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UPDATED 4/13/2020

COVID-19 Update

Dear Residents, Families, and Friends of Vinecroft:

We hope that you were able to appropriately celebrate Easter Sunday despite the restrictions we all face as a result of the current pandemic. I know many participated in online services from their usual churches. The various chaplains from Heritage also provided Easter Sunday services via video.

As you know from earlier communications, Vinecroft has lost two of its dear residents to this aggressive virus. Two others who were tested have now also been confirmed positive for COVID-19. One of those has returned to and is staying in their apartment and is exhibiting no signs or symptoms at this time. Staff serving meals to this resident are taking appropriate precautions.

We continue to follow CDC guidelines to curtail any additional spread, and we are monitoring the health condition of each resident daily. Our staff our wearing masks and avoiding direct contact with residents if at all possible. Meals are now primarily being served using disposable products.

We continue to encourage all residents to be alert to any signs and symptoms and to seek immediate healthcare at the first sign. Should this be the case, please be sure to inform the medical staff that you live in a congregate facility that has had residents who have tested positive for COVID-19. Based on the other cases at Vinecroft, residents should watch not only for fever and/or a cough but should also be alert to any unusual diarrhea or general fatigue.

We continue to ask our residents to comply with the following guidelines in order to avoid additional potential spread of Coronavirus:

  • Residents are asked to remain in their apartments and to NOT walk the hallways or be in any other areas of the congregate building.
  • Residents should only be in the hallways of the congregate building as needed to exit the building. We discourage leaving the building for any reason other than to walk outside for exercise while maintaining appropriate social distancing.
  • Residents will be supplied with surgical masks which should be worn anytime they leave their apartment or when they are in the presence of a staff member in their apartment.
  • At this time, visitation is suspended. In an emergent situation, prior approval from management is required to gain access.

We will be issuing regular updates in a similar manner, however, we also encourage you to check our Facebook page and this webpage for the most up to date information.

Sincerely,
David Smeltzer
President and CEO

View previous communications below

UPDATED 4/6/2020

COVID-19 Update

On Sunday, April 5, 2020, another Vinecroft resident was taken to the hospital due to fatigue. This resident later tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total of congregate residents testing positive to three with one of those three deceased. To emphasize, none of those hospitalized exhibited any of the commonly reported symptoms of fever or cough. All three reported some amount of fatigue and two of the three reported diarrhea.

In addition to the restrictions and efforts already put into place, we now must insist that all Vinecroft congregate residents remain in their apartments. The only exception should be to exit the building to take a walk outside while practicing appropriate social distancing. We are doing everything we can to assure that our staff are available and able to meet your needs within the regulatory guidelines for an independent living community.

Our laundry facilities are now closed to residents. In the next 24 hours, we will put into place a procedure for providing laundry service to all residents at no charge. We will provide this information as soon as it is available.

COVID-19 is an extremely infectious disease and impacts those who are over the age of 85 in a much more significant manner than younger individuals. We cannot emphasize enough adherence to the following guidelines:

  • Residents are asked to remain in their apartments and to NOT walk the hallways or be in any other areas of the congregate building.
  • Residents should only be in the hallways of the congregate building as needed to exit the building. We discourage leaving the building for any reason other than to walk outside for exercise while maintaining appropriate social distancing.
  • Residents will be supplied with surgical masks which should be worn anytime they leave their apartment or when they are in the presence of a staff member in their apartment.
  • At this time, visitation is suspended. In an emergent situation, prior approval from management is required to gain access.
  • All meals will be served on disposable products, except for the tray. When meals are delivered by staff, the resident should be wearing a mask and stay in the bedroom. Staff will conduct a verbal health check of the resident at this time.
  • All staff will be wearing N95 masks at all times while on duty. When delivering meals, staff will wear gloves which will be changed after delivery to each apartment.
  • Meal trays will be picked up by staff and placed in plastic bags and returned to the kitchen for sanitization.
  • ****NEW**** All common areas of the congregate apartment building are closed to residents. This includes resident laundry rooms.

Again, we will be issuing regular updates in a similar manner, however, we also encourage you to check our Facebook page and website for the most up to date information.

Sincerely,
David Smeltzer
President and CEO, Heritage Ministries

UPDATED 4/5/2020

COVID-19 Statement

On Friday, April 3, 2020, two residents of the congregate apartment building of Vinecroft Retirement Community were taken to the hospital with symptoms of fatigue and diarrhea. We are saddened to report that one of those residents passed away before the end of the day Friday, and our deepest sympathies go out the family of this dear person.

The other resident remains hospitalized. Tests for COVID-19 were performed on both residents. The two residents who were hospitalized Friday did not exhibit the classic symptoms as publicized for COVID-19 of fever or cough, rather their initial symptoms were of fatigue and diarrhea. At this time, Vinecroft has two confirmed positive cases of COVID-19.

We are encouraging all residents to be alert to any of these signs and symptoms and to seek immediate healthcare at the first sign. Should this be the case, please be sure to inform the medical staff that you live in a congregate facility that has had residents who have tested positive for COVID-19.

While there have been no group activities and all resident meals were being served in their apartments for more than two weeks now, the following additional measures were put into place by mid-day on Saturday, April 4:

  • Residents are asked to remain in their apartments and to NOT walk the hallways or be in any other areas of the congregate building.
  • Residents should only be in the hallways of the congregate building as needed to exit the building. We discourage leaving the building for any reason other than to walk outside for exercise while maintaining appropriate social distancing.
  • Residents will be supplied with surgical masks which should be worn anytime they leave their apartment or when they are in the presence of a staff member in their apartment.
  • At this time, visitation is suspended. In an emergent situation, prior approval from management is required to gain access.
  • All meals will be served on disposable products, except for the tray. When meals are delivered by staff, the resident should be wearing a mask and stay in the bedroom. Staff will conduct a verbal health check of the resident at this time.
  • All staff will be wearing N95 masks at all times while on duty. When delivering meals, staff will wear gloves which will be changed after delivery to each apartment.
  • Meal trays will be picked up by staff and placed in plastic bags and returned to the kitchen for sanitization.

We will be issuing regular updates in a similar manner, however, we also encourage you to check our Facebook page and continue to check back on our website for the most up to date information.

Sincerely,
David Smeltzer
President and CEO

UPDATED 4/1/2020

COVID-19 Update

Dear Residents, Families, and Community Members,

We are grateful to report that as of this writing, none of our Heritage or Heritage affiliated communities have any positive cases of COVID-19. We continue to work diligently to ensure the health and safety of our residents and staff.

As mentioned in my last communication, residents of our skilled nursing facilities are being closely monitored for any signs or symptoms. We continue to check temperatures three times per day. The same is true in our assisted living communities with temperatures being taken twice daily. We continue to reach out to those who reside in our independent living communities to check on their health and have expanded our services to include meal delivery and grocery pick up.

The leadership teams of our communities have completed table top drills and each community currently has the necessary personal protective equipment in place for the safety of our staff, should we have a positive case. In the event of a positive case, each skilled nursing facility has a dedicated location for those individuals. Staff are aware of the procedures that will be followed to assure their safety and to avoid any potential spread throughout the facility.

I want to remind you that we are now going on 18 days since our communities essentially went into a quarantine scenario. All visitation was stopped and all congregate dining and large group activities were discontinued. Staff have been wearing surgical masks anytime they are working in direct care areas. All of these steps have been taken to avoid unknowingly introducing COVID-19 into our facilities.

In addition to the steps being taken to assure the health of your loved ones, our teams are working diligently to provide opportunities for life enrichment and connection with those under our care. Please feel free to contact the appropriate facility if you want to arrange a virtual visit. Additionally, in some of our communities, window visits may be possible.

We have been blessed to receive many donations from the community, and we know that many of you are praying for our residents and staff. Words cannot express how important your support is to our care teams! We continue to seek God’s supernatural protection for our residents, staff, and communities.

Sincerely,
David Smeltzer
Heritage President and CEO

UPDATED 3/18/2020

Letter to Friends of Vinecroft

As COVID 19/Coronavirus is an ever-changing, fluid situation, we want to provide an update of new restrictions that will be implemented immediately. These are in addition to the steps we outlined in our letter to you last week. Please know, our response team is diligently monitoring updates and recommendations from local, state, and federal agencies on an hourly basis and will make any necessary changes to continue to ensure the health of our residents.

Effective immediately*:

  1. We will be offering grocery delivery services to our independent living residents to help mitigate risk by reducing your off-site travel
  2. At this time, we are asking for non-medically necessary visitation to stop. In the case of essential visitors, a screening form must be completed. Any exceptions to the screening or this practice will be at the sole discretion of the facility administrator
  3. At this time, we are asking our residents to adopt the following best practices and guidelines as they have been communicated from various governmental bodies:
    1. Avoid group gatherings over 10
    2. Self-isolation if over the age of 65
    3. Reduce unnecessary travel and appointments
    4. Utilize grocery delivery service as offered above
    5. If you must leave the building, a screening form must be completed upon re-entry
    6. There will be no group dining; meals will be delivered to apartment residents
    7. No group activities
    8. IL residents may order take-out meals which can be picked up outside the main entrance if applicable

At this time, there continues to be NO confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in any of our communities. The steps we are implementing are directly tied to the recommendations of the CDC, as well as state and local health departments, and we will continue to adjust our policies and procedures as needed. The facilities will continue to reach out to families with any changes as able, and we encourage you to monitor our websites and Facebook pages for the latest facility information. Administrators will also be communicating updates as they occur.

We are committed to the safety and well-being of our residents and have put these measures in place to keep our residents safe. Please do not hesitate to reach out to the facility with any questions or concerns you may have and bear with us as we work to take quick action when needed while trying to keep our residents and families well informed of these changes. Working together, we can minimize the impact of this virus on our community and continue to promote Hope, Dignity, and Purposeful Living to each and every resident in our care.

Sincerely,
Lisa Haglund
Vice President of Marketing, Sales, and Development
On behalf of the Heritage Leadership Team

UPDATED 3/16/2020

Letter to Friends of Vinecroft

Dear Friends of Vinecroft,

Last week we sent you a letter outlining our current steps to prevent the spread of Coronavirus/COVID-19. As this is an ever-changing, fluid situation, I wanted to provide an update of new restrictions that will be implemented immediately.

  1. Visitor restrictions will be extended until such time as lifted by all regulatory agencies
  2. Visiting hours have been reduced, and NO FAMILIES are allowed to enter outside of current visitation hours of 10am-7pm
  3. Visitors must complete a screen or will not be allowed to enter
  4. Moving forward, no group dining will be offered, and meals will be delivered to residents
  5. No group activities
  6. Residents may order take-out meals which can be picked up outside the Main entrance if applicable

I would like to reaffirm that there are no suspected or confirmed cases here in our community at this time. The steps we are implementing are directly tied to the recommendations of the CDC, as well as state and local Health Departments, and we will continue to adjust our policies and procedures as needed. The facilities will continue to reach out to families with any changes as able, but we encourage you to monitor our website and Facebook page for the latest facility updates.

We are committed to the safety and well-being of our residents and have put these measures in place to first and foremost keep our resident safe. We have a team in place that is diligently monitoring news updates and guidance from local, state, and federal agencies on an hourly basis and will make any necessary updates to continue to ensure the health of our residents. Please do not hesitate to reach out to the facility with any questions or concerns you may have and bear with us as we work to take quick action when needed while trying to keep our residents and families well informed of these changes. Working together, we can minimize the impact of this disease on our community and continue to share God’s love by providing independent living for seniors in the Western New York region.

Sincerely,
Lisa Haglund
Vice President of Marketing, Sales, and Development
On behalf of the Heritage Leadership Team

UPDATED 3/13/2020

Visitation Update

To comply with directives from local and state Departments of Health, visitation hours for independent living residents are 10am to 7pm.

UPDATED 3/10/2020

Statement from Vinecroft
Regarding COVID-19

David Smeltzer, Heritage president and CEO, recognized this week that Vinecroft Retirement Community, a Heritage senior living community in Clarence Center, NY, is prepared should COVID-19 coronavirus begin to affect region.

Smeltzer stressed that while Vinecroft currently has NO confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus, they are taking precautions.

He shared, “At Vinecroft, our residents and those we serve are our highest concern. The health and safety of both our residents and staff is of the utmost importance, and we are taking action to reduce the risk of exposure for all. The steps we are implementing are directly tied to the recommendations of the CDC and New York State Department of Health, and we will adjust our steps if those recommendations change. We are not holding events that bring outside groups of people, and are minimizing large group and outside trip activities to lessen the chance of exposure. Our staff has been well trained in preparation to support our residents.”

Presently, visitors are being limited at Vinecroft, and any individuals, including vendors and employees are being screened daily before entering a Vinecroft building. Those who exhibit any symptoms, have recently traveled, or have been near anyone ill with symptoms are not currently being granted entrance.

Vinecroft and Heritage staff have prepared extensively for any potential cases in the area. Lisa Haglund, Heritage vice president of sales, marketing, and development, explained that she has confidence in the team. “Vinecroft and Heritage have taken a proactive approach to prevent the spread and transmission of COVID-19 within its communities. Heritage has formed a COVID-19 task force, including experts in the fields of nursing homes, and senior housing, and includes a CDC certified infection preventionist. I have the utmost confidence that this team of experts have prepared Vinecroft and Heritage to respond in a manner that keep our residents, staff, and families safe.”

UPDATED 3/4/2020

Statement from Vinecroft
Regarding COVID-19

At Vinecroft, our residents and those we serve are our highest concern. We would like to assure the public that we currently have no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) at Vinecroft. The health and safety of both our community members and staff is of the utmost importance, and we are taking action to reduce the risk of exposure for all.

The steps we are implementing are directly tied to the recommendations of the CDC and the New York State Department of Health, and we will adjust our steps if those recommendations change.

  • Effective immediately, we are asking visitors to not enter our communities if they are exhibiting any type of symptoms or have recently traveled to any area of concern.
  • We are limiting events that bring outside groups of people to Vinecroft communities and are minimizing large group and outside trip activities to lessen the chance of exposure.
  • Our staff has been well trained in preparation to support our residents.

We thank everyone for their patience and cooperation. Working together we can minimize the impact of this disease on our community.