The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be of great concern to our community, our state, and our nation. The disruption that this pandemic has had on all our lives is obvious.

Although we are encouraged by the news that vaccination trials are producing optimistic results, it may be several months before COVID vaccinations will have a significant reduction of the risk level. The CDC has indicated that limited COVID-19 vaccine doses may be available this year, but supply will increase substantially in 2021. In the meantime, we will continue our efforts to slow the spread of this virus.

Among our efforts, we have continued the required testing of the staff who work in the Health Services or Assisted Living area of our campus. We have had individuals providing ancillary and contract services test positive over the last month, but at this time, we are pleased to report that we do not have any active cases of COVID-19 among any residents or staff in Health Services or Assisted Living licensed areas.

The Oklahoma County COVID-19 positivity rate is currently at 13.3%, which is at the highest positivity classification, also known as the “red zone.” Until the Oklahoma County positive rate is below 10.0%, Epworth Health Services and Assisted Living remain in the “red” classification. As a result, we will continue with required testing protocols for staff in Health Services and Assisted Living and limit visitation to outdoor appointments using safety protocols. If the Oklahoma County positivity rate remains above 10.0%, the requirement for us will be testing our Health Services and Assisted Living staff twice per week.

In the non-licensed areas of Epworth, including independent living, we have additional information to report. Two positive COVID tests have occurred for administrative staff, for whom contact tracing was performed. Today, we were informed of a positive COVID test for one of our independent living residents. The exposure happened with family, off campus. Thankfully, there does not appear to be any exposure to other residents from this positive case.

Our prayers go out to all who have been impacted by this dreaded virus. The resiliency of our residents and staff is admirable and inspirational. Together, and with God’s help, we will persevere through this pandemic to brighter days ahead.