To: Residents of Covenant Village
From: Dale Melton, CEO
Date: March 5, 2021
This is the first COVID community memo in quite a while. What does that mean? In part, it means we have been battling this virus valiantly in 2021!
All your hard, dedicated work does pay off!! Take a look at some of the incredible markers and accomplishments Residents and Staff have made possible:
• Currently, Covenant Village has NO Active COVID Cases.
• Additionally, No Staff member is out for Potential Exposure or Potential Symptoms. It has been a LONG, LONG time since we could say both of these statements!
• There have been NO Resident COVID Cases in 11 weeks!
• There have been NO Health Center Resident COVID Cases in nearly three (3) months!
• In the last ten weeks, we have added only nine (9) new Cases. All of those were Staff cases.
• We anticipate that NC DHHS will remove us from the State’s active COVID outbreak list this Friday or by next Tuesday (their twice weekly reporting dates). We have been on the active outbreak list since November 6th. An outbreak is defined as two or more active cases at one time in the Health Center. You must have a clean 28-day window of no new cases to be removed from the outbreak list.
• Thankfully, the Gaston County % Positive metric fell under the 10% threshold on Tuesday! What does that mean for us? Now we get to go back to Weekly Mandatory Testing of Health Center Staff—rather than twice weekly testing. Since the State began requiring mandatory testing in the fall of 2020, we have incurred nearly $300,000 in expenses.
• If we can experience one more week without any new cases in the Health Center, we will look to re-open it—slowly and in a measured fashion—to internal visits and then to external visits (Family & friends).
As we have shared all along, any positive cases, potential symptoms, or potential exposures are serious for us at Covenant Village. The health and safety of our Residents, Staff, and larger community continue to be our highest priority.
Covenant Village COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics #2 & #3
On Tuesday, February 2nd, we held our second, highly successful COVID Vaccination Clinic. We vaccinated nearly 340 Residents and Staff. Over 300 received their second dose.
There were a few more sore arms this time for those who received their second dose, as well as increased, but expected side effects—low grade fever, head and body aches, as well as fatigue.
We had our third and final on-campus COVID Vaccination Clinic on Tuesday, March 2nd—just a couple of days ago. We vaccinated around 30 Staff and 9 Residents.
With these two Clinics, over 98% of Residents have been vaccinated! We are right around 50% of Staff. As you may have seen, there is talk about a booster shot at some point. If one is needed, we are hopeful that we can partner again with Walgreens. They were great to work with!
Congratulations to all our Residents and Staff for the hard, long, and resilient efforts to create this healthy and hope-filled environment for our Village!!!
On behalf of Tim Efird and the entire Board of Directors: Well done Covenant Village!!—The Board sends its collective gratitude and best wishes for continued success as we move forward!!!
Re-Opening Gradually and Gratefully
As you know, our plans have been—slowly and in a measured way—to RE-OPEN areas of the campus—including Activities; Chapel/Communion/Bible Study; Dining; and the Wellness Center.
The ONE key caveat to how we move forward Re-Opening is the emergence of COVID variants. If variants overtake the State and/or region, we will need to re-assess and potentially return to some level of a restricted campus. As we have done routinely and consistently, we will be monitoring all the key metrics in the State and in Gaston County.
Obviously, all of this positive and exciting movement requires a lot of communication and collaboration. The Leadership Team has been hard at work creating the right work environment and Resident care environment to make these transitions successful and helpful.
If you heard a roar on campus Monday, the Dining Room re-opened to rave reviews. Thanks to all the efforts of Michael and the Food & Nutrition Team. Residents were literally giddy, worked up that FINALLY they got to “dress up” to “go out to the Dining Room”!!! Matt strategically opened back up the Wellness Center—with classes—to vaccinated Residents and Staff—another threshold reached. Sherry is planning for the return of a number of long-time favorite and new activities and special events—with the seating limitations the Governor’s Office has provided. Joan is coordinating with area ministers to begin offering corporate worship in the Assembly Room.
Kevin, Sue, and Lindsay are planning on how we can gradually re-open the Health Center to visits internally and then externally. They have done a tremendous job as our COVID Infection Control Team. In the meantime, Cindy and Brenda have been diligent in coordinating schedules and opportunities for valued indoor visitations on the B-1 Hallway. Additionally, our Health Center Administrative Team has been hard at work with Direct Admit marketing, as well as managing moves between levels of care.
I also want to thank the vital behind-the-scenes efforts of Cory (maintaining all the modes of communication, including our full transition to Wellzesta); Jenn (keeping us in a best practices mindset with needed HR policies and procedures—continually refining and implementing them); Pam (finding ways to keep Future Residents engaged and interested in open units); Robbie (staying on top of and creating a secure environment for all the renewed and new movements around campus; Russ (coordinating all the service area expertise for Resident care—with a special shout out to the Renovations Team for making ready all the open units); and Terry (maintaining a steady hand on all the financial controls—making payrolls, completing a clean audit, and overseeing the department budgets).
We have accomplished a lot in the past year!
Yet, we CANNOT let our guard down. Even with the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, we have a long way to go! We STILL must continue to practice all the important COVID-related practices, including:
• Wearing Masks at all times outside your home and anytime around others (even in your home)
• Practicing at least six feet of physical distancing at all times
• Washing your hands and using hand sanitizer in between
• Continuing to use good cough etiquette.
We will continue to provide the latest information via community memos; Covenant Conversations on Facebook and Wellzesta; the Covenant Village website (https://covenantvillagenc.com/); and on our Facebook page.
We recognize the significant and ongoing inconvenience to life, as well as the physical, spiritual, and emotional toll the Pandemic has brought to our Village, our county, our state, our nation, and our world. Thank you for understanding and honoring the re-opening conditions we must put into place, as we all remain committed to preserving the health and well-being of our entire community.
Let’s covenant with each other to Finish Strong this Journey—and to Keep HOPE Alive!