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David Swartley COVID Update #12

TO: Residents and Staff 
FROM: David Swartley, President/CEO 
DATE: May 8, 2020 
RE: Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Update #12

In my update on Monday, May 4th, I shared the fact that our first employee tested positive for COVID-19. This employee is self-quarantined at home and feeling fine. Fortunately, at the time of this writing, there have been no additional employees and no residents who have tested positive.

This morning, I had the opportunity to have a ZOOM call with 14 other Life Plan Community leaders from Lancaster County. For all of us, these are challenging times. There was a spirit of fortitude, and “we will get through this together.” A lot of great ideas were shared during our discussion. Undeniably, the community does matter on many levels.

A significant part of the conversation was regarding the activities and concerns of our Residential Living residents. There is an increased restlessness among this group that leads to increased exposure opportunities. Some facilities have been able to shut down their entire campuses to visitors as they have restricted access to one way in and one way out. These communities are committed to this procedure ongoing through at least the end of May. As part of the broader Lititz community, we do not have that as an option. This means the hard work of compliance falls back to you. Please continue to comply with the Governor’s “Stay At Home Order.”

The other topics of conversation are about the shortages and expense of securing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This is a struggle for all facilities, including Moravian Manor Communities. It is hard to comprehend that given the high risk of COVID-19 spread in the skilled areas, this is not a top priority. Yesterday, Senator Martin gave an impassioned plea on this subject at a hearing held remotely in Harrisburg. Thus far, we have been able to protect our staff and residents with appropriate PPE, but not without a lot of work behind the scenes.

Mark Twain stated, “My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.” Mother’s Day is on Sunday. It is a time that we revere the women who have raised us or have provided maternal nurturing for other folks in need. It is and should be a time to hold those dear to us in reverence and honor. I learned from my father very early in life one thing that would never ever be tolerated in our home…disrespect for mom, as this type of behavior would lead to a shortened lifespan. Rightly so. The challenge to you and your family members is to find creative ways to honor them without physical visitation!

In celebration of Mother’s Day, several staff members are preparing flower arrangements for all residents in our care areas. These will be delivered through the weekend (to all residents regardless of sex). It is humbling to watch our staff operate as they genuinely care about the emotional side of this time of social isolation, particularly for the residents in our care area.

Thank you for your generosity in supporting our staff with the May Day Fund. Through May 7, over 200 gifts have been received totaling over $28,000. Thank you! Thank you!

My most recent “read” is “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles. I was struck by the following sentence toward the beginning of the book. “With so little to do and all the time in the world to do it, the Count’s peace of mind continued to be threatened by a sense of ennui – that dreaded mire of the human emotions.” Ennui is defined as a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement. You can see why this grabbed my attention.

Jennifer Shutt, along with some residents, formed a subcommittee to explore additional activities that could occur as we work through this lockdown. Having events to anticipate is vital for our mental health. This past week, I learned that my fifteen-year-old son’s youth group service project in Puerto Rico was canceled. I also learned that a family gathering in Colorado is most likely not going to happen. For a short time, I did find myself succumbing to ennui!!!

Please continue to find ways to stimulate your mind and your soul. This takes work and creativity but will be necessary until we are through the mire.

For those of you seeking additional information regarding COVID019, continuous updates are available at the following websites:

  • Pennsylvania Department of Health: www.health.pa.gov
  • Center for Disease Control: www.cdc.gov

Special thanks to each of you for your participation in the weekly ZOOM meetings, employee recognition activities, and of course, your economic support of our employees as well.

Stay safe and stay well!

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