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COVID-19

COVID-19 Information and Response Overview

Letter from our CEO

July 15, 2020

Dear Residents and Team Members,

It has been more than four months since coronavirus and COVID-19 became part of our every-day conversations. For many, the initial adrenaline, fear and excitement have given way to anxiety and fatigue. In these challenging times we continue to experience hope through inspiring moments.

My purpose in writing today is to bring you up to date on how ECS continues to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and how that response is shaped by what we have learned and continue to learn about the virus.

When the virus first landed on the West Coast in Washington State, we did not understand how serious it was and how challenging it would become. Today, mitigating the spread of COVID-19 is our organizing principle. Our whole team begins work every day knowing that keeping everyone safe is Job #1.

In early March, ECS was not fully stocked with a pandemic level of personal protective equipment or food supplies. Our orders for food and protective equipment were not filled or were diverted to the military and hospitals. Through sharing of supplies and concentrated purchasing efforts, today all of our communities are reliably supplied with a margin of safety.

In the beginning, we didn’t know what all the symptoms of COVID-19 were. The CDC had provided a very short list. To obtain a coronavirus test required a doctor’s order based on symptoms. Today, we test all staff members on a regular basis, as well as offer and encourage resident testing. Most test results are now received within 24 to 48 hours.

Common sense has dictated for over a hundred years that we wear masks as part of our defense against infectious diseases. It is no surprise that we are reminded of the positive benefits of simple precautions such as wearing masks, washing our hands and maintaining appropriate physical distance. By adhering rigorously to these precautions, we can look forward to more interaction and connection with neighbors, friends and family.

We once thought that a coronavirus diagnosis meant hospitalization, but we find that by having an effective COVID-19 isolation plan we can safely accommodate most residents without requiring a dangerous trip to a hospital.

We work daily to make life more palatable for residents by taking steps like creating outdoor spaces for visits with friends and family, implementing communication tools enabling audio-visual connection, and supporting neighborhood organizational efforts/campaigns. We bring this up in every staff meeting.

However, there is no substitute for our wonderful communities and the caring expressed by and to each other. During this time of isolation and separation, residents and staff are reaching out on a regular basis, looking out for each other. This is the value of living in community.

Each of you has done your part, either by creating or participating in fun exercises like the Memorial Day paper airplane contests or the wonderful ukulele orchestra that accompanies residents singing from balconies. Some of the fun innovations will probably become part of routine life in our communities.

It seems, though, that we take two steps forward and then one step back as with the governor’s message yesterday closing a number of public areas. One thing is for certain – this invisible enemy uses our love, kindness and resulting need for physical closeness against us. So now, we have to slow down our plans to safely open beauty salons and gyms; however, we are prepared to quickly reinstate those plans when possible.

What we all have done together has worked and likely saved lives, but we cannot become complacent.

This summer and fall will have their own sets of challenges and complications, and I want to thank all residents and team members in advance. You have worked tirelessly and diligently, often under very trying circumstances, to keep everyone safe. None of you volunteered for this. And yet you have made all our lives more tolerable by your patience, your understanding, and your continued positive attitudes.

One day, we will look back on this time, and we will see heroes and role models, friends and colleagues who stood together in the face of uncertainty and hardship.

Stay safe, stay strong and may God continue to bless us all.

James S. Rothrock
President & CEO

ECS_Saftey_Video-two people smiling

ECS Safety Video

Archived CEO COVID-19 Updates

May 13, 2020

It’s safer to stay at home. COVID-19 has not changed. – Dr. Barbara Ferrer, May 10, 2020

With many businesses reopening and more people out and about, it would appear conditions in Southern California are improving. The news, however, paints an all but certain picture.

Last Sunday the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which governments rely on for projections of where the pandemic is going, increased the projected number of deaths in California through August to 6,086. That’s an increase to the original projection of 1,420.

On Monday Governor Newsom announced that 70% of California’s economy had reopened, and L.A. County reported that daily new cases and deaths were below the seven-day averages. And yet on Tuesday, L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer announced a three-month extension of safer-at-home orders. It’s very confusing, as you can see.

What is certain, though, is that COVID-19 has disproportionately affected people 65 years of age and older, with L.A. and Orange counties reporting 75% and 70% respectively of total COVID-19-related deaths coming from that group.

Absent a vaccine and/or medication to treat the disease, the most effective defense we have is testing. Testing provides a snapshot of where we are at the moment, identifies asymptomatic carriers, and informs our decisions regarding the reintroduction of services and programs. But test results are not always accurate and should not provide a false sense of security. Furthermore, testing does not prevent someone from immediately contracting the virus after receiving a test.

As you know, ECS has done lots of testing on its campuses. We will continue to test staff members, and I hope that every one of you will take advantage of the opportunities to be tested when they are available. To date, the tests have identified four non-symptomatic COVID-19-positive team members and agency staff, who, without those tests and through no fault of their own, would have continued to work, potentially spreading the virus to residents and fellow team members. We are monitoring these team members and praying for their safe return to work.

We are truly in this together, and though some decisions are mandated by regulatory agencies, many come about through collaboration with residents and team members. In our weekly resident leadership Zoom meetings, we discuss the latest guidance and gain insight into specific issues affecting resident life. We know you want this to be over. We all do. For now, the most powerful tool we have is to be tested.

Fatigue is a natural consequence of isolation and anxiety, and I am so sorry you’re having to go through what you’re going through. I encourage you, though, to remember the words of Francis of Assisi – Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.

Sincerely,

James S. Rothrock
President & CEO

April 2, 2020

In fierce storms we must do one thing…we must put the ship in a certain position and keep her there. – old seaman

Although we receive additional information every day, and sometimes minute by minute, two activities continue to provide the best defense against the coronavirus – maintaining a distance of six feet from others and washing our hands after touching any surface that may have been exposed to the virus. As in a fierce storm, we must stay the course by maintaining these vital preventive measures throughout the crisis.

We all see how the numbers go up every day. Reality says that this virus will touch us. Already we have had one employee test positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. I am happy to report, this employee is at home recovering and seems to be doing well. But this is not likely our last case.

Over the past weeks, we have worked to limit the transmission of the virus while at the same time preparing for potential cases within our communities. We have sought to explain the actions taking place to contain the spread of the virus and to care for those affected by it through the Frequently Asked Questions, updates on the ecsforseniors.org website, and printed sheets placed under residents’ doors, near timeclocks and throughout our communities.

While your safety is our paramount concern, so, too, is your mental and overall physical health. The need to have mental stimulation and, frankly, fun doesn’t go away because of an out-of-control virus.

Life Enrichment departments continue to advance new virtual programs –fitness, cooking, education, and worship. If you haven’t already explored these opportunities, please do. They can help turn this time of social remoteness into a time of growth. And, if you need assistance connecting with loved ones and friends, please contact your Life Enrichment department. Six months ago, few of us were aware of Zoom. Today people across America are using it to have birthday parties, family reunions, and to spend meaningful time with loved ones. We can help you with that. Let’s work together to find the positive in this sad and chaotic situation.

Finally, I thank each of you for your personal contribution to the safety and well-being of not only yourselves, but those around you. The seas are rough! But stay the course, and eventually they will calm.

Please take a moment to view a caring, compassionate and encouraging message from the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, the Rt. Rev. John H. Taylor to the ECS family.

Sincerely,

James S. Rothrock
President & CEO

Latest Updates & Protocols

What we’re doing now

Our residents and team members understand the importance of their roles within the community to protect themselves and each other. We continue our vigilance in following precautions to prevent the transmission and spread of COVID-19.  In addition to washing hands frequently, wearing masks, and keeping a physical distance from others, our community continues the following protocols to keep themselves and others safe.

Precautions

Our residents and team members understand the importance of their roles within the community to protect themselves and each other. We continue our vigilance in following precautions to prevent the transmission and spread of COVID-19.  In addition to washing hands frequently, wearing masks, and keeping a physical distance from others, our community continues the following protocols to keep themselves and others safe:

Community Entrance: Entrances to ECS communities are limited to a single point of entry to allow for health screening, including a temperature check, for everyone who enters and exits the building.

Masks:

  • All team members are required to wear masks and additional personal protective equipment (PPE), depending on their position. Specific guidance for team members can be found here.
  • Residents should wear their masks whenever any team member is in their apartment for any reason and when they leave their apartment or leave the campus for any reason.
    • Exceptions: when walking outdoors, if alone or with a member of your household or pet, you may remove your mask, but please have it accessible to put on when approaching others.
  • All visitors, guests, and contractors will be required to be escorted, wash their hands and wear a mask while on the campus.

Our Commitment to Cleanliness: In our everyday cleaning, ECS Communities, uses the highest classification of disinfectants recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization to treat known pathogens.

Surface Areas: In public spaces, we have used hospital-grade disinfectants, which is done with increased frequency. In our residences, our communities have added to its detailed cleaning practices, requiring all surfaces to be thoroughly cleaned with hospital-grade disinfectants.

Resident, Team Member, and Guest Contact: To help alleviate the risk of COVID-19 transmission through person-to-person contact, we have placed signage throughout each campus to remind everyone to maintain physical distancing protocols and have removed or re-arranged furniture to allow more space for distancing. We also have placed additional hand sanitizer stations throughout each campus.

Episcopal Communities & Services has adopted an aggressive approach in our fight against COVID-19. Testing provides us with valuable information to keep our residents and team members safe. While these results only represent a snapshot in time, it does allow us to identify individuals who do not present any symptoms and might otherwise go undetected.

We are fortunate to have excellent resources to aide us in this approach, which allow us to proactively test our residents and team members under the following schedule onsite at the Life Plan Community in which they work and live:

  • Testing is required of all direct care team members, including outside agency, temporary staff, and team members with more than one job: weekly
  • Testing is required of all other team members: monthly
  • All residents are offered and encouraged to be tested: monthly

*These frequencies may increase at any given time.

Resident and Team Member Monitoring

If a resident or team member tests positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), a community health bulletin is issued to inform the ECS community affected. In addition to rigorous testing, residents and team members are monitored for symptoms on an ongoing basis. They may also be placed on quarantine and require testing following a hospital stay, international or domestic travel using mass transportation, if they are a new resident, or had high exposure to an individual that tests positive for COVID-19.

Any resident or team member that tests positive will self-isolate for at least 14 days and will need two negative tests conducted at least 24 hours apart before being removed from isolation. Contact tracing is conducted in all positive COVID-19 cases and any resident or team member identified with having significant exposure will also self-isolate for at least 14 days and will need two negative tests conducted at least 24 hours apart before being removed from isolation.

Each community has a separate area on campus with designated team members for any resident to use if they need care in isolation as a result of COVID-19.  This area contains its own supply room and showers for use by the dedicated heroes in the COVID unit.

Community Health Bulletin – October 9, 2020

A private caregiver at The Covington has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, during this week’s testing. This person was without symptoms and last on campus on October 7. This person will self-isolate for at least 14 days and will not return to work until after receiving two consecutive negative test results administered at least 24 hours apart.

Contact tracing is complete and since this private caregiver only worked with one resident, there was no significant exposure to other residents or team members. The resident will self-isolate for at least 14 days and will be retested during this time.

All other team members of The Covington that tested this week received negative results. Residents of The Covington will be offered the opportunity to test on October 14 and are strongly encouraged to participate.

Along with testing, using the precautions available including wearing a mask, washing your hands and maintaining physical distance from others continues to be our best strategies to protect yourself and others.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Sharon Pewtress, COVID-19 Communications Director at covid19info@ecsforseniors.org or 626-476-2647.

Health Bulletins

November 24, 2020

 COMMUNITY HEALTH BULLETIN

A team member at The Canterbury has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. This team member tested with a private physician and the results came back last night.

The team member was without symptoms and last on campus on November 22. They are self-isolating for at least 14 days and will not return to work until having two consecutive negative results for tests administered at least 24 hours apart.

Contact tracing is complete and the team member was wearing all proper protective equipment (PPE). However, since the team member was working in the Care Center, there is potential exposure to residents. These residents will continue to quarantine as a precaution for the next 14 days and will be monitored by our nursing team.

We also further identified two team members and five agency staff that had potential exposure to the agency staff member that tested positive last week. As a precautionary measure, they will also self-isolate for 14 days since exposure and will need two consecutive negative results for tests administered at least 24 hours apart.

As this is our third positive this week, in an effort to keep everyone living and working at The Canterbury safe and to mitigate further spread, effective immediately and until further notice, we will be suspending all in-room visitation, closing the salon and nail services, closing the fitness and pool, and suspending outdoor dining for the entire campus. In order to resume these programs and services, we will be consulting with the Department of Public Health. Scheduled outdoor visits will continue to be available.

As a reminder, we will continue weekly testing for all residents and all team members until we experience two weeks of negative test results.  In addition to today’s test, we are offering COVID-19 testing for all residents (and team members) on the Main Dining Room patio Thursday, December 3. Our nursing team will coordinate test scheduling for residents that would like to participate.

We strongly encourage all residents to test today and again next week. Testing helps to protect your neighbors and community, as it provides us valuable information by identifying residents and team members that could potentially be carrying the virus unknowingly. This allows us to isolate these individuals and those that had significant exposure to reduce further spread within the community.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Sharon Pewtress, COVID-19 Communications Director at covid19info@ecsforseniors.org or 626-476-2647.

November 23, 2020

 COMMUNITY HEALTH BULLETIN

 Twelve Oaks Senior Living’s scheduled coronavirus testing continues to identify people who are unknowingly carrying the virus. A resident of Twelve Oaks tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 during this week’s testing.  All other results from last week’s test were negative.

This resident was without symptoms and will begin self-isolating for at least 14 days and until having two consecutive negative results for tests administered at least 24 hours apart. The resident will be monitored by Twelve Oaks staff. Contact tracing is complete and it has been determined that no residents nor team members had significant contact with the resident.

 

We will continue to test staff and residents every week until we have two rounds of testing without any new cases. We will be offering COVID-19 testing for residents on Tuesday, November 24 and our team will coordinate test scheduling for residents that would like to participate.

From Denise Gotto, Executive Director

All residents, their families and our team members should be assured that we continue to do everything possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within our community. As diligently as we are working, we must rely on the help of all our residents and staff to contain the spread of this virus by following all the recommended steps for individuals. Residents and team members will be informed immediately if and when any new developments occur.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Sharon Pewtress, COVID-19 Communications Director at covid19info@ecsforseniors.org or 626-476-2647.

 

November 22, 2020

COMMUNITY HEALTH BULLETIN

A team member and an agency employee at The Canterbury have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 during this week’s onsite testing.

The team member started experiencing symptoms and was last on campus on November 19. The agency employee was without symptoms and was last on campus November 22. All other test results were negative. Both the team member and agency employee will be self-isolating for at least 14 days and will not return to work until having two consecutive negative results for tests administered at least 24 hours apart.

Contact tracing is complete and both the team member and agency employee were wearing all proper protective equipment (PPE). However, since the team member was working in the Care Center, there is potential exposure to residents. The agency employee had exposure to two residents. These residents will quarantine as a precaution for the next 14 days and will be monitored by our nursing team.

Due to our regulations, any positive COVID test will result in weekly testing for all residents and all team members until we experience two weeks of negative test results.  We will be offering COVID-19 testing for all residents (and team members) on the Main Dining Room patio Tuesday, November 24. Our nursing team will coordinate test scheduling for residents that would like to participate.

Since these were isolated cases, we need only require testing and restriction of indoor visits (except end-of-life visits) to those residents and team members in the Care Center.  Family members may still schedule balcony phone visits.

Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Memory Care are unaffected by this dictum. Nonetheless, we strongly encourage all residents to test next week. Testing helps to protect your neighbors and community, as it provides us valuable information by identifying residents and team members that could potentially be carrying the virus unknowingly. This allows us to isolate these individuals and those that had significant exposure to reduce further spread within the community.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Sharon Pewtress, COVID-19 Communications Director at covid19info@ecsforseniors.org or 626-476-2647.

 

November 22, 2020

 COMMUNITY HEALTH BULLETIN

 A team member at MonteCedro has tested positive for coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. The team member began experiencing symptoms, so tested with a private physician and the results were received today. This team member was last on campus on November 16.

Contact tracing is complete. One team member was found to have had significant exposure, but that team member began quarantining on November 17. No residents had exposure to either of the team members.  Both team members will not return to work for at least 14 days and until they receive two consecutive negative tests administered at least 24 hours apart.

As a reminder, we will be offering COVID-19 testing for residents on Monday, November 23 and our clinical team will coordinate test scheduling for residents that would like to participate. Although there is a fee associated with each test, we have found that Medicare and most insurance companies have been covering these in full.

We strongly encourage all residents to test next week. Testing helps to protect your neighbors and community, as it provides us valuable information by identifying residents and team members that could potentially be carrying the virus unknowingly. This allows us to isolate these individuals and those that had significant exposure to reduce further spread within the community.

In order to resume the programs and services, we will need two consecutive negative test cycles. With this week’s positive results, we anticipate that these holds will continue to be in effect for at least the next two weeks.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Sharon Pewtress, COVID-19 Communications Director at covid19info@ecsforseniors.org or 626-476-2647.

 

November 13, 2020

 COMMUNITY HEALTH BULLETIN

 A resident at The Covington has tested positive for coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. The resident did not have symptoms, but tested with a private physician as a precaution.

The resident will self-isolate and will be monitored by The Covington clinical staff. Contact tracing is complete and it has been determined that no residents nor team members had significant contact with this resident.

Due to a new dictum from the Department of Social Services (DSS), any positive COVID test will result in weekly testing for both all residents and all team members and suspension of indoor visits (except for end-of-life visits) until we experience two weeks of negative test results.  Since the resident is isolated in the Canyon House and staff do not work in multiple buildings, we need only require testing and restriction of indoor visits to those residents and team members in the Canyon House.  Independent Living and the Care Center are unaffected by this dictum.

We will be offering COVID-19 testing for residents on Tuesday, November 17. Our clinical team will coordinate test scheduling for residents that would like to participate.

James S. Rothrock, President/CEO of ECS, said, “This is a sharp reminder that the crisis is not over. The virus is still with us, and we must continue our vigilance and adherence to precautions such as physical distancing, washing hands, and wearing masks.”

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Sharon Pewtress, COVID-19 Communications Director at covid19info@ecsforseniors.org or 626-476-2647.

 

November 13, 2020

 COMMUNITY HEALTH BULLETIN

 Two residents at MonteCedro have tested positive for coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, during this week’s testing.

One resident was experiencing mild symptoms and the other resident was without symptoms. Both have been isolating since November 10. Both residents will self-isolate and will be monitored by MonteCedro clinical staff. Contact tracing is complete and it has been determined that no residents nor team members had significant contact with either resident.

We will continue to test staff and residents every week until we have two rounds of testing without any new cases. We will be offering COVID-19 testing for residents on Monday, November 16 and our clinical team will coordinate test scheduling for residents that would like to participate. We still have two resident results pending and will advise you of those results once they are received. All other results were negative.

In order to resume the programs and services we placed on hold last week, we will need two consecutive negative test cycles. With this week’s positive results, we anticipate that these holds will continue to be in effect for at least the next two weeks. We are working with the Department of Public Health and Department of Social Services to coordinate the reopening of areas once we are allowed.

James S. Rothrock, President/CEO of ECS, said, “This is a sharp reminder that the crisis is not over. The virus is still with us, and we must continue our vigilance and adherence to precautions such as physical distancing, washing hands, and wearing masks. As Barbara Ferrer, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director stated, while people may feel like they are done with this virus, ‘this virus is not done with us.’”

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Sharon Pewtress, COVID-19 Communications Director at covid19info@ecsforseniors.org or 626-476-2647.

 

Additional COVID-19 Resources

Please refer to these organizations for the latest public health information in the regions we serve.

financial times           los angeles times       healthcare agency   pasadena public health department       county of LA public health     CDCthe orange county       world health organization

 

As it has always been, the safety and security of our residents, team members, and their families remains our highest priority. We are closely monitoring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization’s statements regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and following guidelines from these agencies and the local health departments.

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