Many of us are asked “How is everyone at the Village?” or “Are the residents okay?” or “Has anyone gotten the virus there?” The outpour of concern for residents is not surprising, as the Village is very much a part of this deeply connected community.
So, how are we? As of today, June 5, we are pleased to report that St. Andrews Village still has no cases of COVID-19. Not only are we happy and relieved about that, we feel good that the proactive steps taken every day are working. While no cases have been confirmed at the Village, we know that could change any day. To that end, we continue to take steps to assess and improve preparedness for responding to coronavirus should it surface.
Since day one of receiving the news that our daily operations must change because of the onset of a potential threat to our community, teams went into action. We received guidance from LincolnHealth leadership and a Hospital Incident Command System team, which trains throughout the year to be prepared in the event of an emergency. Under the guidance of MaineHealth and the Maine CDC, this team communicates daily with leadership and management. Teams at various levels have online meetings throughout the day and pass on information and communicate to all departments. It is impressive from a business/operations standpoint, moreover how incredibly dedicated these teams are in making sure staff is informed and have the tools they need to maintain a clean and healthy environment.
Months back, the Village created one point-of-entry where only essential personnel (staff and approved caregivers), medical and emergency personnel and an occasional urgent vendor are allowed to enter. Once inside, everyone reports to the check-in station just a few feet from the entry. Every person wears a surgical mask (not cloth), hand-sanitizes, and answers a list of questions. Those questions include: have they had a cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or unexplained body aches in the last 14 days; have they travelled outside the state in the last 21 days; have they been exposed to anyone who may have had exposure to the coronavirus; and have they have worked in another facility that has a confirmed case of COVID-19. Each person must then have their temperature taken and recorded at the check-in station. If all checks out, they move on with their day.
The Village’s facility consists of several buildings that are connected. All levels of living and care (with the exception of the cottages) at St. Andrews Village are considered a “Long-Term Care Facility” at the state and national level. In this time of COVID-19 this means the Village must follow the guidelines of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Maine CDC and our parent organization MaineHealth, for long-term care facilities. This presented an unusual situation for our independent living apartment residents who live on one side of the facility--they’ve had to live under very similar guidelines/restrictions as put in place for the healthcare side. Staff on the independent side have spent months making sure apartment residents have groceries and other necessities without venturing out to stores. Internal activities and events were drastically reduced to only those that can be conducted at a safe distance in smaller groups. Despite the dramatic change in daily living for these folks, most have been very cooperative and understanding during this unsettling and uncertain time.
Everyone at the Village is safe for now and we are doing all that we can to remain safe in the future. A large part of the success in keeping this virus out of the Village is due to the proactive and reactive measures that the entire staff performs each and every day. In addition to the amazing healthcare staff of nurses, CNAs and therapists, we have dedicated crews in housekeeping, dietary, maintenance and others who are genuinely committed to keeping residents safe. Every team member in his/her department continues to wear a ‘prevention mode’ hat and do their best to make sure the virus does not get to the people we protect and care for daily.
The Village continues to follow CDC guidelines and Governor Mills' direction, which means our facility will not be open to visitors until further notice. This is a critical aspect in making sure we continue to be safe and virus free. We thank everyone for their patience and understanding during this challenging time.