Lutheran Living COVID-19 Update
Lutheran Living’s COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Response Action Plan
Dear Lutheran Living Residents, Families, and Team Members,
First and foremost, our priority is to keep everyone safe and healthy. We continue following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), as well as state and local health officials to protect our residents and team members from COVID-19, and are taking every action possible to prevent it from spreading in our senior living and care community.
The following is a summary of our COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Response Action Plan.
- Requiring team members and encouraging residents, and family members to remain up-to-date* with their COVID-19 vaccinations. Staying up-to-date with your COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others, particularly older adults and those with underlying health conditions who are at increased risk for severe complications. Any team member with an approved medical or religious exemption to the COVID-19 vaccine are subject to reasonable accommodations to protect the health and safety of everyone who lives in, works at, or visits our senior community. These accommodations include regularly taking COVID-19 tests, wearing N95 face masks, disinfecting all work and break areas, and practicing physical distancing. Several highly transmissible variants now account for the majority of COVID-19 cases in the US which pose as a major risk to anyone unvaccinated. Therefore, we continue to encourage everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and will provide resources and support to those who need it.
- Assigning one leader at Lutheran living to oversee all Training in Infection Prevention and Control and to implement our COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Response Action Plan.
- Utilizing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), per CMS guidelines, including a well-fitting face covering or mask that covers the mouth and nose. Team members continue to wear PPE, including masks, eye protection, gloves, and gowns depending on the community’s COVID-19 status and our county’s transmission and positivity rates. Residents are asked to wear a face covering when interfacing with others if not up-to-date with vaccinations as well as when our county’s community transmission rate is “high” or “substantial”. Visitors are asked to wear well-fitting face coverings regardless of vaccination status when on-site in our senior community.
- Screening and monitoring residents and team members for symptoms of COVID-19. We have increased our screening and monitoring of residents and team members for COVID-19 symptoms. COVID-19 symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.
We all play a part in keeping ourselves and others healthy. Please wash your hands often, avoid touching your face, cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, wear a well-fitting face mask, and practice physical distancing as appropriate.
Residents: Please let a team member know immediately if you feel ill. We are here to support and care for you.
Team members: Please don’t enter our senior community if you are ill. Any team member who exhibits symptoms should isolate at home, call your medical provider, and notify your supervisor. Any team member who exhibits symptoms at work should keep a well-fitting face mask on and notify their supervisor immediately.
We continue to educate residents and team members about COVID-19. For additional information, please visit the CDC’s website or Iowa Department of Public Health’s website.
- Using alcohol-based hand rub regularly.
- Tracing individuals who come in contact with anyone affected. The community will work with state and local health departments as appropriate and follow all guidelines from CDC and CMS to properly investigate and mitigate any outbreak of COVID-19 in our senior community. We continue to follow all requirements in implementing the next steps for anyone who may have come in close contact with an affected individual. These steps may include quarantining individuals not up-do-date with vaccinations if it is determined they have been exposed to the virus.
- Testing residents and team members for COVID-19 based-on federal and state guidance. We follow all guidance from federal, state, and local health officials regarding testing residents and team members for COVID-19. The frequency of routine testing is determined based on the number of COVID-19 cases in the local county. Those who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms are tested to quickly identify and quarantine residents and team members who may be positive for COVID-19.
In the event there is a confirmed COVID-19 case in our senior community, contact tracing will occur to ensure we investigate the outbreak properly and identify anyone who may have been exposed to the virus. We will test individuals per federal, state, and local guidelines, which may include testing everyone twice within 5-7 days of exposure.
- Quarantining COVID-19 positive residents and implementing enhanced infection control measures. We have established a designated area in our care center for any COVID-19 positive residents where they are cared for and supported by designated team members. Any COVID-positive community members will be quarantined in their apartments and supported by designated team members. We continue to follow all infection control protocols as outlined by the CDC, CMS, and state and local health officials. COVID-19 positive residents remain in quarantine until they are well and cleared by medical professionals and meet the CDC symptom-based criteria for return to normal activity.
- Advising COVID-19 positive team members to take all appropriate measures. For the health and well-being of our senior living and care community, any team member with a COVID-19 diagnosis is asked to quarantine at home, contact a medical provider for care, and notify their supervisor. We follow CDC guidance on the return-to-work criteria for health care professionals with confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses.
- Taking environmental safety precautions. Our housekeeping team continues to take extra measures to clean and disinfect all high-touch areas throughout the buildings. This includes countertops and tables, faucet handles, toilet flush handles, doorknobs, door handles, crash bars, bathroom and kitchen areas, elevator call buttons, and handrails.
- Assuring safe congregate dining and group activities. Communal dining and congregate group activities occur while we adhere to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention. This includes physical distancing, covering faces with masks per CDC and CMS guidance, and practicing proper hand hygiene.
- Adhering to safe visitation procedures, including maintaining six feet of distance between persons as appropriate. We are committed to offering visitation that supports each resident’s physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being, and quality of life. Visitation is permitted at all times for everyone but may be conducted through different means based on our community’s structure and residents’ needs, such as in residents’ rooms, dedicated visitation spaces, or outdoors as weather permits. Individuals who have a positive viral test for COVID-19, are feeling ill or show any symptoms of the virus must postpone visiting until they are feeling well.
Safe Visitation Procedures
The CDC has released guidance relating to the use of masks in public spaces in response to highly contagious variants of COVID-19. This guidance says the safest practice is to choose to continue wearing masks indoors and outdoors regardless of vaccination status. Those residing in areas where COVID-19 has a “high” or “substantial” level of community transmission must wear masks regardless of vaccination status. For county-specific community transmission rates, please see the CDC’s website. Team members will continue to wear masks and appropriate PPE regardless of community transmission rate.
General Infection Control Practices for all In-Person Visits:
- Each visitor will be screened for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and entry will be denied for those who exhibit signs or symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
- We are unable to welcome visitors who have a positive viral test for COVID-19 in the last 14-days, are feeling ill, are showing any symptoms of the virus, or who meet the qualifications for exclusion or quarantine from work.
- All visitors must complete hand hygiene with an alcohol-based hand rub upon arrival.
- Visitors, regardless of vaccination status, must wear well-fitting face coverings or masks and physically distance themselves from other residents and team members when in a communal area in our senior care community.
- Visitors who are not up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccine should wear a well-fitting face covering or mask that completely covers the mouth and nose when inside our senior community.
- All visitors, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a well-fitting face covering or mask when on-site at our community if our county’s COVID-19 transmission status is high or substantial.
- We also ask visitors to avoid congregating in common areas and please limit visits to residents’ rooms, dedicated visitation spaces, or outdoors as weather permits.
- In addition, participants should practice physical distancing during visits as appropriate.
While visits are permitted for all residents at all times— even in the event of an outbreak—visitors should know there are risks of transmission that are associated with entering our community if we have any active COVID-19 cases. While federal officials do not recommend it, residents who are on transmission-based precautions (TBP) or quarantine due to active COVID-19 may still receive visitors. In these cases, visits should occur in the residents’ rooms and the participants should wear well-fitting face masks. Visitors should adhere to the core principles of infection prevention as outlined above.
Please know our team also supports alternative visitation options, including:
- Virtual Visits: Loved ones should keep in mind that communication with residents is important for residents’ health and well-being. If anyone is unable to visit—due to illness or inability to travel— we encourage you to maintain contact by phone, letters, video chat, and/or social media. If assistance is needed with these communications methods, please contact our team so we can help.
- Window and Outdoor Visits: Closed window visits pose no risk of virus transmission. Outdoor visits pose a lower risk of virus transmission due to increased space and airflow. While we welcome indoor visits, please note that state and federal health officials advise that it is safest for residents to participate in outdoor visits whenever comfortably possible.
We continue to be in close communications with our medical director, other providers, and state and local health officials. Our team also closely monitors all information from the CDC, CMS, and state and local health departments to ensure we adhere to any applicable revision in guidance related to COVID-19 and infection prevention and control.
Please know our team is readily available to help coordinate and accommodate visits with Lutheran Living residents in a way that is appropriate for our physical setting, meets personal needs, and maintains the comfort and safety of all. Thank you.
As state and federal guidance relating to the COVID-19 pandemic changes, we’re committed to sharing the most recent information. Some details in this update may have changed after publication.
For the latest information about COVID-19, we encourage you to use the following resources:
- Iowa COVID-19 Information
- Iowa Department of Public Health
- Iowa 211 Hotline
- Muscatine County COVID-19 Information
- CDC – Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- CDC – Enfermedad del Coronavirus 2019 (COVID‑19)
- Trinity Muscatine Public Health
NOTE TO MEDIA PERSONNEL: Send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Per CMS, an individual is deemed up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations if they have obtained all first series of their initial COVID-19 vaccine as well as all boosters they are eligible to receive.