Important Coronavirus Information
Important message from Barb Wessberg, Executive Director
At Benedictine Living Community – Duluth, our priority is the health and wellness of our residents and employees. We know that the frail and elderly are especially susceptible to the coronavirus. That is why we have been doing everything we can to prevent the spread of this virus onto our campus.
Protect yourself and those you love with the COVID-19 vaccine!
Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is one of the best ways to protect yourself and everyone around you, particularly those who are at increased risk for severe illness. Getting these shots will not only protect you from being infected; it will help us take a big step towards ending this pandemic.
If you are unvaccinated and are interested in vaccination, the COVID-19 vaccine is safe, free and readily available. Not sure where? Check out www.vaccines.gov, text your zip code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find a location near you. Still have questions? Go to www.cdc.gov/coronavirus for the latest information on the vaccine.
We look forward to the day when COVID-19 is vanquished. Until then, we appreciate your cooperation as we comply with all the requirements applicable to senior care facilities.
Benedictine Living Community-Duluth is currently providing regular coronavirus testing for employees and as needed for symptomatic residents and employees. Testing enables us to better protect our residents and staff by identifying those who may be positive, but are not having any symptoms. Once identified, we can implement additional infection control measures quickly to better care for those who may be infected. We will update our hotline – 218-279-7607 – if our testing identifies any new positive results.
As we have for the past year, we will continue to closely monitor all residents and employees for signs or symptoms of the virus. We remain in communication with our state and local health officials to ensure we are implementing all appropriate measures.
Indoor/General visitation for all residents at Marywood is paused for at least the next two weeks. However, essential caregiver and compassionate care visits may still be scheduled.
Current Visitation Options Available by Program:
- Compassionate Caregiver visits are available at Benedictine Health Center, Marywood, Westwood Independent and Assisted Living, and Westwood Terrace.
- Essential Caregiver visits are available at Benedictine Health Center, Marywood, Westwood Independent and Assisted Living, and Westwood Terrace.
- General/Indoor visits on the campus are available at Benedictine Health Center, Westwood Independent and Assisted Living, and Westwood Terrace.
We have good news to share! The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued new visitation guidance for skilled nursing facilities such as Benedictine Health Center. Effective immediately, skilled nursing facilities are no longer required to restrict visitation when our COVID-19 testing identifies a new positive result in a resident or employee. CMS stated that these changes were made because of the high percentage of residents who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the upcoming COVID-19 vaccine mandate for staff, and the drop in the number of cases reported by nursing homes across the country.
Please note that, at this time, the guidance for visitation in assisted living facilities has not changed. We are still required to restrict visitation to essential care givers and compassionate care visits in Marywood, Westwood and Westwood Terrace when a resident or employee tests positive. We are monitoring this situation and will share any updates as soon as possible.
Visitors are now welcome any time during our visiting hours in our Benedictine Health Center. Visits do not have to be scheduled. When we are required to complete outbreak testing (following a new positive test result for a resident or employee), we are no longer required to limit visitors to compassionate care and essential caregiver visits.
It is important to note that some of the visitation guidance has not changed.
- All visitors must still complete a health screening and follow the Core Principles of Infection Control, including practicing good hand hygiene, wearing a face covering or mask that covers the mouth and nose, and physically distancing at least six feet from other residents and staff.
- Visitors who have had a positive viral test for COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19, or who currently meet the criteria for quarantine, should not enter the facility. Visitors need to understand that there is a risk of exposure to COVID-19 when visiting.
- For the health and safety of visitors and all residents, visits should take place in the residents’ room (if private) or in a common space where physical distancing can be followed
- If our county’s COVID-19 community level of transmission is substantial to high, all residents and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, should wear face coverings or masks and physically distance, at all times. You can check out our County’s COVID-19 transmission rate at www.covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view.
- When our county’s COVID-19 community level of transmission is low to moderate, the safest practice is for residents and visitors to wear face coverings or masks and physically distance, particularly if either of them is at increased risk for severe disease or is unvaccinated. If the county transmission level is low, the resident and all visitor(s) are fully vaccinated, and the resident is not moderately or severely immunocompromised, residents and visitors may choose not to wear face coverings or masks and to have physical contact.
- While CMS does not recommend visitation when a resident is actively infected with COVID-19 or in quarantine, residents may still choose to have visitors. The Core Principles of Infection Control need to be followed.
Infection Control Measures
In all areas, we continue the enhanced infection control efforts that we implemented in March 2020, including extra efforts to clean and disinfect all high-touch areas throughout the building and the following measures:
For all Residents:
- Monitor and screen all residents daily for symptoms and temperatures.
- Provided a mask to wear.
- Encourage health care providers to use telehealth when possible.
- Follow visitor guidelines for each program area. All visitors must be screened and free of symptoms before they are allowed to enter with protective precautions in place.
- Screen staff prior to beginning work for symptoms. Employees are not allowed in the building if they are ill. Any employee who exhibit symptoms is instructed to self-quarantine at home and/or seek medical care.
- Require all employees to wear a face mask and eye protection.
- Employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 are allowed to return to work when they have been fever-free without use of medication for at least 24 hours, have improved respiratory symptoms, and it has been at least 10 days since their first symptoms first appeared.
As we navigate this challenge, we are especially grateful for our dedicated caregivers, who are working tirelessly to ensure a clean, safe environment for all who live and work here. We all remain focused on providing exceptional care and services for all our residents.