Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preparedness & Response
UPDATE: July 20, 2020
As cases climb in Hampton Roads beyond our campus, we are starting to see community spread reach some of our team members, mostly through their own family members at home. Asymptomatic cases cannot be caught by screening. Fortunately, we also see that when we test those who work around infected staff members that our workplace protocols for both residents and staff (masking always, washing hands, and physical distancing) have been effective and held up well to stop further spread on the campus. Thus far, the virus has not infected any residents.
Last week, we closed some dining venues when a teammate was positive, reopening only as the staff was cleared to return to work. Wider tests of dining staff have shown us that our firewalls are effective in stopping spread: masking at work for both staff and residents, physical distancing, and frequent handwashing all worked because the results from wider dining team testing were very favorable.
On July 20, we learned one of our Hoy Center teammates (who does not have direct patient care duties) has tested positive for COVID. As a precautionary measure, we are increasing the frequency of monitoring of vital signs of residents in Lighthouse 1B closest to where our teammate works. Some of our leaders had sufficient contact that we are asking them to work from home until cleared for return.
Our experiences here teach us all that we each have the power to protect ourselves from COVID using the firewalls we have implemented: mask, physical distance, and wash your hands frequently. These steps help tremendously.
July 13, 2020
ALL of our residents remain 100% COVID-19 free.
However, as COVID cases rise outside our campus in Hampton Roads, particularly after the July 4th holiday, we are also seeing some increased staff infections which are limited at this time to our dining team.
We are voluntarily closing two dine-in venues after consultation with the local Health Department and will test all the dining staff who worked in these venues out of an abundance of caution. The closure should last a week, but reopening will be dictated by the test results and the timing of getting those results. In the meantime, we will deliver meals and will keep our Overlook Dining Room, our third dining venue, open. Our kitchens are fully operational. Westminster remains rare in the industry for having kept its community indoor dining rooms open safely during the pandemic with strict infection control to limit the chances of the virus spreading from staff (who must travel in the broader community) to residents.
Staff members who fail our daily screening or have symptoms are quarantined and tested. All team members wear masks, even in our kitchens and other places where that is uncomfortable. We continue to set the standard for infection control. We were recently notified that our Hoy Center is under consideration as a Pillar of Excellence by the health department for its infection control processes.
June 9, 2020
Virginia Department of Health Point of Prevalence Survey Results Show Westminster-Canterbury COVID-19 Free: More than 1100 Residents and Staff Tested
On June 2-3, 2020, Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay voluntarily accepted an offer by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to test all residents and staff for the COVID-19 virus. None of the more than 1100 residents and staff that participated in the survey tested positive.
Because Westminster-Canterbury is a large campus of over 1100 residents and staff and has remained COVID-19 free, the VDH was extremely interested in performing this survey with our population. The campus’ experience runs contrary to the experience of other senior living communities of similar size.
“While we are extremely thankful that our community is COVID-19 free, we will continue with the protocols that got us to this point, including social distancing and wearing masks,” said Westminster-Canterbury President and CEO J. Benjamin Unkle, Jr.
Update: April 28, 2020
We know that the coronavirus (COVID-19) is understandably top of mind for those who live and work in our community and for their families. The preservation of health and safety guide all the steps below to protect the well-being of all on our campus.
Our community is blessed to have no cases of COVID-19, and our goal is to keep it that way.
We can attribute much of this to our COVID-19 Task Force, which meets daily to review our current state and plan for the future. The task force adjusts our policies and protocols to leading information and the latest best practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), and the Virginia Department of Health. This ensures we are educated and prepared.
We also credit the health of our campus to everyone adhering to the COVID-19 preventive measures we have put in place. We know these policies and procedures are not always easy and can restrict daily life and work activities, but they have proven to be effective. Thank you for your cooperation.
Below are some new updates on life at Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay during this pandemic.
All residents are asked to wear cloth masks if they leave their apartments. Team members have been required to wear masks since March 30th as a precautionary measure. Our Medical Director recommended these steps to enhance the protection of physical distancing.
Residents have access to Birdsong Tablets and the FREE web version of the tablet at www.birdsongtablet.com. This technology helps to promote engagement and prevent social isolation and boredom. The tablet has 8000 curated entertainment experiences and user-friendly video communications tools.
Outpatient therapists have been assigned to specific resident areas of the Westminster-Canterbury community as a precautionary measure.
Other Measures Previously Implemented
Only essential medical professionals and team members are allowed in The Hoy Center, where the long-term care members of our community and skilled Stone Rehab patients reside. This precaution further protects our most vulnerable residents. We do permit end-of-life patients to receive family members in accordance with their end-of-life wishes after a visitor health screening has been completed.
No visitors are allowed on campus, except pre-approved essential medical professionals and service vendors which are very limited. These individuals, along with our team members, are screened upon entry and are required to wear a mask.
Residents are not allowed to leave and re-enter the campus grounds unless they are scheduled for a medically necessary appointment. This is to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus. Our health care team arranges for telehealth visits and complimentary transportation when hands-on care is necessary. Villa residents come and go freely and enjoy meal delivery, but do not use our Towers.
Attendance in large group gatherings is restricted. In its place, Westminster-Canterbury offers 12 hours of programming on our in-house TV station, including educational and fitness classes, lectures, concerts, and other entertainment as well as community worship and other events.
Lengthy isolation can create health hazards, too. Our residents continue to dine in our on-campus restaurants which are open, adhering to social distancing, and limited to small group sizes. We also offer a home delivery service option for dinner for all who wish to remain in their apartment homes.
We provide complimentary grocery shopping services for Independent Living residents who want to cook their own meals.
From the beginning of the pandemic, we strongly encouraged team members and residents to follow CDC recommended practices which are proven to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water; covering your cough; staying at home if you are sick; avoiding close contact with others who are sick; and carefully wiping down desks, computers, tables, door handles, etc., with disinfectant cleaners. We have posted signs on our entryway doors to notify visitors of the symptoms of COVID-19 with a request that visitors do not enter if they are experiencing these symptoms.
Open and transparent communication is crucial. We will continue to provide updates on our website. This is in addition to the direct conversations we have with our residents, their families, and our team members.
Finally, I want to take a moment to thank the many people supporting the work we do to provide a safe and healthy environment for the residents we serve. While currently, many of our efforts address COVID-19, we continue to focus on our mission of creating a community that fosters joy and well-being for our residents as we navigate through these changing and challenging times together. We appreciate your support.
J. Benjamin Unkle, Jr.
President and CEO
Westminster Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay