss a phased “re-opening” within the coming days or weeks, we know you are wondering what that means for St. Augustine. Long Term Care facilities are likely to be one of the last businesses to re-open to the public as part of the final phase of the process. The residents we serve are the most vulnerable to this virus and their safety is our top priority. St. Augustine Health Campus will continue to follow the requirements and mandates of the CDC, CMS and Health Department and will plan to re-open on a schedule that follows the directives of these agencies. We all pray that will be sooner rather than later!!
 
We understand the hardship this may place on the families and residents of the facility; however, the vigilance that is required to protect this vulnerable population necessitates these measures. Thank you in advance for your understanding as we continue to move forward.
 
Anita Gerrasch, LNHA
Administrator
April 16, 2020

Dear Residents, Families and Staff,

Many senior living communities in our area are now reporting positive cases of COVID-19 among both residents and staff. We remain resolute in our commitment to take aggressive measures to protect the safety and well-being of residents and staff.

I am writing to share that a resident who tested positive for COVID-19 was admitted to St. Augustine Manor.  The resident was directly admitted to a quarantined unit that was set up as part of our emergency preparedness plan. Our staff is trained in infection control practices and they are experienced in managing and containing the spread of infection and illness. They are following established protocols based on that training. The health of the resident continues to improve and is not currently showing active symptoms related to COVID-19. No other cases have been identified.

We notified public health officials as required and are following procedures recommended by the CDC and CMS to contain the spread. We want to make residents, families and our dedicated staff aware of this situation and reassure everyone that we are on top of it.

In early March, prior to CDC mandates, we implemented an aggressive infection control and emergency preparedness protocol and continuously adapt the plan in compliance with any new CDC and CMS guidelines.  In addition, we have been actively screening all employees and residents daily for symptoms of fever and upper respiratory illnesses.

Our focus remains on the health and well-being of our community. We must also recognize our team for the concern and commitment they have shown to our residents during these challenging times. Our mission has never been more meaningful.

Thank you all for your support. If you have any questions, please contact me at 216.634.7400

Regards,

Anita Gerrasch, LNHA

Administrator

April 10, 2020:

As we continue to provide care for your loved ones and  promote the best possible outcomes for our residents, we are temporarily prohibiting perishable food items from home being brought into the Manor. Although the risk associated with food items and containers is low, the possibility is still present and we want to mitigate such risks for our resident’s well being and health. This time period would include April 13th until April 27th and we will evaluate after that time to determine if we can resume allowing homemade food items to be brought in.

We know that so many changes have been implemented to combat this pandemic and we appreciate the support and encouragement that so many of you have shown to the staff during this period. The restrictions that have been enacted to keep both residents and staff safe are certainly challenging and at times seem almost insurmountable. But these restrictions and guidelines are helping to keep our precious and most vulnerable loved ones safe along with the dedicated staff members who care for them. Please know that much thought and discussion go into any change that has been enacted. We will continue to do everything possible to aid in our efforts to safeguard our community during the weeks ahead and sincerely thank each of you for being such an important part of this effort.

We at St. Augustine Health Ministries wish each of you a healthy and happy Easter and we will look forward to the day when we can extend our hands and open up our doors to welcome each of you.

March 22, 2020:  We understand the vital importance of keeping our residents connected with their loved ones. We received 5 IPads this week to enable us to connect residents to their families via video chat using FaceTime, Skype, Duo and Facebook Messenger.  To sign up, please call our temporary request line at 216.634.7477 and leave your name, cell phone number, resident name and app you will be using. We will get back to you within one day.  

To use Facebook Messenger please follow these steps (even if you follow our StAugMinistries.org facebook page):

  • Search MANOR AUGUSTINE under people. You should see the following:
  • Click add friend on the Manor Augustine that corresponds to the floor the resident lives on (2,3 or 4)
  • Send a private message to this person (Manor Augustine) to tell us the name of the resident you want to contact or call the temporary request line above.
  • We will accept the friend request and arrange to video chat.

 

 

 

 

We understand that this is not an easy time for anyone. As we facilitate increased virtual communication between all of our families and their loved one, we thank you for your understanding and patience as we learn this new form of communication.

March 21, 2020: St. Augustine Health Campus continues to take aggressive measures to protect our residents and staff from the COVID-19 (Coronavirus). As the number of cases in the United States continues to increase, we have implemented additional measures to ensure social distancing and to limit the potential for transmission. Ensuring the staff and residents are in a health environment are our primary concern. The following were put into place this past week:

  • All residents are asked to stay in their room or apartment.
  • All group activities including Mass, congregate dining and beauty/barber shop visits have been discontinued until further notice.
  • Daily Mass can be viewed through the residents TV.
  • Therapies are being conducted in the residents room.
  • The gift shop is delivering items to resident rooms upon request
  • Staff work with residents individually to provide activities in their room.
  • All building have one approved entry point. All employees are asked to complete a health assessment questionnaire and have their temperature taken prior to entering the building.
  • Staff are required to wear masks at all times.
  • Residents are being monitored for signs and symptoms on all shifts.

Thank you for your support and understanding as we navigate this process together.

March 13, 2020:  We know there is growing concern as the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) evolves.  St. Augustine Health Ministries continues to adapt our practices and respond to new information as it becomes available.

In alignment with guidance from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and announced by President Trump at Friday’s national press conference, we are restricting non-employee, non-essential visits to our skilled nursing and assisted living residences, until further notice.

We acknowledge that this is a difficult situation for families and residents. 

On Friday we implemented a number of protective measures including screening of all employees prior to each shift with questions related to symptoms and exposure, as well as having their temperature taken. Large group activities and trips have been postponed and small group activities are being adjusted to provide for proper social distancing. Events and meetings held on our campus by outside organizations have been postponed or cancelled. Modifications to our dining service have been made, which include changes to our cafeteria to ensure enhanced risk reduction.

We will continue to respond to this situation as it develops, and we will keep you informed as our practices change.

Thank you for your understanding and support as we navigate this together.

Coronavirus informationMarch 10, 2020:  Families, Residents, Staff, Volunteers and Friends,

We know that this is a time of high anxiety about the Coronavirus, (COVID-19), the news about the potential spread of this new disease, and the risks it poses for those who become infected. Please know that maintaining the health, wellness and safety of our residents & Patients is our number one priority.

Because of the nature of our work, St. Augustine Health Ministries is always prepared for a pandemic flu with emergency preparedness and infection control plans in place. This being flu season, our staff already have heightened awareness of the risks posed to our residents/patients by respiratory illnesses, are trained in the vital importance of effective infection control practices and follow established protocols based on that training.  With COVID-19, we have reviewed our preparedness plans and are incorporating new information on Coronavirus into those procedures as it becomes available.

We are actively educating staff, volunteers, residents and families on symptom awareness for Coronavirus and have clear protocols for staff to stay home and not come to work if they are ill or symptomatic.

We are closely monitoring the latest information from the Ohio Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and we are working with state and local public health and emergency preparedness officials to strengthen our preparation for a possible outbreak of Coronavirus. We may need to postpone activities, screen visitors or limit visitor access. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause, but we will keep you informed every step of the way should these or other steps become necessary.

You are a key partner in keeping yourself and others healthy – wash your hands often; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth; and if you are feeling ill or have been around others who have flu like symptoms, we ask that you not volunteer at this time.

Communication is key, and we will continue to update you on important news or emerging issues. Please visit www.staugministries.org for regular updates. Please do not hesitate to contact us 216-634-7400 with any questions or concerns you may have.

 

 

What is COVID-19