//COVID Update: New COVID Resident Cases in Health Center

COVID Update: New COVID Resident Cases in Health Center


To:  Residents of Covenant Village

From: Dale Melton, CEO

Date:  July 23, 2021

With the news earlier this week of our first positive COVID cases in over three (3) months, one of our immediate action steps was to shut down the Health Center (HC) to visitors, as well as unessential Staff and vendors.  The next action step was to begin testing of all HC Residents and Staff.  With the return of the test results, 12 HC Residents did test positive for COVID.  All were vaccinated.

Below is a summary of events, action steps, and updates:

  • On Monday, three HC Staff tested positive, with two of the three being tested by outside sources.  Interestingly, the start of this week marks two weeks since the July 4th Holidays, which has been the cadence of previous outbreaks related to Holiday behavior.
  • We immediately shut down the HC and notified state & local health department officials.  In shutting down the HC, we went right into our COVID mitigation protocols, as well as contact tracing.
  • Next, we implemented COVID testing for all HC Residents and Staff.
  • Starting late Tuesday night, we received the first Resident test results.  To date, 12 HC Residents tested positive—and all were vaccinated.
  • To date, our extensive Contact Tracing has not clearly indicated any one source for the Virus.  All positive HC Residents have either recently gone out (doctor’s appointment or with family) or had extensive family/friend visits.In many cases, both have occurred for some HC Residents.  Additionally, they could have had access to at least one positive Staff member.
  • Currently, 10 of the 12 HC Residents are exhibiting symptoms similar to a cold’s cough or congestion.  The symptoms are mild.  No Resident has needed to be sent out for medical attention.
  • With the 12 positive cases of vaccinated HC Residents—and after conversation with Board Chair Tim Efird—we are retesting the 12 positive HC Residents.  Results could be 36 to 48 hours out.
  • In addition to contacting POAs of those who tested positive in the HC, we also reached out, throughout the day on Thursday, to all HC POAs to update them on their loved ones.
  • Overnight Thursday, a majority of the Staff test results finally came in.Three additional Staff members tested positive.  Two in the HC; one who works with independent living (IL) Residents.
  • Given the news this morning that an IL-related Staff member tested positive, we have identified IL Residents who were exposed and are monitoring them for symptoms.Currently, no one is exhibiting any COVID-related symptoms.  Additionally, all exposed IL Residents are vaccinated.
  • As we did with shutting down the HC—as an effort to be abundantly cautious and prepared—we have shut down the entire Village to outside visits. We will do so for 14-days, with the count starting yesterday—Thursday.
  • Additionally, Food and Nutrition started delivering meals with today’s lunch.Cottage Residents will be able to pick up their meals at the Front Entrance, as was done earlier in the pandemic.
  • There will be no group activities for 14 days—including Chapel, Arts and Crafts, Wellness Center and other special events.
  • We are also going to ask that all Residents and Staff—out of an abundance of caution—start wearing Masks when out and using the 6-foot physical distancing.
  • When you go out, please use caution and your wonderful common sense, along with the Mask and physical distancing.Gaston County metrics, as you know, are increasing—new cases, hospitalizations, and % positive (now above 5% after two months under 3%).

Here is the most important thing for IL Residents:

  • If you are vaccinated AND exhibiting NO symptoms, you should feel free to go about your normal routine and needs. The only exceptions are meals and small group activities.
  • If you go out for any reasonand you are vaccinated and not exhibiting any symptoms when you return—you do not need to be quarantined.
  • If you start exhibiting any COVID-related or other symptoms, PLEASE CALL the Arbor Wing Nurse’s Station at 704.917.7857.Do not go down to the Health Center.

One additional item.  Obviously, the pressures related to mandating the COVID-19 vaccinations will increase.  Board Leadership—Tim Efird, Nancy Paschall—and I are in discussions about the issue—particularly with Thursday afternoon’s news releases from a number of major hospitals/medical centers who will soon be mandating vaccinations for all their staff.  Even later in the afternoon Atrium Health and Novant Health in Charlotte announced the same.  Some of these mandates do not take effect until the fall.

We are monitoring CaroMont Health’s response, as well.  Our decision will be made soon.  The full Board of Directors meet on August 4th.

As part of our ongoing COVID mitigation, we continue to follow all local and state COVID protocols, and to monitor all developments from the CDC, CMS, and DHHS—our governing and licensing bodies.

Prior to this week’s news, our last confirmed case was a Staff member reported the week of April 12th.  The last HC case was a Staff member the prior week (April 5th).  Our last Resident case was the week of December 14, 2020—some 30 weeks ago.

We remain resolved and resilient—even in the face of this unexpected and unwanted fourth surge.  Our prayers go out to Residents, Families, and Staff impacted by these recent developments.  Though we have come a long, long way, we all know that the Virus is still active and growing in the community, region, state, and nation.

Please, let us all be careful when we are out!!  Let’s resume wearing your Mask and practicing the physical distancing rule for these next 14-days.  We can do this!!  We are Covenant Village!!  Peace, Dale


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 pa