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David Swartley COVID Update #21

FROM: David Swartley, President/CEO 
DATE: July 2, 2020 
RE: Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Update #21

In last week’s update, I discussed some of the implications of Lancaster County entering the Green Phase. The first change for Moravian Manor Communities was the gradual reopening of our dining venues. Week One has proceeded smoothly; I remind everyone that to dine, you need to make a reservation.

Our testing has proceeded as scheduled; at the time of this writing, we have had no residents test positive for COVID-19 and two staff members who have previously tested positive and have recovered at home. With the volume of testing increasing rapidly across the Commonwealth, our test results have lagged by almost one week. We anticipate this time frame tightening in the coming weeks. Our required Universal Testing will occur the week of July 13.

Yesterday, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania released an update concerning a mask mandate. Below I share part of their release:

The Department of Health announced on Wednesday that there were 636 new positive cases in Pennsylvania, for a total of 87,242 positive cases statewide since the pandemic began.

As part of Dr. Levine’s orders, Pennsylvanians are required to wear a face-covering if they are outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet or are in any indoor, public location.

The order also extends to the workplace, health care facilities, and transport, including public transportation, taxis, private car services, and ride-sharing vehicles.

Individuals who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition, children under two, anyone with working conditions that would be unsafe to wear a mask in, and individuals such as the hearing-impaired who need to see the mouth for communication are all exempt from the order.

The department has yet to announce penalties for going against the order but noted that state and local officials and law enforcement would be tasked with educating anyone not in compliance.

Please adhere to the guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, as stated above. As you know, cases across the United States have continued to spike, raising some concerns. One local retirement community reinstituted their “lockdown” for residential living residents. If we adhere to the advice given, this should not be necessary for Moravian Manor Communities.

What does this order mean for Moravian Manor Communities? First, if you are indoors, and in a common space, wear a mask. Getting your mail, going through common areas for any reason, please wear a mask. If you are outside walking by yourself or with a significant other, a mask is unnecessary if you maintain a six-foot distance from folks outside your immediate household.

For some incomprehensible reason, this has become a controversial subject. Even if you do not accept the commonly accepted reasoning on this subject, in the spirit of community, put on a mask for your neighbors’ sake! A friend of mine who runs a retail establishment was commenting on the guests in their store (about one out of ten is non-compliant). He said I could put up a sign that says “no shirt, no shoes, no service.” Why is putting up a sign that says, “no mask, no service” so controversial? I could not answer his question.

One challenge we have seen with the broader community is “partial compliance.” A mask must cover your mouth and nose. Surgical masks with pliable metal piece at the nose portion, needs to be pinched or snugged around the nose to minimize air loss and create a secure / close fitting face covering. The bottom of the mask should be under your chin. In recent visits to the grocery and auto parts store, I have seen folks exposing their nose and covering their mouth. Improper mask usage is like putting the seatbelt around you and not buckling it. It won’t do much good!

Remember, at some point, we will enter into a phase when we only wear masks during Halloween! We are writing a chapter of our history. How do you want that history to read? When this pandemic began, I commented to our staff, “When this is all over, I would rather be accused of overreacting than underreacting.” I still hold on to that belief.

Blessings to all of you as you navigate the continued stress of living through a pandemic. The Moravian Manor Communities’ spirit and support are remarkable. Let us not tire of doing the right thing!

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