Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

06/08/2020

In our ongoing effort to provide regular updates to the Epworth family regarding COVID-19 and its impact on our community, we have some encouraging news to share.

Last week, the one remaining resident in the COVID unit was released by the Health Department, which means that all four residents who stayed in the COVID unit have successfully returned to Household 4. In addition, no residents or staff have tested positive for COVID-19 since our last update. As a result, no residents are in isolation and no staff are required to stay off-campus due to COVID-19.

Considering the formidable challenge that we have all faced with COVID-19, we are grateful beyond words to share this news.

We continue following the guidance of federal, state, and local authorities regarding COVID protocols. We are grateful that our staff, residents, and families, have been cooperative and committed to protecting the residents of Epworth as we help them thrive.

We ask that you keep praying for God’s protection and provision.

Ron Kelly
President & CEO


05/21/2020

Since the last update on May 15th, we have received additional testing results on which we provide the following update.

Out of the over 200 independent living residents tested last week, two residents in independent living, who are not showing any symptoms, tested positive for COVID-19. Those two residents were retested by our medical director, Dr. Ashley Ford, via the Mercy Clinic, and the results were negative. They will continue to be monitored by Dr. Ford. Although we consider these negative tests to be encouraging news, we do not know the reason for the discrepancy.

Following our proactive strategy of testing over 500 individuals at Epworth, including staff, residents, and some contract staff, other than the two independent living residents described above, we have not had any additional positive COVID-19 tests since the last update on May 15th. Based on the recommendation of our medical director, Dr. Ford, and the guidance provided to us by the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the Oklahoma County-OKC Health Department, we will now transition to symptom-based testing, unless broader testing is recommended or required by one of these sources due to a regulatory change or additional cases of COVID-19 within Epworth.

In addition, we have one resident in Health Services who remains quarantined in our COVID unit. Three residents who had previously tested positive for COVID-19 and were being cared for in our COVID unit have been released to return to Household 4. These residents were back to Household 4 through guidance provided by the Oklahoma County-OKC Health Department, which indicated they were no longer a risk for transmitting the virus to others.

Thank you to our staff, residents, and families who have bravely fought this COVID-19 battle. Together, and with God’s help, we will continue to persevere.

Ron Kelly
President & CEO


05/15/2020

COVID-19 has proven to be a dangerous adversary, requiring vigilant and careful planning and action. Since our last COVID-19 update on May 8th, we would like to update you on our findings and our continuing efforts to battle this virus.

Epworth has engaged a private lab to proactively test all our residents and staff. The status of the results and our response is as follows:

  1. One additional resident who had previously tested negative for COVID-19 has now tested positive for COVID-19 while residing in Household 4. This resident has been relocated to our COVID-19 unit in Household 2, receiving care in isolation with three other residents from Household 4 who previously tested positive for COVID-19.
  2. A new employee who worked a total of two days in Household 1 has tested positive for COVID-19. She was in Household 1 on May 7th and May 8th and has not returned to work.
  3. Prompted by the positive tests described above, an additional round of testing for all residents in Households 1 and 4 was requested by our Medical Director, Dr. Ashley Ford, revealing no additional positive tests.
  4. Epworth tested all the residents and staff of Assisted Living and received no positive results for COVID-19.
  5. Epworth offered testing for all independent living residents this week. Testing completed on Monday, May 11th, and Tuesday, May 12th, including staff tested on those dates, revealed no positive results for COVID-19. We should receive results for testing on Wednesday, May 13th, and Thursday, May 14th, in the coming days.
  6. As reported originally on May 2nd, a staff person in Household 4 tested positive for COVID-19, and she remains at home, without symptoms.
  7. As reported originally on May 2nd, Household 3 residents and staff were quarantined for precautionary reasons due to a potential exposure to COVID-19 that occurred on April 15th. That quarantine has been lifted and the staff members are now back to serving our residents.
  8. As reported originally on May 8th, two staff members who had worked in Household 1 and Household 4 tested positive for COVID-19. They have not worked at Epworth since the positive test result for COVID-19.

To summarize our COVID-19 status as described above, Epworth has had a total of five residents in Health Services test positive for COVID-19, including one who has died and four currently receiving care in the COVID-19 unit at Epworth. In addition, a total of four employees in Health Services have tested positive and have not returned to work. Despite our desire to see no COVID-19 at Epworth, we are pleased that we have been able to limit and contain the virus.

The State of Oklahoma has arranged for the National Guard to provide cleaning services for nursing facilities across the state. Epworth has been informed that we should expect the National Guard to provide this service on Saturday, May 16th, starting at 9:00 a.m. They will focus their efforts on the four households in Health Services. This augments the outstanding efforts of Epworth’s Housekeeping and Environmental Services team, who have done spectacular work in our infection control efforts.

The State of Oklahoma had originally indicated they would be providing testing at Epworth, but it has not happened. Thankfully, we have not waited for the State and our proactive testing has assisted our efforts in containing the virus.

We continue to follow CMS and Oklahoma State Department of Health directives, including the isolation in our special unit of all residents who have tested positive, using full PPE for direct care. Any staff who have symptoms of COVID-19 as confirmed by our medical director are not allowed to report to work.

Epworth continues to be blessed by God’s protection and the remarkable work of our team in keeping COVID-19 from spreading. Thank you for your prayers and support as we continue this battle together. The courage of those impacted by this dreadful virus stirs us to fight even harder.

Ron Kelly
President & CEO


05/08/2020

Since our last COVID-19 update on May 2nd, Epworth Villa has taken several steps in our battle against COVID-19. We would like to update you on our findings and our continuing efforts to battle this virus.

Epworth has engaged a private lab to proactively test all our residents and staff in Health Services, which is comprised of four Households. The status of the results is as follows:

  1. As was reported on May 2nd, one of our residents in Household 4 died due to COVID-19. The three additional residents who tested positive for COVID-19 in Household 4 continue to be cared for in our COVID-19 unit, without symptoms.
  2. Also reported on May 2nd, a staff person in Household 4 tested positive for COVID-19, and she remains at home, without symptoms.
  3. Additional testing since May 2nd has resulted in a positive COVID-19 test for a short-term rehab patient in Household 1. This patient was asymptomatic and was included in our testing with the private lab. This short-term rehab patient has discharged and is at home.
  4. All other residents in Health Services have tested negative for COVID-19.
  5. Additional testing since May 2nd has resulted in negative COVID-19 tests for 77 of 79 staff tested. One of the staff who tested positive for COVID-19 worked in Household 4 and is experiencing minor symptoms. The second staff person who tested positive worked both in Household 4 and Household 1 and is asymptomatic.

On May 6th, the Oklahoma State Department of Health made a visit to Epworth as a part of a routine check on our COVID-19 preparedness and response. The result was a very positive outcome and an affirmation of the work that our leaders and team have done.

The State of Oklahoma has arranged for the National Guard to provide cleaning services for nursing facilities across the state. Epworth has been informed that we should expect the National Guard to provide this service on May 16th. This augments the outstanding efforts of Epworth’s Housekeeping and Environmental Services team, who have done spectacular work in our infection control efforts.

Testing for COVID-19 continues at Epworth. We have almost completed testing for all our residents and staff in Assisted Living, and we will begin testing our Independent Living residents on a voluntary basis. All staff who have direct contact with residents will be required to be tested to continue work.

The State of Oklahoma had originally indicated they would be providing testing at Epworth, but it has not happened. Thankfully, we have not waited for the State and our proactive testing has assisted our efforts in containing the virus.

We continue to follow CMS and Oklahoma State Department of Health directives, including the isolation in our special unit of all residents who have tested positive, using full PPE for direct care. Any staff who have symptoms of COVID-19 as confirmed by our medical director are not allowed to report to work.

Our deep sadness over the death of our resident is very real, but this loss has only emboldened the determination of our Health Services team in our fight against this virus. I applaud their efforts. Even though we have all worked for and prayed for zero COVID-19 at Epworth, the Health Services team’s ability to keep the virus relatively contained has been phenomenal. We are thankful to God for His protection and provision.

Thank you for joining us in continued prayer for those who have been impacted by this tragic virus. We appreciate the sacrificial efforts of the entire Epworth family as, with God’s help, we strive to keep everyone safe and healthy.

Ron Kelly
President & CEO


05/02/2020

On April 28th, we provided a COVID-19 update, which included information about a positive COVID-19 test for a resident who had resided in long-term care at Epworth and was being treated for COVID-19 outside of Epworth. We are deeply saddened to report that this resident has passed away. Our prayers and deepest condolences go out to this resident’s family and loved ones. We hurt with you.

While we grieve the loss of this resident, we must also continue our efforts to battle this virus.

As previously reported, we have been informed that the State of Oklahoma is providing testing for all the long-term care facilities in Oklahoma. We are expecting testing at Epworth something during the week of May 4th. To augment that testing and expedite results in priority areas, we have contracted with a private lab. As a result, we have increased our testing this past week, and we have some results to share.

Fifteen of the 18 residents for whom results were received today came back negative. However, three residents and one staff member have tested positive for COVID-19. All positive results for residents are those who have resided in the same Household that had a resident test positive on April 28th. The staff member who tested positive had worked in this Household and last worked at Epworth on April 22nd, staying at home since then.

We have setup a special COVID-19 unit in Household 2 of Health Services to care for residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 who do not require hospitalization. The three residents who have tested positive are in the process of being moved to this area. They are under the care and monitoring of Epworth Medical Director, Dr. Ashley Ford.

We expect to have all the residents in Health Services tested by the end of today. The staff working in Health Services are also being tested today and tomorrow through our private lab arrangement. The turnaround time on these tests is 24 to 36 hours.

We continue to follow CMS and Oklahoma State Department of Health directives, including the isolation of all residents in the affected Household and in our special unit, using full PPE for direct care. Any staff that have symptoms of COVID-19 as confirmed by our medical director are not allowed to report to work.

The news shared in this memo is a blow to all of us. Despite the heaviness of our hearts, we will continue to uplift the staff and residents on the front line of this battle, along with their families and loved ones. We are fighting hard to protect you. We admire your courage. God bless all of you.

Ron Kelly
President & CEO


04/28/2020

A case of COVID-19 has been confirmed today for a resident in long-term care at Epworth. We would like to update you on the steps we are taking and the impact of this on our community.

Upon learning of this positive test today, the Health Services team initiated our response, which included communication with the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and the OKC-Oklahoma County Health Department.

We began the contact tracing for this resident, identifying and communicating to those who may have been exposed to the Coronavirus through contact with this individual. Appropriate precautions provided by CMS and the CDC and approved by our medical director, Dr. Ashley Ford, have been implemented for these individuals.

In addition, the staff members serving in the household have received additional training to refresh the COVID-19 care protocols for their protection and the protection of our residents.

The State of Oklahoma has recently instituted a protocol testing 100% of the residents and staff in nursing facilities. As of today, we have not received this testing, but we have been told to expect it in a week. Epworth has activated a plan to contract with a private lab to augment the state’s COVID-19 testing, starting in our Health Services.

The resident who tested positive is currently being treated outside of Epworth. Our thoughts and prayers are with this resident and all who are impacted.

We will continue this battle every day to fight the Coronavirus. The courage of our residents, staff, and families is inspirational. God bless you all.

Ron Kelly
President & CEO


04/27/2020

In an announcement on April 22nd, Epworth Villa reported that a C.N.A. who worked only on April 15th at Epworth Villa had tested positive for the Coronavirus.

On Wednesday, April 29th, the 14-day quarantine will conclude for those who had direct contact with this C.N.A. Thankfully, none of those who were potentially exposed to the Coronavirus by this C.N.A. have shown any signs or symptoms of COVID-19.

On Friday evening, we received communication from an x-ray service provider that a technician who provided services to a small number of residents at Epworth had tested positive for the Coronavirus. The technician provided services on April 14th and April 17th. One resident in independent living will remain in quarantine until, Tuesday, April 28th. Two residents in our short-term rehab, skilled nursing facility will remain in quarantine at least until May 1st. None of the individuals involved, including the x-ray technician, are showing any signs or symptoms of COVID-19.

In addition, we are pleased by Governor Stitt’s announcement last week of the plan to test all staff and residents of Oklahoma nursing homes for the Coronavirus by May 28th. We believe this is a helpful step in protecting the most vulnerable in Oklahoma and those who care for them. We await guidance from the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the OKC-Oklahoma County Health Department on when testing will begin in the Health Services Households at Epworth, which is licensed area that will be included in this testing initiative.

We continue to pray for those who are in quarantine, asking for God’s protection. We remain focused on fighting the virus. We applaud our staff and residents who have courageously and sacrificially committed themselves to this collective endeavor.

As new information develops, we will provide updates.

Blessings,
Ron Kelly
President & CEO


04/22/2020

A C.N.A. who worked only on April 15th at Epworth Villa, and has not returned, has tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). The test and positive result was communicated to us on April 22nd by the OKC-County Health Department.

This C.N.A. is reporting no signs or symptoms of the coronavirus at this time.

After consulting with the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), Epworth is quarantining the few residents with whom the C.N.A came in contact. In addition, Epworth employees, who interacted with this C.N.A., have been asked to self-quarantine at their homes. OSDH does not recommend testing anyone at this time. No one with whom the C.N.A interacted at Epworth is showing signs or symptoms of coronavirus.

The health, safety and well-being of our residents, employees and families is our top priority at Epworth Villa. We will continue to follow guidelines set forth by the OSDH and the CDC to ensure the safety of residents and teammates in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

We have already been following all CDC and CMS guidelines for infection control and prevention, including enhanced sanitization of community spaces, modification of services to promote social distancing, restricted visitation, employee screening, and the provision of personal protective equipment for healthcare personnel.

We are thankful for the courage and dedication shown by our over 230 teammates and over 370 residents during this time. Together, we can ensure that Epworth Villa has the best chance to stay ahead of the coronavirus. If any new information is available, we will provide updates.

Blessings,
Ron Kelly
President & CEO


04/07/2020

The health, safety and well-being of our residents, employees and families is always a priority at Epworth Villa. With the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the news and in the minds of many, we want to address actions, which are taking place related to this concern.

Some of the actions we are addressing include:

  • Consistent updates and communication to those who live and work at Epworth Villa.
  • Evidence-based precautions that align with guidelines provided by the CDC.
  • Coordinating emergency preparedness and response measures in the event that a virus impacts our community.
  • Restrictions in our visitation guidelines for all employees, partners and guests
  • Additional services, including meals, delivered to resident homes to support social distancing.

We are closely monitoring local, state and federal health agencies to ensure we can respond quickly and effectively to protect our community and mitigate risks of an outbreak.

We are grateful that we have no reports of Coronavirus in Epworth, and we will continue to remain vigilant in our efforts to preserve the health and safety of our community.

If you have questions, concerns or need more information, please call (405) 752-1200 or fill out the form below.

Helpful Resources
Centers for Disease Control
World Health Organization
Oklahoma Department of Health