6.29.22 Weekly Update

There was not a company zoom update today. Please watch for the next update on July 6.

Testing Results
This week five residents (1 Oakcrest at Woodside Village, 4 Valley Transitions at Valley on Columbia), and 12 staff have tested positive. Staff positive results include:

  • 1 Contract Staff
  • 7 Valley on Columbia (1 Riverside, 6 Valley Transitions)
  • 1 Tufte Manor (direct care)
  • 3 Woodside Village (1 non-direct care, 1 Heartland, 1 Prairieview)

All residents who tested positive are all sheltering in place in their rooms. Communal dining, activities and common area use have resumed within the Hearthstone neighborhood. Within Valley Transitions, dining, activities and common area use are suspended.

Testing Schedule
All employees not up to date are required to test twice weekly. The upcoming testing schedule includes:

  • Thursday, June 30, at Valley on Columbia from 12:30 to 3:30 pm.
  • Tuesday, July 5, at Valley on 42nd from 12:30 to 3:30 pm.

Reminder from Kayla Porter, Infection Preventionist
Please review the expectations surrounding PPE, physical distancing and testing outlined in the attached document. Remember the basics, proper PPE, distancing and hand hygiene.

Congratulations Jacinda Nelson!
Jacinda Nelson’s position is transitioning to become the new Director of Personal Care Services for Tufte Manor and Wheatland Terrace.  Jacinda will maintain some of her current duties as well as assume the responsibility of supervising the Personal Care Service Department at Tufte Manor and Wheatland Terrace.  Jacinda started as a CNA at Woodside Village in 2013 and currently has been in the role of RN care coordinator with quality improvement duties and staff development responsibilities at Tufte Manor. Please join Valley in congratulating Jacinda on her new role.

Alzheimer’s Walk & Silent Auction
The 13th annual Silent Auction fundraiser for the 2022 Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be held Monday July 18 through Thursday July 21 at both Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village. If you or your department/neighborhood wish to contribute a basket for bidding, please reach out to Shannon at WV 787-7830 or Paula at VC 787-7985. All proceeds will go to the Alzheimer’s Association on behalf of Team Valley Senior Living. Our team t-shirt design has been chosen and a sample and the opportunity to order a shirt will be forthcoming.

Join Valley Senior Living for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Saturday, September 17th at Sertoma Park. Register to be a walk team member at www.alz.org/walk, or watch for posters in your building and scan the QR code for easy access to sign up.

50/50 Raffle – Golf Ball Drop at 17th Annual Valley Senior Living Golf Classic
The Valley Senior Living Foundation is selling the chance to win up to $3750 in a 50/50 raffle with numbered golf balls for $10 each. All golf balls sold will be placed on a lift and dropped from above a hole on the golf course on July 21 during the 17th Annual Valley Senior Living Golf Classic. The ball that lands in the hole or closest to the hole wins! You do not need to be present to win. To purchase your number for the golf ball drop, please visit/contact the care coordinator on your neighborhood or contact Sally or Shaun in the Foundation office. Your entry can be purchased with cash, check (Valley Senior Living Foundation), VENMO, or even payroll deduction!

Looney Lutherans – Music Therapy Fundraiser
Thank you to staff that were able to assist with the Looney Lutheran and resident performances yesterday to support music therapy at Valley! The public event raised nearly $11,000 and the care community performances were an added bonus for residents!  It was our first off-premises event with residents singing since the beginning of the pandemic! The Looney Lutherans lived up to their names and were quite entertaining!


6.28.22 Update

One resident from Valley Transitions has tested positive. Through contact tracing, one close contact has been identified. The resident is sheltering in place. Effect immediately, a dedicated nurse will be the 2nd assist for these residents and home base out of the Quality Coordinator office. 


6.25.22 Update

Three residents from Valley Transitions and one from Oakcrest at Woodside Village have tested positive. All residents are sheltering in place. 


6.24.22 Update

As our new budget year begins, we look forward to a year of making the pandemic more “endemic” and continue to see gains in resident quality of life. On behalf of our Board of Directors, we all thank you for your continued commitment to the residents and the long term care profession!

Weekend Differential Pay Increase
We are excited to announce that effective June 26, 2022, the differential pay for all weekend shifts will increase to $1.00/hour.

COVID Pay Benefit Changes
As we transition to an endemic response, staff will use their own ESL and PTO related to any illnesses, including COVID-19. The specific COVID related funding that was available to healthcare organizations during the pandemic has stopped. Most employers did not have this benefit, and for those that did, they stopped access to these benefits long ago. The new COVID related illness pay structure will become effective on July 10, 2022, and will be similar to the current pay protocol at Valley Senior Living for other illnesses like influenza:

  • If respiratory illness onset occurs, it remains required for employees to report those illnesses to the COVID Staff Illness line at 701.741.9646.
  • Testing requirements will be determined and directed by COVID Staff Illness line.
  • Employees will use paid time off (PTO) for the time that passes until test results are received.
  • If an employee tests positive, three days of PTO will be used and the remaining time away from work will be compensated through extended sick leave (ESL) until the COVID infection resolves.
  • If an employee does not have PTO or ESL available, shifts not worked will be unpaid. We understand that there are a number of staff who do not have PTO or ESL to take due to their employment status. We will work with staff to transfer into regular status positions if these changes are of concern to you.
  • Absences related to COVID symptoms will continue to not have any assigned points related to our attendance policy.

The $5.00/hour differential for primary caregivers in COVID care areas will be discontinued on July 10. Due to vaccines making the severity of COVID much less for residents, we have closed our COVID care areas and switched to caring for people in their own rooms. In addition, we have moved to having CNAs caring for the residents and grouping cares from the nurses at the end of their shift, if possible. Often the people assigned to caring for residents are now caring for one or two individuals rather than their group of residents.

Pay related to absences due to post COVID vaccine symptoms will continue. The vaccine guidance that we receive is an area that makes us different than the rest of the workforce, so we continue with full pay in these circumstances that does not affect your PTO or ESL balances.

Targeted Market Adjustments
At the start of this fiscal year, we are addressing specific roles within the company that through our market analysis have been found to not be as competitive as we would like. Staff within those specific areas will be notified by text and will have a follow up letter mailed with their new wage rates.

We have given significant market increases at different times in 2021 and 2022 to most of our workforce. The starting pay for Nurses, CNAs, Dining Services, and Environmental Services has increased by 16 to 24 percent in the last 14 months. While not every job falls into those categories, we continue to do market comparisons to make sure we are treating everyone as fairly as possible.

Overall, Valley Senior Living has been making gains in competitiveness with other professions as we offer salaries and benefits that equal or significantly surpass similarly qualified positions in our community. The work you do in caring for our community’s most vulnerable residents is extremely important work and should be paid as such!


6.22.22 Weekly Update

In case you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is the link >> 6.22 ZOOM

 Happy CNA Week!
Today is the last day of the national CNA week. The theme this year was “I’m still standing”! Thank you all our CNAs at Valley for the care and love you give each day!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAt7V5r3_g8

Testing Update
This week two staff and two residents tested positive. This included two direct care staff from Prairieview and Oakcrest at Woodside Village and one resident from Tufte Manor and one from Valley Transitions at Valley on Columbia. Both residents are sheltering in place. Two close contacts were identified at Tufte Manor, 3 at Valley on Columbia and 10 at Woodside Village.

Tufte Manor and Wheatland Terrace Employees Not Up To Date Begin Testing
Through discussion with the North Dakota Department of Health we have been advised to follow the CDC recommendation for employees working within basic care and assisted living who are not up to date on the COVID vaccine. All employees not up to date will begin testing twice weekly. The upcoming testing schedule includes:

  • Thursday, June 23 at Valley on Columbia from 12:30 to 3:30 pm.
  • Monday, June 27 at Valley on Columbia (due to a memorial service at WV) from 12:30 to 3:30 pm.

Eden Alternative Update from Nannette Hoeger, Assistant Recreation Director, Woodside Village
Principle 2 of the Eden Alternative is referred to as the solution statement and states a caring, inclusive and vibrant community enables all of us, regardless of age or ability, to experience well-being.  At Valley Senior Living we demonstrate this on many levels. We plant gardens and have people residents and staff help with shopping for the plants, planting the gardens, and watering and caring for the plants throughout the season. We all get to enjoy the gardens! The smell of the flowers and the taste of the fresh vegetables and herbs is enjoyed by many. In our care communities we also have baby showers for staff, anniversary parties for residents and celebrate milestones together. We have party planning meetings on each neighborhood to come together and plan the celebrations. Everyone is welcome to attend and we encourage input from residents, family members and staff.

Sign Up for Annual Corporate Education (ACE) Meetings
Annual Corporate Education (ACE) is an in person, required continual education session, for all staff to attend. Session will take place in August.

WHERE TO SIGN UP?

Nursing: Contact the Scheduling Department
Other Departments: Contact your Supervisor

50 Best Places to Work! Nominate Valley Senior Living Today
Prairie Business Magazine is in search of the region’s 50 Best Places to Work in 2022! If you feel Valley Senior Living is a great place to work, please consider filling out the form below and making your nomination. Deadline for submissions if Friday, July 8. Go here to submit your nomination: https://gfherald.wufoo.com/forms/q13la0nn0ka7gdj/

Self-Screening Kiosks
In the next couple of days we will be going live with new screening kiosks. The new screening kiosks will combine the temperature reading and the screening questions into one questionnaire that will be answered via touch screen on the kiosks. These kiosks will be used by both staff and visitors.

Your first time at the screening kiosk will be the most time consuming as you will need to set up your profile (First Name, Last Name, and Phone Number). After your initial registration, the kiosks will use facial recognition to load your profile and allow you to screen in by answering the questions on the screen.

Kiosks will be placed in the following locations (Valley on Columbia – Main Entrance, Back Entrance, Valley Transitions Entrance, Valley on 42nd – Main Entrance, Back Entrance, Wheatland Entrance, and Tufte Manor – Main Entrance and Side Entrance). For those of you who travel between communities – all of the kiosks are linked, so facial recognition will pick you up at the other communities.

Pre-screening: You will have the ability to complete the screening questions prior to arriving onsite for your shift (up to 30 minutes before you arrive). If you complete your screening questions online, and more than 30 minutes pass before you arrive at the kiosk, you will need to redo the screening. We highly recommend pre-screening to save time at the kiosks since there is only one at each entrance. When you pre-screen before your shift, facial recognition will load your profile and recognize that you have already answered the screening questions. It will then take your temperature and you can proceed to your shift as long as you pass the screening. When the system is live, we will send out the link to web portal for pre-screening.

If you fail a screening, the receptionist or designee will meet you at the kiosk to discuss the reasons behind a failed screening and determine how to proceed.

Get Moving in June with the MOVEMENT CHALLENGE!
Great news! The massage chair has moved to Valley on 42nd for the rest of the month!

Continue to get moving this month to improve your health and potentially win a prize (Scheels gift card or FitBit)! Please read the attached packet for further details outlining this fun challenge and the amazing prizes you could win!

>> June Movement Packet

We’ve got Scholarships and Tuition Reimbursement Available!
Looking to further your education? Valley has scholarships and tuition reimbursement you can apply for. Contact your supervisor for details!

Click here for details >>

Earn a BONUS for Helping Recruit or for Changing Status to Full Time!
The recruiter bonus continues to be $2,000 for full time CNA, LPN or RN recruits! This is a great opportunity to earn some extra money. If you know of someone who would make a great care partner, send them to valleyseniorliving.org/apply to complete an application. We have licensed nursing positions, certified nursing positions, personal care assistant, dining services positions, housekeeping and recreation! Once you have recruited someone, please notify HR to start the bonus process.

LPNs/RNs Currently in Flex and Part Time Positions, Valley Senior Living is offering:

  • $2500 sign-on bonus to licensed staff that move from Flex Time to Part Time!
  • $5000 sign-on bonus for licensed Flex or Part Time that move to Full Time!
  • Both bonuses fully paid in 12 months.

6.17.22 Update

Annual Corporate Education (ACE) is an in person, required continual education session, for all staff to attend that were hired prior to 7/29/22.

All Valley Senior Living staff must sign up for one ACE session. ACE sessions will be held at the Alerus Center on the dates and times listed below.

8/9         12 pm-4 pm

                5 pm-9 pm

8/10       8 am-12 pm

                1 pm-5 pm

8/17       8 am-12 pm

                1 pm-5 pm

8/18       8 am-12 pm

                1pm-5pm

WHERE TO SIGN UP?
Nursing: Contact the Scheduling Department
Other Departments:  Contact your supervisor

Please sign up no later than July 29, 2022.

Each session has limited seating. If you do not sign up, you will be placed in a session and notified of the date and time.


6.15.22 Weekly Update

No company zoom is scheduled for today.

CNA Week is June 16 – 22
Tomorrow begins the 44th Annual National CNA week. Throughout this week and next, we will honor and thank our CNAs for their service to residents at Valley Senior Living. Your commitment, sacrifices and service is recognized and appreciated! Thank you for being a valued part of the Valley team.

Testing Update
This week 8 residents from the Hearthstone neighborhood at Woodside Village, and 13 staff (4 from Valley on Columbia and 9 from Woodside Village) have tested positive. The residents are all sheltering in place within their room in the Hearthstone neighborhood. For residents identified as close contacts, monitoring for respiratory illness onset has increased, a series of viral tests have been initiated, and communal dining and group activities have been suspended for the Hearthstone neighborhood.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) transmission level remains high for Grand Forks County and the positivity rate continues to increase and is now over 20%, nearly doubling in the past two weeks.

 Testing Schedule for Staff Not Up To Date

  • June 16, Valley on Columbia, 12:30 – 3:30 pm
  • June 20, Auditorium at Valley on 42nd, 12:30 – 3:30 pm

Coffee and Caramel Rolls for a Cause
Join us for our “Coffee and Caramel Rolls for a Cause” drive-thru fundraiser on June 21. All proceeds will benefit the 2022 Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Greater Grand Forks Area! This is a free will donation.

Pre-order yours today!

Coffee and Caramel Rolls will be available for drive-thru pick up at Valley Senior Living on Columbia and available from 6:30 – 9:30 am, while supplies last.

Forget-Me-Not Flowers
At the main entrance to Valley on Columbia and Valley Senior Living on 42nd you can purchase (free will donation) paper Forget-Me-Not flowers in honor or memory of someone special, or to support the 2022 Walk To End Alzheimer’s. This year’s walk is scheduled for September 17 at Sertoma Park.

Get Moving in June with the MOVEMENT CHALLENGE!
Through walking, running, weight-lifting or other activities, you have the ability to improve your health and potentially win a prize (Scheels gift card or FitBit), so let’s get moving! Please read the attached packet for further details outlining this fun challenge and the amazing prizes you could win!

>> June Movement Packet

Great news! The massage chair is staying at Valley care communities for another month.

  • Valley on Columbia – June 8 to 20
  • Valley on 42nd – June 20 -30

Interested in Valley Senior Living clothing and specialty items?
Probitas Promotions has provided Valley Senior Living with a clothing rack with the items that are featured in our online clothing and specialty item store! You won’t find every color, or every size, but staff with the opportunity to look at and feel the items before ordering online. Items are available to view in the Human Resources office at Valley on Columbia. Order Valley Senior Living clothing and scrubs at: https://probitasstore.com/valleyseniorliving/

Earn a BONUS for Helping Recruit or for Changing Status to Full Time!
The recruiter bonus continues to be $2,000 for full time CNA, LPN or RN recruits! This is a great opportunity to earn some extra money. If you know of someone who would make a great care partner, send them to valleyseniorliving.org/apply to complete an application. We have licensed nursing positions, certified nursing positions, personal care assistant, dining services positions, housekeeping and recreation! Once you have recruited someone, please notify HR to start the bonus process.

LPNs/RNs Currently in Flex and Part Time Positions, Valley Senior Living is offering:

  • $2500 sign-on bonus to licensed staff that move from Flex Time to Part Time!
  • $5000 sign-on bonus for licensed Flex or Part Time that move to Full Time!
  • Both bonuses fully paid in 12 months.

6.10.22 Update

Testing Update:
Six residents from the Hearthstone neighborhood have tested positive. One resident moved to a private room within the Hearthstone neighborhood and the others are sheltering in place within their room. Four staff have tested positive including two from Woodside Village (1 Hearthstone, 1 non-direct care) and two from Valley on Columbia (1 Riverside, 1 Lanark). Through contact tracing, four close contacts have been identified at Valley on Columbia and 17 at Woodside Village.

The following measures have now been implemented within the Hearthstone neighborhood.

  • Communal dining is suspended
  • Group activities are suspended
  • Beauty shop appointments are suspended
  • Common area use is being limited and discouraged
  • Care staff have transitioned to N95 masks

Don’t forget! Testing Monday for staff who are not up to date!

  • June 13, Auditorium at Valley on 42nd, 12:30 – 3:30 pm

 Get MOVING this weekend and WIN with the Movement Challenge
Please read the attached packet for further details outlining this fun challenge and the amazing prizes you could win!

>> June Movement Packet


6.8.22 Update

In case you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is the link >> 6.8 ZOOM

Congratulations to the June Longevity Awardees on FIVE years of dedicated service to Valley Senior Living
Peter Amin – LPN, Valley on Columbia
Dorrie-Ivy Rodriguez – Dining Services, Valley on 42nd
Cherie Stamper – Dining Services, Tufte Manor

Testing Update
Four staff and one resident have tested positive since June 2. This includes one resident from the Riverside neighborhood who is sheltering in place, two non-direct care staff from Woodside Village, one non-direct care staff from Valley on Columbia, and one direct care staff from Tufte Manor. Through contact tracing, 13 residents from Woodside Village have been identified as close contacts.

The community transmission level remains high for Grand Forks County and the positivity rate is nearly 18%.

CDC “Up to Date” Definition
In order to be considered up to date, staff and residents that are 50 and over should receive the second booster dose when eligible. CMS guidance states that skilled nursing facilities (SNF) and residents/staff need to follow CDC Guidance to be considered “up to date.”

As with other diseases, you are protected best from COVID-19 when you stay up to date with the recommended vaccines. The COVID-19 vaccine is effective at protecting people, especially those who are boosted, from getting seriously ill and being hospitalized.

Important things to remember:

  • Booster doses can be scheduled at thriftywhite.com
  • If you do not receive your booster when you are eligible;
    • You are required to test twice per week. (This is not applicable to Tufte Manor or Wheatland Terrace staff)
    • If you are exposed to someone who tests positive, your compensation for shifts missed will come from your PTO or be unpaid. (This applies to all VSL staff)
  • If you have additional questions, please contact our Infection Preventionists: Kayla Porter at 701.787.7952 or Carra Hindberg at 701.787.7839.

 Testing Schedule for Staff Not Up To Date

  • June 9, Valley on Columbia, 12:30 – 3:30 pm (all staff 50 and over who are not up to date on eligible doses of COVID vaccine begin testing)
  • June 13, Auditorium at Valley on 42nd, 12:30 – 3:30 pm (all staff 50 and over who are not up to date on eligible doses of COVID vaccine begin testing)

Get Moving in June with the MOVEMENT CHALLENGE!
Through walking, running, weight-lifting or other activities, you have the ability to improve your health and potentially win a prize (Scheels gift card or FitBit), so let’s get moving! Please read the attached packet for further details outlining this fun challenge and the amazing prizes you could win!

>> June Movement Packet

Great news! The massage chair is staying at Valley care communities for another month.

  • Valley on Columbia – June 8 to 20
  • Valley on 42nd – June 20 -30

 Interested in Valley Senior Living clothing and specialty items?
Valley Senior Living is happy to announce that we have new items on the online store! Visit: https://probitasstore.com/valleyseniorliving/ to look at the new inventory!

Additionally, Probitas has provided Valley Senior Living with a clothing rack with the items from the store for staff to come and check out! We won’t have every color, or every size, but this will provide staff with the opportunity to look at and feel the items before ordering online. Items are available to view in the Human Resources office at Valley on Columbia.

Earn a BONUS for Helping us RECRUIT New Care Partners!
The recruiter bonus continues to be $2,000 for full time CNA, LPN or RN recruits! This is a great opportunity to earn some extra money. If you know of someone who would make a great care partner, send them to valleyseniorliving.org/apply to complete an application. Once you have recruited someone, please notify HR to start the bonus process.

 


6.1.22 Update

Our company zooms are now every other week. Next week’s update will include the company zoom.

Testing Update
Five staff have tested positive since May 26. This includes two staff from Woodside Village (1 non-direct care, 1 Hearthstone/Heartland) and three staff from Valley on Columbia (2 Reeves, 1 contract staff). Through contact tracing, six residents from Valley on Columbia have been identified as close contacts.

No residents tested positive throughout the past 7 days.

CDC Changes “Up to Date” Definitions
The CDC recently released new information on the COVID-19 vaccine and the latest definition of up to date. Staff (from Woodside Village and Valley on Columbia) and residents are considered up to date when all doses in the primary series and all boosters recommended for you, when eligible, have been received. The revised guidance to staff and residents that are 50 or over now includes the second booster dose when eligible. CMS guidance states that skilled nursing facilities (SNF) and residents/staff need to follow CDC Guidance to be considered “up to date.”

As with other diseases, you are protected best from COVID-19 when you stay up to date with the recommended vaccines. The COVID-19 vaccine is effective at protecting people, especially those who are boosted, from getting seriously ill and being hospitalized. Please take a moment to watch this information from Kayla Porter, Infection Preventionist, regarding changes from CDC on vaccine recommendations, what precautions will be taken if not up to date, and the effective date >> 5.31 ZOOM

Important things to remember:

  • Booster doses can be scheduled at thriftywhite.com
  • If you do not receive your booster when you are eligible,
    • You will be required to test twice weekly, beginning on June 6. (This is not applicable to Tufte Manor or Wheatland Terrace staff)
    • If you are exposed to someone who tests positive, your compensation for shifts missed will come from your PTO or be unpaid. (This applies to all Valley staff)
  • If you have additional questions, please contact our Infection Preventionists: Kayla Porter at 701.787.7952 or Carra Hindberg at 701.787.7839.

 Testing Schedule for Staff Not Up To Date

  • June 2, Valley on Columbia, 12:30 – 3:30 pm
  • June 6, Auditorium at Valley on 42nd, 12:30 – 3:30 pm (all staff 50 and over who are not up to date on eligible doses of COVID vaccine begin testing)

Hop on the Valley Senior Living Wellness Train for the month of June with the MOVEMENT CHALLENGE!

The Wellness Committee is excited to announce that we will be facilitating a movement challenge for the month of June! Our aim is to provide you with goal setting opportunities for the month of June to improve your overall health. Through walking, running, weight-lifting or other activities, you have the ability to improve your health and potentially win a prize, so let’s get moving! Please read the attached packet for further details outlining this fun challenge and the amazing prizes you could win!

>> June Movement Packet

Great news! The massage chair is staying at Valley care communities for another month.

  • Tufte Manor – June 1 to 7
  • Valley on Columbia – June 8 to 20
  • Valley on 42nd – June 20 -30

Interested in Valley Senior Living clothing and specialty items?
We have new items on the online store! Visit: https://probitasstore.com/valleyseniorliving/ to look at the new inventory!

Additionally, Probitas has provided Valley Senior Living with a clothing rack with the items from the store for staff to come and check out! We won’t have every color, or every size, but this will provide staff with the opportunity to look at and feel the items before ordering online. Items are available to view in the Human Resources office at Valley on Columbia.

Earn a BONUS for Helping us RECRUIT New Care Partners!
The recruiter bonus continues to be $2,000 for full time CNA, LPN or RN recruits! This is a great opportunity to earn some extra money. If you know of someone who would make a great care partner, send them to valleyseniorliving.org/apply to complete an application. Once you have recruited someone, please notify HR to start the bonus process.


5.25.22 Update

In case you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is the link >> 5.25 ZOOM

COVID Case Update
In the past 7 days, seven staff (2 Valley Transitions, 1 Riverside, 1 Lanark, 2 WV Non-Direct Care, 1 VC Non-Direct Care) and one resident (Valley Transitions) have tested positive. The resident is sheltering in place within their room.

The community transmission level remains high for Grand Forks County and the positivity rate is over 12%. We continue to watch the trends of the latest wave of the COVID infections. A spike in cases and increased hospitalizations are being seen across the northeastern portion of the country at a rate that is triple what was seen just one month ago. With this variant, the northeast is about four weeks ahead of us so we know we can expect increasing cases but not at the level of what we saw with the January Omicron surge.

Testing Schedule for Staff Not Up To Date

  • May 26 from 1 to 3:30 pm at Valley on Columbia
  • TUESDAY, May 31 from 1 to 3:30 pm at the Auditorium at Valley Senior Living on 42nd (due to Memorial Day holiday)

Booster Update
The CDC is tracking the steady increase in cases with the steep and substantial increase in hospitalizations for older Americans and has strengthened and expanded their recommendations from “may” to “should” in reference to a second booster dose. The current recommendation is that anyone 12 and older who is immunocompromised and those 50 and older are now encouraged to receive the second booster dose at least four months after receiving the first booster. If you have any additional questions about the second booster, please contact one of the infection preventionist (Kayla Porter at  701-787-7952 or Carra Hindberg at 701-787-7839).

Eden Alternative Update from Jill Swingen, Assistant Recreation Director/Music Therapist from Valley on Columbia
Principle one of the Eden Alternative is referred to as the Problem Statement and states that “Loneliness, Helplessness, and Boredom are painful and destructive to our health and well-being.” We have all seen examples of the three plagues, as loneliness, helplessness, and boredom are referred to, and we need to identify the plagues to know what we are working to combat. Last week we were able to gather for the first time in over two years for a three day Eden Associate training where 28 Valley employees were able to dig deeper into the 10 Principles of the Eden Alternative and learn how to better care for residents, and each other, starting with identifying and destroying the three plagues. This is not an easy task! I am sure we have all felt examples of loneliness, helplessness, and boredom at times throughout our lives, maybe even on a regular basis, but our goal at Valley is to offer care that goes above and beyond in order to fight against the three plagues. There will be many examples to come of ways that we can work together as care partners with residents, staff and family to bring meaning and joy into each person’s life every single day. 

Wellness Update
This week we wrap up our mental health awareness month and begin preparations for the Valley Senior Living Wellness Train Movement Challenge coming your way in June!

 In case you missed the information from our Employee Assistance Program provider earlier this month, take a few moments and view the link to learn more about the many benefits available to Valley employees to assist with mental health and mental wellbeing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRXPaPbo5gs

CNA Class Update and Recruiter Bonus Opportunities
We have nearly 20 new CNAs currently training for positions at Valley! We are now filling positions in the CNA training class that begins on June 13. If you know of someone who is interested in changing careers or starting a career and would be an excellent care partner at Valley, start recruiting them now! This is your chance to earn a bonus by recruiting new care partners. The CNA and LPN/RN recruiter bonus is $2000 for a full time recruit, $1000 for a part time, and $500 for a flex time certified or licensed nurse. Share this link >> valleyseniorliving.org/apply with anyone interested in being a care partner!


5.18.22 Update

With less COVID related updates and operational changes to discuss with staff, we are reducing the frequency of the all staff ZOOM meetings which were previously held every Wednesday at 1 pm. You can expect an every other week update going forward. The next all staff ZOOM will be on May 25.

Testing Update:
One resident from the Valley Transitions neighborhood tested positive today and one resident from the Almonte neighborhood at Valley on Columbia tested positive last Thursday. Three staff (1 Valley on Columbia, 1 Woodside Village, 1 Wheatland Terrace) have tested positive throughout the organization during the past seven days. Twenty four residents have been identified as close contacts to the positive test results and additional precautions to include increased respiratory illness onset monitoring and a series of two viral tests are in process for the close contacts.

Upcoming Testing Schedule for Not Up To Date Staff:

5/19 – Valley on Columbia – 1:00 to 3:30 pm

5/23 – Woodside Village – 1:00 to 3:30 pm

5/26 – Valley On Columbia – 1:00 to 3:30 pm

5/31 – TUESDAY after Memorial Day – Woodside Village – 1:00 to 3:30 pm

Eden Training
Over 30 care partners are attending our 3 day Eden Training at the Alerus Center this week! This is the first 3 day training that has been held since the pandemic began in 2020. As an Eden Alternative registered organization, we are excited to be training more Eden Associates and to further grow our culture within our care communities! Watch for more Eden updates coming soon.

Staff Picnic
On May 25 we will celebrate Older Americans Month with a staff picnic. Serving will be from 9:45 am to 1 pm and from 4 to 5 pm at each care community. Thank you for all  you do as care partners at Valley!

May is Mental Health Awareness Month
A cornerstone of self-care and living a healthy life is getting good sleep which can affect both your physical and mental wellness. Take a moment an view the this tip sheet >> EAP Tip Sheet May 2022 or view the webinar at https://www.livewellworklife.com/ , click on Living Well Resources, and enter the code Valley to access the webinar on this topic. The resources available to all employees through the Employee Assistance Program are available 24/7/365! Don’t hesitate to reach out if any of the Employee Assistance Programs would benefit you.


5.12.22 Update – Congrats 30 Day Challenge Winners!

The Wellness Committee would like to announce the winners of the “30 Day Challenge” that occurred during the month of April. But first, we would like to thank everyone for their involvement in this challenge! We had a great amount of involvement from our staff which was a great to see! We are aware that there were many staff members who started the challenge but were unable to finish it due to conflicts, timing and life events  – even if you didn’t finish the challenge, the big take-away is that you started it, and we hope you continue to do things from the challenge moving forward to improve your overall wellness.

Below are the winners of the $15 gift cards:

Target

Andrea Hahn

Kate Woodworth

Leah Larson

Emily Boone

Darlene Clifton

Kim Peterson

Angie Olson

Lee Wilkie

Christa Lembke

Michaela Knutson

Scheels

Karew Basting

Megan Snobl Joseph

Lu Gibbs

Kara Puckett

Andrew Ogaard

Gina Roller

Lindsay Vaughan

Sara Dockendorf

Samantha Jallo

McKenna Marek

Hugo’s

Carol Snortland

Jim Belbas

Tammie Burris

Bev Slominski

Lauren Christensen

Hunter Viau

Darci Bohn

Ingrid Hove

Angie Praska

Lisa Kerry

And the recipient of the grand prize, a 1-hour massage at Truyu is – Sara Herman!

Please visit the HR Office at Valley Senior Living on Columbia to collect your gift card, or call our office at 701-787-7942 and we will inter-office mail you your prize! Prizes must be collected by May 26th, 2022.


5.11.22 Update

In case you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is the link >> 5.11 ZOOM

 Thank You To Our NURSES! | Skilled Nursing Care Week | Older Americans Month

  • Thank you to all our nurses who provide such great care to our residents and staff! National Nurse’s Week concludes on Thursday…
  • It is National Skilled Nursing Care week with the theme, “creating and nurturing connections”, which is what we focus on daily at Valley Senior Living. This week at Woodside Village there will be musical performances and a root beer float event on Friday. At Valley on Columbia there will be a sundae bar on Thursday and students from Kelly Elementary will perform on Friday morning.
  • May 25 we will celebrate Older Americans Month with an all staff picnic. Please watch for more details on specifics at each care community!

This week 2 residents from Valley on Columbia (1 Almonte, 1 Reeves) tested positive. Both residents have moved to rooms within the Valley Transitions neighborhood and will be cared for by a dedicated care team. Two staff from Valley on Columbia (1 Non-Direct Care, 1 Reeves) also tested positive. Through contact tracing, nine residents have been identified as close contacts with additional precautions in place.

Restrictions on dining, activities and common area use have been lifted at Wheatland Terrace after seven days with no newly identified infections.

Wellness Month Update
Continuing with Mental Health Awareness Month, please take some time to hear from Kyle Agre, our representative from our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider – Live Well Solutions. In this video, Kyle explains the many benefits associated with our EAP program, and discusses the topics of Mental Health and Mental Wellbeing. Please remember ALL employees are eligible to access services provided by EAP, and you do not need to be utilize the health insurance benefits at Valley Senior Living to access the EAP benefits.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRXPaPbo5gs

The Wellness Committee encourages all staff to watch this video as it may provide you with some valuable information pertaining to mental health, mental wellbeing, and the many resources that our EAP program provides each of you.

CNA Class Update and RECRUITER BONUS!
The next CNA class is scheduled to begin on Monday, May 16. We are excited to be training over 20 new CNAs that will join Valley Senior Living. We are currently hiring for the next CNA class that will begin mid-June. Continue to recruit the best candidates to join the team and earn the RECRUITER Bonus! The CNA and LPN/RN recruiter bonus is $2000 for a full time recruit, $1000 for a part time, and $500 for a flex time certified or licensed nurse. Share this link >> valleyseniorliving.org/apply with anyone interested in a career change who you think would make a great care partner!

Report Symptoms to COVID Line
In the event your experience the onset of any symptoms related to respiratory illness onset or COVID or have had an exposure to a positive individual, please contact the staff illness line at 701.741.9646. Each situation is evaluated and testing is initiated if necessary.


5.9.22 Update

Two residents from Valley on Columbia, one from the Almonte neighborhood and one from the Reeves neighborhood have tested positive. The resident from Almonte has moved to a room within the Valley Transitions neighborhood to receive care from a dedicated care team and the resident from Reeves will shelter in place for tonight. In the event additional care is needed beyond what the dedicated care team can provide, care will be clustered at the end of shifts whenever possible. Through contact tracing, five residents have been identified as close contacts to the positive residents. Increased monitoring and a series of viral testing are required for close contacts.

One staff member from the Reeves neighborhood tested positive today. Four close contacts were identified through contact tracing.

Report Symptoms to COVID Line
In the event your experience the onset of any symptoms related to respiratory illness onset or COVID or have had an exposure to a positive individual, please contact the staff illness line at 701.741.9646. Each situation is evaluated and testing is initiated if necessary.

 


5.4.22 Update

No company zoom this week due to North Dakota Long Term Care Convention.

Resident and Staff Testing Update
In the past 7 days, 3 residents and 5 staff have tested positive. This includes 2 residents from Wheatland Terrace and 1 resident from the Lanark neighborhood at Valley on Columbia. The 5 staff include 1 from Lanark and 1 from the Reeves neighborhood at Valley on Columbia with 8 close contacts identified, 2 non-direct care staff from Woodside Village and 1 direct care from Wheatland Terrace.

We continue to test all staff who are not up to date twice weekly. Testing is on Monday and Thursday. Please note the location changes below:

  • Thursday, May 5 – VALLEY ON COLUMBIA – 1:00 – 3:30 pm
  • Monday, May 9 – VALLEY ON 42ND, AUDITORIUM – 1:00 – 3:30 pm
  • Thursday, May 12 – VALLEY ON COLUMBIA – 1:00 – 3:30 pm

Wellness Update
You still have time to turn in your 30 day challenge for a chance to win gift cards and the grand prize massage. Forms can be routed to the Human Resources department by Friday to be entered.

Throughout the month of May, as part of Mental Health Awareness Month, the Wellness Committee will be passing on educational and intentional information about mental health, mental illness, and what one can do to take care of yourself.

Did you know: The World Health Organization defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes their own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to their community.”

Did you know: According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a national survey administered by SAMHSA, shows that an estimated 46.6 million people, or 18.9% of adults ages 18 years or older, experience a mental illness or substance use disorder each year – that is roughly 1 in 5 people in the U.S.

Did you know: Mental and behavioral disorders are the second most debilitating illnesses, with cardiovascular illnesses being the most debilitating.

Did you know: Self-care is not simply about limiting or addressing professional stressors. It is also about enhancing your overall well-being. Goals of self-care include:

  • Taking care of physical and psychological health.
  • Managing and reducing stress.
  • Recognizing emotional and spiritual needs.
  • Fostering and sustaining relationships.
  • Achieving balance in different areas of one’s life.

As part of taking care of one’s self, the Wellness Committee has decided to rent the massage chair for an additional month. Right now, the massage chair is in the break room at Valley on Columbia! The massage chair schedule is:

  • Valley on Columbia – May 2 through May 12
  • Valley on 42nd – May 12 through May 23
  • Tufte Manor – May 24 through May 31

CNA Training Class Update
We are excited to begin the next CNA training class on May 16. We are currently looking for the best candidates to fill the June 13 class. If you know of someone who is looking to change careers or start their career, recruit them to be a care partner! The recruiter bonus for full time CNAs, RNs and LPNs is $2000! Part time recruits get $1000 and flex time is $500.

Congratulations to the May Longevity Recipients!

  • 15 Years – Michelle Pachl, Townsquare, Dining Services

     Marisa Nelson, Woodside Village, RN

  • 10 Years – Kamal Sharma, Valley on Columbia, CNA

     Tanna Knudson, Woodside Village, LPN

  • 5 Years – Michelle Coulter, Valley on Columbia, Admin Assistant

   Trace Dallman, Valley on Columbia, CNA

   Dominique Koehmstedt, Woodside Village, CNA

   Rochelle Nelson, Woodside Village, LPN

   Falyn Shane, Valley on Columbia, Recreation Assistant/CNA

   Shelia Hunsberger, Tufte Manor, Environmental Services

   Leah Nelson, Valley on Columbia, RN

   Sarah Whalen, Valley on Columbia, LPN

   Emily Swenson, Valley on Columbia, LPN

   Mariah Thiery, Valley on Columbia, LPN

Upcoming Dates to Remember!

  • Nurses Week – May 6 to May 12
  • Nursing Home Week – May 8 to May 14
  • May is Older Americans Month – Staff Picnic at all locations on May 25

4.27.22 Update

In case you missed the company zoom, here is the link >> 4.27 ZOOM

Happy Administrative Professionals Day! Thank you to those in our organization, often times behind the scenes, in the offices, and providing the day-to-day services that ensure the work we do and the care we provide at Valley Senior Living keeps running smoothly!

Positive Tests and Testing Schedule

We received confirmation one staff from Tufte Manor and one direct care staff from the Lanark neighborhood testing positive. No close contacts have been identified at Tufte Manor, and four close contacts were identified at Valley on Columbia through contact tracing. Throughout the past week, three residents (2 from Lanark at Valley on Columbia, 1 Wheatland Terrace) have tested positive. In addition to the Tufte Manor staff from today, three staff (1 Heartland, 1 Hearthstone, and 1 Lanark) have tested positive this week.

We continue to test staff who are not up to date two times each week on Monday and Thursday.  Staff who are not up to date will test tomorrow at Valley on Columbia from 1 to 3:30pm. In the event you cannot attend this testing time, please contact Sam Jallo, Employee Health Nurse at 701-787-7971.

Resident Booster Clinic

Residents will receive boosters on Tuesday, May 3. Thrifty White Pharmacy will be on site at all care communities to administer the vaccine. Social work and care coordination teams are currently obtaining consents.

Communication Changes

Over the last two years, we recognize that our COVID communications can be overwhelming. Therefore, we are adjusting how we communicate with residents, their decision makers, and our staff.

Beginning tomorrow, April 28, the following will occur:

For Residents/Decision Makers

  • The reporting of residents testing positive and operational changes related to COVID-19 regulations will continue to occur by 5 pm the following day via printed letter and email communication. The reporting of staff members who have tested positive will be posted on our website .
  • Respiratory illness onset reporting will be listed on the website.
  • The weekly update will be posted on the website each Wednesday. Every other week we will provide a printed letter to residents and an email to decision makers with care community updates and information.

For Staff

  • Positive staff results will be listed on the website.
  • Positive resident results will be posted on the website and emailed to all users. No texts will be sent unless there is a pattern of concern.
  • Weekly update emails/text messages will be sent on Wednesday.
  • Optional text messages will be sent for operational changes.

COVID Care Update

We have had some questions raised about changes in process for care for positive residents at Valley on Columbia. Residents will typically stay in their rooms or transfer to the limited number of rooms for COVID Care at VC or WV. It is assessed on a case by case basis. CNA care will be provided by a dedicated team. Care provided by nurses is to be clustered and provided at the end of a shift, though that is not always possible. While this is quite different from our prior practice, it is not unusual anymore. Even the COVID unit at Altru has been closed for about a month now. Many nursing homes care for the resident in place within their own room. Residents at Woodside, Wheatland, and Tufte have all sheltered in place with primary CNA care within their own rooms and we have been successful in stopping further spread.

Recruiter Bonus Update

We continue to offer a generous recruiter bonus! What does this mean for you? Help us build the best care team, and you get rewarded for recruiting new employees!

The CNA and LPN/RN recruiter bonus is $2000 for a full time recruit, $1000 for a part time, and $500 for a flex time certified or licensed nurse. We are currently hiring CNAs to fill the next class beginning on May 16 and will soon transition to hiring for the June 13 class. We also have full time LPN and RN positions available.

If you know of someone who would be great care partner,  copy and paste this link valleyseniorliving.org/apply and encourage them to apply! Once they apply, let Human Resources know about your work as a recruiter to be eligible for the $$ RECRUITER BONUS $$!

Wellness Month

  • The massage chair is at Tufte Manor for the rest of the week. Enjoy and complete one of the 30 day challenge items.
  • Continue to complete the 30 day challenge to WIN gift cards and the grand prize massage. Details about submitting your form is located at the bottom of the challenge.
  • Thanks for joining us this month on the wellness train!

7th Annual Around Our Table – ONLINE AUCTION HAPPENING NOW!

Sign up now at valley.cbo.io to bid on items in the online silent auction to benefit Chaplaincy Ministry at Valley Senior Living! You could purchase spa services, axe throwing, activities for kids, handmade items, home décor, jewelry and so much more! Around Our Table is a virtual event hosted by the Valley Senior Living Foundation.

Take a moment to view this video that further explains our Chaplaincy Ministry program and the impact it has on our organization! Watch now >> Valley Senior Living – Chaplaincy Ministry


4.26.22 Update

2 Residents Positive

Last night we received confirmation one resident from Wheatland Terrace tested positive. Through contact tracing, three residents have been identified as close contacts. Monitoring has increased and the first round of viral testing was negative, with the next tests are scheduled for five to seven days after exposure.

Today at Valley on Columbia the close contact from the Lanark neighborhood, identified yesterday, tested positive and has moved to a COVID care room in the Valley Transitions neighborhood and will be cared for by a dedicated care team. Through contact tracing, one resident has been identified as a close contact. The first viral test is scheduled for tomorrow and a second test will be scheduled for five to seven days after exposure.

COVID Care Update

We have had some questions raised about changes in process for care for positive residents at Valley on Columbia. Residents will typically stay in their rooms or transfer to the limited number of rooms for COVID Care at VC or WV. It is assessed on a case by case basis. For example, at Valley Senior Living on Columbia, the current positive residents are cared for in rooms on Valley Transitions with closed doors but we are not closing the corridor doors to create a separate area. The COVID area staff is headquartered out of the adjacent conference room to avoid having sharing space with other staff. We are holding adjacent rooms 111 and 113 open in the event there are other COVID positive residents. This is also the first time that the one dedicated staff member at VC is consistently a CNA. Care provided by nurses is to be clustered and provided at the end of a shift, though that is not always possible. While this is quite different from our prior practice, it is not unusual anymore. Even the COVID unit at Altru has been closed for about a month now. Many nursing homes care for the resident in place within their own room. Residents at Woodside, Wheatland, and Tufte have all sheltered in place with primary CNA care within their own rooms and we have been successful in stopping further spread.


4.25.22 Update

COVID Update

Today Valley on Columbia had one resident from the Lanark neighborhood who tested positive and moved to a COVID care room on Valley Transitions. Through contact tracing, one resident has been identified as a close contact. Respiratory illness monitoring will increase for the close contact, and a series of two viral tests will be performed with the first test completed and the second test at five to seven days after exposure. 

Wellness Month Update

  • Don’t forget to continue to complete the 30 day challenge! Good luck! You could win gift cards or the grand prize massage.
  • The massage chair has moved to Tufte Manor! Take a moment to relax this week.

Testing Update

Staff who are not up to date are required to test twice weekly. Testing is scheduled for Mondays and Thursdays from 1 to 3:30, this week at Valley on Columbia. In the event you cannot test during this time, please contact Sam Jallo at 701-787-7971.


4.20.22 Update

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I started at Valley in November 1996, but little did I know that I would be the last administrator at the Almonte Living Center. Twenty-five years ago this week, our 350 residents were evacuated from our three locations and temporarily moved to 10 states and 2 provinces. Residents evacuated by car, bus, ambulance, and even military transport helicopters. We lost the Almonte Living Center (a 118 bed skilled nursing facility located at 1023 Almonte Avenue) to the flood and all of our operations were closed.

That was the tragedy. However, our residents and staff were so resilient. Now 25 years later, we can look back and be truly amazed at what we were able to accomplish during such a difficult time. Though Almonte did not reopen, we built an amazing new campus – 4000 Valley Square, now Valley on 42nd. Our community rebuilt to be better than ever!

In case you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is the link >> 4.20 ZOOM

Yesterday we received confirmation a direct care staff from the Almonte neighborhood at Valley on Columbia tested positive. Through contact tracing, six residents have been identified as close contacts. The first round of viral testing for the residents were all negative. One additional non-direct staff tested positive late last week with no close contacts identified.

The CDC determined transmission level for Grand Forks County is currently at high. This increase requires staff to wear eye protection in addition to face mask. Residents are now required to mask when outside their room and masking is required during care interactions. Please remind residents and assist as needed with mask use. Testing for staff who are not up to date is now twice weekly. Testing will occur on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1 to 3:30 pm at Valley on Columbia. Dates for upcoming testing are April 21, 25 and 28. In the event you are unable to test at this time, please contact Sam Jallo at 787-7971.

Wellness Month Update

  • Valley on 42nd – Healthy Meal for all staff – Tomorrow, April 21 from 9:30 to 1:30, serving from Granny’s Kitchen in the Auditorium
  • Valley on Columbia – The massage chair remains in the staff lounge! This thing is amazing! If you haven’t tried it out yet, take a break soon because it moves to Tufte Manor on April 22.
  • Get involved with the Great Grand Forks Young Professionals organization. Valley Senior Living is a corporate sponsor, so our employees are welcome to join GGFYP at no additional cost. Visit the GGFYP website for a list of upcoming events and activities including the Orange Bag Event on April 30.  
  • 30 Day Challenge! How is it going? Complete the challenge for your chance to win gift cards and the grand prize massage.
  • Have you used the 3 day pass to Choice Health and Fitness or the YMCA yet?

Congratulations to the April Longevity Recipients!

  • 10 Years – Kady Eck, RN – Woodside Village Care Coordinator
  • 5 Years – Felicity Mokambe – Valley on Columbia, CNA

Around Our Table

The Valley Senior Living Foundation will host the 7th Annual Around Our Table fundraiser for Chaplaincy Ministry beginning Saturday, April 23 – May 1. The event will be virtual again this year and include an online silent auction! Register now to be a bidder in the silent auction!

valley.cbo.io

$$ Recruiter Bonus!

Are you looking to earn a bonus? If you recruit someone to work at Valley Senior Living in a full, part-time or flex time position, you will be eligible for a BONUS! All you have to do is share this URL – valleyseniorliving.org/apply – with anyone you would like to recruit to be a care partner!

The CNA and LPN/RN recruiter bonus is $2000 for a full time recruit, $1000 for a part time, and $500 for a flex time certified or licensed nurse. We are currently hiring CNAs to fill the next class beginning on May 16, and have full time LPN and RN positions available.

For all other positions, the recruiter bonus is $1000 for a full time recruit, $500 for part time and $250 for flex time.

If you have recruited someone and have not notified Human Resources, please do so asap! We encourage employees to take advantage of this great opportunity and to continue to recruit new care partners and earn bonus dollars!

Employee Craft and Bake Sale

Valley on 42nd will host the Employee Craft and Bake Sale this Friday from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm in the Auditorium.

Valley on Columbia will host the Employee Craft and Bake Sale this April 29 from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm in the Community Room.

These events are open to the public, so tell your friends!


4.18.22 Update

Grand Forks County has changed to a HIGH transmission level. All residents, regardless of up to date or not, must wear a mask when outside their room or apartment and during care interactions. Please review the following requirements:

PPE and Physical Distancing:

Up-to-date Healthcare Personnel Not-up-to-date Healthcare Personnel
·       Required to mask and wear eye protection when in well-defined areas that are restricted from resident access (break rooms, offices, staff meeting spaces, kitchen) when within 6 feet from others

 

·        Must continue to mask and wear eye protection in all resident care areas

·        Required to mask and wear eye protection when in well-defined areas that are restricted from resident access (break rooms, offices, staff meeting spaces, kitchen) when within 6 feet from others

 

·        Must continue to mask and wear eye protection in all resident care areas

Up-to-date Residents Not-up-to-date Residents
·       All residents, regardless of vaccination status, are required to mask when outside of resident room and during care interactions within their room

 

•     Residents may unmask for dining (meals, snacks, beverages) at their assigned table

·        All residents, regardless of vaccination status, are required to mask when outside of resident room and during care interactions within their room

 

·        Residents may unmask for dining (meals, snacks, beverages) in a communal area if at a table by themselves, 6ft away from other residents

Up-to-date Visitors Not-up-to-date Visitors
·       All visitors, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a mask and physically distance at all times. ·       All visitors, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a mask and physically distance at all times.

Testing:

Up-to-date Healthcare Personnel Not-up-to-date Healthcare Personnel
·        No routine testing requirements ·        Required to test twice a week (this does not include Tufte Manor/Wheatland Terrace staff)
   

With the increase in transmission and the positivity rate, we will begin the process of scheduling a booster clinic for residents to receive the recommended booster for those 50 and over or immunocompromised.


4.15.22 Update

On Monday, April 18, Valley is going back to the measures related to Substantial Transmission. Grand Forks County, due to the 8.33% positivity rate of PCR testing for the prior week, exceeded the 5% trigger for Substantial transmission on the CDC Website.

Unfortunately, this comes with the reinstatement of some regulatory requirements for us as staff:

  1. We need to wear protective eyewear in resident care areas at all times and also in well-defined spaces (staff-only spaces) when we are unable to be at least 6 feet apart. As a reminder, eye protection is to be cleaned daily, and must be cleaned according to precaution signage, and are not disposable.
  2. When we are in well-defined spaces (staff-only spaces), we need to wear masks in addition to eyewear only when we are unable to be at least 6 feet apart.
  3. Not “up to date” staff resume testing 2 times per week. Next week’s testing is as follows:

  • Monday, April 18th – Valley on Columbia – 1:00-3:30pm
  • Thursday, April 21st – Valley on Columbia – 1:00-3:30pm

It’s hard to say whether this will continue from week to week, but once we are in Substantial Transmission, we have to be in Moderate for two straight weeks before we can go back to Moderate Transmission requirements.

To end on a non-COVID note, we have much to be grateful for despite dealing with these changing requirements. I hope you get to spend time with your families this weekend and wish you all a happy Easter!


4.13.22 Update

Thanks to EVERYONE for making it as good of a day for the residents as possible considering the storm. Thanks in advance for working through whatever blustery weather we will have tonight/tomorrow!

 There is no zoom call this week.

Testing Update
Since Sunday, April 10, two staff from Woodside Village and two from Valley on Columbia have tested positive including:

  • 1 Oakcrest, direct care, no close contacts
  • 1 Prairieview, direct care, 2 close contacts
  • 1 Valley Transitions, direct care, 2 close contacts
  • 1 non-direct care at Valley on Columbia, no close contacts

We continue to have Moderate levels of Community Transmission so we are required to test staff who are not up-to-date on a weekly basis. The next testing will be at Valley on Columbia from 1 to 3:30 pm on Monday, April 18. In the event you are not able to attend this testing event, please contact Sam Jallo at 701-787-7971.

Booster Update
With cases still quite low for our area, we have not scheduled the booster clinics for residents or staff over the age of 50 yet. If you are eligible, you can certainly choose to get a booster at your convenience. Residents who are eligible just need to let the staff know so we can arrange a booster for them if they are not comfortable waiting for a booster at a later time.

COVID Care Area Update
As we transition from a pandemic to an endemic, the COVID care areas at our skilled nursing care communities have been reduced in size and essentially remain closed. In the event residents test positive, where they will be cared for within our care communities by a dedicated care team, and the location where they will receive care will be assessed on a case by case basis. In most cases residents will shelter in place with additional mitigation measures and the necessary precautions for the duration of their isolation. One dedicated room at Oakcrest at WV and two dedicated rooms at Valley Transitions at VC will remain available for COVID positive residents. When occupied, those  resident rooms doors will be closed and the hallways will remain open.

Wellness Month Update

  • The Massage Chair has moved to Valley on Columbia. You can take a break and relax in the staff lounge. Remember this is a 30 day challenge item!
  • Next Thursday, April 21, Woodside Village will host the free healthy meal. All staff can enjoy a vegetable corn taco meal, serving from the Town Square Auditorium Kitchen.
  • Continue to complete the 30 Day Challenge for your chance to win gift cards and the grand prize massage! Adam Edwards, Chief Human Resources Officer took the challenge of eating a meal outside today!

Living well and staying well means we must attend to our overall health. Personal and career related concerns can get in the way of maintaining a healthy and balanced life. Valley Senior Living, in partnership with Live Well Solutions, provides employees and employees household members with an abundance of resources to assist in dealing with personal or workplace concerns that may be affecting you. Access is easy – many resources available through the Employee Assistance Program are FREE of charge to all employees! Enrollment in Valley Senior Living health insurance benefits is not a requirement. No matter when, no matter where, you and your family have access to professional support resources. Call or log on to get started.

TOLL-FREE: 1-866-831-2181

  • Option 1 – Counseling
  • Option 2 – Work/Life

EMAIL: EAP@livewellworklife.com
WEBSITE: www.livewellworklife.com
CLICK ON: Living Well Resources
COMPANY CODE: Valley

Recruiter Bonus Update
56 Current Employees have recruited new employees and are eligible for the recruiter bonus! Thank you for helping us build the best team to care for the residents!

The CNA and LPN/RN recruiter bonus is $2000 for a full time recruit, $1000 for a part time, and $500 for a flex time certified or licensed nurse. We are currently hiring CNAs to fill the next class beginning on May 16 and have full time LPN and RN positions available. If you know of someone who would be the perfect care partner, share this link >> valleyseniorliving.org/apply >> and encourage them to apply! Once they apply, let Human Resources know about your work as a recruiter to be eligible for the $$ RECRUITER BONUS $$!


4.6.22 Update

In case you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is the link >> 4.6 ZOOM

2nd Booster Update – Link to ND Dept of Health Information
The second booster is now available to residents and staff who are 50 years or older or for immunocompromised individuals. We are closely monitoring the latest variant, and as the strain becomes more dominant in our area, we will coordinate efforts to offer the booster to residents at that time to provide maximum protection. There is a fairly small window of effectiveness of preventing infection with a second booster according to a recent study from Israel. Rates of confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe Covid-19 were lower after a fourth dose of vaccine than after only three doses. Protection against confirmed infection appeared short-lived, whereas protection against severe illness did not wane during the study period (January 10 through March 2).

CMS is not requiring eligible staff or residents to get a second booster for staff to remain “up to date.” Eligibility information for the second booster is attached from the ND Department of Health.

 Wellness Month Update

  • Valley on 42nd – Hop in the massage chair located in the game room and kick back and relax for a few minutes. The chair will be available until April 10 and then will be moving to Valley on Columbia.
  • 30 Day Challenge – The challenge is underway!  Pick up a copy located in staff break rooms. Examples of healthy challenges to complete for your chance to win 1 of 30 gift cards and the grand prize massage include:
    • Take a 15 minute walk outside
    • Try a new recipe
    • Eat meatless today
    • Visit the YMCA or Choice with your free 3 day pass

COVID Care Areas
The COVID care areas at Woodside Village and Valley on Columbia have been reduced in size to allow capacity for residents needing admission. We will continue to reassess capacity needs as transmission levels change and if the latest COVID variant becomes prevalent in our area.

Testing Update
Staff from Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village that are not up-to-date continue to be required to test weekly. Testing will be held Mondays from 1 to 3:30 pm at Valley on Columbia. In the event you cannot test during this time, please contact employee health nurse Sam Jallo at 701-787-7971 to make alternative arrangements.

Intergenerational Programming
After two years of not being able to interact with the Grand Forks Head Start children, we opened the doors yesterday at Valley on 42nd for them to begin visiting again. This is a true milestone in the this portion of the pandemic and we are so thankful to have children interacting with residents.

CNA, LPN, RN Bonus!
If you are a current CNA and will be transferring to a full time licensed staff position as a LPN or RN, or are a current LPN and will be accepting a full time RN position at Valley Senior Living, we are extending the $10,000 sign on bonus to YOU! Please contact your supervisor for more details if this applies to you.

$$ Recruiter Bonus!
The CNA and LPN/RN recruiter bonus is $2000 for a full time recruit, $1000 for a part time, and $500 for a flex time certified or licensed nurse. We are currently hiring CNAs to fill the next class beginning on May 16, and have full time LPN and RN positions available.

For all other positions, the recruiter bonus is $1000 for a full time recruit, $500 for part time and $250 for flex time. Current open positions can be viewed and shared with those you would like to recruit at valleyseniorliving.org/apply

If you have recruited someone and have not notified Human Resources, please do so asap! We encourage employees to take advantage of this great opportunity and to continue to recruit new care partners and earn bonus dollars!


3.30.22 Update

In case you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is the link >> 3.30 ZOOM

Today is National Doctors Day. Shout out to our physicians at Valley, our Medical Director Dr. Henderson, and Dr. Pehl, for the dedication they have to the residents and the care they provide, going above and beyond for those that call Valley ‘home’. Thank you for all you do!!

Booster Approval for Residents or Staff Over 50 Years Old
We do not have information yet about the timing of a second booster. Hopefully by next week we will have more details around that. Fortunately right now cases are extremely low in our area so it is something that we can afford to wait for more direction. Though the Omicron subvariant BA.2 is now the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the United States, BA.2 is not yet the dominant variant in North Dakota—representing only 4.6% of all specimens sequenced last week. BA.2 is more transmissible than the prior BA.1 Omicron variant but appears to be no more severe.

Here’s your ticket — Click here to view the >> Wellness Train Employee Packet

  • 30 Day Wellness Challenge – complete the challenge to win gift cards and a chance to win a massage
  • Massage Chair for Staff – The chair is currently located at Valley on 42nd in the game room! Take a break, relax and enjoy this chair before it heads down the tracks to the next care community on April 11.
  • 3 Day Guest Passes to the YMCA & Choice Health and Fitness are included in the packet. These passes are valid for you and your immediate family. Enjoy!
  • Each care community will host a free healthy meal this month – Vegetable Corn Tacos! Tufte Manor and Valley on Columbia will serve on April 6 and Valley on 42nd will serve on April 21.
  • LiveWell Solutions is our Employee Assistance Program, also known as EAP. Many resources are available, free of charge to employees. Visit com and use company code Valley for more information.
  • Learn more about Greater Grand Forks Young Professionals including monthly socials, volunteering opportunities and professional development.
    • Are you a First Time Home Buyer? Join a seminar hosted by GGFYP with home buyer tips – April 5 | 5:30 pm | Center for Innovation. Pop and pizza will be provided.

How do you get on the train? Start the 30 day challenge! The steps are easy and you’ve got a chance to win 1 of 30 $15 gift cards, and there will be one grand prize winner of a massage gift certificate!

Masks During Care Interactions
While we are in moderate or low transmission levels, up-to-date residents are no longer required to wear masks during care interactions. Residents are welcome to continue wearing masks if they choose.

Guest Meals
We are welcoming guests back to enjoy meals with residents. Visitors and guests are welcome to eat in areas that are not part of the main dining rooms and distanced from other residents.

Testing Update
We have completed a full seven days with no staff and no residents testing positive at all Valley Senior Living care communities! The transmission level is at moderate and has remained at that level for two weeks. We are testing once per week for staff who are not up to date.

  • The next testing will be held Monday, April 4 at Valley on Columbia from 1 to 3:30 pm.


3.24.22 Update

In case you missed the company zoom yesterday, here is the link >> 3.23.22 ZOOM

Throughout the past week only one non-direct care staff from Valley on Columbia has tested positive. Through contact tracing, no close contacts were identified.

Regulations continue to require twice weekly testing of employees from Woodside Village and Valley on Columbia who are not up to date, for two weeks past the change in transmission level from substantial to moderate.

The next testing is TODAY, March 24 from 12:30 to 3:30 at Valley on Columbia. Thrifty White Pharmacy will be on-site and offer the booster to anyone who is currently eligible. Once you receive the booster and become up to date, you will only be required to test in the event symptoms were to develop. If you plan to receive your booster dose at tomorrow’s testing event, please bring your insurance card. If you have already received your booster, submit proof of vaccine status to Human Resources asap.

$$ Recruiter Bonus!
The CNA and LPN/RN recruiter bonus is $2000 for a full time recruit, $1000 for a part time, and $500 for a flex time certified or licensed nurse. We are currently hiring CNAs to fill the next class beginning on April 11 and have full time LPN and RN positions available.

For all other positions, the recruiter bonus is $1000 for a full time recruit, $500 for part time and $250 for flex time. Current open positions can be viewed and shared with those you would like to recruit at valleyseniorliving.org/apply

If you have recruited someone and have not notified Human Resources, please do so asap! We encourage employees to take advantage of this great opportunity and to continue to recruit new care partners and earn bonus dollars!

We are excited to see your smiling faces again!
To clarify:

  • Up-to-date employees are NOT required to mask in well-defined spaces. These include: the service hallways, offices, nurses stations, or the main kitchen. Remember these areas are closed off and residents are not expected to enter.
  • Not up-to-date employees must continue to mask in these areas when within 6 feet of others.

Please contact Kayla Porter (701-787-7952) or Carra Hindberg (701-787-7839) with any questions.

Need scrubs or Valley Senior Living clothing?
If you have been wondering how you can get some Valley Senior Living clothing, check out the Valley store online! probitasstore.com/valleyseniorliving/

Orders placed will arrive in approximately 3 to 5 weeks!


3.21.22 Update

Great news! Grand Forks County has downgraded from a substantial transmission level to a moderate transmission level. As a result, we are able to ease some of the precautions currently in place for residents, visitors, and staff. Changes that are more permissive are highlighted below. Please read carefully as the below measures are effective immediately:

Definitions:

  • Up to date: an individual has received all recommended doses in their primary series COVID-19 vaccine, and a booster dose when eligible.
  • Not up to date: an individual who has not yet received their booster but are more than 5 months past the completion of a Pfizer/Moderna series, or 2 months past the completion of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

PPE and Physical Distancing:

Up-to-date Healthcare Personnel Not-up-to-date Healthcare Personnel
·         Not required to mask when in well-defined areas that are restricted from resident access (break rooms, offices, staff meeting spaces, kitchen)

 

·         Must continue to mask in all resident care areas

·         No universal eye protection required

·         No physical distancing requirements

·         Required to mask when in well-defined areas that are restricted from resident access (break rooms, offices, staff meeting spaces, kitchen) when within 6 feet from others

 

·         Must continue to mask in all resident care areas

·         No universal eye protection required

Up-to-date Residents Not-up-to-date Residents
·         Not required to mask

 

·         No physical distancing requirements

·         Required to mask when outside of resident room

 

·         Residents may unmask for dining (meals, snacks, beverages) in a communal area if at a table by themselves, 6ft away from other residents

·         No physical distancing requirements when masked

Up-to-date Visitors Not-up-to-date Visitors
·         Required to mask when outside of resident room

 

·         May remove masks and have physical contact when in resident room if the resident is up-to-date as well

·         Required to physically distance from other staff and residents

·         Required to mask when outside of resident room

 

·         Required to mask and physically distance in resident room, regardless of resident vaccination status

·         Required to physically distance from other staff and residents

Testing:

Up-to-date Healthcare Personnel Not-up-to-date Healthcare Personnel
·         No routine testing requirements ·         Required to test twice a week starting this week (does not apply to Tufte and Wheatland Staff)

Booster Clinic – March 24
Thrifty White Pharmacy will provide a booster clinic on March 24 from 12:30 to 3:30 at Valley on Columbia in conjunction with the required testing event for employees who are not up-to-date. Please bring  your insurance card to this event.

If this booster clinic does not work with your schedule, please check https://vaccines.gov for a convenient location. If you are not up to date, we encourage you to get your booster now to take advantage of adjusted precaution for up-to-date healthcare personnel.


3.16.22

In case you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is the link >> 3.16 ZOOM

 Updated Guidance

Last week CMS released new guidance for nursing homes to clarify “up-to-date” and “not-up-to-date” for staff, residents, and visitors.

  • Up-to-date: an individual has received all recommended doses in their primary series COVID-19 vaccine, and a booster dose when eligible.
  • Not-up-to-date: an individual has not yet received their booster but are more than 5 months past the completion of a Pfizer/Moderna series, or 2 months past the completion of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

As transmission rates continue to decline, there will come a point where up-to-date and not-up-to-date staff, residents, and visitors will have different PPE requirements. We encourage you to get your booster now if you are eligible. Thrifty White Pharmacy will be on site at Valley on Columbia on March 24th from 12:30-3:30pm to host a booster clinic for those that are eligible– be sure to bring your insurance information if you plan on receiving a booster. You can also check https://vaccines.gov for a convenient alternative location. Get Boosted!

Testing Update

In the past seven days, ZERO staff from Valley have tested positive, ZERO residents have tested positive, our COVID care areas are closed, and no residents in our care are currently identified as positive.

Not-up-to-date staff: required testing will be held on Monday March 21st from 12:30-3:30 at Valley on Columbia. This new testing requirement for not-up-to-date employees is only in effect for Skilled Nursing employees (Woodside Village, Town Square, and Valley on Columbia), and not for those at Tufte Manor or Wheatland Terrace.

Up-to-Date Benefits on the Horizon

When we do cross that threshold, CDC guidance lets us operate differently. Up-to-date employees will not need to wear masks or physically distance in areas where there are no residents. Staff who are not-up-to-date will need to continue to wear masks in those areas and physically distance from others. More details are included in the company zoom attached.


3.15.22 Update

This communication is for all booster-eligible staff at Valley Senior Living on Columbia, Woodside Village, and most of Town Square. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have changed guidance regarding testing. The new guidance states that those who are eligible to receive a booster but have not received it – “not-up-to-date”, will now need to begin testing at a frequency dictated by country transmission levels. Grand Forks county is currently at a substantial transmission level and “not-up-to-date” employees will need to test twice a week. This new testing requirement for “not-up-to-date” employees is only in effect for Skilled Nursing employees (Woodside Village, Town Square, and Valley on Columbia), and not for those at Tufte Manor or Wheatland Terrace.

Please review the following information regarding this new testing requirement:

  • Definition: “Not-up-to-date” – employees who have not yet received their booster but are more than 5 months past the completion of a Pfizer/Moderna series, or 2 months past the completion of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
  • Testing for employees who are “not-up-to-date” will begin on March 21st, 2022 from 12:30-3:30pm at Valley on Columbia. (If you are within 90 days of receiving a positive test result, you will not be required to test at this time. You are still able to receive the booster during this 90 day window.)
  • Twice weekly testing (based on County Transmission Levels) will be held on Mondays and Thursdays of each week. The time and location of these events will be communicated each week.
    • If you are unable to attend these testing events, please contact Sam Jallo – sjallo2@valleyseniorliving.org or 701-787-7971 to make alternative arrangements.
    • Meeting the assigned testing requirements for “not-up-to-date” employees is a requirement to provide services for Valley Senior Living.
    • Staff will not be receiving payment for attending these required testing events.
  • If you have received your booster dose but are receiving this communication, it means that HR does not have a copy of your booster. Email proof of booster dose to dhabedank@valleyseniorliving.org or call 701-787-7942 for further assistance.
  • Booster Clinic– Thrift White Pharmacy will be on site at Valley on Columbia on March 24th, 2022, from 12:30-3:30pm to host a booster clinic for those that are eligible. Get Boosted!
    • Once you have received your booster, and submitted your information to HR, you will be removed from the “not-up-to-date” testing requirement and will only be tested with symptom onset moving forward.
    • If you plan on receiving a booster, please bring your insurance information.
    • For those unable to attend this booster clinic but would like to receive a booster, check https://vaccines.gov for a convenient location.
    • NOTE: If an employee incurs side effects from the booster, Valley Senior Living will pay for side-effect-missed-days.
  • “Up-to-date” employees will have the ability to not mask in defined spaces as per Valley Senior Livings policy – #190.19 Well-Defined Spaces 2-9-2022, when residents are not present, and when the County Transmission Level in our county reaches the moderate and low level. It is anticipated that this could happen within the next 3 to 4 weeks.


3.11.22 Update

This communication is for all staff at Valley Senior Living on Columbia, Woodside Village, and most of Town Square. If you work exclusively at Tufte Manor, Wheatland Terrace, or Country Estates, this upcoming change in guidance does not apply to you.

CMS released new guidance yesterday for nursing homes to clarify “up to date” and “not up to date” for staff, residents, and visitors. CMS changed their regulations to be the same as CDC health care guidance that came out early February. Attached are the source documents for those that would like to see the detail on these changes.

QSO-20-38-NH-REVISED

QSO-20-29-NH-REVISED

In February, we implemented most of the changes from CDC’s new guidance. One piece that we did not implement was CDC’s guideline of routine testing for staff who were not “up to date.” We chose to wait with that guideline until CMS explicitly required that of skilled nursing facilities, and that just happened with these changes.

Effective the week of March 21, we will test all “not up-to-date” staff twice a week. Grand Forks County is currently in SUBSTANTIAL transmission (down from HIGH) since last Saturday. Sometime next week, the levels in our county should decrease to MODERATE and we will be able to drop down to weekly testing if that designation can be maintained for two straight weeks. When cases are LOW we will not be testing any staff.


3.9.22 Update

In case you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is the link >> 3.9 ZOOM

Testing Update
On Monday we received confirmation that one support staff from Valley on Columbia tested positive. No close contacts were identified. In the past seven days, only two staff from Valley (1 Valley on Columbia, 1 Tufte Manor) have tested positive. No residents tested positive, COVID care areas are closed, and no residents in our care are currently identified as positive.

Free COVID-19 Home Tests
Grand Forks Public Health has shared a supply of COVID home tests with staff and visitors of Valley Senior Living. These test kits are available at employee screening stations and at visitor screening stations. Employees are welcome to take these test kits, free of charge, to use within your home in the event symptoms develop in household members and as a surveillance as needed.

Up-to-Date Benefits on the Horizon
COVID cases continue to decrease. We peaked at over 2,200 cases per 100,000 people in Grand Forks County just a few weeks ago and have been at “high” transmission (over 100 cases per 100,000 residents in the last 7 days) for about 6 straight months. This week we just moved to “substantial” transmission (50-99 cases per 100,000). Unfortunately we have to wait a little longer to operate differently. We need to get to “moderate” transmission which is 10-49 cases per 100,000. This may take another week, maybe two?

When we do cross that threshold, CDC guidance lets us operate differently. Up to date employees (those who are fully vaccinated and if eligible for their booster have received it) will not need to wear masks or physically distance in areas where there are no residents. Staff who are not up to date will need to continue to wear masks in those areas and physically distance from others. More details are included in the company zoom attached.

Join Greater Grand Forks Young Professionals – for Free!
Valley Senior Living is a corporate sponsor of the Greater Grand Forks Young Professionals and this gives our employees the opportunity to join this awesome group for free! Sign up today at ggfyp.com and take a look around their website to explore the events and activities they host. Membership benefits include:

  • Networking Opportunities
  • Educational and professional development
  • Community volunteer information and opportunities
  • Larger understanding of the community
  • Cultivation of future leaders
  • Community and economic development within the region


3.3.22 Update

In case you missed the company zoom yesterday, here is the link >> 3.2 ZOOM

Testing Update
One direct care staff from the Riverside neighborhood at Valley on Columbia tested positive on Friday, February 25. Through contact tracing, eight residents were identified as close contacts. Throughout the past seven days, three staff have tested positive and one resident from Tufte Manor. The resident is currently hospitalized.

Happy Social Work Month!
March 2022 is the designated month to recognize our social work teams at Valley Senior Living care communities. The theme for social work month is “The Time is Right for Social Work”. Take time this month to thank a social worker in your neighborhood or at your community for the positive contributions they make to the residents and their quality of life.

Volunteers
We are excited to restart our volunteer program and welcome volunteers back to our care communities. The care and companionship our volunteers share with residents provides a significant impact in their quality of life. Individuals who are interested in becoming a volunteer need to complete a volunteer application or complete the online application available at valleyseniorliving.org/volunteer. Proof of vaccination or an approved exemption is required for all volunteers age 5 and over. The volunteer application is attached.

County Transmission Level Questions/Masking for Visitors and Residents
We have received many questions regarding the continued requirement to mask for residents and visitors. The general population has received new guidelines for masking from the CDC, although healthcare is still required to follow the previous guidance. Grand Forks County remains at a high transmission level this week with just over 150 cases per 100,000, within which masking remains a requirement. This is a great improvement from last week, although a continued decline will be needed to reach the moderate transmission level of 50 cases per 100,000.

Now Hiring for April 11 CNA Class – Recruiter Bonus Available!
A CNA class will begin this coming Monday, March 7 and we are currently hiring for the April 11 class. If you know of someone who is interested, please share the website valleyseniorliving.org/apply! The recruiter bonus for full time CNAs remains at $2,000 for full time, $1,000 for part time and $500 for a flex time CNA.

Longevity Recipients – March 2022
Congrats the following employees on their milestone reached in their career at Valley Senior Living! Thank you for the difference you have made, and continue to make!

35 Years – Diane Habedank, Valley on Columbia Human Resources Assistant

10 Years – Tamie Frericks, Valley on Columbia Environmental Services Assistant Director

5 Years – Tammie Burris, Tufte Manor Evening Receptionist

Sabine Erickson, Town Square Dining Services

Stacy Vancamp, RN, Valley on Columbia

Jodi Dub, Wheatland Terrace Administrative Assistant

William Szeveczyk, Valley on Columbia Custodian

Noel Heinle, CNA, Woodside Village

Caregiver Appreciation Gifts
If you haven’t already picked up your gift (collapsible cooler and tumbler), please stop by the Human Resources department at your community. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication!


2.25.22  Update

Testing Update:
We received confirmation of one resident from Tufte Manor who has tested positive. The resident is currently hospitalized. One close contact has been identified.


2.23.22  Update

In case you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is the recording >> 2.23 ZOOM

Report Symptoms and Exposures to COVID Staff Illness Line – What Do You Do If You Have a Positive Home Test?
Please continue to call the COVID staff illness line at 701.741.9646 in the event you develop symptoms related to COVID, or if you have had an exposure to someone who has tested positive. We are thankful that home tests have become more readily available and are being used by many as a surveillance to determine and identify positive COVID related illnesses for themselves or within their homes. If you do perform an at home test and the results are positive, please report that to the COVID line asap. Valley will require a confirmatory test for regulatory reporting requirements of positive staff in our care communities.

The confirmatory test also lets us code your missed time under COVID related pay which doesn’t come out of either your PTO or your ESL. It is an amazing benefit that virtually nobody else is offering: we continue to pay employees while isolating after testing positive and for the time away from work when symptoms occur and test results are in process.

Caregiver Gifts:
If you were previously unable to pick up your collapsible cooler and new Valley water bottle , please stop by the Human Resources office at Valley on Columbia or Valley on 42nd or check at the front desk at Tufte Manor. Thank you to the Valley Senior Living Foundation for helping to purchase those items for staff!

Visitors Can Be In Common Spaces With The Resident They Are Visiting!:
Visitors are now allowed in common spaces! The exciting part about this is that people can worship together and attend events together in the building. Please let them know that they are welcome! The catch is, all employees are responsible to ensure visitors adhere to the following instructions for safe visitation:

  1. Face masks must be worn by all visitors at all times, regardless of vaccination status, in common spaces (i.e. visitors cannot eat in common spaces, visitors cannot sit unmasked even if physically distanced from others).
  2. Visitors must physically distance from other residents and healthcare workers at all times, regardless of vaccination status, in common spaces.

If the visitor is not able to follow these guidelines, we ask that they visit the resident in their room. Each visitor has signed a statement agreeing to follow the rules upon entry to the buildings, so we have given them a heads up about non-compliance resulting in resident room visits only.

Exception: If the resident is on transmission-based precautions, visitation must occur in the resident room only.  The resident and visitor must wear a face mask and physically distance from others at all times, regardless of vaccination status. Visitors may be asked to comply with additional personal protective equipment requirements.

Testing Update:
Yesterday we received confirmation of a direct care staff from the Riverside neighborhood at Valley on Columbia has tested positive with 17 close contacts identified. Yesterday one direct care staff from Tufte Manor also was confirmed positive with no close contacts. Today one direct care staff from Hearthstone neighborhood at Woodside Village today and contact tracing is in process.

This week one resident from Tufte Manor tested positive and has transferred to the hospital. One resident continues to shelter in place at Tufte Manor.


2.21.22 Update

National Caregiver Day
If you are one of the gas card winners below or you were previously unable to pick up your gifts, please stop by the Human Resources office at Valley on Columbia or Valley on 42nd or check at the front desk at Tufte Manor.

 Congrats to the Gas Card Winners from the National Caregiver Day drawing! 20 lucky winners each won $25 in Valley Dairy gift cards!

 Tufte Manor

Abby Lund-PCA

Lori Jacquemart-Dining Services

Valley On Columbia

Bhumika Dhitamla- NA

Kaylee Randall-CNA

Erica Madison-CNA

Amber TerBest-DRA

Lexie Larson-LPN

Mackenzie Grinde-CNA

Darcy Klein- ES

Raven Hernandez-CNA

Heather Moen-DS

Emily Boone-SS

Valley on 42nd

Elizabeth Andrade-CNA

Lisa White-RN

Jessica Knopp-CNA

Michelle Stevenson-Walker-LPN

Jamie Ostgard- Life Enrichment

Jessica Hoff-PCA

Jessica Grahn-CNA

Lisa Keegan-Recreation

Testing Update:
We received confirmation of one non-direct care staff from Valley on Columbia tested positive on Friday, February 18. Through contact tracing, two residents were identified as close contacts.


2.18.22 Update

Happy National Caregiver Day!
All Valley staff are recognized and celebrated today for National Caregiver Day! Valley has purchased enough picnic basket sized insulated coolers and insulated tumblers for each employee. These items are available for pick-up at Tufte Manor until 3:30 and Valley on Columbia or Valley on 42nd before 5:00pm. If you were unable to make it today to pick up your gift, please stop by the Human Resources office at Valley on Columbia or Valley on 42nd, or check at the front desk at Tufte Manor. Your care you give to residents is appreciated each day of the year and we are happy to have this day to celebrate it!

Testing Update:
We received confirmation of a resident from Tufte Manor who has tested positive. The resident will shelter in place and no close contacts have been identified through contact tracing. Currently 2 residents are sheltering in place at Tufte Manor.

Two staff from Valley on Columbia have tested positive including one non-direct care and one direct care from Riverside. Four close contacts have been identified. For close contacts the following measures will be implemented:

  1. Resident monitoring will increase to three times per day for the next 7 from exposure.
  2. The resident will mask any time they leave their room or attend activities for the next 7 days from exposure. The resident may not participate in communal dining at this time.
  3. A series of two viral tests for SARS-CoV-2 (one test no sooner than 24 hours after exposure, and if negative, a second test 5-7 days after exposure) will be completed.

Recruit a New Employee – Earn a BONUS!
Valley has a few openings to fill and we are looking for the best candidates! If you have someone you would love to work with, encourage them to apply to be a care partner at Valley. Recruiter bonus information is available at employee screening tables, and you could get up to $2000 for recruiting a full time CNA! Open positions are available at valleyseniorliving.org/apply.


2.18.22 Reminder!

Today is the day! National Caregiver Day. Thank you for being a Care Partner at Valley Senior Living.
We are recognizing each of you as valued Care Partners and Caregivers in our organization. Each employee will be given a gift to show appreciation and a sub sandwich meal will be served at each location throughout the day. If you’re working today, make plans to pick up your new Valley cup, collapsible Valley cooler, and meal. If you’re not scheduled to work, we still welcome you to stop in and pick up your gift and Jimmy Johns! We will also have drawings for gas cards to sign up for on-site!

  • Valley on Columbia will be serving from the Community Room
    • 9:00 am to 5 pm
  • Tufte Manor will serve from the Family Dining Room
    • 9:30 am to 3:30 pm
  • Valley on 42nd to include Woodside Village and Wheatland Terrace will serve from the Myra Café
    • 9:00 am to 5:00 pm


2.16.22 Update

National Caregiver Day!
his Friday we will be recognizing each of you as valued Care Partners and Caregivers in our organization. Each employee will be given a gift to show appreciation and a sub sandwich meal will be served at each location throughout the day. If you’re working, make plans to pick up your new Valley cup, collapsible Valley cooler, and meal. If you’re not scheduled to work, we still welcome you to stop in and pick up your gift and Jimmy Johns! We will also have drawings for gas cards to sign up for on-site!

  • Valley on Columbia will be serving from the Community Room
    • 9:00 am to 5 pm
  • Tufte Manor will serve from the Family Dining Room
    • 9:30 am to 3:30 pm
  • Valley on 42nd to include Woodside Village and Wheatland Terrace will serve from the Myra Café
    • 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

 Omicron Variant Update
We are grateful that Omicron variant cases are decreasing. Last week cases in Grand Forks County were 75% less than the peak in January. COVID-related hospitalizations in Grand Forks are at the lowest point since October. In North Dakota long term care the resident positive count is down 30% and the staff positive count is down approximately 60% from the peak of Omicron.

Testing Update
In the last week, 8 staff from Valley and 1 resident from Tufte Manor tested positive.

Operational Changes to Dining and Upcoming Visitation Changes
With only one resident case in the last twenty days across the company and decreasing county COVID rates, today at noon we resumed dining with four people at a table. We still anticipate that residents will occasionally test positive, just less frequently. There are still a number of long term care resident outbreaks within North Dakota. Last week there were three nursing homes with about half of their residents currently positive for COVID-19.

Though we are not able to do this now, recent guidance changes will make it possible for more things to go back to normal, especially as cases continue to decrease.  One of the next things we are considering is allowing visitors to be in common areas. We are excited about these future changes because visitors could resume involvement in events such as worship services, concerts, etc. as along as space provides for physical distancing. There are some limitations:

  • Visitors would always wear masks when in common areas.
  • Visitors need to be physically distanced by at least six feet from other residents and staff.
  • If visitors are not able to follow these guidelines for common areas, they can visit in the resident’s room.

Vaccine Mandate Update
On February 14, the national healthcare vaccination mandate was in effect. All staff in the skilled nursing facilities either have a received at least their first shot or have been granted a religious or medical exemption. In our organization of approximately 840 people, two staff are placed on administrative leave until either condition is met.


2.15.22 Update

Testing Update
One resident from Tufte Manor has tested positive and will shelter in place. Once close contact was identified and has tested negative on the first viral test.

Three staff have tested positive since yesterday. This includes:

  • 1 Woodside Village, direct care Heartland, 6 close contacts
  • 2 Valley on Columbia, 1 non-direct care Lanark, 1 direct care Valley Transitions, no close contacts

Dining Update
Four resident per table dining will resume in all locations tomorrow for lunch! As the number of positive cases continue to decrease this is one element of quality of life we can give back to the residents. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and be flexible to changes in the future if needed.

Don’t Forget – Valley SWAG and lunch on Friday for National Caregivers Day!
This Friday we will be recognizing each of you as valued Care Partners and Caregivers in our organization. Each employee will be given a gift to show appreciation and a sub sandwich meal will be served at each location throughout the day. If you’re working, make plans to pick up your gift and meal, and if you’re not scheduled to work, we still welcome you to stop in and pick up your gift and Jimmy Johns! We will also have drawings for gas cards to sign up for on-site!

  • Valley on Columbia will be serving from the Community Room
    • 9:00 am to 5 pm
  • Tufte Manor will serve from the Family Dining Room
    • 9:30 am to 3:30 pm
  • Valley on 42nd to include Woodside Village and Wheatland Terrace will serve from the Myra Café
    • 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Recruiter Bonus
The CNA recruiter bonus remains at $2k for a full time recruit, $1k for a part time and $500 for a flex time CNA. We currently have over 20 people in CNA classes at Valley and thank everyone who has helped with our recruitment efforts. If you have recruited someone and have not notified Human Resources, please do so asap! We encourage employees to take advantage of this great opportunity and to continue to recruit new care partners.

For all other positions, the recruiter bonus has returned to the previous rates. $1k for a full time recruit, $500 for part time and $250 for  flex time. Current open positions can be viewed and shared with anyone you would like to recruit at valleyseniorliving.org/apply


2.14.22 Update

Happy Valentine’s Day!

National Caregivers Day is Friday, February 18!
This Friday we will be recognizing each of you as valued Care Partners and Caregivers in our organization. Each employee will be given a gift to show appreciation and a sub sandwich meal will be served at each location throughout the day. If you’re working, make plans to pick up your gift and meal, and if you’re not scheduled to work, we still welcome you to stop in and pick up your gift and Jimmy Johns! We will also have drawings for gas cards to sign up for on-site!

  • Valley on Columbia will be serving from the Community Room
    • 9:00 am to 5 pm
  • Tufte Manor will serve from the Family Dining Room
    • 9:30 am to 3:30 pm
  • Valley on 42nd to include Woodside Village and Wheatland Terrace will serve from the Myra Café
    • 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Testing Update:
Since 2/10, two staff have tested positive. This includes a non-direct care staff from the Valley Transitions neighborhood and a direct care staff from the Almonte neighborhood at Valley on Columbia. Throughout the company, only 4 staff are currently considered active positives.


2.9.22 Update

In case you missed the Company Zoom earlier today, here is the link >> 2.9 Zoom

COVID Written Plan
Many changes have recently been released through the CDC and CMS. The Valley Senior Living COVID-19 written plan has been updated to accommodate these changes. Please take a moment to review the attachment.

CDC Clarifies Definition of “Up to Date”
A subtle but important change in guidance is that “not up to date” and “up to date” dictates how residents live at Valley and staff work at Valley. It’s not just a difference in work restrictions after exposure anymore.

“Up to date” means an individual who has completed a primary series and received a booster is up to date or an individual who has completed a primary series and is not yet eligible for a booster is up to date. “Not up to date” covers everyone else.

What does this mean for residents and staff?

  • For example, within dining, if a resident is unvaccinated or not up to date with their vaccine series, the resident will dine at a one person table.
  • When COVID cases are greatly reduced and up to date residents do not need masks in certain situations, those that are not up to date will be required to wear masks at all times outside their room.
  • Up to date staff will have more opportunity to be unmasked in well-defined spaces, especially when we are in low or moderate transmission. Please reference the attachment.

Testing Update:
One direct care staff from the Reeves neighborhood at Valley on Columbia tested positive today. Through contact tracing, 3 residents have been identified as close contacts. Currently at Woodside Village, 1 resident is a close contact and a total of 6 residents are close contacts at Valley on Columbia.

Weekly Update:
Since February 2, 11 staff and no residents have tested positive at Valley Senior Living locations. Currently the COVID care areas at Valley on 42nd and Valley on Columbia are both closed. The number of positive cases identified daily within Grand Forks County has decreased by 75 percent from its peak about three weeks ago. While most long term care communities across the state only have minimal outbreaks, there are still a few with more than 10 residents positive at a time.

Giving Hearts Day is Tomorrow! Wear RED!
Donations continue to be accepted for Giving Hearts Day at each care community in the “Giving Hearts” near the main entrances. Donations of $10 or more, made by noon tomorrow, will be entered into the drawing for one of two $50 gift cards. All gifts of $10 or more and up to $33,000 will be match this year by Alerus, Innes Construction, Jean Peterson, and Vaaler Insurance.


2.8.22 Update

COVID/Operational Update:

  • Good news to share! Effective immediately, Woodside Village and Valley on Columbia will return to the universal use of surgical masks and eye protection. If a resident requires transmission-based precautions, follow the instructional signage. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE FOR KEEPING OUR RESIDENTS AS SAFE AS POSSIBLE!
  • Remember that with new guidance last week, close contacts are now on a 7 day protocol of monitoring with day of exposure as Day 0.
  • Resident Monitoring – Resident monitoring 1X per day. Observation status monitoring 2X per day. Close Contact monitoring 3X per day. *TM/WT 1x per day unless otherwise specified*
  • Dining- communal dining is with two residents per table. Close contacts may not partake in communal dining until cleared from their close contact status.
  • Activities– Both neighborhood and multi-neighborhood level activities may continue with masks and social distancing at all times.
  • Common Area Use – Residents may continue to use common areas with masks and social distancing. No visitor use of common areas allowed at this time.
  • Cleaning – Perform neighborhood cleaning as scheduled and as needed; routine cleaners and disinfectants are adequate.
  • Beauty Shop – Residents may continue to utilize the beauty shop if able to mask and social distance for the duration of their appointment.
  • Visitation – Visitation must occur in the resident’s room only. The visitor must mask to and from resident room and is highly encouraged to mask in the resident room. The visitor is made aware of the infection risk upon screening.

Valley Update:

  • Yesterday, we received confirmation of one Valley Transitions staff testing positive. No close contacts were identified.
  • Currently, 14 staff are out for COVID at Valley Senior Living locations.
  • 0 residents have tested positive for COVID at Valley Senior Living since January 27.
  • There are only 5 residents currently identified as a close contact throughout the company.

Grand Forks County:

  • Case count for the county continues to decrease. Current cases are at 25% of the peak of Omicron variant.


2.7.22 Update

Testing Update
Since Friday, February 4, we have received confirmation of 6 staff testing positive.

  • 2/4 – Valley on Columbia, 1 Support Staff
  • 2/5 – Valley on Columbia, 1 Riverside
  • 2/6 – Woodside Village, 1 Heartland (1 Close Contact)
  • 2/7 – Valley on Columbia, 1 Riverside (1 Close Contact)
  • 2/7 – Woodside Village, 1 Heartland, 1 COVID Care Area

COVID Care Area Update
The COVID Care Area is closed at both Woodside Village and Valley on Columbia. This morning, the resident who was being cared for at Valley on Columbia has moved to the Valley Transitions neighborhood and the resident sheltering in place in the Oakcrest neighborhood at Woodside Village is no longer on precautions.

GF Herald
The GF Herald highlighted Meredith Baumann this weekend on the front page of Sunday’s paper! Take a moment to read this awesome article about Meredith and her 45 year social work career at Valley! >> GF HERALD/MEREDITH

Care Partner of the Quarter Nominations
It’s time to vote for the 1st quarter, Care Partners of the Quarter! The nominations have been made and voting is underway. Voting boxes are located in family room/common spaces on each neighborhood and at Tufte Manor and Wheatland Terrace. Good luck to the outstanding employees nominated this quarter.

 It’s Giving Hearts Day Week! Make a TikTok, Win $25,000 for Valley Senior Living!
Thanks to the tremendous generosity of Bell Bank, anyone who completes the Giving Hearts Day TikTok challenge between now and Thursday, Feb. 10, will be entered into a random drawing to win $25,000 for the GHD 2022 charity of their choice. 

Here’s how it works:

  1. If you don’t have a TikTok account, create one J
  2. On TikTok, search for @GivingHeartsDay and watch the HEARTbeat video.
  3. Click the button in the lower right-hand corner to start recording your own video.
  4. Click the “use this sound” button
  5. Be creative and have fun with a HEARTbeat video!
  6. In the description, use the hashtag #25kForGHD and Valley Senior Living as your charity of choice to win the $25,000 prize, and tag your friends!

** Please note, residents should not be in these videos!***


2.4.22 Update

CDC Testing and Close Contact Changes:
We have received new guidance from the CDC. The main changes are a new testing protocol for residents upon admission, re-admission or after returning from outings of 24 hours or more, and the decreased timeframe of close contact monitoring. Through these changes, 22 residents at Valley on Columbia and 9 residents at Woodside Village are no longer considered close contacts as of this morning.

New Testing Protocol
Residents who are admitted, re-admitted, or return from an outing lasting longer than 24 hours, regardless of vaccination status, will require antigen testing immediately (but no sooner than 24 hours) and again between 5 to 7 days. Testing is not necessary for asymptomatic residents who have recovered from COVID-19 infection in the previous 90 days.

Close Contact Monitoring
Residents who are identified as close contacts and regardless of vaccination status, will test immediately (but no sooner than 24 hours) after close contact is determined, and again at day 5 to 7. If both tests are negative, the resident will no longer be considered a close contact. The typical timeframe for close contact is 7 days following the day of exposure (day 0). It is 10 days for asymptomatic residents who have recovered from COVID-19 infection in the previous 90 days.

  • Residents who are up to date with COVID-19 immunizations and are identified as close contacts will not be able to dine with others (they can be at their own table in the dining room or eat in their room) but otherwise will have no restrictions as long as they mask when outside of their rooms.
  • Residents who are not up to date with COVID-19 immunizations and are identified as close contacts will need to stay in their rooms with contact and droplet precautions during the close contact timeframe.

Employees who experience an exposure will require antigen testing immediately and again between 5 to 7 days.

N95 Update:

The number of positive tests are steadily decreasing in Grand Forks County. We are closely monitoring the COVID cases per 100,000 over the last 7 days which have decreased from 252 on Monday to about 159 Friday.  We are looking stop N95 use when we return to the level in early January just before residents and staff started testing positive at much higher rates. That was roughly 100 cases per 100,000 which was double the rate during the peak of the Delta variant. When cases decrease to around the 100 per 100,000 mark, we will stop using N95s. We will continue with N95 use throughout the weekend, but at this rate of decline (about 20 cases per day), we hope to remove them early next week! Thank you for your continued dedication to keeping the residents safe!

Giving Hearts Day

  • Thursday, February 10, 2022 – Wear RED on Thursday!
  • Gifts of $10 or more are matched by Alerus, Innes Construction, Jean Peterson and Vaaler Insurance
  • Donations can be made online at Valley’s Giving Hearts Day page, or in the “giving hearts” at Valley on 42nd, Valley on Columbia or Tufte Manor. All donations onsite will be entered into a drawing for one of two $50 gift cards!


2.2.22 Update

In case you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is the link >> 2.2 ZOOM

Testing Results:
Throughout the past week, 18 staff and 2 residents have tested positive. This is a decrease of more than half from last week. No staff or residents from Tufte Manor or Wheatland Terrace tested positive, and 7 staff and 1 resident from Woodside were identified as positive and 11 staff and 1 resident from Valley on Columbia. Since yesterday’s communication, four staff have been confirmed positive.

  • Valley on Columbia, 2 Direct Care Reeves (3 Close Contacts), 1 Direct Care Contract Staff
  • Woodside Village, 1 Direct Care Oakcrest (1 Close Contact)

Report Symptoms to COVID Line
In the event your experience the onset of any symptoms related to respiratory illness onset or COVID or have had an exposure to a positive individual, please contact the staff illness line at 701.741.9646. Each situation is evaluated and testing is initiated if necessary.

Congrats to our February Longevity Award Recipients! We appreciate your years of dedication to Valley Senior Living!

15 Years
Lisa Kvasager, Woodside Village, Restorative Aide/CNA

10 Years
Janine Ogren, Woodside Village, Social Worker

Kathryn Olson, Valley on Columbia, LPN

Ana Weisz, Valley on Columbia, Restorative Aide/CNA

5 Years
Brandy Keenan, Woodside Village, Environmental Services

Raquel Lopez, Valley on Columbia, CNA

Desta Wilkie, Woodside Village, CNA

Jenelle Stadstad, Valley on Columbia, Dining Services

Congrats Stacy Lewis on winning the Breezy Shores Vacation!
Each year Valley Senior Living and the Foundation give away a week at Breezy Shores Resort at Detroit Lakes. Qualifications to win the awesome reward include being employed Valley Senior Living for at least 3 years and be scheduled at least 30 hours per week. All employees who meet these qualifications are given a chance to register and a drawing is held from all registrations. This year’s winner of the Breezy Shores vacation is Stacy Lewis, CNA, Riverside neighborhood!

Stacy says, “Our family would like to thank Valley so much for this vacation. We are all so excited to go. My husband and I got married May 4, 2021, so this is kind of like an anniversary present! I love being a part of the Valley team, and I love making the residents smile and laugh, and just listening to their stories. Seeing them happy puts a smile on my face. Thanks again, we appreciate this so much!”

Giving Hearts Day

  1. Thank you to everyone who nominated Valley Senior Living to win from Gate City Bank! We were notified yesterday that Valley was one of five charities selected to receive $10,000 from Gate City Bank on Giving Hearts Day!
  2. Donate $10 or more and you will be registered to win one of two available $50 gift cards! Donations can be made at Valley on Columbia and Valley on 42nd at the balloon displays, or at Tufte Manor at the front desk.
  3. Cash, check dated February 10, 2022, or Venmo to VSL_Foundation will be accepted.
  4. Donating online on the Giving Hearts Day website is also an option, and scheduled giving is open now!
  5. All gifts of $10 or more are matched this year by Alerus, Innes Construction, Jean Peterson and Vaaler Insurance.
  6. VISIONBank is holding a video contest again this year. This is another chance where you can vote for Valley Senior Living to win a gift for #GivingHeartsDay. The number of times you vote is not limited.  Thank you!


2.1.22 Update

Staff Testing Results from January 31:

  • Valley on Columbia – 1 Reeves
  • Wheatland Terrace – 1 Non-Direct Care
  • Staffing due to COVID positive cases is improving each day for the last week. Currently there are 14 total staff out, the lowest number since January 12.

COVID Care Area Update:

  • Valley on Columbia – The COVID Care Area at has closed for the first time since December 11. Earlier today a resident moved home to the Reeves area.
  • Woodside Village – 2 residents are currently being cared for in the COVID Care Area at Woodside Village. One resident is sheltering in place.
  • Tufte Manor – The resident who had tested positive and was sheltering in place is no longer on precautions.
  • Wheatland Terrace – The 3 residents who were sheltering in place are no longer on precautions.

Dining Update:
With the downward trend in positive cases we will begin to restart communal dining with 2 people at a table at all care communities.

  • Woodside Village – Dining will begin tomorrow morning, except within the Oakcrest neighborhood due to date of last positive test. Dining will continue in room for Oakcrest and will be reevaluated throughout the week.
  • Valley on Columbia – Dining will resume tomorrow at noon for all neighborhoods
  • Wheatland Terrace – Dining will resume tomorrow at noon
  • Tufte Manor – Dining will resume this evening

N95 Use Update:
Although cases have decreased, they are still equal to the rate of the highest point in the pandemic from November 2020. We expect to see a steep decline and will continue to reevaluate N95 usage again later this week. Please continue to use the N95 masks at Woodside Village and Valley on Columbia.

 

Giving Hearts Day

  1. Thank you to everyone who nominated Valley Senior Living to win from Gate City Bank! We were notified today that Valley was one of five charities selected to receive $10,000 from Gate City Bank on Giving Hearts Day!
  2. Donate $10 or more and you will be registered to win one of two available $50 gift cards! Donations can be made at Valley on Columbia and Valley on 42nd at the balloon displays, or at Tufte Manor at the front desk.
  3. Cash, check dated February 10, 2022, or Venmo to VSL_Foundation will be accepted.
  4. Donating online on the Giving Hearts Day website is also an option, and scheduled giving is open now!
  5. All gifts of $10 or more are matched this year by Alerus, Innes Construction, Jean Peterson and Vaaler Insurance.
  6. VISIONBank is holding a video contest again this year. This is another chance where you can vote for Valley Senior Living to win a gift for #GivingHeartsDay. The number of times you vote is not limited. J Thank you!


1.31.22 Update

Testing Update
Things are trending in the right direction with fewer positive cases. Since Friday, January 28, we have received confirmation of 5 staff testing positive and no residents have tested positive.

  • Woodside Village – 2 Non-Direct, 1 Heartland (1 Close Contact)
  • Valley on Columbia – 1 Reeves (2 Close Contacts), 1 Non-Direct

Recruit Someone to Join the Team at Valley, Earn A Bonus!
We have continued to keep the recruiter bonus for full time employees at $2000! Open positions include licensed nursing, CNA and CNA Class (next class starts February 14!) dining, housekeeping and more! Share this link with anyone you feel would be a great care partner >> valleyseniorliving.org/apply

 $$$ RECRUITER BONUS $$$

  • Full Time Recruit = $2000 for YOU
  • Part Time Recruit = $1000 for YOU
  • Flex Time Recruit = $500 for YOU


1.28.22 Update

Testing Update
Last night a resident from the Oakcrest neighborhood at Woodside Village tested positive and is sheltering in place.

Three staff have tested positive including:

  • Woodside Village – 1 Non-Direct Care
  • Valley on Columbia – 1 Riverside (10 close contacts), 1 Non-Direct Care

Report Respiratory Illness Onset
Please continue to report the onset of any respiratory illness to the COVID staff illness line at 701-741-9646. Reportable symptoms include cough, congestion/runny nose, sore throat, muscle/body aches, headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, chills, loss of taste and/or smell, nausea/vomiting or diarrhea.

Earn a BONUS for Recruiting New Employees
Valley Senior Living has positions open in nursing, dining, housekeeping and more! Recruit new employees to join the team and earn a bonus! Share this link with anyone you feel would be a great care partner >> valleyseniorliving.org/apply

  $$$ RECRUITER BONUS $$$

  • Full Time Recruit = $2000 for YOU
  • Part Time Recruit = $1000 for YOU
  • Flex Time Recruit = $500 for YOU


1.27.22 Update

Testing Update:
One resident from the Valley Transitions neighborhood at Valley on Columbia has tested positive. The resident moved to the COVID care area where we are now caring for five residents. Three staff tested positive, 2 at Valley on Columbia (1 Reeves, 1 Valley Transitions), and 1 from Heartland at Woodside Village. Through contact tracing, no close contacts were identified for any of the cases.

There are some positive signs in the last three days that we may have peaked in our positivity rate and number of cases in Grand Forks County! In other areas, this wave decreases quickly. We hopefully can expect 1/3 fewer cases next week and 1/3 fewer cases the week after that.

Testing at UND:
If the COVID staff illness line instructs you to test at UND, please remember to bring your name tag/name badge to the testing event. Due to volume and changes at the testing site, proof of employment at Valley will be needed for prioritization of tests.

Hairball Ticket Winners:

Thank you to everyone who registered and congratulations to winners!

  • Paula Haugen, LPN from Tufte Manor
  • Kimberly Duncombe, CNA class participant


1.26.22 Update

THANK YOU TO ALL STAFF!
Every day has been challenging for staffing this month. Thank you to everyone at Valley for continuing to hold the care of residents in the highest regard. Thank you for taking on additional shifts, working different hours or neighborhoods, and supporting other departments as we deal with exposures, active infections, symptoms, etc. If you have a chance, please share your appreciation with each other, share grace when needed, and know you are appreciated for your dedication!

Company Zoom: If you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is the link >> 1.26 ZOOM

Testing Update:
Throughout the past 7 days, 37 staff and 9 residents have tested positive.

  • Woodside Village – 14 staff, 3 residents
  • Valley on Columbia – 16 staff, 2 residents
  • Tufte Manor – 4 staff, 1 resident
  • Wheatland Terrace – 3 staff, 3 residents

COVID Care Area Updates:

  • Valley on Columbia – currently caring for 4 residents, 2 have transferred to the hospital and back this week, and 3 residents recovered (2 moved home to Tufte Manor and 1 moved to Valley Transitions).
  • Woodside Village – currently caring for 3 residents, 1 resident is sheltering in place within Heartland and 5 residents recovered.
  • Tufte Manor – 1 resident is currently sheltering in place in their room
  • Wheatland Terrace – 3 residents are currently sheltering in place in their apartment

Federal Vaccine Mandate
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have announced the updated details and revised compliance dates for the federal vaccine mandate, which applies to Valley Senior Living employees who work within skilled nursing care communities including Valley Senior Living on Columbia and Woodside Village. Employees within skilled nursing or long term care at Valley Senior Living must begin a vaccine series (1st dose of a 2 dose series, or 1 dose J&J) by February 14 and complete the two dose series by March 15. For employees who do not receive a medical or religious exemption or do not comply with the federal mandate and the Valley Senior Living policy by March 15, it will be considered a voluntary resignation. Assisted Living (Wheatland Terrace) and basic care (Tufte Manor) will follow a different mandate utilizing the state ruling and guidance on vaccine mandates. Please reference the attached policies (202.22) and (202.23) and hear more details from Adam Edwards, Chief Human Resources Officer, in the company zoom link above.

National Activity Professionals Week
Happy Activity Professionals Week! To the recreation and life enrichment departments, thank you for sharing your talents, creativity, energy, enthusiasm and compassion with residents at Valley.

Testing at UND
If the COVID staff illness line instructs you to test at UND, please remember to bring your name tag/name badge to the testing event. Due to volume and changes at the testing site, proof of employment at Valley will be needed for prioritization of tests.

Retirement Celebration for Meredith Baumann, LBSW
Please join us for a retirement celebration, Friday, January 28, 1:30 to 3:30 pm in Center Court at Valley on Columbia, honoring Meredith Baumann and her 45 years of dedication to Valley Senior Living. Please remember to wear your favorite Disney attire, Mickey Mouse ears or princess gown!

Register to WIN Hairball tickets for this Saturday, January 29!
Two pair of tickets were given to Valley Senior Living from the Alerus Center as a thank you for the partnership we shared with them throughout the past year. Hairball is a Rock & Roll experience and is known for a drop dead accurate homage to some of the biggest arena acts like Van Halen, KISS, Motley Crue, Queen, Journey, Aerosmith and more! Lights, sound, smoke and more! Register to win at this link >> https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HHYG6DM

**Two Winners will be announced tomorrow!


1.25.22 Update

Testing Update
Residents: One resident from the Oakcrest neighborhood has tested positive. The resident has moved to the COVID care area at Woodside Village where we are now caring for 3 residents. Through contact tracing, two residents has been identified as close contacts.

Staff: Since last night, six staff have been confirmed positive:

  • Woodside Village – 1 Contract Staff (1 Close Contact)
  • Valley on Columbia – 1 Non-Direct Care, 1 Reeves, 1 Riverside (2 Close Contacts)
  • Wheatland Terrace – 2 Direct Care

It’s BONUS time!
Now is the perfect time to recruit employees to join the team at Valley! We continue to look for the best candidates to care for residents, and we know you will help us find the best team members. For every person you recruit (NO LIMIT ON THE NUMBER) we will pay you the recruiter BONUS! Please contact Human Resources if you have recruited someone to apply, or if you have any questions about this bonus.  Call 701-787-7942 or email dhabedank@valleyseniorliving.org for more information.

 $$$ RECRUITER BONUS $$$

  • Full Time Recruit = $2000 for YOU
  • Part Time Recruit = $1000 for YOU
  • Flex Time Recruit = $500 for YOU

Are you ready to ROCK? Register to WIN Hairball tickets for this Saturday, January 29! Two pair of tickets were given to Valley Senior Living from the Alerus Center as a thank you for the partnership we shared with them throughout the past year.

 Hairball is a Rock & Roll experience and is known for a drop dead accurate homage to some of the biggest arena acts like Van Halen, KISS, Motley Crue, Queen, Journey, Aerosmith and more! Lights, sound, smoke and more! Register to win at this link >>

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HHYG6DM

**Winner will be announced Thursday, January 27.


1.24.22 Update

Testing Update
Residents: Since Friday, 5 residents have tested positive. This includes 1 resident from the Heartland neighborhood who was being tested due to identification as a close contact, 3 Wheatland Terrace residents who were tested due to symptom onset and one Tufte Manor resident who was tested due to symptoms.

The Woodside Village resident is being cared for in the COVID care area at Woodside Village, and the Wheatland Terrace and Tufte Manor residents are sheltering in place within their apartments.

Staff: Since Friday afternoon, 17 staff have tested positive.

  • Woodside Village: Heartland – 4 direct care, Prairieview – 1 direct care, Hearthstone – 1 direct care, Oakcrest – 1 direct care (3 Close Contacts), 1 Non-Direct Care
  • Valley on Columbia: Reeves – 3 direct care (3 Close Contacts), Almonte – 2 direct care (4 Close Contacts), Valley Transitions – 1 direct care (4 Close Contacts), 1 Non-Direct Care
  • Tufte Manor: 1 direct care, 1 non-direct care

 Operational Changes
Communal dining continues to be suspended throughout the organization. N95 masks in resident care areas continues for Woodside Village and Valley on Columbia.

Booster Clinic Tomorrow! Take advantage of the last on-site booster clinic!
Tuesday, January 25 from 12 to 1 pm
Valley on 42nd in the Auditorium


1.21.2022

Testing Update

Residents: We had one Prairieview and one Reeves resident test positive this morning. With our positive cases today, the Woodside Village COVID Care area continues to be full and residents are sheltering in place. At Valley on Columbia we are holding admissions because our Covid Care Area has 2 beds available for the next 7 days. We can expand to another 4 beds, but we only have 3 rooms for those residents in those 4 rooms to move to within the entire building.

Staff:

  • Valley on Columbia: Valley Transitions – 1 direct care staff (5 close contacts), Almonte – 2 direct care staff (6 close contacts), Lanark – 1 direct care staff (3 close contacts)
  • Woodside Village: Prairieview – 2 direct care staff
  • Wheatland Terrace: 1 direct care staff
  • Tufte Manor: 2 direct care staff

Operational Changes

We know that families, residents, and staff are able to give COVID to residents. While we have a limited impact on what we can do with visitors, we can do a better job as staff in asymptomatically giving COVID to residents by wearing N95s, and residents can infect fewer residents by stopping communal dining.

As soon as possible, we are moving to staff use of N95 masks in resident care areas at WV and VC. Effective this evening (Friday January 21) we are suspending communal dining.

Surgical masks worked well with Delta to prevent asymptomatic spread from staff and families to residents. They are not performing as well with Omicron. More residents tested positive in the last two weeks at WV and VC than in the whole last year combined. We know that if we tested every resident, we would identify more positive cases. Vaccinated and boostered residents are doing well with these infections so far throughout North Dakota, but that isn’t a reason to operate in such a manner that we give other residents a higher risk of contracting COVID.

Five percent of our staff were symptomatic and positive last week. While 11 percent of unvaccinated staff tested positive last week, 3.5 percent of our vaccinated and boostered staff tested positive last week. We know that if we tested everyone, we would identify more positive cases. Testing isn’t timely enough to prevent asymptomatic positive staff from working with residents, so we are moving to N95s as source control for staff as if we are all asymptomatically positive when we are around residents.


1.20.22 Update

Thank You, Valley Employees and Residents!

$886.00 was raised for Giving Hearts Day at the Taco in a Bag fundraisers on January 19! Thanks for your support of the residents at Valley Senior Living!

  • $576.00 at Valley on Columbia
  • $280.00 at Valley on 42nd
  • $30.00 at Tufte Manor

Testing Update

 Residents

  • One resident from the Lanark neighborhood tested positive today and has moved to the COVID care area at Valley on Columbia. This is the second resident identified as positive in the Lanark neighborhood in the last two days. Although no additional close contacts have been identified, additional precautions are now in place within Lanark to include the suspension of communal dining, activities and common area use is temporarily unavailable.

Staff

  • Valley on Columbia – 3 staff (1 Valley Transitions, 1 Lanark, 1 Riverside)
  • Woodside Village – 2 staff (1 Non-Direct Care, 1 Prairieview)

COVID Care Area Updates

  • Woodside Village – We continue to care for three residents in the COVID Care Area and three residents who have tested positive are sheltering in place within their rooms.
  • Valley on Columbia – We have three residents in the COVID Care Area at Valley on Columbia. One resident moved home to Tufte Manor today, one resident transferred to Valley Transitions, and one resident has transferred to the hospital.
  • Wheatland Terrace – One resident who tested positive continues to shelter in place within their apartment.

Eligible for the Booster? Take advantage of the last on-site booster clinic!

Tuesday, January 25 from 12 to 1 pm

Valley on 42nd in the Auditorium


1.19.22 Update

If you missed the company zoom earlier today, please take time to watch the recording >> 1.19 Zoom

Testing Update:

Residents

  • 1/18 – 1 Resident, Heartland at Woodside Village, shelter in place
  • 1/19 – 1 Resident, Lanark at Valley on Columbia, move to COVID Care Area
  • 1/19 – 1 Resident, Valley Transitions at Valley on Columbia, move to COVID Care Area

Staff

  • 1/17 – 2 Woodside Village, 1 non-direct care, 1 Heartland
  • 1/17 – 1 Valley on Columbia, non-direct care
  • 1/18 – 1 Valley on Columbia, Reeves
  • 1/18- 1 Woodside Village, Heartland
  • 1/19 – 1 Tufte Manor, direct care
  • 1/19 – 1 Wheatland Terrace, direct care (1 Close Contact)
  • 1/19 – 3 Woodside Village, 1 non-direct care, 1 Heartland, 1 Oakcrest
  • 1/19 – 3 Valley on Columbia, 1 Reeves, 1 Riverside, 1 non-direct care

No Operational Changes From New Resident Positive Cases
Due to self-isolation of the Heartland, Lanark, and Valley Transitions residents, no changes will occur with dining or activities. All residents continue to be required to mask when outside their rooms, are encouraged to physically distance at all times, and communal dining is already adjusted or in the process of being adjusted to two residents per table to reduce risk and possible exposures.

Communal Dining and Admissions continues to be suspended at Prairieview. Woodside Village resumed dining today in Heartland, Oakcrest, and Hearthstone. Tufte Manor is resuming “pandemic normal” by resuming admissions and planning to restart dining with 2 people at a table sometime in the near future.

COVID Care Area and Positive Resident Updates

Valley on Columbia is caring for 5 residents in the COVID Care Area.

Woodside Village is caring for 3 residents in the COVID Care Area and has 3 residents sheltering in place in their rooms.

Wheatland Terrace has one resident who tested positive sheltering in place in their apartment.

Booster Clinic Update
Valley will host one additional booster clinic on Tuesday, January 25 from 12 noon to 1 pm in the Auditorium at Valley on 42nd. If you are eligible to receive your booster, please make plans to attend! If you are interested in beginning a vaccine series, you may have the option to do that at this clinic. Please contact Carra Hindberg for more details at 701-787-7839 or email chindberg@valleyseniorliving.org.

If the date of the booster clinic does not work with your schedule, Thrifty White Pharmacy has walk-in availability during regular pharmacy hours.

  • Thrifty White Pharmacy

1395 C South Columbia Road, Grand Forks

Pharmacy Hours

Monday-Friday: 9 am to 7 pm

Saturday: 9 am to 1:30 pm

Free At-Home Test Kits
The COVIDtests.gov website launched yesterday and you can now order up to 4 free COVID tests for at-home use. These tests could be a great resource to use with family members or when you are not feeling well.

Unvaccinated Staff Continue to Test Mondays and Thursdays
Regulatory requirements include testing of unvaccinated staff twice weekly. We continue to host testing events every Monday at Valley on 42nd from 1:30 to 3:30 and Thursday at Valley on Columbia from 1:30 to 3:30. In the event you are unvaccinated and cannot attend these events, please contact Sam Jallo, Employee Health Nurse, at 701-787-7971 to make alternative arrangements to meet the twice weekly testing requirement.

Vaccine Mandate Update
Last week the Supreme Court upheld the federal vaccine mandate for healthcare workers at facilities that receive funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. New information has been received and employees who are unvaccinated must comply by receiving the first dose of a two dose series, or the one dose J & J shot, by February 14, and complete the two dose series by March 15, or receive an approved medical or religious exemption by February 14. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Human Resources as soon as possible at 701-787-7941.

Thank you to everyone who supported the Giving Hearts Day Taco in a Bag fundraiser today!


1.17.22 Update

Happy Martin Luther King Jr Day! He was truly an amazing person with so many accomplishments in a life that ended in his assassination before he turned 40. One of his quotes struck me today… “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

Valley Senior Living staff certainly know we are doing for others right now: caring for our community’s most vulnerable residents during another peak of this pandemic. Please have grace for yourselves and each other because it is next to impossible for everyone to have a “normal” day at work for the next few weeks despite our best efforts.

Since 2:00pm on Saturday, January 15, 13 staff have tested positive:

1/15 – 2 CNA Class, 1 Woodside Village-Heartland, 1 Valley on Columbia-Reeves

1/16 – 3 Woodside Village-1 Non-Direct Care, 1 Prairieview, 1 Hearthstone, 2 Valley on Columbia-1 Valley Transitions, 1 Lanark

1/17 – 1 Woodside Village-Heartland, 2 Valley on Columbia-1 Riverside, 1 Non-Direct Care, 1 Tufte Manor-Non-Direct Care

We have not peaked yet in our community. Grand Forks County reported a 40% positivity rate on the resulted tests from yesterday. Please continue to report symptoms to the COVID staff illness line at 701-741-9646 and report any travel outside the North Dakota/Minnesota area as requested on the staff screening log.

Support Valley with Taco In a Bag on Wednesday!
Enjoy a Taco In a Bag on Wednesday at Valley on Columbia and Valley on 42nd! This fundraiser is for Giving Hearts Day on February 10. Serving will take place in Center Court at Valley on Columbia from 9:45 am to 1 pm and from the Myra Café at Valley on 42nd from 9:30 am to 1 pm. $5.00 or more donation is requested. Enjoy, and thanks for supporting Valley Senior Living on Giving Hearts Day.


1.15.22 Update

Testing Update:

  • One resident from Valley Transitions has tested positive. This resident is transferring to the COVID-19 care area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia. Effective immediately, communal dining has been suspended in the Valley Transitions neighborhood. Resident monitoring has increased to 3x/day.
  • Six staff have tested positive:
    • Valley on Columbia
      • 1 non direct care
      • 1 direct care – Valley Transitions
      • 1 direct care – Riverside (1 close contact)
    • Wheatland Terrace
      • 1 non direct care
    • Valley on 42nd
      • 1 direct care – Prairieview (4 close contacts)
      • 1 non direct care


1.14.22 Update

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am excited to announce that the Board of Directors has approved a wage increase for CNAs, LPNs, and RNs!

All CNAs are receiving a $.50/hour increase across the board and all nurses are receiving $1/hour increase across the board. The effective date of the wage increase is Sunday, January 9, and will be reflected on the January 28, 2022 paychecks.

Starting wages are now $19/hour for CNAs, $22.89/hour for LPN Treatment, $25.20/hour for LPN Charge, and $32.20 for RNs. (NOTE: There are a few flex RNs and LPNs who may receive a partial increase or no increase at all. Last year we made the decision to pay flex and regular status employees the same wages. Any current flex staff’s wages were frozen until regular staff’s wages increased by 10%).

Valley Senior Living remains committed to taking care of its employees while remaining competitive in a highly unpredictable job market.

Recruiter BONUS!
With this increase in wages and sign-on bonuses still in effect, now is the perfect time to recruit employees to join the team at Valley! We continue to look for the best candidates to care for residents and if you help to recruit team members, we will pay you the recruiter BONUS! Please contact Human Resources if you have recruited someone to apply and join our organization to begin the bonus process. You can call 701-787-7942 or email dhabedank@valleyseniorliving.org for more information.

$$$ RECRUITER BONUS $$$

  • Full Time Recruit = $2000 for YOU
  • Part Time Recruit = $1000 for YOU
  • Flex Time Recruit = $500 for YOU

 Other bonuses for current employees:

CNAs

  • Flex to Part Time = $2500
  • Flex to Full Time = $5000
  • Part Time to Full Time = $ 5000

 RN/LPNs

  • Flex to Part Time = $2500
  • Flex to Full Time = $5000
  • Part Time to Full Time = $5000


1.13.22 Update

Testing Update

  • One resident from the Prairieview neighborhood have tested positive. The resident will shelter in place with increased monitoring.
  • One resident from Wheatland Terrace has tested positive and will shelter in place with increased monitoring.
  • Since our update yesterday, 11 staff have tested positive. This includes:
    • Woodside Village
      • 2 Non-Direct Care
      • 1 Prairieview
      • 1 Hearthstone
    • Valley on Columbia
      • 2 Lanark (12 Close Contacts)
      • 3 Non-Direct Care (3 Close Contacts)
      • 1 Almonte (1 Close Contact)
    • Wheatland Terrace
      • 1 Direct Care

Your best chance to avoid infection continues to be getting your booster ASAP if you are eligible. Please schedule an appointment or attend a walk-in clinic in the community as soon as possible. Ways to schedule include:

Federal Vaccine Mandate
Earlier today the Supreme Court has approved vaccine requirements for staff of all U.S. nursing homes and other federally funded healthcare facilities. This will affect approximately 20 staff at Valley Senior Living who will need to apply for a religious or medical exemption, or elect to be vaccinated. This federal vaccine mandate does not apply to Tufte Manor or Wheatland Terrace. When we are informed of the dates this mandate will become effective, we will be in contact with affected staff.


1.12.22 Update

Testing Update

  • Three residents from the Prairieview neighborhood at Woodside Village have tested positive. Two residents have moved to the COVID care area and one will shelter in place.
  • Since our last update on Monday, 13 staff have tested positive. This includes:
    • Woodside Village
      • 1 Direct Care Prairieview (1 Close Contact)
      • 1 Direct Care Hearthstone
      • 1 Direct Care Prairieview (2 Close Contacts)
      • 1 Direct Care Prairieview
    • Valley on Columbia
      • 1 Non-Direct Care
      • 1 Direct Care Almonte (5 Close Contacts)
      • 1 Direct Care Almonte (6 Close Contacts
      • 1 Non-Direct Care (1 Close Contact)
    • Wheatland Terrace
      • 1 Non-Direct Care
    • Tufte Manor
      • 1 Direct Care (3 Close Contacts)
      • 1 Non-Direct Care (1 Close Contact)
      • 1 Support Staff

Throughout the past week, 28 staff and 6 residents have been identified as positive.

Operational Changes

  • Communal dining and activities are currently suspended at Tufte Manor.
  • Communal dining has been temporarily stopped at Woodside Village until further testing of close contacts determines no virus transmission. Activities continue with masking and physical distancing required.
  • Communal dining is being modified at Valley on Columbia. Two people will now dine at a table at a time and options to dine in room will be offered. Residents/primary decision makers will be contacted to discuss risk and further dining modification options. Activities continue with masking and physical distancing required.
  • Communal dining has been modified at Wheatland Terrace, effective immediately. Two people will now dine at a table and dining will be expanded into the Fireside room to accommodate residents with appropriate spacing. Activities continue with making and physical distancing required.

Important Reminder

  • Report symptoms related to COVID or respiratory illness onset to the COVID staff illness line at 701.741.9646.
    • cough, congestion/runny nose, sore throat, muscle/body aches, headache, fatigue, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, chills, loss of taste and/or smell, nausea/vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Assist residents to wear their mask during care interactions.
  • Continue to wear your PPE appropriately and remind residents of their mask requirements when outside their room.

 Check Payroll Deductions
The Human Resources and Payroll department would like to ask all employees to take a moment and check payroll deductions on your next paystub. Valley has transitioned to a new company that is processing our health benefits and we are wanting to ensure everything looks correct for all employees. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Kathy Feist at 701-787-7956 or email kfeist@valleyseniorliving.org.

 Thanks for getting the BOOSTER!
58 people got the booster yesterday, bringing our one week total to about 150 through our booster clinics! Thank you for doing your part to protect the residents and yourself. If you are booster eligible and have not had the opportunity to attend one of the booster clinics at Valley, please schedule an appointment or attend a walk-in clinic in the community as soon as possible. Ways to schedule include:


1.10.22 Update

BOOSTER CLINIC TOMORROW!
If you are eligible for your booster, please attend the booster clinic at Valley on Columbia tomorrow, January 11 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm. Don’t forget your insurance card.

Your best chance of getting through this variant without testing positive is through getting a booster if you are eligible.

Since Friday an additional 11 staff have tested positive, bringing our total to 62 staff testing positive since boosters have been available:

  • 0 staff with a booster have tested positive (about 35% of our staff now have a booster)
  • 24 unvaccinated staff tested positive (about 10% of our staff are not vaccinated)
  • 38 vaccinated staff tested positive (about 55% of our staff have two doses of the vaccine and no booster)

TODAY’S TESTING UPDATE
We have received confirmation of two residents testing positive today.

  • 1 Tufte Manor – Will shelter in place until further testing is complete (5 close contacts identified)
  • 1 Woodside Village – Has moved to COVID care area at Woodside Village (3 close contacts identified)

Confirmation was received of 4 staff testing positive today.

  • 1 Woodside Village – non-direct care
  • 1 Woodside Village – Hearthstone
  • 1 Woodside Village – Heartland
  • 1 Tufte Manor – non-direct care

We are currently caring for one COVID positive resident in the COVID care area at Valley on Columbia, one COVID positive resident in the COVID care area at Woodside Village and one COVID positive resident from Tufte Manor is sheltering in place.

OPERATIONAL CHANGES
Communal dining has been stopped at Tufte Manor and within the Heartland neighborhood at Woodside Village until further testing is complete. Activities have been temporarily suspended at Tufte Manor. All residents are required to wear their mask when outside their rooms. Please continue to encourage and assist with physical distancing or residents at activities or within common areas.


1.9.22 Update

We have received confirmation of one resident from Tufte Manor testing positive. The resident is in process with moving to the COVID care area at Valley on Columbia. After this move is completed, we will be caring for two residents in the COVID care area.

In addition to the positive resident at Tufte Manor, seven staff have tested positive since Friday. This includes:

Woodside Village

  • (1/8/22) 1 Non-Direct Care
  • (1/8/22) 1 Prairieview (1 Close Contact)
  • (1/9/22) 1 Contract Staff – working within both Woodside Village and Tufte Manor (3 Close Contacts at WV)

Valley On Columbia

  • (1/8/22) 2 Valley Transitions (4 Close Contacts)
  • (1/8/22 and 1/9/22) 2 Almonte

Tufte Manor

  • (1/9/22) 1 Contact Staff – working within both Tufte Manor and Woodside Village (1 Close Contact at TM)

For residents who are identified as a close contact of the positive individual, the following measures will be implemented:

  1. Resident monitoring will increase to three times per day for the next 14 days.
  2. The residents will mask, as able, any time they leave their room or attend activities for the next 14 days.
  3. A series of two viral tests for SARS-CoV-2 (one test no sooner than 2 days after exposure, and if negative, a second test 5-7 days after exposure) will be completed.

An onsite BOOSTER CLINIC is scheduled for Tuesday, January 11 at Valley on Columbia from 1:30 to 3:30 pm.

  • Booster is available to anyone who has received two dose Pfizer more than five months ago, two dose of Moderna more than six months ago or the one shot J & J more than two months ago.


1.7.22 Update

There were 184 new cases in Grand Forks County today. In the last week, the cases and positivity rate have nearly tripled in Grand Forks County.

Your best chance for avoiding a positive test result is to be recently boostered.

Since boosters have been available, 51 staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at Valley Senior Living:

  • 0 staff with a booster have tested positive (about 35% of our staff now have a booster)
  • 19 unvaccinated staff tested positive (about 10% of our staff are not vaccinated)
  • 32 vaccinated staff tested positive (about 55% of our staff have two doses of the vaccine)

Need your booster?

  • An onsite BOOSTER CLINIC is scheduled for Tuesday, January 11 at Valley on Columbia from 1:30 to 3:30 pm.
  • Booster is available to anyone who has received two dose Pfizer more than five months ago, two dose of Moderna more than six months ago or the one shot J & J more than two months ago.
  • If January 11 does not work for you or you would like the vaccine booster sooner than that, visit ndvax.ndvax.org or vaccine.gov.  CVS Pharmacy also has many openings for Pfizer, Moderna and J & J on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

  • In the event you have an exposure to a positive COVID case, you will be able to continue working if you have your booster, and not need to use your PTO or take unpaid time off.
  • If you have received your booster and have not notified Human Resources, please do so ASAP! Email dhabedank@valleyseniorliving.org with questions.

Testing Update and Schedule
We received confirmation of three staff testing positive today. This includes:

  • Two from Valley on Columbia (1 Non-Direct Care, 1 Support Staff) – No Close Contacts
  • One from Woodside Village (Prairieview) – No Close Contacts

Unvaccinated staff will test on Monday, January 10 from 1:00 to 3:30 at Valley on 42nd.

SYMPTOMS? What should you do?
In the event you are experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19 or respiratory illness including cough, congestion/runny nose, sore throat, muscle/body aches, headache, fatigue, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, chills, loss of taste and/or smell, nausea/vomiting, or diarrhea please call the COVID staff illness line at 701-741-9646 to report your symptoms.


1.6.22 Update

Resident Masking Requirement Update
In the presence of the Omicron variant (a far more transmissible variant), the rapidly increasing COVID-19 positivity rate in Grand Forks County, and our recent knowledge of one Fargo care facility with an 18 resident and 19 staff outbreak, and an area nursing home with a 9 resident outbreak, the COVID Command Team has elected to reintroduce the measure of having residents mask when leaving their rooms. This measure is to reduce the risk of a large outbreak within our care communities. Residents will be asked to mask when traveling to and from the dining rooms, when attending activities and spending time in common areas, and will continue to unmask once they reach their designated seat in the dining room. We continue to ask residents to physically distance at least six feet from one another when in common spaces and encourage frequent hand hygiene.

  • Please assist residents to don their masks anytime they leave their room.
  • Residents may continue to unmask at their designated seat in the dining rooms, but should continue to mask to and from the table.
  • Continue to provide each resident with a new mask daily and anytime theirs is soiled, damaged, or becomes difficult to breathe through.

The data relating to the increase in cases shared today from Grand Forks Public Health is alarming. Our efforts need to remain focused on infection prevention, calling the COVID staff illness line at 701.741.9646 in the event you begin to develop any symptoms related to COVID-19, proper mask use, frequent hand hygiene, and physically distancing when possible.

Booster Clinic:
The next booster clinic is scheduled for January 11 at Valley on Columbia from 1:30 to 3:30 pm. If you are eligible to receive the booster, please take the time to protect yourself and the residents by getting the additional protection. Anyone who received the Pfizer vaccine at least 5 months ago is now eligible, the Moderna series at least six months or the J & J one shot at least two months ago. If January 11 does not work for you or you would like the protection of the booster sooner, please visit ndvax.org or vaccine.gov to find locations. Grand Forks Public Health also has walk-in availability in the Grand Cities Mall.

Testing Update:
We received confirmation of one direct care staff from the Heartland neighborhood who tested positive. One resident close contact was identified through contact tracing.


1.5.22 Update

In case you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is the link >> 1.5 ZOOM

Since boosters were available, 45 staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at Valley Senior Living:

  • 0 staff with a booster have tested positive (about 35% of our staff now have a booster)
  • 19 unvaccinated staff tested positive (about 10% of our staff are not vaccinated)
  • 27 vaccinated staff tested positive (about 55% of our staff have two doses of the vaccine)

Weekly Reporting
This week eight staff and one resident from Valley Senior Living tested positive.

  • Four of the positive staff were from Valley on Columbia, including a direct care staff from Riverside, two from Valley Transitions, and one non-direct care staff.
  • Two direct care from Woodside Village, including a direct care from Prairieview and a direct care from Heartland.
  • One non-direct care from Tufte Manor.
  • One direct care from Wheatland Terrace.

No residents were identified as close contacts through contact tracing. One resident from Valley Transitions tested positive and is currently being cared for the COVID care area. One resident recovered this week and moved home to the Valley Transitions neighborhood.

Grand Forks County
Yesterday, approximately 1000 tests were processed with a nearly 20% positivity rate. The number of active cases have more than doubled in the county. This marks a drastic change in Grand Forks County. The COVID Command Team will be meeting tomorrow to discuss potential operational changes needed to maintain our infection prevention efforts as we approach this next wave of the pandemic.

Thank you to the 90+ employees who received their booster yesterday!
The next booster clinic offered by Valley Senior Living in conjunction with our pharmacy partner Thrifty White Pharmacy is scheduled for January 11 from 1:30 – 2:30 pm at Valley on Columbia.

  • Boosters can be scheduled at alternative times at other locations. Please check org or vaccine.gov to find locations and schedule.
  • You are eligible to get the booster if it has been six months since you received the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna or two months since the one dose J & J.
  • If you already have received your booster or if you schedule one before January 11 it is very important to contact HR immediately to submit proof of the vaccine booster.

Update Address for W2
Have you moved? Have a new address? Let HR know by end of day Thursday, January 6 for accuracy on your W2. Please contact HR now by emailing dhabedank@valleyseniorliving.org or kstorbakken@valleyseniorliving.org with updated addresses!

Congrats Care Partners of the Quarter! Selected by residents and fellow care partners for Excellence, Trust, Teamwork, Empowerment, and Community!

Woodside Village

  • Oakcrest – Jill Lembke, Housekeeper
  • Heartland – Kristina Harper-Black, RN
  • Hearthstone – Cherilyn Whitney, CNA
  • Prairieview – Kendra Nelson, LPN

Wheatland Terrace

  • Shannon Gramm, PCA, MA

Tufte Manor

  • Mallory Hiott, Administrative Assistant

Valley Senior Living on Columbia

  • Almonte – Marty Sanchez, Environmental Services
  • Valley Transitions – Amy Vanscoy, LPN
  • Lanark – Allison Butters, CNA
  • Riverside – Sarah Sharpe, RN
  • Reeves – Shalana Brueckner, CAN

Take advantage of available BONUSES!
Do you know of someone looking for a new job or a new career? Valley Senior Living is hiring for a variety of positions, and if you recruit someone, you are eligible for the RECRUITER BONUS! Send your friends to valleyseniorliving.org/apply to find their next career! 

  • Full Time Recruit = $2000 for YOU
  • Part Time Recruit = $1000 for YOU
  • Flex Time Recruit = $500 for YOU

Other bonuses for current employees:

CNAs

  • Flex to Part Time = $2500
  • Flex to Full Time = $5000
  • Part Time to Full Time = $ 5000

 RN/LPNs

  • Flex to Part Time = $2500
  • Flex to Full Time = $5000
  • Part Time to Full Time = $5000


1.4.22 Update

Storm policy in effect from 6:00pm tonight. We anticipate that this will run through 9:00am Wednesday morning. Our storm policy will be in effect for the hours of the blizzard warning. During a storm, weather related lates, tardies, and absences do not count for points on our attendance policy. You are paid back to the scheduled beginning of your shift as long as you are in before 25% of your shift has elapsed.

If you were planning to attend the monthly Eden training tomorrow, it is cancelled due to the weather.


1.4.22 Update

Have you moved? Have a new address? Let HR know by end of day Thursday, January 6 for accuracy on your W2. Please contact HR now by emailing dhabedank@valleyseniorliving.org or kstorbakken@valleyseniorliving.org with updated addresses!

2 Staff Positive
We received confirmation of two staff testing positive from Valley on Columbia earlier today with one being non-direct care and one from the Valley Transitions neighborhood. No close contacts were identified through contact tracing.

Booster Update
THANK YOU TO THE 90 STAFF WHO GOT THEIR BOOSTER TODAY! January 11, 2022 will be the next onsite booster clinic at Valley on Columbia from 1:30 to 3:30 pm. If you are interested in getting the protection of the booster sooner, please schedule your appointment at ndvax.org or vaccine.gov now!

If you have received the booster, please contact Human Resources asap with proof of the booster. This will ensure your receive compensation in the event you become exposed.


1.4.22 Update

BOOSTER Clinic today from 1:30 to 3:30pm at Valley on 42nd! Anyone from any care community who received your Pfizer vaccine five months ago, Moderna six months ago, J & J recipients two months ago are eligible.

Cases are currently higher in GF County than any time in 2021 while testing is at its lowest numbers in 5 months. Below is the positivity rate. It doubled in the last week.

Everyone had their reasons for getting vaccinated and those reasons are the same that you should consider getting a booster today. Your protection from infection is greatest with a booster.


1.3.22 Update

Happy New Year! Valley Senior Living has partnered with Thrifty White Pharmacy and will offer the first BOOSTER Clinic tomorrow! The first clinic will be held at Valley on 42nd, although employees from any care community are welcome to attend. A slight change to CDC recommendations were announced today, and now if it has been longer than five months since you received your Pfizer vaccine you are eligible to receive the booster. Those who received Moderna are eligible for the booster after six months and J & J recipients after two months.

Make plans to get your booster now! All employees eligible are welcome to attend at either location.

  • January 4 – Valley on 42nd – 1:30 to 3:30 pm
  • January 11 – Valley on Columbia – 1:30 to 3:30 pm

If you have not received your booster, and you are eligible to, please complete this survey to assist with scheduling doses for the Booster Clinic.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/89WR8WH

3 Staff Positive

  • On December 31 we received confirmation of a direct care staff from Wheatland Terrace who tested positive. No close contacts were identified.
  • On January 2 we received confirmation of a direct care staff from the Prairieview neighborhood at Woodside Village who tested positive. No close contacts were identified.
  • On January 3 we received confirmation of a non-direct care staff from Tufte Manor that tested positive. No close contacts were identified.


12.30.21 Update

A resident from Valley Transitions has been identified as positive for COVID-19 and will move to the COVID care area at Valley on Columbia this evening. Preliminary contact tracing has not led to any additional resident close contacts. We are currently caring for two residents inthe COVID care area at Valley on Columbia.


12.30.21 Update: Booster Clinic Schedule, OSHA Plan Revision

Here’s something to think about as you deliberate getting a booster or not:

In the last 3 months, 43 staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at Valley Senior Living.

  • 0 staff with a booster have tested positive (about 10 percent of staff have a booster)
  • 19 unvaccinated staff tested positive (about 10 percent of staff are not fully vaccinated)
  • 24 vaccinated staff tested positive (this represents the remaining 80 percent of staff)

BOOSTER Clinic Schedule! Make plans to get your booster now! All employees eligible are welcome to attend at either location.

  • January 4 – Valley on 42nd – 1:30 to 3:30 pm
  • January 11 – Valley on Columbia – 1:30 to 3:30 pm

If you have received your COVID booster, it is very important that you inform the Human Resources department! Email proof of booster vaccine to dhabendank@valleyseniorliving.org or call 701.787.7942 for assistance.

  • If it has been more than six months since you received the 2nd dose of Pfizer or Moderna or two months since you received the J & J shot, you are now eligible to receive the booster.
  • In the event you are booster eligible and experience an exposure to a positive individual, it will create a minimum of a 7 day quarantine from work which is covered through your PTO. If PTO is unavailable, your time will be unpaid.
  • Boosters are available at many locations! Register at ndvax.org or walk-in to the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic at the Grand Cities Mall, 1826 S. Washington St. Suite 7. Other locations where booster or vaccine series can be scheduled are available at vaccine.gov.
  • Good news! When you get your booster, you are immediately exempted from unpaid work restrictions due to exposures. There is no two-week waiting period like with the initial vaccine series.
  • The shortened public quarantine requirements of 5 days isolation and 5 days with a mask do not pertain to healthcare employees. We will go by the CDC restrictions for Healthcare Personnel. Click Here for CDC Changes to Healthcare Worker Infection and Exposure Protocols
  • Protection with the booster is 75%, or 30% protection without the booster if more than 6 months since the initial vaccine series.

OSHA Plan Update:
The updated COVID-19 plan is attached for your review. The major updates include information to reconcile for the new requirements for healthcare personnel.

Testing Results:
Today we received confirmation one direct care staff from the Valley Transitions neighborhood has tested positive. One resident has been identified as a close contact.


12.29.21 Update: Company Zoom, 2 Staff Positive, Booster Clinic Dates, CDC and CMS Changes

In case you missed the company zoom, here is the link >> 12.29 ZOOM

Testing Update:

Today we received confirmation of two direct care staff, one from the Riverside neighborhood at Valley on Columbia and one from the Heartland neighborhood at Woodside Village, have tested positive. Through contact tracing, one resident has been identified as a close contact on the Heartland neighborhood.

A total of seven staff and one resident tested positive throughout the past seven days. This includes:

  • 12/22 – Valley on Columbia – Direct Care Riverside
  • 12/24 – Woodside Village – Non-Direct Care
  • 12/24 – Wheatland Terrace – Resident
  • 12/28 – Woodside Village – Direct Care Heartland
  • 12/28 – Valley on Columbia – Direct Care Almonte (One Close Contact)
  • 12/28 – Valley on Columbia – Direct Care Lanark
  • 12/29 – Woodside Village – Direct Care Heartland (One Close Contact)
  • 12/29 – Valley on Columbia – Direct Care Riverside

We continue to care for one resident from Valley on Columbia in the COVID care area

Important BOOSTER Update: Click Here for CDC Changes to Healthcare Worker Infection and Exposure Protocols

  • If it has been more than six months since you received the 2nd dose of Pfizer or Moderna or two months since you received the J & J shot, you are now eligible to receive the booster.
  • The shortened public quarantine requirements of 5 days isolation and 5 days with a mask do not pertain to healthcare employees. We will go by the CDC restrictions for Healthcare Personnel which is attached here.

  • In the event you are booster eligible and experience an exposure to a positive individual, it will create a minimum of a 7 day quarantine from work which is covered through your PTO. If PTO is unavailable, your time will be unpaid.
  • Good news! When you get your booster, you are immediately exempted from unpaid work restrictions due to exposures. There is no two-week waiting period like with the initial vaccine series.
  • Boosters are available at many locations! Register at ndvax.org or walk-in to the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic at the Grand Cities Mall, 1826 S. Washington St. Suite 7. Other locations where booster or vaccine series can be scheduled are available at vaccines.gov.
  • Valley Senior Living is offering two vaccination booster clinics in January! Employees MUST bring insurance card!

January 4 – Valley on 42nd – 1:30 to 3:30 pm

January 11 – Valley on Columbia – 1:30 to 3:30 pm

  • Protection with the booster is 75%, or 30% protection without the booster if more than 6 months since the initial vaccine series.
  • If you have received your COVID booster it is very important that you inform the Human Resources department! Email proof of booster vaccine to dhabendank@valleyseniorliving.org or call 701.787.7942 for assistance.
  • Still have questions about the booster?  Check out the GETVAX-booster-handout_12.21.21 for details.

CMS Clarification on Visitors:

  • Visitors may now share food with a resident in their room and do not need to mask while they are actively eating/drinking. Common area visitation is still unavailable.

If you are experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19 or respiratory illness, please call the COVID Staff Illness line at 701-741-9646. Thank you for continuing to keep the health and safety of our residents a top priority!


12.28.21 Update – No Booster, Use PTO or No Pay Upon Exposure

Change in CDC Guidance Regarding Booster Doses

Every few months during the pandemic the rules change so drastically that we need to consider it a “reset.” The rules for general public and healthcare have changed significantly this week. We will send out information about the changes but we are focusing on one issue today regarding fully-vaccinated people and the booster. If you are eligible for the booster and haven’t received it, you will be restricted from work in the event of an exposure.

In order to avoid losing a week or more of work without pay in the event of an exposure, you need to have either

  • received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccination series within the last 6 months (or within 2 months for your J&J vaccination), OR
  • have received your booster.

New Healthcare Guidance From the CDC: Symptomatic healthcare personnel who have had a higher-risk exposure do not require work restriction if they have received all COVID-19 vaccine doses, including booster dose, as recommended by CDC and do not develop symptoms or test positive for SARS-CoV-2. The duration of protection offered by booster doses of vaccine and their effect on emerging variants are not clear; additional updates will be provided as more information becomes available.

The good news: When you get your booster, you are immediately protected from unpaid work restrictions if you are exposed. There is no two-week time frame to wait.

If you have received your booster and you have not informed the Valley Senior Living Human Resources Department, please do so ASAP! This will ensure you will get paid in the event you experience an exposure. Email proof of booster vaccine to dhabedank@valleyseniorliving.org or call 701.787.7942 for assistance.

Employees who are eligible for the booster can schedule at your convenience at ndvax.org or vaccine.gov. If you would like assistance scheduling your booster, please contact an Infection Preventionist at Valley Senior Living (Kayla Porter, 701-787-7952 or Carra Hindberg, 701-787-7839).

Valley, together with our pharmacy partner Thrifty White Pharmacy, will also host two vaccine clinics in January.

Booster Clinic Schedule – Employees MUST bring insurance cards!

  • Tuesday, January 4 –  Valley on 42nd – Auditorium from 1:30-3:30pm

  • Tuesday, January 11 – Valley on Columbia – Community Room from 1:30-3:30pm

Why is this guidance changing now? Studies in the UK and South Africa have shown that protection from symptomatic infection from the Omicron variant is:

  • 75% protection with a Pfizer booster
  • 30% protection without the booster if more than 6 months since the initial vaccine series for Pfizer

Click here to view an infographic from CDC about how healthcare facilities are to operate with the new guidance.

Testing Update
Today we received confirmation of three staff testing positive.

  • Direct Care, Heartland at Woodside Village. No close contacts
  • Direct Care, Almonte at Valley on Columbia. One close contact
  • Direct Care, Lanark at Valley on Columbia. No close contacts

Please continue to reach out to the COVID staff illness line at 701-741-9646 in the event you develop any respiratory illness symptoms related to COVID-19. The next testing event for unvaccinated staff will be Thursday, December 30 at Valley on Columbia from 1 to 3:30 pm.


12.24.21 Update

Today we were notified that a tenant at Wheatland Terrace has tested positive for COVID-19.  The tenant will shelter in place in their apartment at this time.  Contact tracing identified three residents as close contacts.


12.22.21 Update

In case you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is the link >> 12.22 Zoom

Please Take Our Booster Survey So We Can Pre-Order Doses For You!
As the omicron variant becomes more prevalent in our area, we need you to get your booster if it has been longer than six months since your became fully vaccinated. Please take a moment to complete the survey below to assist with scheduling an on-site booster clinic in cooperation with our pharmacy partner, Thrifty White Pharmacy.

>> https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZY2LC95

COVID Updates
One resident moved home to Valley Transitions today. We continue to care for one resident in the COVID care area. Throughout the past week, four staff and one resident from Valley have tested positive. Three staff are from Valley on Columbia and one is a non-direct care staff working throughout the company. One resident from Valley Transitions tested positive this week.

Unvaccinated staff will test tomorrow from 1 to 3:30 pm at Valley on Columbia.

As we approach this holiday weekend, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and thank you for making Christmas special for the residents at Valley!


12.21.21 Update

One resident from the Valley Transition neighborhood has tested positive this afternoon. The resident is in the process of moving to the COVID Care Area at Valley on Columbia. No close contacts were identified through contact tracing.

Once the transfer is complete, we will be caring for two residents in the COVID Care Area.


12.21.21 Update

Important Message and Update on Omicron
We continue to have more information about the new variant. Late last week President & CEO Mark Parkinson from the American Health Care Association shared an update on the Omicron variant for those working within long term care. Please take a moment to review this information:

BOOSTERS ARE THE ANSWER
We have both bad and good news about the vaccine effectiveness against Omicron. We now have evidence indicating that the normal two-dose regimen of Pfizer and Moderna and the single dose regimen of Johnson & Johnson does not stop Omicron. There is some protection for the immediate six months after the final dose, but after that, the effectiveness drops to about 30 percent. That is the bad news. The good news is that for people who receive a booster, the effectiveness increases to around 75 percent against getting COVID, and the protection from hospitalization and death is much higher than that.

For the whole update, read here: >> AHCA UPDATE

 If you want to have less disruption to your life by this round of the pandemic, please schedule your vaccine as soon as possible to increase your protection. For people who are considered fully vaccinated, the booster has been proven to significantly decrease the risk of infection, serious illness, and hospitalization associated with COVID-19 infection.

Schedule a booster today at ndvax.org or vaccine.gov.

Testing Results
On Thursday, December 16 we received confirmation of a support staff from Valley on Columbia that tested positive. Through contact tracing, no close contacts were identified. Yesterday we received confirmation of a direct care staff from the Riverside neighborhood that tested positive. Three residents have been identified as close contacts to a positive individual. Monitoring will increase for these residents, masks will be used when outside their room and a series of two tests will be conducted at two days after exposure and between days five and seven after exposure.


12.16.21 Update

Friday, December 17, is National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day! All staff at all care communities are encouraged to wear a Christmas sweater tomorrow. J

Retirement Celebration for Barb Barta
Join us in Center Court at Valley on Columbia on Friday, December 17 from 9:30 – 11:30 to congratulate Barb Barta on her retirement from the position of Director of Human Resources at Valley Senior Living. Barb has been with Valley Senior Living for 40 years, and we are excited to take this time to honor her for all she has done over the years.

Test Results
We received confirmation a direct care staff from the Riverside neighborhood and a non-direct care staff who works throughout the company have tested positive. Contact tracing identified ten residents from Valley on Columbia as close contacts. For residents who are identified as a close contact of the positive individual, the following measures will be implemented:

  1. Resident monitoring will increase to three times per day for the next 14 days.
  2. The residents will mask, as able, any time they leave their room or attend activities for the next 14 days.
  3. A series of two viral tests for SARS-CoV-2 (one test no sooner than 2 days after exposure, and if negative, a second test 5-7 days after exposure) will be completed.


12.15.21 Update

In case you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is the link to view >> 12.15 ZOOM

If You Are Eligible, Please Schedule Your Booster
Many of our staff are eligible for the booster but haven’t received it yet. While we have had a number of vaccinated and unvaccinated staff test positive throughout the Delta variant at Valley, we have yet to have a staff member who has received their booster test positive.

Dr. Paul Carson explains the science and safety of booster doses. 19 Booster Update with Dr. Paul Carson – YouTube

Please take a moment to watch:

  • 8:33 through 16:00 detailing the reasons to get the booster and the latest protection information
  • 28:19 through 29:30 for information about mix and match boosters and the protection you receive from different vaccine types

The booster for those fully vaccinated is extremely important because higher infection rates among staff and community members leads to more resident cases.  Please reference this article from the New England Journal of Medicine showing the extent to which staff vaccination protects nursing home residents, particularly in communities with high COVID-19 transmission. >> Nursing Home Staff Vaccination and COVID-19 Outcomes.

To schedule your booster, please schedule at ndvax.org or vaccine.gov. Once you have received your booster, please notify HR at 701-787-7942.

Testing Results
There were two positive tests for COVID this week. On Monday, December 13, we received confirmation a direct care staff from Valley Transitions tested positive. No close contacts were identified. One resident tested positive with no close contacts on Saturday, December 11 from Valley Transitions and transferred to the COVID care area at Valley on Columbia. Per CMS requirements, we continue to test unvaccinated staff twice weekly and initiate testing of any staff or residents if they experience respiratory illness onset or symptoms related to COVID-19. Routine testing for unvaccinated staff is scheduled for Thursday, December 16 at Valley on Columbia from 1 to 3:30pm and Monday, December 20 at Valley on 42nd from 1 to 3:30 pm.

Reminders:

  • If you are having any symptoms related to COVID, or have been exposed to someone positive for COVID, call the staff illness line at 701-741-9646
  • Continue to use your PPE appropriately, physical distance and perform proper hand hygiene as often as possible.
  • One additional Health Care Academy module on culture was added in November. If you have not completed it, please remember it is due by 12/31/21.


12.12.21 Update

Yesterday we received confirmation of a resident from Valley Transitions who tested positive for COVID-19. The resident has moved to the COVID-19 care area at Valley on Columbia. Through contact tracing, no residents have been identified as close contacts.

According to the new guidance for visitation, there is not a disruption to visitation at Valley on Columbia due to this positive test.


12.8.21 Update

In case you missed the company Zoom earlier today, here is the link >> 12.8 ZOOM

Throughout the past week three staff members from Valley Senior Living tested positive. Two were from Valley on Columbia with one direct care staff from the Reeves neighborhood and one non-direct care staff member. Through contact tracing, four residents were identified as close contacts. The third positive test was a direct care staff from the Hearthstone neighborhood. To error on the side of caution all residents from Hearthstone are considered close contacts. Close contacts are monitored three times daily for respiratory illness onset, are required to mask when outside their room, and are tested two days after exposure and again at five to seven days after exposure. This testing of the close contacts within both Valley on Columbia and the Hearthstone neighborhood at Woodside Village has been completed with all negative results. Residents continue to be considered close contacts for 14 days after the exposure.

We continue to test unvaccinated staff twice weekly and initiate testing of any staff or residents if they experience respiratory illness onset or symptoms related to COVID-19. The next testing is scheduled for tomorrow, December 9 from 1-3:30 at Valley on Columbia.

Throughout the state, long term care is faring well with 24 residents and 66 staff currently positive. Grand Forks County remains at high risk for transmission with an alarming seven day positivity average of nearly 14.3 %.

Booster Availability
The COVID-19 booster is available and encouraged for staff who have completed their vaccine series at least 6 months ago for Pfizer or Moderna, and after 2 months for those who received Johnson & Johnson. To schedule your appointment please visit ndvax.org or vaccine.org.

Report Symptoms
In the event you develop symptoms related to respiratory illness or COVID-19 or have had an exposure to an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, please call the staff illness line at 701.741.9646. Thank you for continuing to be vigilant about reporting these illnesses. This practice has served as a key component in our infection prevention efforts.

Valley on 42nd Employee Craft and Bake Sale
December 10 from 9 am to 2 pm stop by the auditorium at Valley on 42nd for the Employee Craft and Bake Sale! Happy shopping!

Christmas Sweater Day!
December 17 is National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. Mark your calendar now and help to fill the care communities with ugly and fun Christmas sweaters!


12.7.21 Update

Yesterday we received confirmation of a non-direct care staff member from Valley on Columbia who tested positive. No residents were identified as close contacts and four staff members have been identified as high risk exposures.

Unvaccinated staff continue to test twice weekly. The next testing is Thursday, December 9 from 1 to 3:30pm at Valley on Columbia.

Recruiter Bonus
Do you know of someone looking for a new career? Valley Senior Living is hiring for a variety of positions, and if you recruit someone, you are eligible for the RECRUITER BONUS! Send your friends to valleyseniorliving.org/apply to find their next career! Notify HR when you recruit someone to be eligible for the bonus.

  • Full Time Recruit = $2000 for YOU
  • Part Time Recruit = $1000 for YOU
  • Flex Time Recruit = $500 for YOU


12.3.21 Update

Today is the last day to sign up for benefits! All employees who are eligible for benefits must enroll or decline. >> https://plansource.com/login/

Login information was mailed to employees the beginning of November. If you have any difficulty logging in or with the new platform, please contact Kathy Feist at 701-787-7956 or email kfeist@valleyseniorliving.org.

Testing Update

Yesterday we received confirmation of two staff testing positive.

  • Woodside Village – 1 direct care Hearthstone. All residents in Hearthstone neighborhood are considered close contacts.
  • Valley on Columbia – 1 direct care Reeves. Four residents identified as close contacts.

Reminders:

  • Unvaccinated staff test on Monday, December 6 at Valley on 42nd from 1 to 3:30pm.
  • Mask Uses Changes – Availability has increased. Employees may discard after removal and put on a new mask when returning to shift. Please use at least 2 masks per day.
  • Report any symptoms of COVID-19 or exposures to positive individuals. Call the staff illness line at 701-741-9646.
  • Valley on 42nd Employee Craft and Bake sale is next Friday, December 10 from 9 am to 2 pm.
  • Recruiter bonus continues! Earn and additional $2000 for each full time employee you recruit. Share the link valleyseniorliving.org/applying with those you recruit!


12.1.21 Update

In case you missed the company zoom, here is the recording >> 12.1 ZOOM

Testing Update and Schedule
This week we saw a slight increase in positive test results with a total of six staff testing positive.

  • Valley on Columbia – 3 support staff
  • Tufte Manor – 1 support staff
  • Woodside Village – 1 support staff, 1 non-direct care Heartland

Unvaccinated staff continue to test twice weekly with the next testing tomorrow, December 2 from 1 pm to 3:30 pm at Valley on Columbia. Testing is also initiated for staff or residents who develop symptoms related to respiratory illness. In the event you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, please call the staff illness line at 701-741-9646.

Throughout the state, 40 residents in long term care and 78 staff are currently positive. Outbreaks at most care facilities are in the single digits with one facility currently managing an outbreak that peaked at 25 residents and 10 staff. Grand Forks County remains at high risk for transmission with a seven day positivity average of nearly 11%.

Mask Use Changes – use at least 2 per day!
The availability of facemasks have increased significantly, resulting in less focus on conservation of facemasks. Effective immediately, all employees should discard their facemasks after removal (i.e. lunch breaks), and put on a new facemask when returning to their shift. Please continue to change your facemask if it becomes soiled, damaged, or is hard to breathe through.

Benefit Open Enrollment Ends December 3, 2021
The 2022 benefits open enrollment period is here, and we have transitioned to a new platform for enrollment! All employees who are eligible for benefits must enroll or decline. https://plansource.com/login/ Login information was mailed to employees the beginning of November. Open enrollment is available through December 3, 2021. If you have any difficulty logging in or with the new platform, please contact Kathy Feist at 701-787-7956 or email kfeist@valleyseniorliving.org.

Craft Fair
Friday, December 3, Valley on Columbia will be holding the Holiday Craft Fair from 8:30 am to 3 pm. Friday, December 10, Valley on 42nd will hold their Holiday Craft Fair from 9 am to 2 pm. Enjoy some holiday shopping!

 Recruiter Bonus
Do you know of someone looking for a new job or a new career? Valley Senior Living is hiring for a variety of positions, and if you recruit someone, you are eligible for the RECRUITER BONUS! Send your friends to valleyseniorliving.org/apply to find their next career!

  • Full Time Recruit = $2000 for YOU
  • Part Time Recruit = $1000 for YOU
  • Flex Time Recruit = $500 for YOU

Vaccine Mandate Update
Earlier this week the national vaccine mandate for healthcare workers was blocked by a Missouri federal court for 10 states including North Dakota and last night was stopped on a national level by a federal judge. While this works its way through the court system, we will be revising our policy to reflect the North Dakota state law regarding vaccine mandates. Approximately 35 employees throughout the company have not started their vaccine series or applied for an exemption. We will continue to work with these employees to obtain exemptions or become vaccinated, but there is no longer a December 6 deadline.


11.29.21 Update

Benefit Open Enrollment Ends December 3, 2021

The 2022 benefits open enrollment period is here, and we have transitioned to a new platform for enrollment! All employees who are eligible for benefits must enroll or decline. https://plansource.com/login/ Login information was mailed to employees the beginning of November. Open enrollment is available through December 3, 2021. If you have any difficulty logging in or with the new platform, please contact Kathy Feist at 701-787-7956 or email kfeist@valleyseniorliving.org.

Testing Results – 6 Staff Test Positive, no resident close contacts

  • Wednesday, November 24 –  two support staff from Valley on Columbia.
  • Thursday, November 25 –  one non-direct care staff from Woodside Village.
  • Monday, November 29 – one non-direct care staff from the Heartland neighborhood at Woodside Village, one non-direct staff from Tufte Manor, and one non-direct staff who works in multiple buildings.

Healthcare Vaccine Mandate on Hold in North Dakota and 9 Other States

Effective this afternoon, the national vaccine mandate for healthcare workers has been blocked by a Missouri federal court for 10 states including North Dakota – see linked US News and World Report article.

What this means for Valley – Nothing changes on December 6. There are about 35 staff throughout the company who have yet to start their vaccine series or apply for an exemption. They will be able to continue working after December 6. While this works its way through the court system, we will revise our policy to reflect these changes.


11.24.21 Update

Happy Thanksgiving to all Valley staff! I am so very grateful for all of you and the care you give the residents! In case you missed the company zoom earlier today, here’s the recording >> 11.24 ZOOM

We had a really successful week again for COVID-19 positive cases. No residents tested positive and one WV staff tested positive with three resident close contacts. Statewide there are about 70 residents and 90 staff in long term care with current cases. Unfortunately there are still about 10 deaths reported each week within long term care. Continuing our success against COVID-19 is still pretty straightforward:

  • Please continue to use your PPE appropriately, including mask and eye protection.
  • All visitation is required to take place inside resident rooms as common area visitation remains restricted for the safety of all residents. Visitors may need gentle reminders of this as they may not be aware of this requirement.
  • If you are experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19 or have had an exposure to someone identified as positive, call the staff illness line at 701.741.9646.

 Career Impact Academy
The Valley Senior Living Board of Directors has approved a commitment of $100,000 over five years to the Career Impact Academy, a new collaboration and partnership in Grand Forks with the Grand Forks School District, post-secondary educational institutions, private sector Grand Forks employers, and the Grand Forks region communities. The Career Impact Academy will expand the ability to train and to provide training pathways, certifications, and degree programs to a larger number of individuals. Currently, Valley Senior Living partners with the Grand Forks Public Schools Career and Technical Education department as clinical sites for CNA classes. The number of students the public school system is equipped to teach has been limited. The Career Impact Academy will expand the opportunities for high school students to take CNA classes, producing more potential employees and caregivers with opportunities to work at Valley Senior Living. Valley’s investment in the Career Impact Academy is an investment in our future employees.

 Vaccine Mandate Update
This week we have continued to work through assisting employees with obtaining their vaccination. A new North Dakota state law provides the opportunity to grant philosophical exemptions as well as medical or religious exemptions for employees within basic care and assisted living.  Medical and sincerely held religious exemptions remain options for nursing home employees. The deadline for employees to begin their vaccine series or to have an exemption approved is December 6, 2021. To schedule your vaccine please visit ndvax.org or vaccine.org to find a location.

Testing Update and Schedule
No testing tomorrow on Thanksgiving. Next week, unvaccinated staff will test on Monday, November 29 at Valley on 42nd with the time changing to 1 to 3:30 pm.

Happy Thanksgiving, and thank you for all you do for the residents at Valley!


11.22.21 Update

Benefit Open Enrollment Starts Today!

The 2022 benefits open enrollment period is here, and we are transitioning to a new platform for enrollment! This change means if you are eligible for benefits, you are required to sign up in the new platform >> Plan Source. ( https://plansource.com/login/ )

Valley Senior Living’s and the employee’s contributions to the plans will remain the same and there will not be an increase in cost for 2022. Open enrollment is available today, November 22 through December 3, 2021. If you have any difficulty logging in or with the new platform, please contact Kathy Feist at 701-787-7956 or email kfeist@valleyseniorliving.org.

Congrats, Pumpkin Pie Winners! Pies can be picked up at dining services at each community.

Valley on Columbia

  • Lanark – Melisa Swain
  • Riverside – Baillie Hanson
  • Almonte – Darlene Clifton
  • Valley Transitions – Isabell Jenkins
  • Reeves – Jada Klegstad

 Woodside Village

  • Prairieview – Deb Gaddie
  • Heartland – Tessa Clemetson
  • Hearthstone – Casey Krom
  • Oakcrest – Terry Nelson-Aaker

 Wheatland Terrace – Sharla Johnson

Tufte Manor – Sue Vien

Testing Schedule

Unvaccinated will test on Wednesday, November 23 from 12 to 3:30 pm at Valley on Columbia.


11.19.21 Update

Win a Pumpkin Pie in time for Thanksgiving!
This week we have focused on being thankful and grateful! Thanks to staff that took time to add what they are thankful for to the “thankful trees” at each care community. You still have time to register to win a pumpkin pie. Each neighborhood and the communities of Tufte Manor and Wheatland Terrace will draw for a winner on Monday morning. Register now, and good luck! >> https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/52KNKDQ

Testing Update:
We received confirmation of one direct caregiver from the Oakcrest neighborhood who last worked on November 16 has tested positive. Through contact tracing, three residents have been identified as close contacts. The following precautions are in place for close contacts:

  1. Resident monitoring will increase to three times per day for the next 14 days.
  2. The residents will mask any time they leave their room or attend activities for the next 14 days. The residents may not participate in communal dining at this time.
  3. A series of two viral tests for SARS-CoV-2 (one test no sooner than 2 days after exposure, and if negative, a second test 5-7 days after exposure) will be completed

Unvaccinated staff will test on Monday, November 22 at Valley on 42nd from 12 to 3:30 pm.

Reminders:

  • Please continue to use PPE appropriately! This is an important step in our infection prevention efforts.
  • Assist residents to wear PPE during care interactions.
  • If you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, please call the staff illness line at 701-741-9646.
  • All visitation should occur in resident rooms. Common area visitation remains unavailable at this time.

Booster Update
CDC is likely to expand recommendations for boosters today for all adults because studies are finding that the effectiveness of the vaccine is waning over time, though it continues to be the best option to protect people. In a study of hospitalized people with symptoms consistent with COVID-19, unvaccinated people with a prior infection were five times more likely to test positive than vaccinated people with no prior infection. The study was interesting because it only studied people who were 3 to 6 months beyond their previous infection or vaccination.

Finally, if you are considering a booster, the following chart is a summary of a study of boosters and the effects of different “mix and match” strategies on the presence of neutralizing antibodies. Booster doses greatly improve the level of antibodies, and mRNA vaccines greatly outperformed the J&J vaccine. One issue to note is that a full dose of the Moderna vaccine was used as the booster in the study and only a half dose is authorized in the US.

Have a great weekend everyone!


11.17.21 Update

In case you missed the company zoom today, here is the link >> 11.17 ZOOM

Register to win a PUMPKIN PIE!
This week lets focus on being thankful and grateful! Watch for “thankful trees” at each location and take time to add a leaf to the tree noting what you are thankful for! Also register to win a pumpkin pie before Thanksgiving! Each neighborhood and the communities of Tufte Manor and Wheatland Terrace will have the opportunity to win a pie. Winners will be announced on Monday, November 22. Register now, and good luck! >> https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/52KNKDQ

Testing Update
One direct care staff from the Lanark neighborhood at Valley on Columbia, with last work day November 16, tested positive yesterday. Through contact tracing 12 residents were identified as close contacts. The following measures are now in place for the close contact residents:

  1. Resident monitoring will increase to three times per day for the next 14 days.
  2. The residents will mask any time they leave their room or attend activities for the next 14 days. These residents may not participate in communal dining at this time.
  3. A series of two viral tests for SARS-CoV-2 (one test no sooner than 2 days after exposure, and if negative, a second test 5-7 days after exposure) will be completed.

CMS Changes to Visitation Guidelines
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has issued revised visitation guidance for nursing homes as of November 12, 2021. This revision includes minor changes to the way we have been operating, although it does include guidance that will eliminate the need to stop visitation during a potential outbreak. Highlights of the most recent update include:

  • Residents may have visitors at any time with no set visiting hours.
  • Visitors who visit outside of regular visiting hours can expect to be health screened by nursing staff.
  • Face masks, physical distancing, and frequent hand hygiene remain required.
  • In the event a resident is considered a close contact to a positive individual, they can continue to have visitors and  visitors will be notified of this risk when they arrive to visit.
  • To reduce risk for all residents, visitation must take place within the resident’s room. Common area visitation remains unavailable.
  • Visitors will be notified upon entry if the care community is in outbreak status.
  • CMS strongly encourages all visitors to become vaccinated. You can find and schedule vaccination appointments at ndvax.org or vaccine.org.

Thank you for choosing to vaccinate against COVID-19
695 staff at Valley are currently fully vaccinated, 28 have started their series and a number are scheduling their first dose.

Federal/CMS Vaccine Mandate
If you are applying for an exemption, please begin that process now to avoid delays! If you are interested in scheduling an appointment to receive your vaccine, visit ndvax.org or vaccine.org. If you have any questions or concerns or would like assistance with scheduling or accommodations to receive the shot, please contact Kayla Porter at 701-787-7952. To be in compliance with CMS, all staff either need an approved exemption or the first dose of the two dose series or the one dose J&J vaccine by December 6.


11.12.21 Update

3 Staff Test Positive

  • Yesterday we received confirmation of one direct care staff from the Hearthstone neighborhood who last worked on November 6 tested positive. Due to last work day contact tracing was not necessary and no residents were identified as close contacts.
  • Today a non-direct care staff from the Prairieview neighborhood, with last work day November 10, tested positive. Contact tracing determined no residents were close contacts.
  • Today a direct care staff from the Almonte neighborhood, with last work day November 9, tested positive. Contact tracing determined no close contacts.

Testing
Unvaccinated staff will test on Monday, November 15 from 12 to 3:30 pm at Valley on 42nd in the Auditorium. A Moderna vaccine clinic will be offered by Thrifty White Pharmacy during that time. Unvaccinated staff that are interested in Pfizer or J&J can schedule at vaccine.org or ndvax.org. The deadline to receive the first dose of a two dose series or the J&J is December 6, 2021.

The COVID Vaccine Mandate Policy and exemption forms are attached for your review – 202.22 – Mandatory Coronavirus Vaccination Policy and Exemption Form 11.11.21

Thank You!
The Veterans Day fundraisers netted an amazing total of $1,102.50! Thank you for all the contributions to the Valley Senior Living bench at the new Veterans Memorial Park.

  • Valley on Columbia: $683.69
  • Valley on 42nd: $278.80
  • Tufte Manor: $140.01


11.11.21 Update
Veteran’s Day – Thank you to our veterans and active service members!

Veterans Day is a day in which we thank those that serve and served our country with distinction. I have had the honor of working in long term care caring for veterans going as far back as World War I. The sacrifices they have given to our country are immeasurable. Each Veteran’s Day I think about how I can serve them in the best way possible. My service to our veterans today was best accomplished by asking our staff who are not vaccinated to schedule their vaccination or apply for a religious or medical exemption. If people at this moment choose to leave healthcare due to not getting vaccinated, the people we serve are the ones who suffer. Our veterans who served this county are the ones who suffer.

Of all the potential workplaces to have a vaccine mandate, long term care is the most appropriate for that requirement. Prior to the vaccine, long term care residents represented one third of the people who died in our country due to COVID-19, even though they represent less than one percent of the population. These are the most important people to protect.

To return to normal, COVID cases need to be extremely low. Unvaccinated employees are testing positive at a rate that is 6 times higher than vaccinated staff at Valley, which is similar to national statistics. It is why we are at this moment of a vaccine mandate to protect our residents.

Did you know that all active military members are vaccinated or have been granted an exemption? Over the last two months, active duty military have received the vaccine or been granted a religious or medical exemption. Next door at the Grand Forks Air Force Base, vaccination rates were in the 45% range prior to the requirement. Most recently, vaccination rates are above 95% at the Grand Forks Air Force Base.

Please encourage each other to either follow a path to vaccination or apply for an exemption by November 17!

Thank you again to our veterans and our active service members for your sacrifices!


11.10.21 Update

In case you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is your chance to hear from Kayla Porter, Infection Preventionist, Valley Senior Living legal counsel Megan Flom, and Chief Human Resources Officer Adam Edwards on the COVID vaccine mandate, policy and what to expect in the next few weeks >> 11.10 ZOOM

Throughout the past week two staff from Valley have tested positive. One from Woodside and one from Valley on Columbia. A total of three residents between the two communities were identified as close contacts. No residents have tested positive this week.

The number of COVID positive residents remains steady this week across North Dakota, with 52 residents positive and approximately 85 staff members within long term care. Grand Forks County remains at the high risk for transmission level. Sixty percent of nursing homes in North Dakota have limited or stopped admissions due to the inability to hire an adequate number of qualified staff to care for the residents. This statistic is even higher in Minnesota. At Valley, we are pleased to say we have been able to continue to serve the communities needs and have not had to limit or stop admissions. We continue to staff without the need for assistance from a staffing agency, and we continue to train new CNA’s through our on-site training program. We currently have a CNA class nearing completion with 11 full time CNAs and 3 part time. The next class begins on November 22. Thank you in advance to current staff for welcoming and assisting the new staff as they become acclimated to their new roles at Valley Senior Living.

Upcoming Testing:
Unvaccinated will test tomorrow, November 11, at Valley on Columbia from 12 to 3:30 pm.

Reminders:

  • Veterans Day Fundraisers to benefit the Valley Senior Living bench at Veterans Memorial Park will be held tomorrow at each community. Check for posters at your location.
  • If you are experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19 or have had an exposure to someone who has tested positive, please call the staff illness line at 701.741.9646. The staff illness line will determine if testing is needed.
  • Please continue to wear your PPE appropriately. Grand Forks County remains in an area of high transmission and we all need to remain diligent with hand hygiene, physical distancing, and PPE.

Federal Vaccine Mandate Information: The COVID-19 vaccine is a way to protect both yourself and the residents you care for.

Key Facts About Federal Vaccine Mandate

  • The federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate requires all employee working within healthcare facilities that receive funding from CMS to be fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022. The first dose of a two dose series or the one dose Johnson & Johnson must be received by December 6, 2021.
  • If employee chooses to not begin vaccine series or is not granted an approved exemption by December 6, 2021, they will not be able to provide care or work within Valley Senior Living care communities.
  • If employee is interested in more details about a vaccine exemption, please contact Human Resources at 701-787-7942.
  • The mandate aims to avoid COVID infections, which can cause death in highly vulnerable people.
  • Vaccine mandates are also present in the private sector. OSHA requires any employer with 100 or more employees to vaccinate or test weekly.
  • CMS Omnibus Staff Vax Requirements – Interim Final Rule

How can you begin your series now?

  • In conjunction with our pharmacy partner, Thrifty White Pharmacy, we will host a vaccine clinic with the Moderna vaccine at Valley on 42nd on Monday, November 15. This will take place during the testing event. (Second dose will be given on December 13)
  • If you have a preference with Pfizer, Moderna or the one dose Johnson & Johnson, visit vaccines.gov to find the specific kind you are looking for and the location it is available.
  • Visit ndvax.org and search by zip code for locations in Grand Forks where you can receive your vaccine.

What to do if you have started your series:

  • Contact Human Resources now at 701-787-7942 to update your medical record file.
  • Bring proof of vaccination to the testing event on Thursday, November 11.

Questions?

  • If you have questions about the vaccine, the mandate or exemptions, please contact the infection preventionist at 701-787-7952.


11.5.21 Update

Test Results
Yesterday we received confirmation of two staff testing positive.

  • One direct care staff is from Valley on Columbia working within Almonte and Reeves with last work day November 4.
    • 2 resident close contacts and 1 staff higher risk exposure identified
  • One direct care staff from the Oakcrest neighborhood with last work day November 2.
    • 1 resident close contact identified

Vaccine and Infection Update
The Delta variant continues to be very prevalent in North Dakota. Currently, North Dakota has the second highest amount of COVID cases per capita while ranking as the 6th lowest statewide vaccination rate. Across the US, six times as many unvaccinated individuals are testing positive as vaccinated individuals, which is exactly what we have experienced with staff at Valley since the Delta variant started in July.

Federal Vaccine Mandate Update

CMS has published the interim final rule with revisions to the requirements that Medicare and Medicaid certified providers must meet to continue participation in their programs. Please reference this update from CMS for more information from American Health Care Association >> AHCA Update. Here is the official federal register link if you like mind numbing detail. The only thing that changed between yesterday and today’s official publication is a one day change from December 5 to December 6 for the effective date of the regulation.

Key points and dates to remember:

  • All eligible staff must receive the first dose of a two-dose series or a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine prior to December 6, 2021.
  • All eligible staff must have completed the required vaccination by January 4, 2022.
  • The vaccination rate at Valley Senior Living is 86%.
  • If you begin your vaccine series, please notify Human Resources as soon as possible.
  • COVID Vaccine is available through Grand Forks Public Health on a walk in basis inside the Grand Cities Mall from 12:30 to 4 pm, Monday through Friday.
  • Appointments can be scheduled to receive the vaccine at our pharmacy partner, Thrifty White Pharmacy, 1395 S. Columbia Road. Schedule now at thriftywhite.com/seasonal-vaccine


11.4.21 Update

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued their emergency regulation requiring COVID-19 vaccination for health care workers which is effective tomorrow, November 5.

CMS News Release >> Biden – Harris Administration Issues Emergency Regulation Requiring COVID-19 Vaccination for Health Care Workers

For more information, read the following Q&A document>> Frequently Asked Questions

This emergency regulation will require COVID-19 vaccination of eligible staff at health care facilities that participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs, which includes Valley Senior Living. According to this regulation, the first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine must be received prior to December 5 to continue providing care, treatment or other services within a facility that participates in Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Convenient options to begin your COVID vaccine series include scheduling at our pharmacy partner, Thrifty White Drug >> https://www.thriftywhite.com/seasonal-vaccine or stop by the Grand Forks Public Health vaccine pop up at the Grand Cities Mall, 1726 S. Washington between 12:30 – 4 pm, Monday through Friday for vaccine. Registering at ndvax.org will save time.


11.3.21 Update

If you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is the link to view the recording >> 11.3 ZOOM

Valley Update
Throughout the past week one resident from Woodside Village and four staff from Valley tested positive. This included three staff from Woodside Village and one from Tufte Manor. One close contact was identified in the positive resident contact tracing and no close contacts were identified in conjunction with the staff positives.

As reported yesterday, the resident from Woodside Village passed away in the COVID care area. Please continue to keep the family and the care partners in your thoughts and prayers. This is the first resident from Valley to pass away with COVID since October 2020.

The Valley Senior Living residents who were eligible for their Moderna booster received it yesterday (November 2). At this point, every eligible resident who wanted a booster has received it.

ND Long Term Care Update
The number of COVID positive people has been fairly steady over the last week with 60 residents and 100 staff currently positive in the last 10 days. 20 long term care facilities have residents who have tested positive. There are two larger outbreaks right now in ND of 15 and 13 residents. Both facilities had Moderna for their residents and staff and had not had the opportunity to get their residents the booster shot prior to their outbreak since it was only recently approved. It is good to see that the Pfizer booster is effective in preventing larger outbreaks in a number of other long term care settings, and once that happens for facilities who were given Moderna, the larger outbreaks should be much more rare.

Recruiter Bonus
Do you know of someone looking for a new job or a new career? Valley Senior Living is hiring for a variety of positions, and if you recruit someone, you are eligible for the RECRUITER BONUS! Send your friends to valleyseniorliving.org/apply to find their next career!

  • Full Time Recruit = $2000 for YOU
  • Part Time Recruit = $1000 for YOU
  • Flex Time Recruit = $500 for YOU 

Testing Schedule
Unvaccinated staff continue to test twice weekly. Testing will take place tomorrow, November 4, at Valley on Columbia from 12 to 3:30 pm.

Veterans Day Fundraisers
Each care community will be holding a Veterans Day fundraiser on Thursday, November 11 to support the Valley Senior Living granite bench at the Veterans Memorial Park.

  • Tufte Manor – Caramel rolls and coffee
  • Valley Senior Living on 42nd – Sloppy Joe meal served from the Myra Café
  • Valley on Columbia – Sloppy Joe meal served from Center Court


11.2.21  Update

It is with great sadness that we report the resident that tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday has passed away in the COVID Care Area at Woodside Village. Please keep the resident’s family and staff in your thoughts and prayers.

Today a Heartland staff who last worked on October 29 tested positive. Contact tracing was not necessary due to last work day resulting in no close contacts.

Reminder: Please report the onset of any symptoms related to COVID-19 or any exposure you have had to someone who has tested positive to the staff illness line at 701.741.9646.


11.1.21 Update

Test Results
One resident from the Oakcrest neighborhood tested positive and has moved to the COVID care area at Woodside Village. Contact tracing is complete and one resident has been identified as a close contact. All residents within the Oakcrest neighborhood who are eligible will be tested today and again between day five and seven after potential exposure within the neighborhood.

For the resident identified as a close contact, the following measure are implemented:

  1. Resident monitoring will increase to three times per day for the next 14 days.
  2. The resident will mask any time they leave their room or attend activities for the next 14 days. The resident may not participate in communal dining at this time.
  3. A series of two viral tests for SARS-CoV-2 (one test no sooner than 2 days after exposure, and if negative, a second test 5-7 days after exposure) will be completed.
  4. Visitation will be suspended for this resident until receipt of a second negative viral test as indicated above. Compassionate care, end of life, and outdoor visitation remain available.

We have received confirmation of three positive test results since October 27 including:

  • 10/27/21 – 1 Non-Direct Care from Tufte Manor – last worked Oct. 20 and no close contacts identified
  • 10/30/21 – 1 Direct Care from Oakcrest at Woodside Village – last worked Oct. 18 and no close contacts identified
  • 10/30/21 – 1 Direct Care from Tufte Manor – last worked on Oct. 25 and no close contacts identified

Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have reached mix and match COVID booster authorization!
Residents who are eligible for these boosters will be receiving their 3rd dose this week. As an employee in long term care, you are eligible for the booster if you received your Pfizer or Moderna series at least 6 months ago, or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least 2 months ago. Schedule and find locations with availability at ndvax.org.

Reminders

  • If  you are experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19 or have had an exposure to someone who has tested positive, call the staff illness line at 701.741.9646
  • Continue to physical distance residents from each other when they are not in the dining rooms. This is a temporary response to help limit the size of a potential outbreak.
  • The RECRUITER BONUS remains active. If you recruit someone to Valley you will be rewarded with an awesome bonus and there is no limit to how many new employees you recruit.
    • Full Time Recruit = $2000 for YOU
    • Part Time Recruit = $1000 for YOU
    • Flex Time Recruit = $500 for YOU


10.27.21 Update

If you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is the link >> 10.27 ZOOM

Over the past week one staff member from the Lanark neighborhood at Valley on Columbia with last work day of October 12 has tested positive. Due to last work day no contact tracing was necessary and no close contacts were identified. Unvaccinated staff continue to test twice each week and residents or staff who develop respiratory symptoms are tested as soon as possible to rule out a COVID infection.

Moderna and Johnson & Johnson Boosters have reached mix and match COVID booster authorization! Please reference this chart for more information. Residents who are eligible for these boosters will be receiving them next week. We are in the process of finalizing the schedule with Thrifty White Pharmacy. Employees who are eligible for the booster can schedule and find locations with availability at ndvax.org.

Recruiter Bonus DOUBLED!
We thank you all for helping to recruit new team members! This is your chance to help us pick who you work with. When you are recruiting, share the website: valleyseniorliving.org/apply

We are ready to train new CNAs, to welcome LPNs and RNs to the team, we have dining services positions, housekeeping, recreation and more!

  • Full Time Recruit = $2000 for YOU
  • Part Time Recruit = $1000 for YOU
  • Flex Time Recruit = $500 for YOU

Upcoming Testing
Unvaccinated staff from all locations will test tomorrow, October 28, at Valley on Columbia from 12 to 3:30pm.

Reminders

  • Healthcare Academy annual education THIS SUNDAY, October 31! healthcareacademy.com
  • Statistics remain similar to last week. Over 10 residents died in ND long term care facilities again last week due to COVID – It still comes down to the basics to make it through this Delta surge in cases:
  • Continue to physical distance residents from each other when they are not in the dining rooms. This is a temporary response to help limit the size of a potential outbreak.
  • If you are experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19, call the staff illness line at 701.741.9646.
  • Use your PPE correctly and have the residents wear their masks when appropriate.
  • Remind visitors that common area visitation remains unavailable. All visitation must take place inside the resident’s room.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!


10.20.21 Update

In case you missed the company zoom, here is your chance to meet our new Chief Human Resources Officer, Adam Edwards >> 10.20 ZOOM

Welcome to Valley, Adam!

 Long Term Care Staffing Update
The news is filled with stories about the shortage of staff in nearly all healthcare organizations. In the past 30 days, 50% of the nursing homes in North Dakota have halted admissions to maintain appropriate staffing, and 70% of nursing homes in Minnesota have recently stopped admissions. There are over 400 patients ready to be discharged from Minnesota hospitals, but there are not staff to care for them. Minnesota is strongly considering the mobilization of the national guard to maintain the care needed for current residents.

At Valley, we are experiencing days where staffing is less than optimal, and during those times, we thank each of you for your understanding of the situation, your dedication to the residents, and your willingness to help each other out. During this wave of the pandemic, we are proud to meet our community’s long term care needs, not utilize a staffing agency to fill shifts, and still provide excellent care to the residents!

We have promising news to share with you – our efforts to recruit new staff are working! Next Monday, we are starting a CNA class with 19 students, at least 17 of whom are looking for full-time positions at Valley! We will be having another class start on November 22 and there are already 20 applications that have come in. Let’s keep it up! We thank you all for helping to recruit new team members and we remind you the recruiter bonus has doubled for the month of October! We do have positions available to fill and encourage you to share this website with your friends and family – valleyseniorliving.org/apply – We are ready to train new CNAs, to welcome LPNs and RNs to the team, we have dining services positions, housekeeping, recreation and more!

  • Full Time Recruit = $2000 for YOU
  • Part Time Recruit = $1000 for YOU
  • Flex Time Recruit = $500 for YOU

Testing Results Update
Throughout the past week four staff have tested positive. This included on non-direct care staff from Tufte Manor and three staff from Woodside Village, two from the Oakcrest neighborhood with last work days of October 15 and one contract direct care staff who last worked October 18. A total of 8 residents were determined to be close contacts among the three positive staff members.

Upcoming Testing
Unvaccinated staff from all locations will test tomorrow, October 21, at Valley on Columbia from 12 to 3:30pm.

Reminders

  • The Valley on 42nd Employee Craft & Bake Sale is Friday, October 22 from 9 am to 2 pm in the Auditorium. Craft sale is limited to Valley staff and residents.
  • Healthcare Academy annual education is due October 31! www.healthcareacademy.com
  • 10 residents died in ND long term care facilities last week due to COVID – It still comes down to the basics to make it through this Delta surge in cases:
    • Continue to physical distance residents from each other when they are not in the dining rooms. This is a temporary response to help limit the size of a potential outbreak.
    • If you are experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19, call the staff illness line at 701.741.9646.
    • Use your PPE correctly and have the residents wear their masks when appropriate.
    • Remind visitors that common area visitation remains unavailable. All visitation must take place inside the resident’s room.


10.18.21 Update

Today we received confirmation of two staff who have tested positive. One non-direct caregiver is from Tufte Manor and last worked on October 14. Contact tracing was not necessary due to last work day. One Woodside Village direct care contract staff member who last worked today also tested positive. Five residents have been determined to be close contacts. For residents who are identified as a close contact of the positive individual, the following measures will be implemented:

  1. Resident monitoring will increase to three times per day for the next 14 days.

  1. The residents will mask any time they leave their room or attend activities (i.e. beauty shop, medical appointments, etc) for the next 14 days. The residents may participate in communal dining at this time
  2. A series of two viral tests for SARS-CoV-2 (one test no sooner than 2 days after exposure, and if negative, a second test 5-7 days after exposure) will be completed.
  3. Visitation will be suspended for these residents until receipt of a second negative viral test as indicated above. Compassionate care, end of life, and outdoor visitation remain available.

Do you know of someone looking for a new job or a new career? Valley Senior Living is hiring for a variety of positions, and if you recruit someone, you are eligible for the RECRUITER BONUS!

  • Full Time Recruit = $2000 for YOU
  • Part Time Recruit = $1000 for YOU
  • Flex Time Recruit = $500 for YOU

 Send your friends to valleyseniorliving.org/apply to find their next career!

 Reminders:

  • If you are experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19, call the staff illness line at 701.741.9646.
  • It is very important we all continue to use our PPE correctly. Eye protection and mask remain required for all staff.
  • Continue to physical distance at least 6 feet whenever possible.
  • Remind visitors that common area visitation remains unavailable. All visitation must take place inside the residents room.
  • Healthcare Academy annual education is due October 31! www.healthcareacademy.com


10.15.21 Update

Two staff from the Oakcrest neighborhood at Woodside Village tested positive today. Both staff last worked today, and three close contact residents have been identified through contact tracing. For residents who are identified as a close contact of the positive individual, the following measures will be implemented:

  1. Resident monitoring will increase to three times per day for the next 14 days.
  2. These residents will mask any time they leave their room or attend activities (i.e. beauty shop, medical appointments, etc) for the next 14 days. These residents may not participate in communal dining at this time. They may each eat at a table by themselves 6 feet from others or in their rooms.
  3. A series of two viral tests for SARS-CoV-2 (one test no sooner than 2 days after exposure, and if negative, a second test 5-7 days after exposure) will be completed.
  4. Visitation will be suspended for these residents until receipt of a second negative viral test as indicated above. Compassionate care, end of life, and outdoor visitation remain available.

Unvaccinated Test Monday

  • Unvaccinated staff test Monday from 12 to 3:30 pm at Valley on 42nd in the Auditorium.

 Reminders:

  • If you are experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19, call the staff illness line at 701.741.9646.
  • It is very important we all continue to use our PPE correctly. Eye protection and mask remain required for all staff.
  • Continue to physical distance at least 6 feet whenever possible.
  • Remind visitors that common area visitation remains unavailable. All visitation must take place inside the residents room.
  • Healthcare Academy annual education is due October 31! www.healthcareacademy.com
  • The recruiter bonus has doubled! Help us recruit the best new care partners and earn extra $$$. Share this link with anyone you would like to work with >>

Valleyseniorliving.org/apply

Thanks for all you do and for your continued dedication to the residents at Valley!


10.13.21 Update

In case you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is the link >> 10.13 ZOOM

 PLEASE KEEP RESIDENTS 6 FEET APART with the exception of meals:
With 6 long term care facilities in ND with more than 10 current COVID cases, we are making an additional temporary change to help keep the size of a potential outbreak smaller. We understand that residents who sit with one another at meals are exposed to each other, but we are going to do our best to have 6 feet of physical distancing among residents when not at meals. We continue to do our best to balance quality of life with safety for residents, which is why we would prefer to ask that residents physically distance from one another than ask them to wear masks on a more consistent basis. The only time that we will continue to ask fully vaccinated residents to wear masks outside of their rooms is when residents attend activities with residents from other neighborhoods. We will now also keep 6 feet apart during these activities.

Reminders:

  • If you are experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19, call the staff illness line at 701.741.9646.
  • It is very important we all continue to use our PPE correctly. Eye protection and mask remain required for all staff.
  • Continue to physical distance at least 6 feet whenever possible.

$$$ Recruiter Bonus DOUBLED! $$$
The RECRUITER BONUS continues for all employees and now through the end of October it has DOUBLED! If you recruit someone to be an employee in any position at Valley Senior Living you will be eligible for a BONUS! Remember there is no limit to how many people you can recruit! Share this link with your recruits >> valleyseniorliving.org/apply  –  and don’t forget to notify Human Resources when someone you recruited applies!

  • Full Time Recruit = $2000 for YOU
  • Part Time Recruit = $1000 for YOU
  • Flex Time Recruit = $500 for YOU

Testing for Unvaccinated on Monday and Thursdays

  • Unvaccinated will test tomorrow, Thursday, October 14 from 12 to 3:30 pm at Valley on Columbia.
  • Unvaccinated test Monday, October 18 at Valley on 42nd in the Auditorium.

COVID Vaccine Boosters
The booster vaccine is now available! You can find locations to get the booster by going to ndvax.org and scheduling an appointment. Please notify HR when you receive your booster.


10.12.21 Update

Reminder! Flu Shots!
The last session of mandatory flu shots is happening tomorrow, October 13 from 6 am to 12 pm at Valley on 42nd in the Auditorium.

  • If available please bring your cell phone with to complete the survey and plan for approximately 15 minutes to complete the shot and needed paperwork.

OPERATIONAL CHANGE DUE TO PEAK OF DELTA CASES:
Nine ND long term care facilities are currently experiencing COVID outbreaks of 7 to 20 residents. While this is greatly concerning, we hope the booster doses of the vaccine will help to prevent future outbreaks of this size.

We are making an additional temporary change to help keep the size of a potential outbreak smaller. We understand that residents who sit with one another at meals are exposed to each other, but we are going to do our best to have 6 feet of physical distancing among residents when not at meals. We continue to do our best to balance quality of life with safety for residents, which is why we would prefer to ask that residents physically distance from one another than ask them to wear masks on a more consistent basis.

The only time that we will continue to ask fully vaccinated residents to wear masks outside of their rooms is when residents attend activities with residents from other neighborhoods. We will now also keep 6 feet apart during these activities.

$$$ Recruiter Bonus DOUBLED! $$$
The RECRUITER BONUS continues for all employees and now through the end of October it has DOUBLED! If you recruit someone to be an employee in any position at Valley Senior Living you will be eligible for a BONUS! Remember there is no limit to how many people you can recruit! Share this link with your recruits >> valleyseniorliving.org/apply  –  and don’t forget to notify Human Resources when someone you recruited applies!

  • Full Time Recruit = $2000 for YOU
  • Part Time Recruit = $1000 for YOU
  • Flex Time Recruit = $500 for YOU

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

10.8.21 Update

Resident Cases Increasing Statewide

There are 112 residents and 152 staff currently COVID positive in North Dakota – 8 different facilities have outbreaks of 5 of more residents with the largest outbreak of 21 residents in a North Dakota nursing home. Last month at this time only 13 residents were positive in all of ND. Since we are prioritizing quality of life by having residents eating and attending activities together without masks, the priority continues to be preventing the first case so it doesn’t spread among residents. It’s still very simple to do the following to prevent outbreaks among residents:

  • Don’t work if you have symptoms; report any resident symptoms to the nurse.
  • Make sure the residents are wearing their masks when you are caring for them and when they are with visitors.

1 Staff Test Positive
One direct care staff from the Oakcrest neighborhood at Woodside Village with last work day of September 30 has tested positive. Contact tracing was not necessary.

$$$$$$ Recruiter Bonus is DOUBLE in October! $$$$$$$$
Do you know someone who would be awesome to work with? Recruit and refer them to an open position at Valley! The next CNA training class is beginning on October 25 and we still have a few spots to fill! All open positions and the application are available at valleyseniorliving.org/apply. Let Human Resources know when you have recruited someone so they can process your bonus.

  • Full Time Recruit = $2000 for YOU
  • Part Time Recruit = $1000 for YOU
  • Flex Time Recruit = $500 for YOU

COVID Testing Schedule
We continue to be required to test unvaccinated staff twice each week. The next testing is Monday, October 11 from 12 to 3:30 pm at Valley on 42nd in the Auditorium.

Flu Shots
Flu shots will be offered one more time on October 13 from 6 am to 12 pm at Valley on 42nd in the Auditorium. Flu shots are required. If you did not attend and get your shot this week, please make plans to attend on October 13.

Healthcare Academy
The annual corporate education is due by October 31. This is mandatory education for all employees. https://www.healthcareacademy.com/

COVID Vaccine Available, including Booster
If you are currently unvaccinated and ready to begin your series you can walk in to the new Grand Forks Public Health vaccine location in the Grand Cities Mall!

Where: 1826 S Washington St, Grand Forks, ND 58201

Description: The clinic is located in the former Christian Bookshelf location, between Ace Hardware and Play It Again Sports, located at 1826 S Washington St, Suite 7 in Grand Forks.

To Register: Go to ndvax.org or walk-in (pre-registration will save you time)

Pfizer and Moderna first or second doses are available.  Additional/3rd dose for those moderately or severely immunocompromised (Moderna and Pfizer).

Pfizer boosters are recommended for those who meet certain criteria:

  • People aged 65 years and older
  • Residents aged 18 years and older in long-term care settings
  • People aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions

People 18-49 with underlying medical conditions and people 18-64 who are at increased risk due to occupational exposure (this includes all of healthcare) may receive a booster.


10.6.21 Update

In case you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is the link >> 10.6 ZOOM

2 Staff Test Positive
In the last seven days, four staff from Valley Senior Living have been confirmed positive. Yesterday we received confirmation of a direct care staff from the Lanark neighborhood at Valley on Columbia who last worked on September 27. No contact tracing was necessary due to last work day. Today we received confirmation of a direct care staff from Wheatland Terrace who has been away from work since August has tested positive. No contact tracing was necessary.

Wage Clarification for “Grandfathered” Flex Employees – Communication Mailed Today
On Sunday, October 3, wages increased for Valley Senior Living employees by $1.00 across the board. Starting wages for CNAs increased to $18.50/hour, Dining Services Aide starts at $16.15/hour, and Housekeeping/Laundry starts at $15.00/hour.  Since June, all other staff have received a 2.5% increase and now a $1.00/hour raise.

There is one exception to this and I sincerely apologize that I did not include that in our initial Friday communication. Earlier this year, we started the process of paying our 180 flex status employees the same base wage as regular status employees. Previously, flex employees had been receiving 10% higher wages than regular status employees. Over the last few months, any employee hired or transitioning to flex has been paid the same base pay per hour as a regular status employee.

At the point in which we made this policy change, flex staff continued to get paid at their existing rate of pay and did not have their pay reduced. We “grandfathered” our existing flex staff at their current wage, but informed them that their wage would be frozen until regular status wages caught up to that individual’s frozen wage. This pay freeze would have typically taken three years to work its way through the combination of annual and across the board increases. With the aggressive increases in base pay including the current increase, it took less than four months for many of our staff.

Here is an example of what occurred with wages for three different CNAs at Step 1. The “Grandfathered” Flex Staff’s wage did not increase until it passed their wage of $18.25. Now, all CNAs are paid the same wage for the same level of experience.

Classification of CNA April 2021 May 2021 (first increase) July 2021 (second increase) October 2021 (third increase)
Regular Status CNA at Step 1 $16.59 $17.59 $18.12 $19.12
Grandfathered Flex CNA at Step 1 $18.25 $18.25 $18.25 $19.12
New Flex CNA at Step 1 N/A $17.59 $18.12 $19.12

As this wage difference between flex and regular status employees resolves, there are 50 flex staff who are receiving a partial raise and 27 flex who did not receive any increase because the base wages for regular status employees have not increased to a higher level of the grandfathered flex staff. The 27 flex staff who did not receive this wage increase all have the opportunity for the $2,500 or $5,000 bonuses to move to a regular status position. Again, I apologize for the my unclear communication for those that are in a grandfathered status at the higher flex rate of pay.

Bonus Opportunities for Flex and Part Time
Are you a flex or part time LPN or RN? If you transition to a part time position, you are eligible for a $2500 bonus over 12 months, or $5000 over 12 months if you move to a full time position. As a current employee we value the quality of care that you provide to the residents, and would like to see our open positions filled internally if possible. If you have any questions or are interested in either of these opportunities, please contact your supervisor now!

  • FLEX RN or LPN to Part Time = $2500 BONUS
    • $1000 after 6 months
    • $1500 after 12 months
  • FLEX or PART TIME RN or LPN to Full Time = $5000 BONUS
    • $2000 after 6 months
    • $3000 after 12 months

Flu Shots
Flu shots will be offered one more time on October 13 from 6 am to 12 pm at Woodside Village in the Auditorium. Flu shots are required. If you did not attend and get your shot yesterday, please make plans to attend on October 13.

$$$$$$$$$$ Recruiter Bonus! $$$$$$$$$$$
The RECRUITER BONUS continues for all employees and now through the end of October it has DOUBLED! If you recruit someone to be an employee in any position at Valley Senior Living you will be eligible for a BONUS! Remember there is no limit to how many people you can recruit! Share this link with your recruits >> valleyseniorliving.org/apply  –  and don’t forget to notify Human Resources when someone you recruited applies!

  • Full Time Recruit = $2000 for YOU
  • Part Time Recruit = $1000 for YOU
  • Flex Time Recruit = $500 for YOU

COVID Testing Schedule
We continue to be required to test unvaccinated staff twice each week. The next testing is tomorrow, Thursday October 7 from 12 to 3:30 pm at Valley on Columbia.

Healthcare Academy
The annual corporate education is due by October 31. This is mandatory education for all employees. https://www.healthcareacademy.com/

COVID Vaccine Available, including Booster
If you are currently unvaccinated and ready to begin your series you can walk into the new Grand Forks Public Health vaccine location in the Grand Cities Mall!

Where: 1826 S Washington St, Grand Forks, ND 58201, USA (map)

Description: The clinic is located in the former Christian Bookshelf location, between Ace Hardware and Play It Again Sports, located at 1826 S Washington St, Suite 7 in Grand Forks.

To Register: Go to ndvax.org or walk-in (pre-registration will save you time)

Pfizer and Moderna first or second doses are available.  Additional/3rd dose for those moderately or severely immunocompromised (Moderna and Pfizer).

Pfizer boosters are recommended for those who meet certain criteria:

  • People aged 65 years and older
  • Residents aged 18 years and older in long-term care settings
  • People aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions

People 18-49 with underlying medical conditions and people 18-64 who are at increased risk due to occupational exposure may receive a booster, and should consider if a booster is right for them.


10.4.21 Update

Flu Shots

  • The first session of flu shots is tomorrow, October 5, from 12 to 6 pm at Valley on Columbia.
  • The second session is October 13 from 6a to 12pm at Woodside Village.
  • Flu shots are required. If you have received this year’s flu shot elsewhere, please bring documentation to Human Resources.

1 Staff Positive
One non-direct care contract staff who last worked on October 1 within Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village has tested positive. Contact tracing is complete and no close contacts or higher-risk exposures have been identified.

Healthcare Academy
The annual corporate education is due by October 31. This is mandatory education for all employees. https://www.healthcareacademy.com/

$$$$$$$$$$ Recruiter Bonus! $$$$$$$$$$$

The RECRUITER BONUS continues for all employees and now through the end of October it has DOUBLED! If you recruit someone to be an employee in any position at Valley Senior Living you will be eligible for a BONUS! Remember there is no limit to how many people you can recruit! Share this link with your recruits >> valleyseniorliving.org/apply  –  and don’t forget to notify Human Resources when someone you recruited applies!

  • Full Time Recruit = $2000 for YOU
  • Part Time Recruit = $1000 for YOU
  • Flex Time Recruit = $500 for YOU


10.2.21 Update

Last night we received notification of 1 Direct Care staff member from the Lanark neighborhood who last worked on September 28 tested positive.

  • One high-risk close contact resident was identified with the following precautions implemented:
    • Increased respiratory illness onset monitoring to 3x per day
    • Resident will mask when leaving room for the next 14 days
    • A series of two viral tests for SARS-CoV-2 will be given (one test at least 2 days after exposure, and if negative, a second test 5-7 days after exposure
    • Visitation will be suspended for this resident until receipt of a second negative viral test as indicated above. Compassionate care, end of life, and outdoor visitation remain available.
    • Resident may not participate in dining with others at a table and can choose to eat at a table by themselves or in their room.


10.1.21 Update: Important Announcement from the Board of Directors

I am pleased to announce that our Board of Directors passed a $1.00/hour pay increase for all employees effective Sunday, October 3! This pay raise and rate increase for all departments and for all employees was decided upon with much gratitude for the work you do each day and for all that has been endured and accomplished over the past year. This wage adjustment for all employees will make our organization even more competitive in the market and will assist with positioning ourselves to attract the best candidates to work alongside you to provide the high quality of care the residents deserve.

This increase is a renewed commitment to making compensation as fair as possible for all current staff. We need to find the point in which our base wage, a great benefits package, and a supportive culture gets us to a point in which we can conclude the use of temporary actions that don’t address the root of the problem. In the last few months, we have targeted sign on bonuses that encompass 90 percent of the positions at Valley. While this has not been our preference, it has been and continues to be needed to get through this once in a generation workforce challenge.

Throughout this pandemic, the staff at Valley Senior Living has shown an unwavering dedication to the residents at Valley Senior Living and to our mission of providing compassionate Christian care and service to enhance the quality of life for those we serve. Thank you for all you do at Valley Senior Living!


9.29.21 Update

In case you missed the company zoom, here is the link. >> 9.29.21 ZOOM

Flu Shot Time! All employees must attend one of the scheduled times or turn in a copy of completed flu shot record.

  • 10/5 at Valley on Columbia from 12 to 6pm
  • 10/13 at Valley Senior Living on 42nd from 6a to 12pm

COVID-19 Booster
As an employee working within long term care, there is no requirement that you get the booster. If you are over 65, according to CDC, you “should” get the booster. All staff are eligible and “may” receive the COVID-19 booster under the following situations:

  • CDC recommends that a booster dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine be made available so that the following groups may receive a booster dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after completing their Pfizer-BioNTech primary vaccine series, based on their individual benefits and risks:
    • People aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions
    • People aged 18–64 years at increased risk for SARS-CoV-2 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting

  • Find locations where the vaccine is available at vaccines.gov
  • Please turn in a copy of the vaccine record to Human Resources if you receive the booster.

Testing Schedule
Unvaccinated staff continue to test twice each week per CMS regulations.

  • Thursday, September 30, at Valley on Columbia from 12 to 3:30 pm
  • Monday, October 4, at Valley on 42nd in the Auditorium from 12 to 3:30 pm

Staff or residents that become symptomatic are tested asap. In the event you develop any symptoms related to COVID-19 or respiratory illness onset please call the COVID-19 staff illness line at 701-741-9646.

Since last Wednesday three staff from Valley Senior Living have tested positive and no residents have been tested positive.

  • 9/22 – Woodside Village (Non-Direct Care) – last worked 9/20 – No close contacts or higher risk exposures
  • 9/23 – Valley on Columbia (Non-Direct Care) – last worked 9/19 – No close contacts or higher risk exposures
  • 9/23 – Valley on Columbia (Valley Transitions) – last worked 9/20 – No close contacts or higher risk exposures

BONUS TIME! New bonuses have been released and existing bonuses have increased!

The RECRUITER BONUS continues for all employees and now through the end of October it has DOUBLED! If you recruit someone to be an employee in any position at Valley Senior Living you will be eligible for a BONUS!

  • Full Time Recruit = $2000 for YOU
  • Part Time Recruit = $1000 for YOU
  • Flex Time Recruit = $500 for YOU

Encourage those you would enjoy working with to apply today at valleyseniorliving.org/apply and contact HR to fill out the paperwork once you recruit someone! J

FULL TIME CNA – SIGN ON BONUS – $10K
We are once again offering the $10k sign on bonus for full time CNAs. This bonus is paid over four years with the goal being to hire care partners to provide full time compassionate Christian care to the residents at Valley Senior Living. Hiring certified nurse assistants or training new CNAs into full time positions will overall benefit the residents and all employees as we will have the ability to fill schedules with more ease. If you know of someone who is interested in a career in caring, suggest this awesome opportunity to them! Remember – you will be eligible for the RECRUITER BONUS!

FLEX and Part Time Bonuses
We are currently looking to fill full time positions in the licensed nursing area with excellent opportunities available for both LPNs and RNs. If you are currently a flex time RN or LPN and would move to a part time position, you are eligible for a $2500 bonus over 12 months. If you are a flex time or part time LPN or RN and would move to a full time position, you are eligible for a $5000 bonus over 12 months. As a current employee we value the quality of care that you provide to the residents, and would like to see our open positions filled internally if possible. If you have any questions or are interested in either of these opportunities, please contact your supervisor now!

  • FLEX RN or LPN to Part Time = $2500 BONUS
    • $1000 after 6 months
    • $1500 after 12 months
  • FLEX or PART TIME RN or LPN to Full Time = $5000 BONUS
    • $2000 after 6 months
    • $3000 after 12 months

Walk to End Alzheimer’s
Thank you to everyone who participated in silent auctions to benefit the Valley Senior Living walk team! Valley Senior Living will be participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Saturday morning at Sertoma Park. We invite you to join us! Registration begins at 9am, the ceremony will be held at 10am and the walk will begin around 10:20am. If you are interested in signing up, finding out more details or making a donations, click here >> Walk to End Alzheimer’s


9.28.21 Update – NEW BONUSES! Great Opportunities!

As valued caregivers, we thank you for your continued dedication to the residents and each other during this pandemic! At Valley, we are working to adjust to staffing needs in a competitive employment market, and we are introducing new bonuses.

The RECRUITER BONUS continues for all employees and now through the end of October it has DOUBLED! If you recruit someone to be an employee in any position at Valley Senior Living you will be eligible for a BONUS!

  • Full Time Recruit = $2000 for YOU
  • Part Time Recruit = $1000 for YOU
  • Flex Time Recruit = $500 for YOU

Encourage those you would enjoy working with to apply today at valleyseniorliving.org/apply and contact HR to fill out the paperwork once you recruit someone! J

FULL TIME CNA – SIGN ON BONUS – $10K
We are once again offering the $10k sign on bonus for full time CNAs. This bonus is paid over four years with the goal being to hire care partners to provide full time compassionate Christian care to the residents at Valley Senior Living. Hiring certified nurse assistants or training new CNAs into full time positions will overall benefit the residents and all employees as we will have the ability to fill schedules with more ease. If you know of someone who is interested in a career in caring, suggest this awesome opportunity to them! Remember – you will be eligible for the RECRUITER BONUS!

FLEX and Part Time Bonuses
We are currently looking to fill full time positions in the licensed nursing area with excellent opportunities available for both LPNs and RNs. If you are currently a flex time RN or LPN and would move to a part time position, you are eligible for a $2500 bonus over 12 months. If you are a flex time or part time LPN or RN and would move to a full time position, you are eligible for a $5000 bonus over 12 months. As a current employee we value the quality of care that you provide to the residents, and would like to see our open positions filled internally if possible. If you have any questions or are interested in either of these opportunities, please contact your supervisor now!

  • FLEX RN or LPN to Part Time = $2500 BONUS
    • $1000 after 6 months
    • $1500 after 12 months
  • FLEX or PART TIME RN or LPN to Full Time = $5000 BONUS
    • $2000 after 6 months
    • $3000 after 12 months


9.25.21 Update

One direct care staff from the Valley Transitions neighborhood, with last work day September 20 has tested positive. Contact tracing was unnecessary due to the last work date, no residents are considered close contacts, and no staff are higher-risk exposures.

Testing Schedule
Unvaccinated staff will test on Monday at Valley on 42nd in the Auditorium from 12:00 to 3:30pm.


9.24.21 Update

One Staff Positive VC
We have received confirmation of a non-direct care staff member who last worked on September 19 has tested positive today for COVID-19. Contact tracing was unnecessary due to the last work date, no residents are considered close contacts, and no staff are higher-risk exposures.

Testing Schedule
Next week, unvaccinated staff will test Monday at Valley on 42nd and Thursday at Valley on Columbia. Each event is scheduled from 12:00 to 3:30 pm.

Close Contact Testing Results
There are no new close contact residents anywhere throughout Valley Senior Living. Reeves close contact residents tested negative again today. Upon two rounds of negative tests, communal dining resumes and monitoring has decreased to daily. The close contact residents continue to wear masks when outside their rooms until 14 days elapses from becoming a close contact.

Some Answers on Booster Doses, But More Questions Than Answers At This Point!
Booster doses have been recommended through a series of meetings this week at the FDA and the CDC. Bottom line, all residents are recommended to receive a booster dose of the vaccine. This is great news as we head into the peak of the Delta variant in North Dakota.

It was fairly certain the entire time that long term care residents would be at the top of the list for booster dose distribution. We are coordinating with Thrifty White pharmacy to obtain consent and administer booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine for residents as soon as possible to those who have received their series of Pfizer doses more than 6 months ago.

Throughout the week, it was unclear what would be recommended for long term care staff. With this news today, long term care staff “may” receive a booster. This is very different from “should” or “must,” recognizing that the vaccine is providing a high degree of protection for healthy people. At this point, there is no discussion about scheduling a booster dose clinic for staff. We are focusing on residents first.

We will have more information to share next week! The ND Department of Health News Release from today is as follows:

 NEWS RELEASE | FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | Sept. 24, 2021

NDDoH releases statement on FDA approval, CDC recommendation of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster doses

 BISMARCK, N.D. – Earlier this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the use of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for a single booster dose, to be administered at least six months after completion of the primary series for certain individuals.

Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finalized COVID-19 booster dose recommendations for people who previously received Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The following individuals are recommended to receive a booster dose:

  • people 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer primary series,
  • people aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer primary series,
  • people aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks, and
  • people aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.

These recommendations are ONLY for those who originally received the two-dose series of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine. Booster doses might be recommended in the future for those who received COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by Moderna or Janssen (Johnson & Johnson). There is not yet data available to recommend mixing vaccine brands or to recommend additional doses of Moderna or Janssen vaccine.

This recommendation does not mean that COVID-19 vaccines are not working. Hospitalization rates are ~10-22 times higher in unvaccinated adults compared to vaccinated adults. Vaccinated people are five times less likely to get sick from COVID-19, compared to those who are unvaccinated. Vaccine effectiveness has declined against infection (having COVID-19 symptoms) but is still highly protective against hospitalization and death. Effectiveness against hospitalization has declined for those 65 and older.

Booster doses may not be available until later next week. Healthcare providers will need to educate staff and update protocols based on this new recommendation. The NDDoH has planned with long-term care facilities to ensure they have access to booster doses in the coming weeks. Please. stay tuned for more information. As a reminder, people may be vaccinated against influenza at the same time as receiving a COVID-19 booster.

Information on COVID-19 vaccine providers and clinics near you can be found on the NDDoH COVID Vaccine Locator page. Individuals can also contact the NDDoH public health hotline at 1-866-207-2880 for questions related to COVID-19 and for assistance in scheduling a vaccine appointment.


9.22.21 Update

Thank you!
This is the fifth week of video “Thank Yous” and today it includes the Valley Senior Living Board Chair, John Snustad and a resident from Valley on Columbia. Thank you #5!

3 Staff Positive

  • On Monday, 1 Direct Care from Reeves neighborhood who last worked on September 19 tested positive.
    • Nine close contacts were identified with the following precautions implemented:
      • Increased respiratory illness onset monitoring to 3x per day
      • Residents will mask when leaving room for the next 14 days
      • A series of two viral tests for SARS-CoV-2 will be given (one test at least 2 days after exposure, and if negative, a second test 5-7 days after exposure
      • Residents may not participate in dining with others at a table and can choose to eat at a table by themselves or in their room.
    • On Monday, 1 Direct Care from Hearthstone neighborhood who last worked on September 19
      • No close contacts were identified
    • Today (Wednesday) we received confirmation of a non-direct care Woodside Village staff member who last worked on September 20 testing positive. No close contacts were identified from the contact tracing.

If you missed the company zoom today, here is the link >> 9.22 Zoom

Get the Vaccine TODAY and Get a $50 eGift Card!

  • The City of Grand Forks, Grand Forks Public Health, and Altru have partnered to host a community COVID-19 vaccination clinic for the public.
  • Get the first dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on September 22, 2021, from 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at the Alerus Center located at 1200 S 42nd St in Grand Forks, ND.
  • A $50 e-gift card will be awarded to anyone 12 years of age and older who receives their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination series at the clinic. Support Small Love Local e-gift cards will be distributed to their email provided at time of scheduling.
  • If you get the vaccine and begin your series, please notify HR at 701-787-7942. If you develop side effects due to the vaccine, please report them to the COVID Staff illness line at 701-741-7646.

 Testing Schedule
With the changes released from CMS, vaccinated staff and residents do not need to routinely test anymore. Unvaccinated staff will test twice per week while community COVID cases are at a high or substantial level according to CDC. The upcoming schedule includes:

  • 9/23/21– Valley on Columbia Community Room –  12 to 3:30 pm (UNVACCINATED STAFF FROM ALL LOCATIONS)
  • 9/27/21 – Woodside Village Auditorium – 12 to 3:30 pm (UNVACCINATED STAFF FROM ALL LOCATIONS)

 COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters
We are expecting to receive more information within a week regarding the COVID-19 vaccine boosters, availability, and who will be within the recommended group to receive. When boosters are approved, we are anticipating a swift timeline to implementation.

What’s the difference between a booster dose and an additional dose?

  • An “additional dose” of a vaccine may be given to immunocompromised who do not build enough (or any) protection when they first get vaccinated. A “booster dose” refers to an additional dose of a vaccine that is given to someone who built enough protection after vaccination, but then that protection may have decreased over time (this is called waning immunity). Additional doses for immunocompromised are now available and boosters are expected to be available soon. Implementation of the booster plan is subject to FDA’s authorization and ACIP’s recommendation.

When can I get a COVID-19 vaccine booster?

  • The goal is for people to start receiving a COVID-19 booster shot beginning this fall, with individuals being eligible starting 8 months after they received their second dose of an mRNA vaccine (either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna). People who received Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine are not eligible to receive a booster dose of an mRNA vaccine at this time. This is subject to authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and recommendation by CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

Who will be the first people to get a booster dose?

  • If the FDA authorizes and ACIP recommends a booster dose, people who were first to receive a COVID-19 vaccination when they became available in early 2021 (e.g., those who are most at risk) are likely to be the first people eligible for a booster. This includes healthcare providers, residents of long-term care facilities, and other older adults.


9.17.21 Update

One direct care staff from the Valley Transitions/Riverside neighborhood who last worked on September 9 was confirmed positive yesterday. Contact tracing was unnecessary due to the late day worked so there are no residents who could be considered close contacts and no staff are higher-risk exposures.

Testing Schedule
With the changes released from CMS, vaccinated staff and residents do not need to routinely test anymore. Unvaccinated staff will test twice per week while community COVID cases are at a high or substantial level according to CDC. The upcoming schedule includes:

  • 9/20/21 – Woodside Village Auditorium – 12 to 3:30 pm (UNVACCINATED STAFF FROM ALL LOCATIONS)

Testing of any staff and residents will continue to occur when symptoms develop and when residents are considered close contacts or staff are considered higher-risk exposures during contact tracing. Close contacts will be tested after 2 days of exposure and 5-7 days after exposure.

Vaccine Clinic to Give $50 eGift Cards for First Dose!
The City of Grand Forks, Grand Forks Public Health, and Altru have partnered to host a community COVID-19 vaccination clinic for the public. The City of Grand Forks will provide virtual gift cards to people who receive their first dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on September 22, 2021, from 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at the Alerus Center located at 1200 S 42nd St in Grand Forks, ND. A $50 e-gift card will be awarded to anyone 12 years of age and older who receives their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination series at the clinic. Support Small Love Local e-gift cards will be distributed to their email provided at time of scheduling.

The Support Small Love Local e-gift card program is an innovative way to grow our Grand Forks small businesses, spark some recovery from the pandemic, and build community. The program and e-gift card are designed to support the local Grand Forks business community and can only be used at participating retailers. The dollars stay local and benefit our retailers, restaurants, co-ops, and attractions in Grand Forks.

According to the North Dakota Department of Health, 98.5% of North Dakotans who died from COVID-19 were unvaccinated. “The Delta variant is more infectious than previous variants and has led to increased transmission of COVID-19, even in some vaccinated individuals.” Says Debbie Swanson, Director at Grand Forks Public Health. “Although this can seem discouraging, it’s important to know that vaccines remain the best tool to protect yourself, your friends and family and your community.”

Pfizer-BioNTech will be the COVID-19 vaccine available at the community COVID-19 vaccination clinic on September 22, 2021, from 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Individuals needing to complete their series are able to attend the event. Only first doses will be eligible for the incentive. COVID-19 vaccines are free and do not require ID, proof of residency, citizenship, or insurance. Individuals interested in receiving their vaccine at the community COVID-19 vaccination clinic can register at http://www.grandforksgov.com/covidrewards or by calling the COVID-19 hotline, 701.780.6358.

More information and FAQ visit: http://www.grandforksgov.com/covidrewards


9.15.21 Update

Vaccine Mandate Update:
The federal vaccine mandate for healthcare workers at Medicare and Medicaid participating health care settings will create a consistent standard across the country while giving patients assurance of the vaccinated status of those delivering care. An effective date is yet to be determined, and we expect to hear more by the end of September or beginning of October. If you are currently unvaccinated and ready to begin the series, please contact one of Valley Senior Living’s Infection Preventionists (Kayla Porter @ 701-787-7952 or Carra Hindberg @ 701-787-7839 with questions or assistance with scheduling a vaccine appointment).

To find a location where you can schedule and appointment to begin the vaccine series please visit: https://www.vaccines.gov/search/ Receiving the vaccine is free of charge, we pay you for time missed related to receiving the vaccine, and you are paid if you miss work as a result of symptoms following the vaccine.

Thank you!
This is the fourth week of video “Thank Yous” from the community, family members and residents, to us at Valley Senior Living. This week’s video features Shelly Peterson, President of the North Dakota Long Term Care Association and a resident from Tufte Manor! Thank you # 4!

Company Zoom:
If you missed the company zoom today, here is the link >> 9.15.21 ZOOM

Environmental Services Week!
This week is Environmental Services Week! We are sending out a huge THANK YOU to the dedicated environmental services departments at each care community and recognize the efforts of each of you to keep our care communities looking great, running smoothly, and the dedication you have to keeping our residents safe and healthy! The work you do truly makes a difference, and for that, we thank you!

Testing Schedule:
With the changes released from CMS, vaccinated staff and residents do not need to routinely test anymore. Unvaccinated staff will test twice per week while community COVID cases are at a high or substantial level according to CDC. The upcoming schedule includes:

  • 9/16/21 – Woodside Village Auditorium – 12 to 3:30 pm (UNVACCINATED STAFF FROM ALL LOCATIONS)
  • 9/20/21 – Woodside Village Auditorium – 12 to 3:30 pm (UNVACCINATED STAFF FROM ALL LOCATIONS)

Testing of vaccinated staff and residents will be based on close contacts during COVID-19 positive case investigations, or in the event symptoms develop. Close contacts will be tested immediately and 5-7 days later.

One Staff WV Positive
One direct care staff from the Heartland neighborhood who last worked on September 12 has tested positive as of last night. This is the first staff positive test after the new guidance has been received from CMS. Contact tracing has been completed and six residents have been determined as close contacts. No higher risk exposure in staff members was discovered through contact tracing. Please reference the information below for details on how positive staff/resident tests will be handled, the effect on visitation, dining, activities and the testing protocol.

Review of CMS Updates and the information that was shared with residents and family members today:
There were major changes in COVID -19 guidance this week from CMS, starting with the definition of an “outbreak.” Not all guidance has been officially updated, specifically the guidance related to visitation, but we are making decisions in good faith with the new definition of an outbreak as our guide and we expect that the outdated visitation guidance will be revised soon.

Since the pandemic started, our whole building was considered under “outbreak” status if one resident or staff tested positive. The previous guidance from CMS for outbreak status would require the monitoring of all residents three times a day, all staff and residents would test every three to seven days, and visitation for the neighborhood or the whole building was affected until 14 days had passed without a new infection.

The new guidance has a more common sense approach: We are now able to contact trace a positive case to determine if a resident is a close contact or if a staff member is a higher-risk exposure. As a result, we no longer need to test everyone, increase monitoring for all residents, or restrict visitation for everyone. Close contact and higher-risk exposure is defined as follows:

  • Residents: Close Contact – Someone who has been within 6 feet of a COVID-19 positive person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24 hour period. Note that CMS is erring on the side of caution with this definition as it does not distinguish whether masks are worn or not in those interactions.
  • Staff: Higher-Risk Exposure – Defined as a time when staff may have been exposed through eyes, nose, or mouth to material potentially containing SARS-CoV-2. This definition does recognize that the proper use of masks and other personal protective equipment should not exclude an employee from work. An example could be an exposure of a positive employee riding together with another employee to and from work without masks for 15 minutes or more over a 24 hour period.

In the event that a resident is a close contact, we will use the following CMS statement to determine our response: Fully vaccinated residents who have had close contact with someone with SARS-CoV-2 infection should wear source control (face mask) and be tested as described in the testing section. Fully vaccinated residents and residents with SARS-CoV-2 infection in the last 90 days do not need to be quarantined, restricted to their room, or cared for by health care provider using the full PPE recommended for the care of a resident with SARS-CoV-2 infection unless they develop symptoms of COVID-19, are diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection, or the facility is directed to do so by the jurisdiction’s public health authority.

Please review this table to understand our areas of response for residents who are deemed close contacts moving forward:

Area of Response Resident Close Contact Requirements
Testing Test after 2 days and 5-7 days of exposure. We will continue to use BinaxNOW antigen tests to get immediate results. If additional positive cases are found, we may expand our testing to the entire neighborhood and test every 3 days until 14 days have passed from the last positive case.
Monitoring Nursing will monitor 3 times a day until outbreak resolved.
Visitation Close contacts will be limited to compassionate care visits, outdoor visits and virtual visits during the outbreak. We anticipate getting revised visitation guidance soon, but this is our best good faith response to the new guidance.
Activities Close contacts can attend all activities but must wear a mask while outside their room during the exposure window.
Meals Close contacts can attend meals at their regular table if they did not have a high-risk interaction with a positive staff member or resident. For example, exposure between residents is typically unmasked which creates a higher risk for developing COVID post exposure. Staff wearing a mask and the resident does not is also considered higher risk if the exposure was 15 minutes or more.

With this new guidance, earlier this week we were able to determine that all “outbreak” scenarios involving our staff could be concluded based on the fact that we resolved them with testing after two days and within five to seven days of the exposure. Therefore, we have no current restrictions on visitation throughout Valley Senior Living!


9.13.21 Update

Due to new CDC and CMS guidance on Friday, the definition of an “outbreak” is very different.

  • Before: Outbreak was one staff or resident in a building. It triggered outbreak testing for all residents and staff every 3-7 days until there were no positive tests for a 14 day time period.
  • Now: Outbreak is considered to be resident close contacts and employee higher-risk exposures of the positive resident or staff member. Test people at least 2 days after the initial exposure and 5-7 days after. There are many other issues to consider but this is a short version of it.
  • With this new guidance, all skilled nursing neighborhoods at VC and WV are not considered under “outbreak” anymore. As a result, all open for visitation and may resume 1 time per day resident monitoring!

Testing requirements changed as well on Friday. Fully-vaccinated staff are done with routine testing! Only staff who are unvaccinated or not fully-vaccinated are expected to routinely test for all buildings.

  • When CDC transmission in our county is at “substantial or high,” unvaccinated staff are required to test twice per week. Grand Forks County is currently “high” and most likely will be categorized as such for a couple of months as this Delta variant continues in our county.
  • All unvaccinated staff tested today with no positive results.
  • VC and 42nd will each host a testing event a week on Mondays and Thursdays. This Thursday’s testing event for not fully-vaccinated staff is from 12:00 to 3:30pm at the Auditorium at Valley on 42nd.


9.10.21 Update

A ton of changes for testing were just released today by CMS! Vaccinated staff do not need to routinely test anymore! All residents do not need to test anymore! We will now only test staff and residents based on close contacts during COVID-19 positive case investigations. Worst case scenario we will test an entire neighborhood, but not the entire building. Close contacts will be tested immediately and 5-7 days later. The details are attached in the memo “QSO-29-38-NH Revised 9.10.21”. We will summarize this for you in more detail next week.

Unvaccinated staff now test twice per week. Testing Schedule for Unvaccinated Staff:

  • 9/13 – Unvaccinated Staff for All Buildings test 12 to 3:30 pm in the Valley on Columbia Community Room
  • 9/16 – Unvaccinated Staff for All Buildings test 12 to 3:30 pm in Woodside Village Auditorium

 In the CMS Guidance, unvaccinated staff from all buildings will test twice per week until community spread is at a moderate level (less than 50 cases per 100,000 population). Unvaccinated staff then test weekly when we are at moderate transmission, and no testing is required when we are at low transmission in our area. For reference, today we are at 305 cases per 100,000 population, so the twice a week requirement will not change anytime soon. The upcoming schedule includes:

Eye Protection
Our county positivity rate has tipped over 5%. We are now required to utilize eye protection in addition to your mask for all staff, regardless of vaccination status. Eye protection must be worn when there is a possibility of being within 6 feet of another person (staff, resident or visitor).

  • Valley on Columbia: If you are in need of eye protection, extras are available on the N95 cart by the Employee Health office.
  • Woodside Village: Obtain your eye protection from your individual totes. If you do not have an issued pair of eye protection, speak with your supervisor.
  • Tufte Manor: If you are in need of eye protection, please stop by the front desk or ask your supervisor.
  • Wheatland Terrace: If you are in need of eye protection, please ask Laura Schauer.

Remember to clean your eye protection when visibly soiled, and at least daily at the end of your shift.

Mandate Update for Healthcare and Employers of 100+ employees
Yesterday was filled with information about the upcoming Presidential vaccine mandates. Over 100 million people will be dealing with these changes soon. We are fortunate to be at a point where nearly 80% of our employees are already fully vaccinated. We will continue to update you over the next week as more information about these changes become available.

1 Staff Positive & Resident Results
Yesterday we received confirmation of one off-site support staff from Valley that has tested positive. All residents from the Heartland neighborhood at Woodside Village and all Valley on Columbia residents were tested with negative results.


9.8.21 Update

This is the third week of video “Thank Yous” from the community, family members and residents, to us at Valley Senior Living. This week’s video features Mayor Brandon Bochenski, a resident from Wheatland Terrace, and a family member from Tufte Manor! Thank you # 3!

Gratitude for YOU!
Throughout the state, long term care resident cases remain relatively low showing the vaccine is benefiting this population. A troubling trend is that healthcare facilities throughout the state are struggling with capacity and staffing. At Valley Senior Living we remain in a good position with our staffing and we are prepared to handle a potential increase in staff and resident infections. We are thankful and grateful for the compassionate and very dedicated staff we currently have that continue to provide excellent care to those that need it, the residents of Valley Senior Living! Continue to support each other as we navigate this next wave of the pandemic.

Recruiter Bonus Continues!
The next CNA class is scheduled to begin on September 27. We are currently accepting applications and interviewing to fill the seats in this class and the next! For each full time employee you recruit, you receive $1000 and part time is $500. The first $100 is paid once the new hire completes general orientation. Encourage those you recruit to apply online at valleyseniorliving.org/apply and contact HR to fill out the paperwork once you recruit someone.

If you missed the weekly update and the Company Zoom, here is the link >> 9.8 ZOOM

3 Staff Positive Yesterday + 1 Resident in COVID Care Area
Yesterday, 63 people tested positive in Grand Forks County, three of whom are Valley staff. This included one direct care staff from Valley Transitions with last work day September 2, one non-direct care staff from Woodside Village with last work day September 2, and one staff member beginning general orientation. Six total staff tested positive over the last week. We continue to care for one resident from Woodside Village in the COVID care area at Valley Senior Living on 42nd.

Testing Schedule
Staff and residents from Woodside Village and Valley on Columbia will continue to test weekly. Unvaccinated staff from Tufte Manor and Wheatland Terrace will test every other week. The upcoming schedule includes:

  • 9/9 – Heartland Residents test in morning
  • 9/10 – Heartland Staff test in Woodside Village meeting room from 12 to 2 pm
  • 9/10 – Valley on Columbia residents test in morning
  • 9/13 – Woodside Village residents test in morning
  • 9/13 – Valley on Columbia staff, regardless of vaccination status, test 12 to 3:30 pm in Community Room
  • 9/14 – Woodside Village staff, regardless of vaccination status, test 12 to 3:30 pm in Woodside Village Auditorium


9.3.21 Update

Eyewear Change!
Grand Forks County is below a 5% positivity rate and the requirement for eye protection is now lifted for vaccinated staff for this week. Unvaccinated are still required to wear eye protection.

  • Heartland staff continue to wear N95 and face shields due to the outbreak status.

1 WV Staff Positive, Heartland and Valley on Columbia Residents test Negative

Last night we received confirmation of one direct care staff from the Prairieview neighborhood who last worked on September 1 has tested positive. Visitation remains suspended at Woodside Village. The positive resident from the Heartland neighborhood continues to be cared for in the COVID care area at Woodside Village. Residents from Heartland at Woodside Village tested negative yesterday. Valley on Columbia were tested this morning with all negative results.

Testing Schedule

  • Valley on Columbia – Monday, September 6 from 12 – 3 pm inside the front entrance (SORRY! This is being held on Labor Day otherwise VC staff would have had to test twice this week. We are required to test every 3 to 7 days – If you are out of town, attend the next testing event on Tuesday)
  • Woodside Village  – Tuesday, September 7 from 12:30 – 3:30 pm in the auditorium at Woodside Village
  • Unvaccinated Tufte Manor and Wheatland Terrace Staff – Tuesday, September 7 from 12:30 – 3:30 pm in the auditorium at Woodside Village


9.1.21 Update

This is the second week of video “Thank Yous” from the community, family members and residents, to us at Valley Senior Living! This week’s video features Dave Molmen from Altru, a resident from Valley on Columbia and family from Woodside Village !  Thank you # 2!

In case you missed the company zoom earlier today honoring the ND Long Term Care Volunteer of the Year and Caregiver of the Year presentations to Betty Gilpin and Linda Halvorson, here is the link >> 9.1.21 Zoom

COVID cases continue to increase throughout the state and within long term care communities. In the last seven days, four new staff infections (two at Woodside Village, one at Tufte Manor, one at Valley on Columbia) and one positive resident infection (Woodside Village) were confirmed. The resident is being cared for within the COVID care area at Woodside Village.

Testing Schedule
The upcoming testing schedule includes Valley on Columbia staff testing on Monday, September 6 in order to remain within the regulations of testing once every 7 days.

  • 9/6/21 – Valley on Columbia Staff, regardless of vaccination status – Front entrance of Valley on Columbia from 12 – 3 pm
  • 9/7/21 – Woodside Village Staff, regardless of vaccination status & Wheatland Terrace and Tufte Manor unvaccinated staff – Woodside Auditorium – 12 to 3:30 pm

Thank you for all you continue to do! Please report symptoms upon onset to the COVID staff illness line at 701-741-9646.


8.30.21 Update 

WOODSIDE VILLAGE UPDATES

Today we received confirmation of a resident who has tested positive for COVID-19 on the Heartland Neighborhood. The resident was transferred to the COVID-19 Care Area at Woodside Village this morning.  Contact tracing is in progress and you will be contacted if additional precautions are required due to exposure.

A couple of firsts today:

  • This is the first COVID-19 positive resident who will stay at Woodside Village for the duration of the infection and the first positive resident in the organization since April 19.
  • This is the first time that we are offering REGEN-COV monoclonal antibody treatment to a positive resident and their close contacts. We are able to offer this internally through Thrifty White Pharmacy. The treatment is administered in four separate subcutaneous injections in different locations.

The Heartland neighborhood will have increase precautions during the outbreak status.

  • Dining – no communal dining
  • Recreation – no activities with other neighborhoods and limit groups to 10 or less
  • Move Ins – no move ins on HL until further testing is completed
  • Resident Monitoring – resident monitoring is 3x a day temp, 02, and lung sounds and 1X a day screening questions
  • PPE changes – N95 and face shield for all HL staff.  All other neighborhoods remain with surgical mask and eye protection
  • Cleaning – increased cleaning for duration of outbreak
  • Staff floating – staff should not float to other areas for duration of outbreak
  • Common Area Use – common area use discouraged but allowed
  • Beauty Shop – beauty shop appointments for HL to occur on the neighborhood
  • Medical Appointments – medically necessary appointments only for duration of outbreak
  • Doors between neighborhoods – doors into the Heartland neighborhood should remain closed for duration of outbreak
  • Residents use masks whenever they are out of their room, not just during activity.

With this positive test result in a resident, visitation is now suspended at Woodside Village including Hearthstone. Suspending visitation due to the circumstances surrounding this positive test is a requirement of CMS and is a responsible measure to take when we have the elevated level of COVID cases in our community during this Delta variant surge. End of life visitation, compassionate care visits, outdoor visits, and virtual visits are all available.

VALLEY ON COLUMBIA UPDATES

All residents tested negative on Friday and all staff tested negative today. At this time, full visitation continues at Valley Senior Living on Columbia. We have been fortunate last week to only have non-direct care staff positive cases. You need to be prepared for regular visitation to stop for all of Valley on Columbia very soon. This will be triggered when we have one staff member from a single neighborhood test positive.

TESTING SCHEDULE

  • 8/31 Woodside Village all staff from 12pm-3:30pm in auditorium
  • 9/3 Heartland Staff from 12pm-2pm in 42nd Meeting Room
  • 9/6 Valley on Columbia all staff from 12pm-3pm inside front entrance at Valley on Columbia
  • 9/7 Woodside Village all staff from 12pm-3:30pm in auditorium


8.27.21 Update

URGENT REMINDER! Do not report to work if you have any symptom or have been exposed to positive. Call the staff illness COVID line at 701-741-9646 as soon as symptoms begin even if you are not scheduled to work. In the event you have any symptoms or have been exposed to someone positive, the staff illness line will determine if you should test, are cleared to work, or if you can work with additional PPE.

  • Symptoms include: cough, congestion/runny nose, sore throat, muscle/body aches, headache, fatigue, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, chills, loss of taste and/or smell, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea.
  • The Delta variant is highly contagious. Since vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals can transmit the virus to others, reporting symptoms in a timely manner is extremely important to protect the residents we care for.

Eye Protection Update

Our county positivity rate has tipped over 5%. We are now required to utilize eye protection in addition to your mask for all staff, regardless of vaccination status. Eye protection must be worn when there is a possibility of being within 6 feet of another person (staff, resident or visitor).

Valley on Columbia: If you are in need of eye protection, please obtain a pair (eye glasses type or face shield) from center court. Please label or mark with your name. Extras will also be available on the N95 cart by the Employee Health office.

Woodside Village: Obtain your eye protection from your individual totes. If you do not have an issued pair of eye protection, speak with your supervisor.

Tufte Manor: If you are in need of eye protection, please stop by the front desk or ask your supervisor.

Wheatland Terrace: If you are in need of eye protection, please ask Laura Schauer.

Remember to clean your eye protection when visibly soiled and at least daily at the end of your shift.

All residents from Valley on Columbia test negative, but 3 positive staff tests to report:

  • 1 Direct Care Staff, Heartland at Woodside Village, last worked August 23
    • Visitation Suspended within Heartland until 14 days with no additional positive tests
  • 1 Non-Direct Care Staff, Valley on Columbia, last worked August 25
    • Does not change visitation at Valley on Columbia
  • 1 Non-Direct Care Staff, Tufte Manor, last worked August 25
    • Does not change visitation at Tufte Manor

 TESTING SCHEDULE

  • 8/30 Valley on Columbia all staff from 12pm-3:30pm inside front entrance at Valley on Columbia
  • 8/31 Woodside Village all staff from 12pm-3:30pm in auditorium


8.25.21 Update

This is the first week of video “Thank Yous” from the community, family members and residents to us at Valley Senior Living! See comment from Debbie Swanson from Grand Forks Public Health, a Prairieview resident and a family member from the Almonte neighborhood!  Click here for the first THANK YOU !!  >> Thank You #1

In case you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is the link >> 8.25 ZOOM

1 Woodside Staff Positive
Earlier today we received confirmation of a direct care staff member from the Oakcrest neighborhood who last worked on August 6 has tested positive.

  • Throughout Valley, six staff tested positive this week, including two from Valley on Columbia (1 Valley Transitions, last worked August 16 and 1 Non-Direct Care, last worked August 20), three from Woodside Village (1 Prairieview, last worked August 20, 2 Oakcrest, last worked August 6 and 24), and one from Tufte Manor (last worked August 19)

Upcoming Testing Schedule

  • 8/27 VC all residents
  • 8/30 WV all residents and VC all staff from 12pm-3:30pm inside front entrance at VC
  • 8/31 WV all staff from 12pm-3:30pm in auditorium

 Are you looking to schedule your vaccine?

  • vaccines.gov/
  • thriftywhite.com/covid19vaccine
  • Pop-up walk in clinics are available and hosted by Grand Forks Public Health
    • August 26 – 10 am – 2pm @ Home of Economy
    • August 26 – 2 – 6pm @ Hugo’s Family Marketplace
    • August 26 – 5 – 8pm @ Belmont Sledding Hill parking lot

*** Please notify HR when you have started your vaccine series.***


8.24.21 Update

COVID cases are accelerating at an alarming rate again. Grand Forks County reported 32 cases today. Three weeks ago that would have been the number of cases reported in the entire week. Six weeks ago that would have been triple the number of cases identified within the last 10 days combined in our county. According to the CDC transmission indicators, Grand Forks County is at a high transmission level.

Long term care COVID-19 numbers remain relatively low compared to the general population, but the residents and staff cases have risen over the past week. Currently in North Dakota, 9 residents and 36 staff have tested positive in the last 10 days. Throughout Valley, five staff tested positive this week. We have one new infection to report from Tufte Manor with last work day August 19 and one from Woodside Village within the Oakcrest neighborhood with last work day August 24. Previously reported this week includes two from Valley on Columbia (1 Valley Transitions, last worked August 16 and 1 Non-Direct Care, last worked August 20) and one from Woodside Village (last worked August 20).

 Updates from the week include:

  • The Woodside Village positive infection required visitation to stop and testing of all staff and residents. An additional infection was detected and visitation will remain suspended within the Prairieview and Oakcrest neighborhood until 14 days with no newly identified infections is reached. Approved compassionate care visits will remain available in all neighborhoods.
  • The Tufte Manor positive infection was in a staff member who last worked August 19. Since the staff has not been in the building during the last 48 hours (it was 5 days), we are not testing all residents and staff and it does not impact visitation.
  • Visitation remains available at Valley on Columbia and Wheatland Terrace with no changes.

Infection Prevention Reminders

  • Proper face mask use, donning and doffing remains extremely important
  • Hand sanitize often
  • Physical distance when possible
  • Vaccination remains an important tool to help stop the pandemic
  • Residents are required to wear face mask during care interactions
  • Residents are required to mask when in groups containing residents from other neighborhoods

Pfizer Receives Full Approval
Yesterday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted full approval of the first COVID-19 vaccine, Pfizer, for the prevention of COVID-19. This will hopefully instill further confidence that the vaccine is safe and effective and alleviate hesitancy to become vaccinated. The federal government is expected to mandate the vaccine for employees of nursing homes funded by Medicare and Medicaid in the near future. Unvaccinated staff can expect to be contacted in the next few weeks to further discuss vaccination options, answer additional questions, or complete an updated declination.

Ready to schedule a Vaccine Appointment?

  • Visit https://www.vaccines.gov/search/
  • Grand Forks Public Health Pop-Up Clinics
    • August 25 –  GF Public Library – 2 pm – 4:30 pm
    • August 25 – Kelly Park – 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
  • Contact HR to let them know you have started the vaccine series at 701-787-7924

Thank you for your continued dedication to the residents at Valley!


8.23.21 Update

Earlier today the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine and it is no longer under the emergency use authorization. >> Read More

“The FDA’s approval of this vaccine is a milestone as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. While this and other vaccines have met the FDA’s rigorous, scientific standards for emergency use authorization, as the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, the public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality the FDA requires of an approved product,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. “While millions of people have already safely received COVID-19 vaccines, we recognize that for some, the FDA approval of a vaccine may now instill additional confidence to get vaccinated. Today’s milestone puts us one step closer to altering the course of this pandemic in the U.S.” 

It is promising to see the pace of vaccinations increasing and we expect that more will get vaccinated with the recent FDA approval. At Valley Senior Living we are not mandating the vaccine at this point, but we are anticipating the federal mandate will include nursing home staff in the near future.

Vaccination is the most effective way to protect against the COVID-19 virus. When you choose to be vaccinated, you are protecting not only yourself, but also your family, friends and the residents you care for at Valley Senior Living. Current data from Altru shows 91% of those hospitalized at Altru were unvaccinated.

Currently, 75% of the employees at Valley Senior Living have made the choice to be vaccinated and have had at least one dose of vaccine. This includes 643 employees at Valley! Congratulations and thank you for paving the way to the safest environment, and for doing your part to provide protection for the residents and each other.

With the FDA approval now in place, we are hoping to increase the vaccination rate and percentage of staff who have started the series at Valley Senior Living by the end of this week. In order to increase our percentage of vaccinated employees and to create a safer environment for our residents, we are waiting to assist staff members to schedule their vaccine appointment or walk in to a pop-up clinic hosted by the Grand Forks Public Health. Options to schedule your vaccine include:

  • Visit https://www.vaccines.gov/search/
  • Grand Forks Public Health Pop-Up Clinics
    • August 24 – Fritz Pollard Jr. Athletic Center – 7am to 11 am
    • August 24 – Discovery Elementary – 5 pm – 8 pm
    • August 25 –  GF Public Library – 2 pm – 4:30 pm
    • August 25 – Kelly Park – 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
    • August 26 – Home of Economy – 10 am – 2 pm
    • August 26 – Hugo’s on 32nd – 2 pm – 6 pm

Your supervisor, one of the Infection Preventionists (Kayla at 701-787-7952 or Carra at 701-787-7839) or HR (701-787-7942) would be glad to assist you with scheduling an appointment or helping you find a location that works best for you and your schedule. In the event you would develop vaccine related side effects, you are paid (up to 16 hours) for your time away from work after receiving the vaccine.

1 WV Staff Positive, 1 VC Staff Positive
One non-direct care staff member from Woodside Village, with last work day August 20, and one direct care staff member from Valley Transitions who last worked on August 16 have tested positive today. These positive test results stop visitation at Woodside Village and triggers outbreak testing and has no effect on visitation at Valley on Columbia due to last work day being more than 48 hours ago.

  • All residents tested today at Woodside Village with all negative results.
  • All staff from Woodside Village, regardless of vaccination status, test Tuesday, August 24 from 12 to 4 in the Auditorium. Please contact your supervisor now if you are unable to attend.
  • Results from this outbreak testing will determine whether visitation can resume.
  • Weekly testing will continue until 14 days with no additional positive infections.

All residents from Valley on Columbia tested on Friday and all staff from Valley on Columbia tested today with no new infections detected.


8.19.21 Update

VC Staff Positive
A non-direct care staff member who last worked today from Valley on Columbia has tested positive for COVID-19. This positive test will not affect visitation due to all residents and staff testing in the past seven days. All residents will test tomorrow morning and staff from Valley on Columbia, regardless of vaccination status, will test on Monday, August 23 from 12 to 3:30 pm inside the front entrance of Valley on Columbia.

Vaccine Update
There is still time to get the vaccine before the Delta variant becomes more prevalent in our area. Beginning the series now will protect you, and add a level of protection for the residents at Valley as we prepare for the next wave of the pandemic. If you are interested in more information about the vaccine and locations where it is available, contact one of the Infection Preventionists for more details. Kayla Porter at 701-787-7952 or Carra Hindberg at 701-787-7839. If you have started the series, please notify HR at 701-787-7942.

From the CDC:

  • Vaccines continue to reduce a person’s risk of contracting the virus that cause COVID-19, including this variant. The COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States are highly effective at preventing severe disease and death, including against the Delta variant. But they are not 100% effective and some fully vaccinated people will become infected (called a breakthrough infection) and experience illness. For such people, the vaccine still provides them strong protection against serious illness and death.
  • The Delta variant may cause more severe illness than previous strains in unvaccinated persons.

From the North Dakota Department of Health:

  • Getting vaccinated essentially saves lives.
  • Staff on the frontline of the pandemic are at high risk of exposure and of exposing others to COVID-19.
  • Vaccinating employees in long term care not only protects staff from getting sick but may also protects their family, friends, and residents from the virus.
  • Side effects from vaccinating against COVID-19 are typically mild and resolve on their own in 1-2 days.
  • Pre-register to get your vaccine and check locations and ndvax.org. Pop-up locations are free and open to everyone 12 years of age and older.


8.18.21 Update

In case you missed the company zoom, here is the link >> 8.18 Zoom 

CMS Mandate Expected by Next Month
Please click on this link and read the attached news article. CMS is expected to release a COVID-19 vaccine mandate to nursing facilities receiving Medicare and Medicaid funding by the end of next month.

Not Feeling Well? Do NOT report to work! Call the COVID Staff Illness line at 701.741.9646 for next steps. Symptoms to report include: cough, congestion/runny nose, sore throat, muscle/body aches, headache, fatigue, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, chills, loss of taste and/or smell, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea.

Vaccine Boosters Approved for Immunocompromised People
The Delta variant continues to spread rapidly throughout the country. This week the CDC has approved a COVID-19 vaccine booster for severely immunocompromised individuals. Long-term care, basic care and assisted living residents and staff are not within the current recommendations for the booster unless they meet the specific criteria from the CDC detailing severely immunocompromised qualifications. If you feel you meet one of the qualifications below, please contact the Infection Preventionists at Valley on Columbia or Woodside Village – Kayla (701-787-7952) or Carra (701-787-7839) Qualifications include:

  • Active treatment for solid tumor and hematologic malignancies
  • Receipt of solid-organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy
  • Receipt of CAR-T-cell or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (within 2 years of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy)
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids (i.e., ≥20mg prednisone or equivalent per day), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, transplant-related immunosuppressive drugs, cancer chemotherapeutic agents classified as severely immunosuppressive, tumor-necrosis (TNF) blockers, and other biologic agents that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory.

What does the vaccine offer?

  • Protection from severe illness from COVID-19 and variants
  • The ability to resume activities that you did before the pandemic with a level of protection
  • Protection for those around you, particularly those at high risk, including those we care for at Valley
  • Paid time off for vaccinated staff when exposed to COVID-19 (see below) 

Pay Change When EXPOSED– Exposed Vaccinated Staff will be off the schedule and PAID for their scheduled hours before testing to return to work, No change for unvaccinated staff – PTO or Not Paid during exposure window

  • All staff who are exposed to a positive case need to notify the staff illness line immediately at 701-741-9646.
  • Unvaccinated staff who are exposed will be off work for the 14 to 24 days that are required depending on the type of exposure. PTO is used for those hours or the time is unpaid.
  • Vaccinated staff – Current guidance allows vaccinated staff to work with an N95 during this entire period of time. We are seeing that vaccinated staff have the potential to test positive after exposure to positive cases. We are changing our approach to these cases knowing that the Delta variant is more transmissible. If the Employee Health Nurse or Incident Commander determines that you should remain off the schedule after your exposure, those hours will be PAID through our COVID Administrative Leave code.

Testing Results and Schedule
All staff from Valley on Columbia were tested on Monday with negative results. Valley on Columbia is no longer in “outbreak” status. Current testing requirements include only unvaccinated staff testing monthly. In the event the Grand Forks County positivity rate reaches 5%, which we are expecting will happen soon, all staff an residents will be required to test at Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village. We will notify you when testing is required. In the event a resident or staff member tests positive due to symptom onset, all residents and staff from that location will also be required to test. Please watch closely for testing updates as the requirements may change quickly.


8.13.21 Update

Grand Forks county remains below the 5% positivity rate. Unvaccinated staff from Woodside Village will NOT have to test on Monday, August 16. Vaccinated staff can proceed with face mask and no eye protection. Unvaccinated staff are required to mask and wear eye protection. In the event we reach the 5% positivity rate, all staff will be required to wear eye protection.

Upcoming testing schedule and reminders:

  • ALL staff from Valley on Columbia will test on Monday, August 16 from 12 – 3:30 pm near the front entrance at Valley on Columbia.
  • Regardless of vaccination status, staff must return to physically distanced breaks.
  • In the well-defined areas of the workplace where fully vaccinated employees previously could gather unmasked – staff are required to either physically distance 6ft in that space with no mask OR if physical distancing is not possible, all staff must mask.
  • Residents must continue to mask with care interactions (e.g. toileting, dressing, transferring, providing hygiene, etc.).
  • Residents will be required to mask and physically distance for combined neighborhood organized activities.
  • Residents do not have to mask and physically distance for neighborhood specific organized activities.

Reporting Respiratory Illness Onset Importance!
It remains very important that you call the COVID-19 staff illness line at 701-741-9646 in the event you develop symptoms related to COVID-19. Symptoms to report include cough, congestion/runny nose, sore throat, muscle/body aches, headache/ fatigue, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, chills, loss of taste and/or smell, nausea/vomiting or diarrhea.

Vaccine tomorrow at Farmers Market!
If you would like to start your vaccine series, or have family or friends interested, stop by the Downtown Farmers Market. Grand Forks Public Health will host a pop-up vaccine stop from 8 am to 2 pm. If you begin your vaccine series, please turn in a copy to HR.


8.11.21 Update

In case you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is the link >> 8.11 ZOOM

This week we are continuing to see an increase in the positivity rate across the country. The COVID-19 Delta variant is highly transmissible and the risk is high nationally. We are beginning to take precautionary measures and the following changes are effective immediately:

  • Regardless of vaccination status staff must return to physically distanced breaks.
  • In the well-defined areas of the workplace where fully vaccinated employees previously could gather unmasked – staff are required to either physically distance 6ft in that space with no mask OR if physical distancing is not possible, all staff must mask.
  • For visitation we highly recommend anyone with extensive community contact and interaction (public facing jobs, attend social gatherings, etc.) to consider masking for the duration of visits regardless of vaccine status for the health and safety of residents and staff.
  • Residents must continue to mask with care interactions (e.g. toileting, dressing, transferring, providing hygiene, etc.).
  • Residents will be required to mask and physically distance for combined neighborhood organized activities.
    • Residents do not have to mask and physically distance for neighborhood specific organized activities.
  • Vaccinated volunteers with proper PPE use continue to be welcome at this time.

With a priority to continue to maximize quality of life for residents, instead of suspending resident activities and interactions, we will be scaling back on how neighborhoods interact to minimize risk at Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village. In addition to residents masking during care interactions at all care communities, residents will now be required to mask when not within the neighborhood where they reside and when they are participating in activities or events with residents from other neighborhoods. At Wheatland Terrace and Tufte Manor we will recommend to residents that they wear their mask when in common areas for safety and to mitigate any potential spread.

 Reporting Respiratory Illness Onset Importance!
It remains very important that you call the COVID-19 staff illness line at 701-741-9646 in the event you develop symptoms related to COVID-19. Symptoms to report include cough, congestion/runny nose, sore throat, muscle/body aches, headache/ fatigue, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, chills, loss of taste and/or smell, nausea/vomiting or diarrhea.

Testing Results and Schedule

  • All residents from Valley on Columbia were tested on Friday, August 6 and staff were tested on Monday, August 9 with negative results received.
  • Valley on Columbia is required to test all residents on Friday, August 13 and staff on Monday, August 16.
  • If the county positivity rate reaches 5%, unvaccinated staff from Woodside Village will be required to test on Monday, August 16. You will be notified if this is required.
  • In the event a resident or staff member from Tufte Manor or Wheatland Terrace would test positive due to symptom onset, testing of staff and residents will be initiated to determine potential spread.

Altru Vaccine Announcement
You may have heard that Altru is requiring the vaccine as of November 15. Altru will be operating similarly to how we are currently functioning within Valley Senior Living by providing education about COVID-19, completing a declination process, requiring people to additional testing requirements and additional PPE for those with a medical, religious, or philosophical exemption.

 Vaccine Pop-Up Locations
Grand Forks Public Health continues to make it easy to get your vaccine series started. Pop-up vaccine locations are scheduled all around town throughout the rest of the month. If you begin your series, please contact HR asap.


8.6.21 Update

Upcoming Testing Schedule

All Valley on Columbia staff, regardless of vaccination status, will test on Monday, August 9. Testing will be held at Valley on Columbia in the community room from Noon to 3:30 pm on Monday. If you are unable to attend, contact your supervisor now. If all tests are negative, one more testing within 14 days will be required at Valley on Columbia to fulfill the regulatory testing requirements.

Woodside Village no longer in Outbreak Status
Woodside Village has made it 14 days without an additional positive test and is now back in routine status. Resident monitoring decreased from 3 times a day to once a day. Unvaccinated staff at WV will return to testing once a month. A new positive result or a county positivity rate over 5% will cause the need for increased testing.

Pay Change – Exposed Vaccinated Staff will be off the schedule and PAID for their scheduled hours before testing to return to work, No change for unvaccinated staff – PTO or Not Paid during exposure window
All staff who are exposed to a positive case need to notify the staff illness line immediately at 701-741-9646.
• Unvaccinated staff who are exposed will be off work for the 14 to 24 days that are required depending on the type of exposure. PTO is used for those hours or the time is unpaid.
• Vaccinated staff – Current guidance allows vaccinated staff to work with an N95 during this entire period of time. We are seeing that vaccinated staff have the potential to test positive after exposure to positive cases. We are changing our approach to these cases knowing that the Delta variant is more transmissible. If the Employee Health Nurse or Incident Commander determines that you should remain off the schedule after your exposure, those hours will be PAID through our COVID Administrative Leave code.

Do Vaccines Work? See the following slide from the CDC last week:

Increased Risk in GF County
Grand Forks County moved from Moderate to Substantial Transmission yesterday according to CDC…COVID-19 Cases have been increasing nationwide with two-thirds of the country experiencing high levels of transmission.


8.5.21 Update

We have received confirmation of a staff member who has tested positive for COVID-19. This staff member last worked on August 4 on the Valley Transitions neighborhood. The staff member was tested due to respiratory illness symptom onset. Current regulations require indoor visitation to stop immediately on Valley Transitions for 14 days without any additional positive results. Visitation on Almonte, Lanark, Riverside, and Reeves continues as usual. This positive test does not affect dining or activities for residents. Residents at Valley on Columbia are scheduled to be tested tomorrow, August 6, and staff will test on Monday, August 9. In the event additional positive infections are detected, we will notify you.

Visitation Options for Valley Transitions:

  • Compassionate care visits must be approved in advance by social work or charge nurses and must meet the guidance regulations for compassionate care. In order for a visit to qualify as a compassionate care visit, a need must be met for a resident by having the visit, or the visit is from a distant location and happens infrequently. Please contact the charge nurse or Social Worker for more details. Valley Transitions (Charge Nurses at 701.787.7555 or Londa at 701.787.7553)
  • Outdoor visitation remains available. When arriving for an outdoor visit, screen in at the main entrance and the neighborhood will be notified of the requested outdoor visit.
  • Campus Outings to the Altru concourse remain available. This requires checking the resident out for an outing. Paperwork can be completed at the team station and you can access the concourse by passing through the Almonte neighborhood.
  • Virtual visits are available and can be schedule through recreation at recreation.vc@gmail.com.


8.4.21 Update

In case you missed today’s company zoom, here is the link >> 8.4 ZOOM

Masking and PPE Reminder:

  • Staff must continue to wear appropriate masks during all resident interactions.
  • In a resident room: the interaction requires both the staff member and the resident to be masked.
    • Staff, it is your duty to ask or help the resident to put a mask on in this situation.
  • The expectation continues when cares are performed, both resident and staff must wear a mask
  • Unvaccinated staff continue to be required to wear eye protection at all times, in addition to masks

Testing Results and Upcoming Schedule:
All staff and residents from Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village that completed testing this week were negative. This concludes the required regulatory testing at Woodside Village following the positive staff test from July 23, and Woodside Village will no longer be in “outbreak status” as of Friday, as long as no positive infections are identified between now and Friday.

Valley on Columbia is required to test one more time with dates scheduled for Friday, August 6 for residents and Monday, August 9 from 12 – 3:30 pm inside the front entrance at Valley on Columbia. This testing is for all staff regardless of vaccination status.

In the event the county positivity rate exceeds 5% on Friday, Woodside Village unvaccinated staff will be required to test Monday as well and we may need to implement additional safety measures for all staff. Currently the county is at 5.8% and this will be updated again on Friday. We will notify you if the testing schedule or expectations change for any locations. Please be on alert that testing may become required as transmission and positivity increases in the county.

The importance of getting the vaccine has never been greater than it is right now with the highly transmissible Delta variant! Pop up vaccination clinics are available and locations include:

  • Thursday, August 5, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. (weekly event) pre-registration link Home of Economy (parking lot), 1508 N Washington, Grand Forks
  • Thursday, August 5, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. (weekly event) pre-registration link Hugo’s Family Marketplace (inside), 1750 32nd Ave S, Grand Forks
  • Thursday, August 5, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. pre-registration link Public Works (parking lot), 724 N 47th St, Grand Forks
  • Saturday, August 7, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. pre-registration link Downtown Grand Forks (parking lot NE of Town Square), 50 Riverboat Rd, Grand Forks

 COVID Vaccine – What You Need To Know:

  • COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at preventing COVID-19 disease, especially severe illness and death.
  • COVID-19 vaccines reduce the risk of people spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • You may have side effects after vaccination. These are normal and should go away in a few days.
  • It typically takes 2 weeks after vaccination for the body to build protection (immunity) against the virus that causes COVID-19. You are not fully vaccinated until 2 weeks after the second dose of a 2-dose vaccine or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine.
  • Learn how to find a COVID-19 vaccine so you can get it as soon as you can.
  • After you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did before the pandemic. Learn more about what you can do when you have been fully vaccinated.

We have been monitoring stories across the country about the level of protection that long term care residents have from the vaccine. Last week the CDC reported that the Delta variant spreads as easily. This weekend a local story from a South Dakota nursing home was told. It’s particularly heartbreaking because the recent outbreak that resulted in two resident deaths so far occurred in a facility with a 100% vaccination rate among its residents and the nursing home did not have any deaths related to COVID-19 in 2020. Reference the attachment for more details.


Testing Update and Schedule:
Residents from Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village were tested today with all results reported as negative. All staff from Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village, regardless of vaccination status, will test on Monday, August 2 from 11:30 am to 3:30 pm at Valley on Columbia inside the front entrance near the conference/board room. If you are unable to attend, contact your supervisor now.

Options for Vaccine:
If you are interested in starting your vaccine series or scheduling an appointment to do so, please reference the COVID-19 Vaccine next steps attachment. Once you have started the series please notify Human Resources asap.

Altru’s Dr. Tana Setness Hoefs discusses Vaccine Safety:
If you have questions or concerns related to the COVID-19 vaccine safety for females, please take a few minutes to review this video from Altru OB/GYN Dr. Setness Hoefs >> https://fb.watch/73-2NNH82t/

Please consult with your primary physician if you have any additional questions.

ACE Update
Per the recommendations of our infection preventionists, the Annual Corporate Education (ACE) seminars that were scheduled to begin in August at the Alerus Center will transition to virtual sessions. Please watch for more details about Healthcare Academy session availability and requirements for all employees.


7.28.21 Update

Two positive tests were reported this week in staff from Valley Senior Living. One positive test was received on Friday, July 23 in a non-direct care staff member who worked at both Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village. This positive test stopped indoor visitation and required the testing of all residents and staff from both Woodside Village and Valley on Columbia. All tests for residents and staff from both locations were negative, which allowed Woodside Village and Valley on Columbia to reopen for visitation. On Monday evening, an additional positive test was received in a non-direct care staff from Valley on Columbia who developed symptoms that morning. The staff member, who last worked July 23, had no resident contact and had not been in the facility for 48 hours prior to developing symptoms. According to the guidance from the VP3 team, indoor visitation remained available in this situation.

Upcoming Testing Schedule
The recent positive infections will require the residents at Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village to test on Friday, July 30 and staff to test on Monday, August 2. All staff regardless of vaccination status will test Monday, August 2, at Valley on Columbia in the conference room/board room area from 11:30 to 3:30 pm on Monday. If you are unable to attend, contact your supervisor now.

If all tests are negative, one more testing within 14 days will be required at Valley on Columbia to fulfill the regulatory testing requirements.

5 Things to Know about Delta Variant

  1. Delta is more contagious than the other virus strains
  2. Unvaccinated people are at risk
  3. Delta could lead to “hyperlocal outbreaks”
  4. There is still more to learn about Delta
  5. Vaccination is the best protection against Delta

Click here to read more >> https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/5-things-to-know-delta-variant-covid

 Active cases of COVID-19 continue to slowly increase in North Dakota, reaching nearly 300 active positives, and the Delta variant is the COVID-19 threat we are monitoring closely. CDC has released new guidelines for those fully vaccinated and are again increasing their recommendations for mask use in preparation for the potential spread of the Delta variant. We are expecting to receive updated guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services soon. Infection prevention mechanisms that are extremely important at this time include:

  • PPE will not protect you or others if not worn correctly.
  • Remember a surgical mask should cover your nose and all the way down past your chin.
  • Eye protection covers a portal of entry for those that are not vaccinated.
  • Hand hygiene and careful donning and doffing of PPE will help protect you from contaminating yourself
  • Physical distancing is still required
  • If you are experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19, call the staff illness COVID-19 line at 701-741-9646 before reporting to work. Please reference this attachment with when to contact the staff illness line.

 ACE Update
Per the recommendations of our infection preventionists, the Annual Corporate Education (ACE) seminars that were scheduled to begin in August at the Alerus Center will transition to virtual sessions. Please watch for more details about Healthcare Academy session availability and requirements for all employees.

Recruiter Bonus Continues!
The next CNA class is scheduled to begin on August 23. We are currently accepting applications and interviewing to fill the seats in this class. For each full time employee you recruit, you receive $1000 and part time is $500. The first $100 is paid once the new hire completes general orientation. Encourage those you recruit to apply online at valleyseniorliving.org/apply and contact HR to fill out the paperwork once you recruit someone.


7.26.21 Update

Testing and Visitation Update:
All residents from Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village tested on Friday with all results negative. Staff from both locations tested today with negative results received. Regulations require residents and staff to test one more time within 14 days. All residents will test on Friday, July 30, and all staff will test on Monday, August 2.

Visitation can resume immediately  at both Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village!


7.23.21 Update

1 Staff Positive – Visitation Suspended at Woodside Village and Valley on Columbia: This afternoon we received confirmation of a non-direct care staff member from Woodside Village and Valley on Columbia, who last worked on 7/22, has tested positive.Visitation: Based on regulations, visitation for both Woodside Village and Valley on Columbia will stop immediately.  This staff member did not have any resident interaction, therefore there are no additional precautions needed at this time.

TESTING SCHEDULE: All staff from Woodside Village and Valley on Columbia (regardless of vaccination status) will test on Monday 7/26 from 11:30am -3:30pm at Valley on Columbia in the board room/conference room. Contact your supervisor now if you are unable to attend on Monday.

COVID Variant Update – Please Watch!
We continue to get more data about the Delta variant, how quickly it spreads, and how the vaccine performs against this variant.  The following presentation from Dr. Paul Carson from July 22 is absolutely worth watching. Dr. Carson is an internal medicine and infectious disease board certified physician, a professor at NDSU, a practicing physician at Sanford, and is a nursing home Medical Director in Fargo.

You need to take the time to watch this as we have very little experience with the Delta variant: https://youtu.be/7_lKZAGwn6M

  • Beginning through minute 12 – Delta variant
  • 12:30 through 19:40 – Long COVID, risk/benefit of vaccination
  • 19:40 to 22 – A case study of one unvaccinated symptomatic staff member’s effect on a Kentucky nursing home

My takeaways from this new strain:

  • Get vaccinated now. Cases are low in our area so you have the chance to be protected if you can get started with your series ASAP.
  • Regardless of your vaccination status, DO NOT COME TO WORK WITH SYMPTOMS – contact the staff illness line at 701-741-9646. We will rapid test you to get you the quickest results possible so you can resume normal activity or isolate as soon as possible.

We have once again been given the opportunity to see this unfold so let’s learn from it to protect ourselves, our families, and our residents!


7.21.21 Update

In case you missed the company zoom, here’s the link >> 7.21 Zoom 

Delta Variant Update – Get Vaccinated Before the Delta Variant cases are prevalent in Grand Forks!
We are currently in a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” in our country. Of people who are hospitalized with COVID-19, 97% of them are unvaccinated. Cases in the US have increased by about 200% in the last 14 days.  The Delta variant remains the dominant strain of COVID-19 and has proven to spread more easily and quickly than other variants. The Delta variant also increases an individual’s risk of having severe outcomes with those infected being 85% more likely to be hospitalized than the other variants of COVID-19. Current vaccines remain the best tool for protection from infection and disease. Please review the attached health alert received this week regarding the Delta variant.

Air Quality
Wildfires from Canada continue to be an issue throughout our region. It used to be a fairly rare thing that air quality would be compromised, but it has become an issue to the point that we needed to establish a threshold of when courtyards and patios are closed due to air quality concerns. As a company we are setting the standard that any air quality day that is above 100 that we do not have outdoor activities and we essentially close the courtyards until we can establish a system of risk/declination around that issue. Of course residents have the right to make decisions and those that are their own decision-maker will be able to choose to ignore our warnings, but our staff will not participate in facilitating that involvement. 

ALL STAFF Healthcare Academy due TODAY – REQUIRED OSHA COVID-19
Please log in to Healthcare Academy and complete the required OSHA training module. This task is due by the end of today and is required of all employees to be in compliance with OSHA regulations.

Valley on Columbia Testing
The unvaccinated staff from Valley on Columbia will test on Monday July 26 from 1 to 3 pm inside the front entrance near the former coffee shop location. Regulations continue to require unvaccinated staff to test on a monthly basis. If you are interested in getting vaccinated, we continue to offer paid time off in the event you experience side effects from the vaccine. A new benefit is that if you schedule a time to get vaccinated during your regular scheduled work day, we will pay you for your time missed including the travel time to and from the shot administration. Please contact the Infection Preventionists Carra Hindberg at 701-787-7839 or Kayla Porter at 701-787-7952 to discuss where to get scheduled for your vaccine.

Recruiter Bonus! Contact HR to fill out paperwork when your recruit someone!

The sign on bonuses for new staff have all concluded on July 19th, but our current staff still have a couple of bonuses that we are eligible for…

  • RECRUITER BONUS – $1000 for full time recruit and $500 for part time recruit. Once you have recruited someone and know that they have applied for a position, please fill out the recruiter paperwork that is available from Human Resources.
  • NURSING DEPARTMENT – FLEX to REGULAR STATUS and PT to FT BONUS
    • Part-time RNs, LPNs, CNAs to Full-Time Status Sign On Bonus = $1000 to move to full-time. Please visit with your supervisor if you are part time status and interested in moving to full time.

  • Flex to Regular Status Position Sign-On Bonus = $1500 for part time and $3000 for full time (nursing positions only)

Golf Tournament
Thank you to everyone who assisted with the 16th Annual Golf Classic. The winner of the golf ball drop and 50/50 raffle prize of $2500 was Pamela Digby. Pam is a friend and family member of Valley on Columbia resident Wendy Nelson.

Whiskey Jacks Tickets
Are you interested in going to the Wheat City Whiskey Jacks game on July 28? The vendor we work with for promotional items, Probitas Promotions, has given Valley 20 tickets to the game. Email your name to sgrosgebauer@valleyseniorliving.org if you would like to be put into the drawing to win a pair of tickets. The drawing will take place Friday, July 23. Good Luck!


7.14.21 Update

OSHA COVID-19 Healthcare Academy REQUIRED and Plan Review
Please log in to Healthcare Academy and complete the required OSHA training module before July 21. This is required of all employees to be in compliance with OSHA regulations. The required OSHA COVID-19 plan for Valley Senior Living is attached for your review and to share comments/suggestions for improvement. Please contact one of the COVID-19 safety coordinators with your suggestions.

COVID-19 Safety Coordinator(s)
Name Title/Facility Location Contact Information (office location, phone, email address)
Samantha Jallo Safety Director

 

Valley on Columbia

701-787-7971

 

sjallo2@valleyseniorliving.org

Carra Hindberg Infection Preventionist

 

Valley on 42nd

701-787-7839

 

chindberg@valleyseniorliving.org

Jacinda Nelson Care Coordinator

 

Tufte Manor

701-787-7611

 

jnelson@valleyseniorlivng.org

Golf Tournament
The 16th Annual Valley Senior Living Golf Classic will be held tomorrow at King’s Walk Golf Course. This year the proceeds will go to the Tufte Manor Outdoor Project and the Greg V. Hanson nursing scholarship fund. We thank the generous tournament sponsors for their support of the residents and staff at Valley Senior Living. Good luck to everyone who purchased a chance in the 50/50 raffle!

Woodside Staff Test Results
The unvaccinated staff from Woodside Village were tested on Monday with all results negative. Unvaccinated staff from Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village continue to be required to test on a monthly basis. If you are interested in getting vaccinated, we continue to offer paid time off in the event you experience side effects from the vaccine. A new benefit is that if you schedule a time to get vaccinated during your regular scheduled work day, we will pay you for your time missed including the travel time to and from the shot administration. Please contact the Infection Preventionists Carra Hindberg at 701-787-7839 or Kayla Porter at 701-787-7952 to discuss where to get scheduled for your vaccine.

Bonus Update – CNA Sign On Bonus Ends July 19, but the Recruiter Bonus and Flex to Regular and PT to FT Bonus Continue

  • Over the next four to six weeks, the numbers of posted CNA positions will be greatly reduced and the full-time sign-on bonus for CNAs will conclude on July 19th.
    • The June and July CNA Classes will have trained over 50 new CNAs, a majority of whom are interested in full-time positions. There are 24 people from the June 21st CNA classes taking positions over the next week.  The July 6th CNA class started with has 12 students and it appears that the July 19th CNA class may have over 20 students. For the first time in our company’s history, we have three CNA classes being taught at the same time! Thank you to everyone involved in training these new staff to care for our residents!
    • All full-time CNAs in the July 19th class are eligible for the sign-on bonus, but it will not apply to the next class starting August 16th.
    • To be considered for the full-time CNA sign-on bonus, we need to have received the CNA applications by July 19th. If you have been recruiting someone to a CNA position, please keep this in mind and encourage them to apply soon to take advantage of this offer!

  • RECRUITER BONUS – $1000 for full time recruit and $500 for part time recruit. Once you have recruited someone and know that they have applied for a position, please fill out the recruiter paperwork that is available from Human Resources.
  • NURSING DEPARTMENT – FLEX to REGULAR STATUS and PT to FT BONUS
    • Part-time RNs, LPNs, CNAs to Full-Time Status Sign On Bonus = $1000 to move to full-time. Please visit with your supervisor if you are part time status and interested in moving to full time.

  • Flex to Regular Status Position Sign-On Bonus = $1500 for part time and $3000 for full time (nursing positions only)


7.8.21 Update

Due to some extremely unusual workforce challenges, we have some unprecedented sign-on bonuses in effect. As our available positions decrease, we are phasing out those sign-on bonuses.

  • Effective yesterday, the full-time sign-on bonus concluded for Dining Services at Valley on Columbia as all full-time positions have been filled.
  • Over the next four to six weeks, the numbers of posted CNA positions will be greatly reduced and the full-time sign-on bonus for CNAs will conclude on July 19th.
    • The June and July CNA Classes will have trained about 50 new CNAs, a majority of whom are interested in full-time positions. There are 24 people from the June 21st CNA classes taking positions over the next week.  The July 6th CNA class started with 14 students and it appears that the July 19th CNA class may be even larger yet. For the first time in our company’s history, we have three CNA classes being taught at the same time! Thank you to everyone involved in training these new staff to care for our residents!
    • All full-time CNAs in the July 19th class are eligible for the sign-on bonus, but it will not apply to the next class starting August 16th.
    • To be considered for the full-time CNA sign-on bonus, we need to have received the CNA applications by July 19th. If you have been recruiting someone to a CNA position, please keep this in mind and encourage them to apply soon to take advantage of this offer!

I’ve heard some mixed feedback on the use of these full-time sign-on bonuses and completely understand your concerns. Due to a high number of people changing jobs this summer and workforce shortages in our community and across the country, these were necessary short-term measures to take. We truly do appreciate every Valley employee who has been with us through it all! This summer we have been increasing our base pay and we have been liberally using incentive pay to recognize current staff for picking up additional shifts. The bonuses that will remain in effect for only current staff at this time are:

  • RECRUITER BONUS – $1000 for full time recruit and $500 for part time recruit. Once you have recruited someone and know that they have applied for a position, please fill out the recruiter paperwork that is available from Human Resources.
  • NURSING DEPARTMENT – FLEX to REGULAR STATUS and PT to FT BONUS
    • Part-time RNs, LPNs, CNAs to Full-Time Status Sign On Bonus = $1000 to move to full-time. Please visit with your supervisor if you are part time status and interested in moving to full time.
    • Flex to Regular Status Position Sign-On Bonus = $1500 for part time and $3000 for full time (nursing positions only)

One final note – The sign on bonuses were implemented to avoid the path many of our peers have unfortunately traveled with using staffing agencies and stopping admissions due to staffing shortages. We are very proud that we will be able to continue our 18 year streak of not using an outside nursing staffing agency! How amazing is that!

Thank you all for your dedication to our residents!


7.7.21 Update

Valley Senior Living has reached 75%!
I am happy to report we have reached and surpassed the 75% vaccination goal for employees at Valley Senior Living! If you are interested in getting vaccinated, we continue to offer paid time off in the event you experience side effects from the vaccine. A new benefit is that if you schedule a time to get vaccinated during your regular scheduled work day, we will pay you for your time missed including the travel time to and from the shot administration. Please contact the Infection Preventionists Carra Hindberg at 701-787-7839 or Kayla Porter at 701-787-7952 to discuss where to get scheduled for your vaccine.

OSHA COVID-19 Plan
Last week we shared the required OSHA COVID-19 plan for Valley Senior Living. The plan is attached for your review and we welcome your comments. Please contact one of the COVID-19 safety coordinators with your suggestions.

COVID-19 Safety Coordinator(s)
Name Title/Facility Location Contact Information (office location, phone, email address)
Samantha Jallo Safety Director

 

Valley on Columbia

701-787-7971

 

sjallo2@valleyseniorliving.org

Carra Hindberg Infection Preventionist

 

Valley on 42nd

701-787-7839

 

chindberg@valleyseniorliving.org

Jacinda Nelson Care Coordinator

 

Tufte Manor

701-787-7611

 

jnelson@valleyseniorlivng.org

Congratulations to the Care Partners of the Quarter recently recognized by fellow staff, residents and family members! 

Marissa Kazmierczak, RN

 

Prairieview Neighborhood

“The most rewarding things about being at Valley is getting to work with the residents. The Prairieview family is so special to me!”
Marissa Kazmierczak, RN

 

Prairieview Neighborhood

“The most rewarding things about being at Valley is getting to work with the residents. The Prairieview family is so special to me!”
Marissa Kazmierczak, RN

 

Prairieview Neighborhood

“The most rewarding things about being at Valley is getting to work with the residents. The Prairieview family is so special to me!”
Marissa Kazmierczak, RN

 

Prairieview Neighborhood

“The most rewarding things about being at Valley is getting to work with the residents. The Prairieview family is so special to me!”
Marissa Kazmierczak, RN

 

Prairieview Neighborhood

“The most rewarding things about being at Valley is getting to work with the residents. The Prairieview family is so special to me!”
Marissa Kazmierczak, RN

 

Prairieview Neighborhood

“The most rewarding things about being at Valley is getting to work with the residents. The Prairieview family is so special to me!”

Mason Covel, CNA

 

Oakcrest Neighborhood

“The most rewarding things about being at Valley is the personal connections with residents and their genuine interest in my life and my schooling.”
Mason Covel, CNA

 

Oakcrest Neighborhood

“The most rewarding things about being at Valley is the personal connections with residents and their genuine interest in my life and my schooling.”
Mason Covel, CNA

 

Oakcrest Neighborhood

“The most rewarding things about being at Valley is the personal connections with residents and their genuine interest in my life and my schooling.”

Lisa Kvassger, RA

 

Hearthstone Neighborhood

“The most rewarding part of my career at Valley is being a part of the residents’ lives and listening to the stories they share. They are like family to me.”
Lisa Kvassger, RA

 

Hearthstone Neighborhood

“The most rewarding part of my career at Valley is being a part of the residents’ lives and listening to the stories they share. They are like family to me.”
Lisa Kvassger, RA

 

Hearthstone Neighborhood

“The most rewarding part of my career at Valley is being a part of the residents’ lives and listening to the stories they share. They are like family to me.”
Lisa Kvassger, RA

 

Hearthstone Neighborhood

“The most rewarding part of my career at Valley is being a part of the residents’ lives and listening to the stories they share. They are like family to me.”
Lisa Kvassger, RA

 

Hearthstone Neighborhood

“The most rewarding part of my career at Valley is being a part of the residents’ lives and listening to the stories they share. They are like family to me.”
Lisa Kvassger, RA

 

Hearthstone Neighborhood

“The most rewarding part of my career at Valley is being a part of the residents’ lives and listening to the stories they share. They are like family to me.”

Joey Troftgruben, CNA

 

Heartland Neighborhood

Joey is no longer at Woodside Village, but she was recognized before her departure for the outstanding service and care she provided to the residents in the Heartland neighborhood.
Joey Troftgruben, CNA

 

Heartland Neighborhood

Joey is no longer at Woodside Village, but she was recognized before her departure for the outstanding service and care she provided to the residents in the Heartland neighborhood.
Joey Troftgruben, CNA

 

Heartland Neighborhood

Joey is no longer at Woodside Village, but she was recognized before her departure for the outstanding service and care she provided to the residents in the Heartland neighborhood.

Bashir Hassan, CNA

 

Reeves Neighborhood

“I have a caregiver personality and the most rewarding part of my career is caring for those that need assistance. I like being able to put a smile on their face!”
Bashir Hassan, CNA

 

Reeves Neighborhood

“I have a caregiver personality and the most rewarding part of my career is caring for those that need assistance. I like being able to put a smile on their face!”
Bashir Hassan, CNA

 

Reeves Neighborhood

“I have a caregiver personality and the most rewarding part of my career is caring for those that need assistance. I like being able to put a smile on their face!”
Bashir Hassan, CNA

 

Reeves Neighborhood

“I have a caregiver personality and the most rewarding part of my career is caring for those that need assistance. I like being able to put a smile on their face!”
Bashir Hassan, CNA

 

Reeves Neighborhood

“I have a caregiver personality and the most rewarding part of my career is caring for those that need assistance. I like being able to put a smile on their face!”
Bashir Hassan, CNA

 

Reeves Neighborhood

“I have a caregiver personality and the most rewarding part of my career is caring for those that need assistance. I like being able to put a smile on their face!”

Raven Hernandez, CNA

 

Riverside Neighborhood

“It’s an honor to be a part of the residents’ life!”
Raven Hernandez, CNA

 

Riverside Neighborhood

“It’s an honor to be a part of the residents’ life!”
Raven Hernandez, CNA

 

Riverside Neighborhood

“It’s an honor to be a part of the residents’ life!”

Stacey Vancamp, RN

 

Valley Transitions

Stacey says the most rewarding part of her career is experiencing and witnessing the changes and progression residents make during their stay at Valley Transitions.
Stacey Vancamp, RN

 

Valley Transitions

Stacey says the most rewarding part of her career is experiencing and witnessing the changes and progression residents make during their stay at Valley Transitions.
Stacey Vancamp, RN

 

Valley Transitions

Stacey says the most rewarding part of her career is experiencing and witnessing the changes and progression residents make during their stay at Valley Transitions.
Stacey Vancamp, RN

 

Valley Transitions

Stacey says the most rewarding part of her career is experiencing and witnessing the changes and progression residents make during their stay at Valley Transitions.
Stacey Vancamp, RN

 

Valley Transitions

Stacey says the most rewarding part of her career is experiencing and witnessing the changes and progression residents make during their stay at Valley Transitions.
Stacey Vancamp, RN

 

Valley Transitions

Stacey says the most rewarding part of her career is experiencing and witnessing the changes and progression residents make during their stay at Valley Transitions.

Dawn Dill, LPN

 

Almonte Neighborhood

“The most rewarding part of my career is the unconditional love and support I feel from the residents and fellow staff members.”
Dawn Dill, LPN

 

Almonte Neighborhood

“The most rewarding part of my career is the unconditional love and support I feel from the residents and fellow staff members.”
Dawn Dill, LPN

 

Almonte Neighborhood

“The most rewarding part of my career is the unconditional love and support I feel from the residents and fellow staff members.”

Kristina Hansen, CNA

 

Lanark Neighborhood

“It’s an honor and I feel lucky to have this job!”
Kristina Hansen, CNA

 

Lanark Neighborhood

“It’s an honor and I feel lucky to have this job!”
Kristina Hansen, CNA

 

Lanark Neighborhood

“It’s an honor and I feel lucky to have this job!”
Kristina Hansen, CNA

 

Lanark Neighborhood

“It’s an honor and I feel lucky to have this job!”
Kristina Hansen, CNA

 

Lanark Neighborhood

“It’s an honor and I feel lucky to have this job!”
Kristina Hansen, CNA

 

Lanark Neighborhood

“It’s an honor and I feel lucky to have this job!”

Donna Schothorst, PCA

 

Tufte Manor

“The most rewarding part of my career is all the wonderful residents I care for. I think Valley Senior Living is a great place to work!”
Donna Schothorst, PCA

 

Tufte Manor

“The most rewarding part of my career is all the wonderful residents I care for. I think Valley Senior Living is a great place to work!”
Donna Schothorst, PCA

 

Tufte Manor

“The most rewarding part of my career is all the wonderful residents I care for. I think Valley Senior Living is a great place to work!”

Sandy Kemnitz, Activities Coordinator

 

Wheatland Terrace

“I really enjoy my time with the tenants. If I’m gone for a few days they notice and really welcome me back! They are so sweet!”
Sandy Kemnitz, Activities Coordinator

 

Wheatland Terrace

“I really enjoy my time with the tenants. If I’m gone for a few days they notice and really welcome me back! They are so sweet!”
Sandy Kemnitz, Activities Coordinator

 

Wheatland Terrace

“I really enjoy my time with the tenants. If I’m gone for a few days they notice and really welcome me back! They are so sweet!”

Nominations are now being accepted for the third quarter with nomination boxes located on neighborhoods at Woodside Village, Valley on Columbia and also at the Wheatland Terrace and Tufte Manor communities. Take a minute to nominate a care partner!

 Recruit the BEST to Join our Team! $1000 for full time recruit & $500 for part time! CNA sign on bonus is scheduled to end July 19.
So far 6 employees have recruited new staff to join the team at Valley Senior Living. Thank you! We are still looking for great staff members and open positions include:

  • CNAs – Currently Certified or for those interested in taking the class. The CNA class starting July 19 still has a few open seats!
  • Dining Services Aides
  • Licensed Nurses (LPN & RN)
  • Housekeeping
  • Recreation Assistant/CNA

There is NO LIMIT to the number of new employees you can recruit! For each person you recruit to a full-time position, receive $1000, and $500 for part-time positions. The first $100 of each bonus will be paid after the new employee attends general orientation and the remainder is paid once the employee completes six months of employment! Once you have recruited someone please contact Human Resources to fill out the appropriate paperwork to receive your bonus.

This is the last week to purchase your chance to win up to $2500 in the Golf Ball Drop!
The Valley Senior Living Foundation is selling the chance to win up to $2500 in a 50/50 raffle with numbered golf balls for $10 each. All golf balls sold will be placed on a lift and dropped from above a hole on the golf course on July 15 during the 16th Annual Valley Senior Living Golf Classic. The ball that lands in the hole or closest to the hole wins! You do not need to be present to win. To purchase your ball, please visit/contact one of these volunteers listed below. Your entry can be purchased with cash, check (Valley Senior Living Foundation), VENMO, or even payroll deduction! People that are selling the golf balls include:

Tufte Manor – Jacinda Nelson (7611)

Wheatland Terrace – Cheryl Ekren (7566)

Woodside Village: Hearthstone – Marissa Nelson (7842), Heartland – Kari Gerszewski (7835), Oakcrest – Terry Nelson-Aaker (7866), Prairieview – Kady Eck (7827)

Valley on 42nd Front Desk – Janet Moen (7500)

Valley on Columbia: Front Desk – Michelle Coulter (7900), DON – Jess Baumgarten (7946), ADON – Leah Larson (7552), ADON – Kate Woodworth (7932) Foundation Office: Sally Grosgebauer (7984) and Shaun Havis (7997)


6.30.21 Update

In case you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is the link >> 6.30 ZOOM

The Board of Directors would like to share a thank you for the work you do! At the board meeting last week a market adjustment wage increase was approved. You should have received information in the mail detailing your current wage rate and what your new rate is effective June 27. The new wage rate will be first reflected on your paycheck dated July 16. If you have any question about the current market adjustment increase, please contact HR or your supervisor.

OSHA COVID-19 Plan
A written plan is now required by OSHA for all healthcare workplaces. This plan was reviewed earlier today during the company Zoom. Please review the company zoom or this link for details about Valley Senior Living’s plan.

Recruit the BEST to Join our Team! $1000 for full time recruit & $500 for part time!
Thank you to the many employees who have recruited new employees to join Valley Senior Living! We are still looking for great staff members to join us in providing the care for residents. Open positions include:

  • CNAs – Currently Certified or for those interested in taking the class. We have a CNA class starting July 19 with a few seats remaining in the class!
  • Dining Services Aides
  • Licensed Nurses (LPN & RN)
  • Housekeeping
  • Recreation Assistant/CNA

There is NO LIMIT to the number of new employees you can recruit! For each person you recruit to a full-time position, receive $1000, and $500 for part-time positions. The first $100 of each bonus will be paid after the new employee attends general orientation and the remainder is paid once the employee completes six months of employment! Once you have recruited someone please contact Human Resources to fill out the appropriate paperwork to receive your bonus.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July!


6.23.21 Update

Happy CNA Week! Throughout our company we have nearly 400 CNAs providing direct care to residents 24/7. Thank you for the work you do, the care you give, and the difference you make in the lives of residents!

 If you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is the link >> 6.23 Zoom

Testing Update
Regulations require monthly testing of  unvaccinated staff. This coming Monday, June 28, unvaccinated staff from Valley Senior Living on Columbia will test from 1 to 3 pm inside the main entrance near the former coffee shop location. If you are unable to attend this testing, contact your supervisor now to make alternate arrangements.

Common Area Visitation
Visitation remains available at all locations, although common area visitation remains unavailable. Please kindly remind visitors that all visitation must take place inside the residents room or outside on patios or in courtyards.

Earn a Recruiter Bonus this summer! – $1000 for full time recruit & $500 for part time
We have positions to fill to continue to provide the best care possible for residents including:

  • CNAs – Currently Certified or for those interested in taking the class. We have CNA classes starting July 6 and July 19!
  • Dining Services Aides
  • Licensed Nurses (LPN & RN)
  • Housekeeping
  • Recreation Assistant/CNA

There is NO LIMIT to the number of new employees you can recruit! For each person you recruit to a full-time position, receive $1000, and $500 for part-time positions. The first $100 of each bonus will be paid after the new employee attends general orientation and the remainder is paid once the employee completes six months of employment! Once you have recruited someone please contact Human Resources to fill out the appropriate paperwork to receive your bonus.

Vaccine Availability Continues!
We continue to recommend COVID-19 vaccination for residents, staff and visitors at Valley Senior Living. Valley Senior Living was recently recognized as a COVID-19 Staff Vaccination Ambassador for achieving the 75% or greater staff vaccination rate! Thank you to all staff who have completed their vaccination series to help us reach this goal and milestone. If you have not been vaccinated and wish to begin your series, vaccination options remain available through local clinics, pharmacies, and Grand Forks Public Health is holding pop-up vaccination clinics throughout the community. The pop-up events are no-cost, no insurance, and no appointment needed. As an employee, please notify HR if you get vaccinated. Proof of your vaccination is needed to be excused from the monthly required testing events. If you have any vaccine related questions, please contact the Infection Preventionists, Kayla Porter at 701-787-7952 or Carra Hindberg at 701-787-7839.

Have you purchased chance to win up to $2500 in the Golf Ball Drop?
The Valley Senior Living Foundation is selling the chance to win up to $2500 in a 50/50 raffle with numbered golf balls for $10 each. All golf balls sold will be placed on a lift and dropped from above a hole on the golf course on July 15 during the 16th Annual Valley Senior Living Golf Classic. The ball that lands in the hole or closest to the hole wins! You do not need to be present to win. To purchase your ball, please visit/contact one of these volunteers listed below. Your entry can be purchased with cash, check (Valley Senior Living Foundation) or VENMO. People that are selling the golf balls:

Tufte Manor – Jacinda Nelson (7611)

Wheatland Terrace – Cheryl Ekren (7566)

Woodside Village: Heartstone – Marissa Nelson (7842), Heartland – Kari Gerszewski (7835), Oakcrest – Terry Nelson-Aaker (7866), Prairieview – Kady Eck (7827)

Valley on 42nd Front Desk – Janet Moen (7500)

Valley on Columbia: Front Desk – Michelle Coulter (7900), DON – Jess Baumgarten (7946), ADON – Leah Larson (7552), ADON – Kate Woodworth (7932) Foundation Office: Sally Grosgebauer (7984) and Shaun Havis (7997)


6.16.21 Update

Testing Update
This week unvaccinated staff from Woodside Village were tested. Of the nearly 70 tests conducted, all results were negative. A handful of unvaccinated staff still need to be tested this week. We will update you if any positive results are received. The next testing event for unvaccinated staff at Valley on Columbia is scheduled for June 28 from 1 to 3 pm inside the front entrance in the former coffee shop area.

Recruiter Bonus – $1000 for full time recruit & $500 for part time
We have positions to fill to continue to provide the best care possible for residents including:

  • CNAs – Currently Certified or for those interested in taking the class. We have CNA classes starting June 21, July 6, and July 19!
  • Dining Services Aides
  • Licensed Nurses (LPN & RN)
  • Housekeeping
  • Recreation Assistant/CNA

There is NO LIMIT to the number of new employees you can recruit! For each person you recruit to a full-time position, receive $1000, and $500 for part-time positions. The first $100 of each bonus will be paid after the new employee attends general orientation and the remainder is paid once the employee completes six months of employment! Once you have recruited someone please contact Human Resources to fill out the appropriate paperwork to receive your bonus.

Golf Ball Drop
You could win up to $2500! The Valley Senior Living Foundation is selling numbered golf balls for $10 each with a chance to win up to $2500 in the 50/50 contest. All golf balls sold will be placed on a lift and dropped from above a hole on the golf course on July 15 during the 16th Annual Valley Senior Living Golf Classic. The ball that lands in the hole or closest to the hole wins! You do not need to be present to win. To purchase your ball, please visit/contact one of these volunteers listed below. Your entry can be purchased with cash, check (Valley Senior Living Foundation) or VENMO.

Tufte Manor – Jacinda Nelson (7611)

Wheat Terrace – Cheryl Ekren (7566)

Woodside Village:
Heartstone – Marissa Nelson (7842)
Heartland – Kari Gerszewski (7835)
Oakcrest – Terry Nelson-Aaker (7866)
Prairieview – Kady Eck (7827)

Valley on 42nd Front Desk – Janet Moen (7500)

Valley on Columbia:
Front Desk – Michelle Coulter (7900)
DON – Jess Baumgarten (7946)
ADON – Leah Larson (7552)
ADON – Kate Woodworth (7932)

Foundation Office:
Sally Grosgebauer (7984)
Shaun Havis (7997)

Vaccine Availability Continues!
We continue to recommend COVID-19 vaccination for residents, staff and visitors at Valley Senior Living. Vaccination options remain available through local clinics, pharmacies, and Grand Forks Public Health is holding pop-up vaccination clinics throughout the community. The pop-up events events are no-cost, no insurance, and no appointment needed. As an employee, please notify HR if you get vaccinated. Proof of your vaccination is needed to be excused from the monthly required testing events. If you have any vaccine related questions, please contact the Infection Preventionists, Kayla Porter at 701-787-7952 or Carra Hindberg at 701-787-7839.


6.10.21 Update

In case you missed the company zoom, here is the link >> 6.9 Zoom

Workforce shortages are a nationwide issue and we are asking our current employees to help us find the best new care partners to join Valley, while earning the Employee Recruiter Bonus! We have positions to fill to continue to provide the best care possible for residents including:

  • CNAs – (Currently Certified or for those interested in taking the class)
  • Dining Services Aides
  • Licensed Nurses (LPN & RN)
  • Housekeeping
  • Recreation Assistant/CNA

There is NO LIMIT to the number of new employees you can recruit! For each person you recruit to a full-time position, receive $1000, and $500 for part-time positions. The first $100 of each bonus will be paid after the new employee attends general orientation and the remainder is paid once the employee completes six months of employment! Once you have recruited someone please contact Human Resources to fill out the appropriate paperwork to receive your bonus.

Testing Schedule – Woodside Village Unvaccinated Staff Test on Monday, June 14
With our current county positivity rates, unvaccinated staff are required to test on a monthly basis according to CMS requirements. Woodside Village UNVACCINATED staff will test in the Auditorium on Monday, June 14 from 1 pm to 3:30 pm. Contact your supervisor now if you are unable to attend. Unvaccinated staff will be scheduled to test at Valley on Columbia in July.

Survey at Woodside Village
This week Woodside Village has been completing the infection prevention survey with the state surveyors onsite. We will share results with you upon completion.

Vaccine Update
Vaccine is available in many locations. If you are interested in starting the series or getting the one shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine, you can get scheduled now! Visit https://www.ndvax.org/ to find a location where vaccine is available.


6.8.21 Update

Have you shared the news that Valley Senior Living is currently hiring for positions like CNA, Dining Services, Housekeeping, Recreation Assistant, and Licensed Nurses? Earn the recruiter bonus – and help us choose the best new team members!

If you have someone in mind who would make a great care partner and a great team member, go to our Facebook page at >> https://www.facebook.com/ValleySeniorLiving >> and share the post about open positions and available bonuses!

The next Certified Nursing Assistant class starts on June 21 and we are still looking for additional candidates to join the class. The training rate has increased to $12.00/hour and the non-certified rate has increased to $14.50.

With excellent wages, exceptional benefits like paid time off, extended sick leave, health, dental and vision insurance, 401k, and sign-on bonuses, we are making recruiting easy! The recruiter bonus is $1000 for a full-time recruit and $500 for a part-time recruit. The first $100 will be paid when the new employee attends general orientation and the remaining bonus is paid after six months of employment. There is NO limit on the number of new employees you can recruit. Please let the Human Resources department know who you recruit today and fill out the paperwork needed to receive your bonus!

Testing Schedule:
With our current county positivity rates, unvaccinated staff are required to test on a monthly basis according to CMS requirements. The testing event last week at Valley on Columbia of unvaccinated staff resulted in no positive tests!

Woodside Village UNVACCINATED staff will test in the Auditorium on Monday, June 14 from 1 pm to 3:30 pm. Contact your supervisor now if you are unable to attend.


6.4.21 Update

The Recruiter Bonus is really heating up this weekend! We are excited to offer you this opportunity and know our best employees will recruit more great employees to join the team!

For each new team member you recruit, get an instant $100 when they attend general orientation! The total for the recruiter bonus is $500 for part-time or $1000 for full-time once the employee has completed six months on the job. ** Don’t forget to contact HR when you recruit someone! ** The website to apply is valleyseniorliving.org/apply

We are also offering some fantastic sign on bonuses that will make recruiting new employees even easier!

  • $10k Dining Services Sign-on Bonus = $10,000 for NEW full-time employee (paid over a four year period)
  • $10k CNA or CNA Class Sign-on Bonus = $10,000 for NEW full-time employee (over a four year period)

Existing bonuses for current employees moving from Flex or Part-time positions to Regular Status or Full-time include:

  • Flex to Regular Status Position Sign-On Bonus = $1500 for part-time position, $3000 for full-time position
    (Currently offered to nursing positions, may be expanded to other departments dependent on need and openings)
  • Part-time RNs, LPNs, CNAs to Full-Time Status Sign-On Bonus = $1000 for full-time

Current open positions at Valley Senior Living include https://valleyseniorliving.org/careers/current-open-positions/ :

  • Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
  • CNA Class – next class begins June 21
  • Dining Services Aide
  • Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
  • Recreation Assistant/CNA
  • MA1/CNA
  • Housekeeper

Testing Update:
96 tests of unvaccinated staff were administered at Valley on Columbia this week. All results were negative!

Woodside Village is scheduled to test unvaccinated staff on June 14.

The next anticipated testing at Valley on Columbia will be in July.


6.2.21 Update

Grand Forks County COVID Cases Update
Cases are at the lowest point since last summer – less than 2 per 100,000 people!

Link to graph >> June 2 GF Risk Score

If you missed the company Zoom, here is the link >> 6.2 Zoom

 Valley on Columbia Testing Update
Yesterday we started the required monthly testing of unvaccinated staff at Valley on Columbia. So far all test results are negative and visitation will continue at Valley on Columbia.

Woodside Village Testing Update
Unvaccinated staff at Woodside Village will begin the required monthly testing on June 14.

Employee Recruiter BONUS!
We are excited to remind you about the Employee Recruiter Bonus and we are offering an instant $100 payment when the employee you recruit attends general orientation! The total for the recruiter bonus is $500 for part-time or $1000 for full-time once the employee has completed six months on the job. Other bonuses currently available include:

  • Flex to Regular Status Position Sign-On Bonus = $1500 for part-time position, $3000 for full-time position
    (Currently offered to nursing positions, may be expanded to other departments dependent on need and openings)
  • Part-time RNs, LPNs, CNAs to Full-Time Status Sign-On Bonus = $1000 for full-time
  • $10k CNA Sign-on Bonus = $10,000 for NEW full-time employee (over a four year period)
    (Employee may be CNA class or already certified)

Current open positions at Valley Senior Living include:

  • Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
  • CNA Class – next class begins June 21
  • Dining Services Aide
  • Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
  • Recreation Assistant/CNA
  • MA1/CNA
  • Housekeeper

Vaccine Availability
There are many options available to get vaccinated! Grand Forks Public Health is hosting a pop-up, walk-in, vaccination day tomorrow (June 3) in the Home of Economy parking lot from 10 am to 2 pm. No cost, no insurance and no appointment needed. Other vaccine options include scheduling at a local clinic or pharmacies. If you have started your series or are fully vaccinated and have not notified Human Resources or an Infection Preventionist (Kayla Porter or Carra Hindberg), please do so as soon as possible! Providing proof of being fully vaccinated will remove you from our currently testing requirements.


5.26.21 Update – Read the Company Letter

In case you missed the Company Zoom earlier today, please click on this link to view >> 5.26 Zoom

Would you like a bonus?  Recruiter, Part to Full-Time, Flex to Regular Status, and $10K Sign-On for New CNAs

We are excited to be offering our current employees many opportunities to take advantage of different bonuses! The Employee Recruiter Bonus is back, better than before, and is a great way for our best talent to recruit more great talent to join our team! The Employee Recruiter Bonus now offers an instant $100 payment when the employee you recruit attends General Orientation. The total for the recruiter bonus is a total of $500 for part-time, or $1000 for full-time once the employee has completed six months on the job. We have also implemented the $10k Sign-On Bonus paid over four years for Full-Time CNAs! This sign-on bonus should make recruiting the best new team members even easier!

Current Available Bonuses Include:

  • Employee Recruiter Bonus = $500 for part-time employee, $1000 for full-time employee (all departments and positions)
    (Instant $100 payment when new recruit attends General Orientation)
  • $10k CNA Sign-on Bonus = $10,000 for NEW full-time employee (over a four year period)
    (Employee may be CNA class or already certified)
  • Flex to Regular Status Position Sign-On Bonus = $1500 for part-time position, $3000 for full-time position
    (Currently offered to nursing positions, may be expanded to other departments dependent on need and openings)
  • Part-time RNs, LPNs, CNAs to Full-Time Status Sign-On Bonus = $1000 for full-time

** The Employee Recruiter Bonus is available for ALL positions currently available at Valley Senior Living communities. Current positions available are listed below and updated regularly on our website at valleyseniorliving.org/apply **

  • Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) – Full and Part-time
  • CNA Class – Full-time
  • LPN – Full and Part-time
  • Health Unit Coordinator – Full-time
  • Recreation Assistant/CNA – Full-time
  • Medication Assistant/Certified Nursing Assistant – Full and Part-time
  • Housekeeper – Full-time

Please contact Human Resources by calling 701.787.7942 or emailing bbarta@valleyseniorliving.org to alert them when you have recruited a new employee, to fill out the paperwork needed to receive your bonus, or to have any of other bonus related questions answered.

Testing Update:
Unvaccinated employees from Valley Senior Living on Columbia will test on Tuesday, June 1 from 12:30 to 3:30 pm inside the front entrance near the former coffee shop location. If you are unable to attend, please contact your supervisor now. Woodside Village upcoming testing is to be determined.

Thank you for your continued dedication to Valley! Have a great Memorial Day weekend!


5.19.21 Update

In case you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is the link >> ZOOM 5.19.21

Woodside Village Testing Results
All resident and staff results have been received from the Sunday and Monday, May 16 and 17 testing events with all results negative! We have now reached 14 days with no newly identified infections at Woodside Village and we are no longer considered to be in outbreak status. Visitation has resumed within the Hearthstone neighborhood and we will begin a monthly testing schedule. In the event a resident or staff member becomes symptomatic and tests positive, we will immediately initiate outbreak testing. Residents continue to be monitored for respiratory illness onset and staff screen before shifts begin. In the event you do develop symptoms related to COVID-19, our COVID-19 Staff Illness line is available at 701.741.9646. Please call this number to report your symptoms and for testing instructions.

Upcoming Testing Schedule
When out of outbreak status, skilled nursing facilities are still required by CMS to test unvaccinated staff on a monthly basis. Unvaccinated staff from Valley Senior Living on Columbia will test on June 1 from 12 to 3:30 pm inside the main entrance near the former coffee shop location.

Recruit Your Friends, Make $1000! It’s BONUS time!
Don’t forget we have recently implemented and increased bonus amounts! Do you know someone who you would like to work with? Recruit them to be a part of the team at Valley and earn an awesome bonus at the same time!

  • Recruiter Bonus has increased! Recruit a friend to work at Valley! ($1000 for Full-Time Recruit or $500 for Part-Time Recruit)
  • Flex Moving to Regular Status (RNs, LPNs, & CNAs)  ($1000 for Full-Time or $500 for Part-Time)
  • Part-Time Moving to Full-Time Status (RNs, LPNs, & CNAs) ($1000)

** Contact HR or your Supervisor with any questions about any of the BONUSES currently offered and to fill out the paperwork! **

Still have a few vaccine questions?
If you are still undecided about getting the COVID-19 vaccine and would like to ask questions, our Medical Director, Dr. Henderson or one of the Infection Preventionists, Carra Hindberg or Kayla Porter, would be glad meet with you to answer your questions! Please call 701.787.7952 to schedule an appointment.

The community of Grand Forks is offering many convenient options to get vaccinated.

  • Hugo’s on 32nd is offering a walk-in clinic on Monday’s from 10 am – 2 0m and Thursday’s from 2 pm to 6 pm. No appointment is necessary.
  • Altru Clinics are offering appointments to schedule through MyChart.
  • Thrifty White Pharmacy has vaccine available May 20-21 and May 25-28.  Schedule your appointment at thriftywhite.com/covid19vaccine

Once you have received your vaccine, please remember to inform Human Resources! Once you are fully vaccinated, you are no longer required to wear eye protection while at work, with the exception of caring for residents on precautions or within the observation of COVID-19 care area.


5.13.21 Update

Still on the fence about the vaccine?  Tonight, beginning at 7 pm, join Dr. Paul Carson, an infectious disease physician from Fargo, and Dr. Tracie Newman, a pediatrician in Fargo, who will  answer YOUR questions and share the most up-to-date info about the vaccine! To join the ZOOM webinar click this link >> https://ndsu.zoom.us/j/95520626932?pwd=SVF5YlpCMzhjOTlDRnREUkxUMG9tQT09&fbclid=IwAR2Z2qHN5wO0ogU8Bq5kLEib9AEWTk2clUXNcMfK9jXoIU2U0abWo53SBpE#success

Walk-in COVID-19 Vaccines are available TODAY (Thursday, May 13)!

  • Inside Hugo’s Family Marketplace, 1750 32nd Ave S.
  • 2 – 6 pm
  • Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer are available
  • Available to anyone 12 and older
  • There is no cost for the vaccine or administration

**Remember once you are fully vaccinated you can remove your eye protection at work and avoid exposure quarantines!**

Woodside Village Testing Results and Upcoming Schedule
All staff tests from May 10 have been received and are negative! Staff from Woodside Village will test on Monday, May 17 from 12 to 3:30 pm inside the Auditorium.


5.12.21 Update

In case you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is the link >>

Here are some general reminders for staff break areas:

  • No breaks without masks should continue to occur in any common areas that would be also used by residents.
  • Vaccinated staff can break together, without masks and without physical distancing

Valley on Columbia

  • FULLY VACCINATED STAFF will have the opportunity to dine together and take breaks in neighborhood conference rooms and in the community room.
  • UNVACCINATED STAFF who would like to eat while on break on campus will need to continue to physically distance from one another. The staff lounge at Valley on Columbia will be the designated area.

Valley on 42nd

  • FULLY VACCINATED STAFF will have the opportunity to dine together in designated areas without physical distancing.  These areas will include all areas used for staff breaks prior to the pandemic, including the staff lounge, Myra Café.  Resident care areas are not to be used for staff breaks at any time.
  • UNVACCINATED STAFF who would like to eat while on break on campus will need to continue to physically distance from one another. The Heartland Game Room will be the break area used for unvaccinated staff.

Tufte Manor

  • FULLY VACCINATED STAFF will have the opportunity to take breaks in Tufte Manor staff lounge.
  • UNVACCINATED STAFF will eat and break in the family dining area at Tufte Manor.

Test Results and Schedule
We have received all negative resident test results from the May 9 testing at Woodside Village and we are currently receiving the staff results. With approximately 40 pending, all other results have been negative. Woodside Village will be required to test in outbreak status for at least one more week. Staff from Woodside Village can plan to test Monday, May 17 from 12 noon to 3:30 pm in the Auditorium.

Happy Nurses Week and Happy National Skilled Nursing Care Week! Thank you to each of you for your continued dedication to the residents who live at Valley Senior Living.


5.7.21 Update

Happy Nurses Week to all nurses at Valley Senior Living! Every day we are thankful for your heroic work, and this week we recognize and celebrate each of you. Thank you for the role you have played during this pandemic and for the difference you make in the lives of the residents!

Dining Update:
We have received clarification from the North Dakota Department of Health and are happy to share that fully vaccinated residents will have the option and opportunity to dine together in the dining rooms without physical distancing. This change to dining will be effective on Monday, May 10, beginning during the lunch meal. Residents who are not fully vaccinated will have an alternative option to dine in a location that allows for continued physical distancing. The safety of both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents remains a top priority.

Testing Update – Woodside WILL test, Valley on Columbia will NOT test:
Woodside Village staff will test on Monday, May 10 in the Auditorium from 12 to 3:30 pm. If you are unable to attend, please contact your supervisor.

Valley on Columbia has reached 14 days with no newly identified infections and we are no longer operating in outbreak status in any neighborhoods. Current CDC and CMS guidance allows us to suspend routine testing at this time at Valley on Columbia. Residents will not be testing on Sundays and staff will not test on Mondays. Our testing process going forward will include immediate testing of symptomatic residents or staff.

In the event a resident or staff member is identified as positive, visitation will be suspended and a round of outbreak testing for staff and residents will be initiated. Upon receiving results, visitation would reopen for unaffected neighborhoods.

Staff Break Areas:

Changes are also in process regarding staff break areas. CDC/CMS guidance states…

  • When vaccinated staff are with other vaccinated staff in a room, no physical distancing or mask use is needed. This applies to your breaks as well.
  • No breaks without masks should occur in any common areas that would be also used by residents.

At each community, some break areas will be designated for vaccinated staff only so physical distancing doesn’t need to be observed.

  • At 42nd, vaccinated staff can use the Staff Lounge and the Coffee Shop with no physical distancing. The Heartland Game Room will be used for breaks for unvaccinated staff.
  • At Valley on Columbia, the neighborhood conference rooms are for vaccinated staff only with no physical distancing. The Staff Lounge will be used for breaks for unvaccinated staff. Vaccinated staff can use the staff lounge but need to maintain physical distancing at all times.
  • Tufte is discussing how to implement these guidelines next week.


5.5.21 Update

Testing Results and Schedule
We are happy to report all test results for residents from May 2 have been received and are negative. A symptomatic direct care staff from Tufte Manor tested positive yesterday with last day worked on May 1, and a direct care giver from the Hearthstone neighborhood tested positive with last worked day May 3.

  • Woodside Village staff will test on Monday, May 10 from 12 to 3:30 pm
  • Valley Senior Living on Columbia will NOT test on Monday due to 14 days with no newly identified positive tests

Company Zoom
In case you missed the company zoom with a ton of information about mask use and neighborhood status, click here to watch >> 5.5.21 Zoom

Neighborhood and Community Status

  • Visitation has resumed at Woodside Village in all neighborhoods except Hearthstone.
  • Visitation has resumed at Valley Senior Living on Columbia
  • Visitation remains available at Tufte Manor and Wheatland Terrace

The following guidelines are in place for visitation with fully vaccinated vs. unvaccinated individuals.

  • Residents and visitors, if fully vaccinated, can enjoy time together in the resident’s room without face masks and without physical distancing.
  • Visitors must wear a face mask when entering, exiting and passing through common areas at Valley Senior Living on Columbia.
  • Common area visitation still remains unavailable.
  • The number of visitors gathering together at one time, if all are fully vaccinated, is no longer regulated.
  • Visitors that are not fully vaccinated will not be denied access to visit, but will be required to wear a face covering and physical distance for the duration of the visit and it is recommended that the resident and anyone else who is present wear a mask to reduce the chance of potential transmission.

Mask Use Update
Residents:

  • Must wear masks for all care interactions
  • Mask is not required in common areas if resident is vaccinated
  • Mask is not required when hosting visitors in room, if all visitors are vaccinated
  • If a resident is not vaccinated, mask must be worn when outside their room

Staff:

  • Masks are required in all common areas
  • Masks are required while in areas where residents are present
  • Masks are required during all care interactions
  • Vaccinated staff may be in a designated area away from resident care areas without a mask in the presence of other vaccinated staff members.
  • Unvaccinated staff must wear a mask at all times when in the building

Still Undecided on the COVID-19 Vaccine?
Dr. Paul Carson, infectious disease physician in Fargo and Dr. Tracie Newman, pediatrician in Fargo will be hosting a Zoom on May 13 from 7 – 8 pm to answer questions about the vaccine and to discuss why North Dakotans should get vaccinated against COVID-19. During the Zoom they will be taking questions from attendees. The zoom link to watch is: https://ndsu.zoom.us/j/95520626932?pwd=SVF5YlpCMzhjOTlDRnREUkxUMG9tQT09#success


4.30.21 Update

The following changes apply to Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village:

We are not resuming communal dining with four people per table until we receive further clarification from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. After participating in a nationwide conference call yesterday, the guidance on masking and physical distance requirements in that setting are unclear, specifically when in the presence of an unvaccinated individual.

We will continue resident un-masked activities and resident un-masked movement about the neighborhood as planned. Please note:

  • Staff must continue to wear appropriate masks during all interactions.
  • If a unvaccinated individual enters the activity (staff or resident) all participants must mask.
    • Example: if the person leading the activity is unvaccinated, all members must mask.
  • Any staff member providing care to a resident in their room requires both the staff member and the resident to be masked.
  • If an unvaccinated staff member provides care to a resident outside of their room, both the resident and the staff member must be wearing a mask.
    • Staff, it is your duty to ask or help the resident put a mask on in this situation!

Testing Reminder – All staff from Woodside Village and Valley on Columbia will test Monday, May 3 at your work location between 12 and 3:30 pm.


4.28.21 Update

If you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is the recording >> 4.28.21 Zoom

CMS Releases follow-up to CDC Guidance >> Click Here to Read
As anticipated, CMS has released follow-up guidance and recommendations for visitation, dining and activities. Changes are resident focused and will greatly increase the quality of life for residents. When we are no longer operating in outbreak status due to COVID-19 infections, the latest recommendations for fully vaccinated (> 2 weeks after receiving the second dose in a 2 dose series or > 2 week after receiving single dose vaccine) residents and visitors will include:

 Visitation
Wheatland Terrace and Tufte Manor will implement the following visitation changes immediately, and when visitation becomes available at Woodside Village and Valley on Columbia (hopefully on May 5 if no additional staff or resident cases), the following guidelines will be enacted:

  • Residents and visitors, if fully vaccinated, can enjoy time together in the resident’s room without face masks and without physical distancing.
  • Visitors must wear a face mask when entering, exiting, and passing through common areas at Valley Senior Living on Columbia.
  • Common area visitation still remains unavailable.
  • The number of visitors gathering together at one time, if all are fully vaccinated, is no longer regulated.
  • Visitors that are not fully vaccinated will not be denied access to visit, but will be required to wear a face covering and physical distance for the duration of the visit and the resident and anyone else who is present wears a mask to reduce the chance of potential transmission.

In the meantime for VC and WV, compassionate care and end of life visitors that are fully vaccinated are able to be unmasked in fully vaccinated resident rooms!  That means eating is now a part of visiting again!  What a great step forward in quality of life for our residents!

Dining and Activities
Changes will begin at Tufte Manor, Wheatland Terrace, Lanark, Riverside, Reeves and Valley Transitions at Valley on Columbia and Hearthstone and Heartland at Woodside Village on Monday. Remaining neighborhoods to include Almonte, Prairieview and Oakcrest will implement dining and activity changes on Tuesday, May 4 due to the last positive resident test.

Fully vaccinated residents will have the option to dine together in the dining room at tables without physical distancing! Residents who are not fully vaccinated will have an alternative option to dine in a location that allows for continued physical distancing. The safety of both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents remains a top priority.

Vaccinated residents will now have the option to attend group activities without wearing face masks or physical distancing. Unvaccinated residents will continue to be required to distance and wear a face mask when participating in any group activities.

Although recommendations have changed significantly for residents, all employees, vaccinated or unvaccinated, are still required to wear PPE as specified for each building. No staff PPE changes are included in the latest guidance.

Staff Test Results
Staff results with 2 pending from Monday April 26 have been received with negative results. 40 employee results remain pending from April 27.

Thank you for continuing to adapt to the changes and for providing excellent care for the residents at Valley!


4.27.21 Update

STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND READ THIS NEW CDC GUIDANCE! No changes will be taking effect within our care communities until CMS and the North Dakota Department of Health have made regulation changes. We are hopeful these regulation changes will happen soon. The changes noted below will result in immense quality of life improvements for vaccinated residents.  

NEW CDC GUIDANCE
Communal activities within a healthcare setting:

Who should not participate in communal activities?

What infection prevention and control practices are recommended when planning for and allowing communal activities?

Determining the vaccination status of residents/HCP at the time of the activity might be challenging and might be subject to local regulations.  When determining vaccination status, the privacy of the resident/HCP should be maintained (e.g., not asked in front of other patients/residents/HCP).  For example, when planning for group activities or communal dining, facilities might consider having residents sign up in advance so their vaccination status can be confirmed and seating assigned.  If vaccination status cannot be determined, the safest practice is for all participants to follow all recommended infection prevention and control practices including maintaining physical distancing and wearing source control.

 Residents

  • Group activities:
    • If all residents participating in the activity are fully vaccinated, then they may choose to have close contact and to not wear source control during the activity.
    • If unvaccinated residents are present, then all participants in the group activity should wear source control and unvaccinated residents should physically distance from others.
  • Communal dining:
    • Fully vaccinated residents can participate in communal dining without use of source control or physical distancing.
    • If unvaccinated residents are dining in a communal area (e.g., dining room) all residents should use source control when not eating and unvaccinated residents should continue to remain at least 6 feet from others.
  • Residents taking social excursions outside the facility should be educated about potential risks of public settings, particularly if they have not been fully vaccinated, and reminded to avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. They should be encouraged and assisted with adherence to all recommended infection prevention and control measures, including source control, physical distancing, and hand hygiene.  If they are visiting friends or family in their homes, they should follow the source control and physical distancing recommendations for visiting with others in private settings as described in the Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People.

Healthcare Personnel

  • In general, fully vaccinated HCP should continue to wear source control while at work. However, fully vaccinated HCP could dine and socialize together in break rooms and conduct in- person meetings without source control or physical distancing. If unvaccinated HCP are present, everyone should wear source control and unvaccinated HCP should physically distance from others.

Please Wear Your Facemask When Entering the Building
The North Dakota Department of Health has identified an area of suggested improvement in our PPE process. Staff will now be required to wear a face mask when entering the building. This change takes effect immediately. If you choose to wear a used mask into the building, please replace with a new mask at the screening table and before beginning your shift.

Resident Results
We have received all resident results from Sunday, April 25. One previously positive resident from the Riverside neighborhood tested positive. The medical director has deemed this an inactive infection and this will not change procedure or precautions on the Riverside neighborhood.

The Reeves neighborhood has returned to pandemic normal operation after reaching 14 days with no additional positive test results. Almonte, Prairieview, and Oakcrest continue in outbreak status but with two rounds of negative resident tests, these neighborhoods will test weekly, use common areas, have small group activities of 10 or less, ….

COVID-19 Care Area
We are currently caring for two residents in the COVID-19 care area and anticipate they will return to their homes tomorrow.

Staff Results
We are expecting we will begin receiving staff test from Monday, April 26 later today and throughout tomorrow. We will notify you if any positive results are received.

BONUS Time!
Don’t forget we have recently implemented and increased bonus amounts! Do you know someone who you would like to work with? Recruit them to be a part of the team at Valley and earn an awesome bonus at the same time!

  • Recruiter Bonus has increased! Recruit a friend to work at Valley! ($1000 for Full-Time Recruit or $500 for Part-Time Recruit)
  • Flex Moving to Regular Status (RNs, LPNs, & CNAs)  ($1000 for Full-Time or $500 for Part-Time)
  • Part-Time Moving to Full-Time Status (RNs, LPNs, & CNAs) ($1000)

** Contact HR or your Supervisor with any questions about any of the BONUSES currently offered and to fill out the paperwork! **

Company Newsletter >> May 2021


4.21.21 Update

In case you missed the Company ZOOM, you can check out the link here >> ZOOM 4.21.21

Company and Community Update
Over the last month, twelve fully-vaccinated asymptomatic nursing home residents have tested positive for COVID-19 at Valley Senior Living, nine of which were in the last two weeks alone. Nine of those residents have concluded their active infection and four are currently in our COVID-19 Care area. The great news is that the vaccine is doing exactly what it was designed to do, which is greatly reduce the potential for hospitalization or death as a result of COVID-19.  In fact, the nine residents who have returned to their neighborhoods were asymptomatic throughout their active infections.

This is consistent with what is being seen across the country. COVID-19 weekly deaths in skilled nursing facilities peaked near 6,000 per week at the start of the year, and for the first week of April there were 205 deaths nationwide in nursing homes due to COVID-19. In North Dakota, seven people died due to COVID-19 in skilled nursing facilities in February and March combined. While we do not know if these people were vaccinated or not, there have only been two deaths of fully-vaccinated people in the entire state of North Dakota through April 15.

We have reached out to the North Dakota Department of Health Division of Disease Control with concerns about this recent trend of residents testing positive. At this point, we do not know if it is a variant or not and it appears that we may not ever know this on a case by case basis. We do know that genomic testing has found the presence of the UK and California variants in eastern North Dakota.

These recent results and lack of a clear path forward to the end of the pandemic is frustrating to all of us. It is incredibly disruptive to the residents who test positive. It diminishes the quality of life for all people within the neighborhood as a positive case stops visitation, communal dining, organized activities, and more. At the end of the day, we count our blessings that residents continue to be healthy and realize that it will take more of the population to be vaccinated in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Staff Results
We are still receiving results from the Monday, April 19 Woodside and Columbia staff testing event. So far, two staff from Woodside, (1 Support Staff, 1 Non-Direct Care in Hearthstone) and two staff from Valley on Columbia (1 Support Staff, 1 Contract Direct Care from Valley Transitions) have tested positive.

COVID Care Area
Four residents who asymptomatically tested positive through mass testing events are in the COVID-19 care area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia. Three of the residents are from Woodside Village (2 Oakcrest, 1 Prairieview) and one (Almonte) is from Valley on Columbia. Two residents recovered and returned home to their neighborhood this week at Valley Senior Living on Columbia.

Upcoming Testing Schedule
With the recent infections detected within Oakcrest and Prairieview at Woodside Village, and the positive test within the Almonte neighborhood at Valley on Columbia, all staff and residents will test tomorrow, Thursday, April 22 from 1 to 3:30 pm in the Auditorium at Woodside Village. Almonte staff please note you will have to go to Woodside Village for this testing!  All staff from Woodside Village and Valley on Columbia will also test on Monday, April 26 from 12 to 3:30 pm at your work location.

Benefits of Being Vaccinated in the Event You are Exposed to COVID-19
A high risk exposure for an unvaccinated individual may lead to loss of income due to required quarantine. Here are examples of exposure requirements for vaccinated vs. unvaccinated people. The benefits of vaccination not only increase your chances of having less severe to possibly no symptoms if you were to become infected, but also reduce your potential quarantine time.

  • Vaccinated (and not immunocompromised) = You may continue to work with an N95 and complete regular testing intervals at Valley Senior Living.
  • Unvaccinated = You must quarantine 14 days from last date of exposure. In the event a household member tests positive, your last day of exposure is their day 10, and your 14 day quarantine away from work starts then. Therefore, you are typically out for 24 days. Testing out of quarantine does NOT apply to healthcare workers.

Thrifty White Pharmacy offers Vaccine
Vaccine appointments remain available at Thrifty White Pharmacy on April 26, 27 and 28. Sign up soon before they are gone! Remember, if your family or friends are interested in the vaccine they can sign up too! Go to: https://www.thriftywhite.com/covid19vaccine Choose: North Dakota / Choose: Grand Forks, ND / Choose: Date and Time

Increased and New Bonuses Now Available!

  • Recruiter Bonus – Increasing to $1000 for Full-Time Recruits and $500 for Part-Time Recruits
  • Flex RN, LPN or CNA – Move to regular status position for $1000 Full-Time or $500 Part-Time
  • Part-Time RN, LPN, or CNA – Move to a Full-Time Status Position for $1000

Please contact your supervisor or Human Resources for more details on the new and increased bonuses!


4.20.21 Update

Last night we received confirmation of 3 residents from Woodside Village, (2 Oakcrest, 1 Prairieview) and one resident from the Almonte neighborhood at Valley on Columbia have tested positive. All four residents are vaccinated and asymptomatic at this time. The four residents identified as positive have been moved to the COVID-19 care area where we are now caring for six residents. Four tests remain pending and all other resident results from April 18 have been received and are negative. We are awaiting staff test results from the yesterday’s testing event.

Neighborhood changes within Almonte at Valley on Columbia and Oakcrest and Prairieview at Woodside Village due to the positive test results include:

  • No communal dining, common area use or group activities
  • Residents will be monitored three times daily for respiratory illness onset
  • N95 and face shield required for all neighborhood staff from Almonte, Oakcrest and Prairieview
  • Cleaning will be increased for duration of outbreak
  • Staff should not float to other areas
  • Beauty shop appointments have been cancelled
  • Routine medical appointments will be rescheduled
  • Doors between all neighborhoods will be closed for the duration of the outbreaks

COVID-19 Care Area
We are currently caring for six residents in the COVID-19 care area. We are able to accommodate seven residents with the current configuration and further discussion is in process to determine next steps in the event additional positive cases were to be identified.

Testing Schedule for THURSDAY, April 22
With the positive test results received yesterday, residents will be retested from Almonte, Oakcrest, and Prairieview on Thursday. Reeves residents and staff do not need to test on Thursday – they will resume weekly testing due to two events in a row in which we had 0 resident positive cases.

 All staff from Almonte, Oakcrest and Prairieview will test on Thursday, April 22 from 1 to 3:30 pm in the Auditorium at Valley Senior Living on 42nd (Almonte staff please note this location!). All residents from WV and VC will test on Sunday, April 25 and staff will test again on April 26. Frequent testing will continue to assist with identifying any additional transmission of the virus in residents and staff.

 Vaccine at Thrifty White Pharmacy
Vaccine appointments remain available at Thrifty White Pharmacy for Monday, April 26. Sign up soon before they are gone. Remember, if your family or friends are interested in the vaccine they can sign up too! Go to: https://www.thriftywhite.com/covid19vaccine Choose: North Dakota / Choose: Grand Forks, ND / Choose: Date and Time


4.19.21 Update

Testing Results Update
This morning we received excellent news about the Reeves testing on April 15. All results for residents and staff are negative with two tests pending. Over the weekend we received confirmation of one non-direct care staff member from Tufte Manor and one non-direct care staff from the Prairieview neighborhood at Woodside Village who tested positive. Residents from Woodside and Valley on Columbia tested yesterday and staff are testing today. We will continue to update you with results as they are received this week.

COVID-19 Care Area
We continue to care for two residents in the COVID-19 Care Area. Please keep these residents and the staff in your thoughts and prayers.

Vaccine at Thrifty White Pharmacy
Vaccine appointments remain available at Thrifty White Pharmacy for Monday, April 26. Sign up soon before they are gone. Remember, if your family or friends are interested in the vaccine they can sign up too! Go to: https://www.thriftywhite.com/covid19vaccine Choose: North Dakota / Choose: Grand Forks, ND / Choose: Date and Time

Vote for Valley Senior Living Foundation and Music Therapy!
Help us out! Valley Senior Living Foundation and the music therapy program are in the running for a $1,000 grant from First International Bank & Trust. Go to any of or all of the Valley Senior Living Facebook pages and like the post about music therapy. The most engagement on social media wins the grant! Thanks in advance for helping us out >> Vote Now by Clicking Here!


4.15.21 Update

Test Results Update
We have received all Woodside Village and Valley on Columbia results from the Monday, April 12 testing. It was an excellent testing event for Valley on Columbia with no positive tests. At Woodside Village two direct care staff tested positive, including on from Heartland who last worked on April 11, and one from Oakcrest who last worked on April 12. Woodside Village has had four staff members test positive from different neighborhoods which will not allow visitation to reopen on a neighborhood by neighborhood basis. Visitation also remains suspended at Valley on Columbia due to the resident positive tests identified in the Reeves neighborhood.

Testing Schedule
All Reeves staff and residents were tested today. Woodside and Valley on Columbia residents will test on Sunday, April 18 and staff will test on Monday, April 19. Testing will take place onsite at your work locations from 12:00 to 3:30 pm. (auditorium or front entrance by former coffee shop)  If you are unable to attend, please contact your supervisor.

COVID-19 Care Area
We continue to care for two residents from the Reeves neighborhood in the COVID-19 care area.

Vaccine at Thrifty White Pharmacy
Vaccine appointments remain available at Thrifty White Pharmacy for tomorrow, Friday, April 16 and Wednesday, April 21. Sign up soon before they are gone. Remember, if your family or friends are interested in the vaccine they can sign up too! Go to: https://www.thriftywhite.com/covid19vaccine Choose: North Dakota / Choose: Grand Forks, ND / Choose: Date and Time


4.14.21 Update

Company Zoom Update
If you missed the company wide zoom earlier today, here is the link to hear more about this week’s update >> Zoom 4.14.21

Testing Results for VC and WV
Great start to our testing event but many pending:
VC: 304 negative, 31 pending
WV: 57 negative, 209 pending

17 Unvaccinated, 2 Vaccinated Positive since February >> Doc1

Testing Schedule
Outbreak testing continues in the Reeves neighborhood and all residents and staff will be tested again tomorrow, April 15. Staff will test from 6 to 6:30 am and from 1 to 2 pm in the back hall at Valley on Columbia.  Residents will be tested after breakfast. If you are unable to attend or have questions, please contact Sam Jallo at 701-787-7971.

Residents from Woodside Village and all of Valley on Columbia are scheduled to test on Sunday, April 18 and staff from Woodside and Columbia will test on Monday, April 19. Staff testing will take place at your respective work location; in the Auditorium at Woodside Village or inside the front entrance at Valley on Columbia near the former coffee shop location.

COVID-19 Care Area
We are currently caring for two residents in the COVID-19 care area. Two residents recovered and moved home to their neighborhood at Valley on Columbia earlier today.

Vaccine Appointments Open NOW at Thrifty White Pharmacy
Thrifty White has appointments available to receive the Moderna vaccine on Friday! If you are interested in starting the vaccine series:

Go to: https://www.thriftywhite.com/covid19vaccine Choose: North Dakota / Choose: Grand Forks, ND / Choose: Date and Time


4.13.21 Update

Yesterday we received confirmation that one resident from the Reeves neighborhood at Valley on Columbia and one staff member from the Hearthstone neighborhood at Woodside Village (last day worked April 3) have tested positive for COVID-19. The resident has moved to the COVID-19 care area where we are now caring for four residents.

Testing Results
All resident results from Woodside Village have been received and are negative. At Valley on Columbia, one result was positive, 6 remain pending, and the remainder are negative. We are awaiting the staff results from yesterday.

17 Unvaccinated, 2 Vaccinated Staff Testing Positive over 2 Months
We continue to recognize the benefits of being vaccinated for our staff which makes it more safe for residents. With vaccinated residents recently testing positive, I had a couple questions from concerned staff about whether the vaccine will be effective for them. Since February, unvaccinated staff have a 1433% (yes – fourteen hundred and thirty-three percent) higher chance of testing positive than vaccinated staff.

Interested in Pfizer or Moderna vaccine ASAP?
Thrifty White Pharmacy has 60+ openings for tomorrow and Thursday.

To make an appointment: Go to: https://www.thriftywhite.com/covid19vaccine

Choose: North Dakota

Choose: Grand Forks, ND

Choose: Date and Time

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine On Hold
CDC and the FDA released a statement today regarding the pause in administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to a need to review its safety. >> Joint CDC and FDA Statement


4.12.21 Update

On Saturday, one resident from the Reeves neighborhood was identified as positive and transferred to the COVID-19 Care Area. This positive test was from the outbreak testing conducted on Thursday within the Reeves neighborhood. Confirmation of a non-direct care staff member testing positive, who last worked within the Heartland neighborhood on April 8, was received on Sunday. Visitation is now suspended at Woodside Village until a round of outbreak testing has been completed for residents and staff with no additional positive infections identified. Residents were tested on Sunday, April 11 and staff were tested today.

COVID-19 Care Area
We continue to care for three residents in the COVID-19 Care Area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia. One resident moved home to their neighborhood on Friday after additional testing ruled out an active infection.

Visitation
Visitation is suspended at Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village. Preapproved compassionate care visits, outdoor visits and end of life visitation remain options for residents and families. Although not recommended, residents do have the option to leave on “outings” if they desire. Outing paperwork is available at the team stations.

Visitation remains available at Tufte Manor and Wheatland Terrace.


4.12.21 Woodside and VC Testing

As you know today’s testing event is taking place from 12pm to 3pm at the Woodside Village Auditorium and inside the Valley on Columbia front entrance by the old coffee shop. With this change in location, also comes a change in pay. We are no longer paying the $25 to every employee who is tested. You will only receive this payment if you are off duty.

In order to ensure a smooth transition with these changes, please follow the instructions below when attending the testing event:

  • If you are coming to testing and beginning your shift, you will punch in on the ipad by the check-in station.
  • If you are coming to testing and ending your shift, you will punch out on the ipad after testing.
  • If you are coming to testing while off duty, this will be marked when you check in at the testing event.
  • If you are coming to testing during your shift, there is nothing you will need to do.


4.8.21 Update

Testing Moves to Your Location! Do not drive to the ALERUS Center!
Beginning Monday, testing will take place at your work location. We also are changing our pay policy for testing. Since the pandemic began, Valley has paid over $2,500,000 to staff for payments for testing and salaries related to COVID leave days. It is not sustainable to continue this practice, so if you are “on the clock” during this testing event, you will no longer be paid $25.

If testing is conducted on a shift that you are not working and you need to come in for testing, you will continue to receive $25. All other testing requirements remain the same. Remember to contact your supervisor if you are unable to attend a scheduled testing event.

  • Woodside Village, Monday, April 12 – Auditorium from 12 pm – 3 pm
  • Valley on Columbia, Monday, April 12 – Front Entrance (former Coffee Shop) Area from 12 pm – 3 pm

COVID-19 Care Area
We continue to care for three residents in the COVID-19 Care Area at Valley on Columbia. All residents remain asymptomatic.

PPE Changes During Outbreak at Valley on Columbia

  • Unvaccinated staff must wear an N95 if they are within or have the potential to be within 6ft of another person (another staff member or resident). All staff within Reeves and the Observation Area must wear an N95.
  • Eye Protection: Face shields are required for Reeves and Observation staff or when caring for any resident on COVID related precautions. Eye protection (glasses that wrap around the eyes or a face shield) is required at all times for all unvaccinated staff.

It might seem that our PPE response to having three positive residents is disproportionate, but it is not common for vaccinated residents to get COVID. In the last two months there were 28 documented breakthrough cases of COVID statewide since residents were fully vaccinated. As of today, the three residents from the Reeves neighborhood represent one third of all the currently positive residents in the entire state. Until we have our testing results from the next couple of testing events, this is new territory for us and we are proceeding with a high level of caution. We are trying to balance quality of life for residents with the residents’ safety.

There is much uncertainty in our community and county as our COVID-19 numbers slowly increase. Please be diligent in your efforts to remain healthy through mask use, physical distancing, and hand hygiene. COVID-19 hospitalizations are rising among younger individuals at an alarming rate in other states, even as close as Minnesota. Vaccination for COVID-19 has proven to reduce symptoms and prevent transmission to others. If you are considering becoming vaccinated for your safety, and the safety of those you care for at Valley, please contact the Altru COVID hotline to schedule an appointment at 701.780.6358 or schedule online at altru.org/mychart.  The Johnson & Johnson one dose vaccine is now available!



4.7.21 Update
I apologize for the lengthy update. Much has happened in the last 24 hours.

 Testing Update
All results have been received for the resident testing at Valley on Columbia from April 4. Three residents were confirmed positive from the Reeves neighborhood and have been moved to the COVID-19 care area. Notification was received of four staff members testing positive with two from Reeves, one from Riverside and one non-direct care staff member. These positive test results have suspended indoor visitation throughout Valley on Columbia for the next two weeks. Compassionate care, end of life, campus outings, and outdoor visits remain options for family if necessary.

Due to these test results many operational changes are effective immediately at Valley on Columbia only. These include:

  • N95 use: Required for Reeves, Observation, and All Unvaccinated Staff.
  • Eye Protection: Face shields required for Reeves, Observation, and with any resident on COVID related precautions. Glasses or face shield are required at all times for all unvaccinated staff.
  • Staffing: Staff should not work multiple neighborhoods if possible.
  • Doors: Doors are to be closed to all neighborhoods. Do not “mix” neighborhoods.
  • Courtyards: If used maintain separate areas. Do not “mix” neighborhoods.
  • Resident Monitoring: As of today – Almonte 1x per day, Lanark 3x per day, Riverside 3x per day, Reeves 3x per day, VT 1x per day, Observation 2x per day.
  • Move ins: move ins may occur to Almonte, VT, or Observation as rooms are available. Considerations could be made for Lanark and Riverside. No move ins to Reeves at this time.
  • Housekeeping: Cleaning may continue be “normal” on Almonte and VT. Cleaning will need to increase for all other areas.
  • Medical Appointments: continue only as needed.
  • Beauty Shop: 1 neighborhood per day. No for Reeves at this time. Do not “mix” neighborhoods.
  • Common Areas: You may continue limited common area use that is socially distanced for Almonte, Lanark, Riverside and VT. No common area use for Reeves.
  • Recreation: You may offer small group socially distanced activities with masks for Almonte, Lanark, Riverside, and VT. No organized groups for Reeves (may do one on one).
  • Visitation: Indoor visitation is suspended for 2 weeks. We will tighten down on compassionate care visitation. We will continue with EOL visits as always.
  • Dining: Communal dining may continue for Almonte, Lanark, and Riverside. In room dining for Reeves, Observation and VT. (VT because they haven’t changed to communal dining yet).

Upcoming Testing Schedule
We are no longer testing at the Alerus Center. Testing of staff will move to the location where you work, effective immediately. Woodside Village will test in the Auditorium and Valley on Columbia will test in the community room. The positivity rate in Grand Forks County is 6.8% which requires Woodside Village to begin weekly testing again.

  • Staff and residents from the Reeves neighborhood will test tomorrow, April 8 from 6am – 6:30 am and 1 pm to 2 pm in the back hall where “make-up” events take place.
  • Residents from Woodside Village and Valley on Columbia will test on Sunday, April 11.
  • Staff from Woodside Village and Valley on Columbia will test on Monday, April 12 (WV – Auditorium, 12 – 3 pm & VC – Conference/Board Room Area, 12-3 pm)

Company Zoom
If you missed the company zoom earlier today, please review this recording >> ZOOM 4.7.21

Vaccine Update from Dr. Carson
Dr. Paul Carson recently released a COVID vaccination presentation for providers. The webinar in its entirety is a great resource to answer questions to common questions and concerns surrounding the vaccine, but we have determined specific areas of significant importance and areas of most interested including mRNA technology explanation, prevention of transmission, protection from reinfection, mutations and variants, side effects, and pregnancy data. Please review the areas of the webinar that would be of most interest to you >> Dr. Carson Webinar

7:23-8:44 Explanation of the mRNA technology (for those thinking they are receiving genetic material)

8:44-11:20 Explanation of Adenovirus vaccine technology ex: Janssen

19:37-21:11 Do vaccines prevent transmission? Data showing yes.

21:12- 23:25 Protection from Reinfection. 10 fold higher antibodies from vaccine than prior infection.

29:52- 30:04 Race against time. Viruses cannot mutate if they cannot replicate.

39:07-40:59 Mis-attribution of side effects to vaccines.

46:21- 47:43 Pregnancy data

47:52- 50:17 “Take my chances” or “need to see long-term results” speaks to how humans think and why they make those decisions.

14 Unvaccinated and 2 Vaccinated Test Positive in Past Two Months
As staff who have not been vaccinated yet, you have a great opportunity to receive the Johnson and Johnson one shot vaccine on April 10 or 14. One and Done and fully vaccinated by April 24 or 28. Although rare, hospitalizations and even deaths are possible in younger individuals. The COVID vaccine has proven to reduce and even eliminate symptoms related to COVID in those who are vaccinated. To sign up call the Altru COVID hotline at 701-780-6358 or schedule your appointment through Altru.org/mychart.

COVID Care Area
We are caring for three residents in the COVID-19 care area. All are asymptomatic at this time. Please keep them and the staff in your thoughts and prayers!


4.5.21 Update

2 Staff Test Positive
This weekend we received confirmation of two direct care staff members testing positive, one from the Lanark neighborhood who last worked on April 2, and one from Tufte Manor with last work day April 3. Staff from Valley on Columbia are testing today, and the COVID Command Team will determine tomorrow if Tufte Manor residents and staff will need to test. Visitation other than compassionate care and end of life is now suspended within the Lanark neighborhood. Visitation continues at Tufte Manor.

In the last two months, a total of 11 unvaccinated staff and 1 vaccinated staff have tested positive. The vaccine continues to be the most effective way to protect yourself and the residents, especially if you want to ever think about a future without masks in long term care.

CDC Issues Updated Guidance on Vaccinated vs. Unvaccinated Travel Restrictions
CDC released new guidance on Friday explaining vaccinated people can travel and do not need COVID-19 testing or post-travel self-quarantine as long as they continue to take COVID-19 precautions while traveling – wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, socially distancing and washing hands frequently. Unvaccinated individuals will continue to have testing requirements pre and post trip and quarantine regulations to follow. For more information please review >> CDC Travel Guidance This will also change the Valley employee travel risk assessment. If you are unvaccinated and plan to travel outside of ND or MN you are asked to contact Sam Jallo, Employee Health Nurse, at 701-787-7971 to complete the travel risk assessment. This risk assessment will determine if there is a need for N95 use and testing upon return to work.

Considering the One Shot Johnson and Johnson Vaccine?
Altru and Grand Forks Public Health continue to offer the Johnson and Johnson vaccine with appointments available on April 10 and 14. This is your chance to be fully vaccinated by April 24 or April 28. After you are fully vaccinated you can eliminate the risk of exposure quarantine, the risk of being out of work for quarantines, and will have the ability to travel as a vaccinated person without the restrictions unvaccinated individuals will encounter. Sign up for your vaccine appointment on Altru My Chart or call the Altru COVID hotline at 701.787.6358. If you have any additional questions, please contact Kayla Porter at kporter@valleyseniorliving.org or call 701-787-7952 to let her know you will be getting vaccinated.


4.2.21 Update

Testing Cancelled for Woodside Village/Town Square Employees on Monday

Woodside Village has reached 14 days with no newly identified COVID-19 infections in residents or staff and the positivity rate within Grand Forks Country remains below 5%. The latest guidance from CMS does not require testing in this situation. Woodside Village and Town Square employees will NOT report for testing on Monday, April 5. In the event you develop symptoms related to COVID-19 or experience close contact or an exposure, please continue to call the COVID-19 Staff Illness line at 701.741.9646.

Valley on Columbia staff will test on Monday, April 5 from 11 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. Contact your supervisor if you are unable to attend.

COVID-19 Care Area
The COVID Care Area at Valley on Columbia has closed. The one resident that was being cared for moved home to their neighborhood at Valley on Columbia today after further testing ruled out an active infection.


4.1.21 Update

One and Done! Here is your chance to be fully vaccinated by April 24 or April 28! We were just informed that Grand Forks Public Health will receive an allocation of Johnson and Johnson vaccine for April 10 and April 14. This is the one dose vaccine that many have been waiting for!

If you are interested in this opportunity, it is important you schedule yourself via Altru MyChart, ASAP, as this will fill up fast. To directly schedule your appointment by logging into your MyChart account, going to Menu > Schedule an Appointment > COVID Vaccine and schedule on April 10th from 2:50 pm to 6 pm & April 14th from 4:10 pm to 5:10 p.m. or call the Altru COVID-19 Hotline at 701-780-6358 for quick scheduling! This is available to anyone 18+.

This is your chance to remove your eyewear and not worry about potential quarantine due to exposure! One and done!

Upcoming Testing Schedule
Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village staff will test on Monday, April 5 from 11 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. If you are unable to attend, contact your supervisor now.


3.31.21 Update

Eye Protection Changes Effective Immediately!
If you are vaccinated you have an extra level of protection against being infected. Eye protection is now optional for fully vaccinated employees. Fully vaccinated means: >14 days after completing a COVID-19 vaccine series (1 or 2 doses depending on type of vaccine) Exceptions to this change include: All staff, vaccinated or not, must wear the appropriate eye protection while caring for a resident on precautions for exposure or symptoms and/or when on precautions for observation.

*If you are not fully vaccinated, Valley continues to have the duty to protect you and residents from a potential exposure, which means you MUST continue to wear eye protection.

Company Zoom
In case you missed the company zoom earlier today, watch it now >> 3.31 ZOOM

Testing Results
We have received confirmation of one fully vaccinated and asymptomatic resident from the Riverside neighborhood that has tested positive. The resident has moved to the COVID-19 care area at Valley on Columbia. All other resident results for Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village are negative. We have received all staff results from the Monday testing of Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village staff. We were notified of two staff members from Valley on Columbia testing positive. One is from the Riverside neighborhood and one is a non-direct care staff. The resident and staff positive tests within the Riverside neighborhood have suspended visitation until 14 days are reached with no additional positive infections.

 COVID-19 Care Area
With the move in Monday night, we are currently caring for one resident in the COVID-19 care area. One fully vaccinated and asymptomatic resident moved home to their neighborhood at Valley on Columbia last Friday after further testing ruled out an active infection, and one resident moved home earlier today after recovering.

Travel Risk Assessment and Employee Screening Update
The employee screening form has been updated and now includes a question about travel. If you have traveled outside ND or MN in the last 10 days, please contact the Employee Health Nurse at 701-787-7971. The Sam Jallo, Employee Health Nurse, will complete the travel risk assessment with anyone who has recently traveled, or upon return in the future. This risk assessment will determine the if there is a need for N95 use when you return to work.

Required Resident Monitoring Changes
Changes have been implemented as of today to resident monitoring requirements for Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village. Please check on your neighborhood for the latest requirements and review differences between outbreak status neighborhoods and residents on precautions, residents on observation and all other residents.

 CDC Vaccine Study on Healthcare/Frontline Workers – Vaccine is Effective!
The New York Times recently shared a CDC Vaccine study conducted on frontline and healthcare workers. Click Here to Read More >> The efficacy of the vaccine remains remarkable in this study of healthcare and frontline workers who are at high risk of contact with the virus.  If you are interested in protecting yourself, your family and friends AND the residents you care for at Valley Senior Living, please contact Kayla Porter at 701-787-7952 or Carra Hindberg at 701-787-7839 to get your vaccine. The attachments share information from the North Dakota Department of Health detailing the risks vs. benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine, and information from the CDC with reasons why long term care staff should get vaccinated today!

Please keep the residents in the COVID-19 Care Area in your thoughts and prayers this week. Thank you for your continued dedication to the health and safety of residents as we continue through the pandemic!


3.24.21 Update

If you missed the company Zoom earlier today, here’s the link >> 3.24.21 Company Zoom

Visitation Update
We have worked with the North Dakota Department of Health to determine each neighborhood can function independently for visitation purposes as long as the care community is testing every 7 days. This could be beneficial to retaining visitation for most neighborhoods in the event a resident or staff tests positive. Visitation is set to resume within the Hearthstone neighborhood tomorrow morning at 8am! Visitation remains suspended in the Almonte and Reeves neighborhoods at Valley on Columbia. Compassionate care visits and end of life visitation remains available in these neighborhoods.

COVID-19 Care Area
The COVID-19 care area is open and currently caring for two residents from Valley Senior Living on Columbia.

Observation Area Changes
We have received guidance changes related to different practices for vaccinated vs. unvaccinated residents and/or staff. Recommendations for new admissions and hospital returns has been updated and quarantine is no longer required if residents are fully-vaccinated, asymptomatic, and have not had prolonged close contact with someone with a positive infection in the prior 14 days. New admissions that are not fully vaccinated will continue to isolate for 14 days to determine no infection.

This will change the way our observation area operates within Valley Transitions. The front hall of Valley Transitions will now serve as the dedicated observation area. Residents who are new move-ins or hospital returns and are not fully vaccinated, are symptomatic, or have had prolonged exposure to positive COVID-19 are required to isolate within this area. Visitation within the observation area is only available through pre-approved compassionate care visits.

Eye Protection Changes Coming Soon
Earlier today on the company zoom, we discussed upcoming changes to the protocol around required eye protection. As the CDC and CMS continue to release more guidance focused on vaccinated vs. unvaccinated healthcare workers and residents in long term care, we expect to see more changes regarding PPE usage requirements in the future. Please watch carefully for full details on eye protection requirement changes later this week. In the meantime, eye protection remains a requirement for everyone!

Vaccine Available
The vaccine continues to be available to any Valley Senior Living employee! If you are interested in getting the vaccine, please contact one of the Valley Infection Preventionists, Kayla Porter at kporter@valleyseniorliving.org / 701-787-7952 or Carra Hindberg at chindberg@valleyseniorliving.org / 701-787-7839. The community of Grand Forks has now opened the vaccine up to the general public. If you know of anyone interested in getting vaccinated, please alert them to this change and encourage them to call the Altru COVID Hotline to get an appointment.

Upcoming Testing Schedule
Residents from Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village will test on Sunday and staff from Columbia and Woodside will test Monday at the Alerus Center. Please watch for testing times later this week.


3.23.21 Update

Testing Results
All staff tests conducted yesterday at the Alerus Center were negative. We are awaiting final results on a handful of staff tests that were sent to the ND lab for processing. We will notify you if any results from the remaining tests are positive.

All results have been received from the resident testing on March 21. Two residents from Valley on Columbia, 1 Reeves and 1 Almonte, tested positive. As we did a couple of weeks ago when this occurred, we are working closely with the North Dakota Department of Health because both residents are asymptomatic, fully vaccinated and one is a previous positive. The COVID-19 care area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia has reopened and both residents have been moved as of this morning.

Visitation Update
Visitation is suspended in the Reeves and Almonte neighborhoods at Valley on Columbia due to the recent test results. Visitation also remains suspended in the Hearthstone neighborhood at Woodside Village. If no additional positive tests are confirmed in the Hearthstone neighborhood, visitation will resume beginning Thursday morning at 8 am.

COVID Bank is Gone, But 16 Hours of Pay For Vaccine Side Effects Continues
Last week we notified you of the discontinuation of the COVID Pay Bank for employees. Valley will continue to pay employees up to 16 hours for time away from work due to side effect from the COVID-19 vaccine.

If you are interested in getting your vaccination, please contact Kayla Porter at kporter@valleyseniorliving.org / 701-787-7952 or Carra Hindberg at chindberg@valleyseniorliving.org / 701-787-7839.


3.18.21 Update

Here’s a great step towards returning towards “normal,” whatever that will be…

COVID Bank is CLOSED as of March 20 – Return to pre-COVID PTO and ESL policies effective March 21!
I’m very proud of how we cared for staff throughout the pandemic related to the financial consequences of working in healthcare during a pandemic. Our COVID Bank was established for four reasons:

  • Guarantee wages in the event an employee would test positive for COVID
  • Guarantee wages if an employee was exposed to another positive individual and should not report to work
  • Guarantee wages if an employee was experiencing symptoms related to COVID and should not report to work
  • Guarantee wages if childcare was not available for a dependent due to a COVID related circumstance

Our current pandemic situation is allowing us to eliminate the COVID Bank effective March 21:

  • Employees who test positive for COVID have been using their accrued ESL.
  • Due to the recent CDC guidance update, vaccinated employees who have been exposed to someone who is positive for COVID-19 no longer need to quarantine after exposure and may continue working. All employees who were currently away from work due to exposures have been cleared to return to work immediately!
    • Unvaccinated employees who have been exposed to COVID-19 must continue to follow quarantine requirements. PTO will be used for the duration of the quarantine or the time will be unpaid.
    • Vaccinated employees currently on leave for exposure have been contacted and are returning to work.
  • If an employee experiences symptom onset, Altru is now administering rapid PCR testing. This will deliver results within a few hours determining if there is an infection. If the test is negative, the employee will be cleared to work. We used to wait a few days for results, and it wasn’t fair to us to sit at home without pay as a result of a slow testing system. We now have results within a few hours which eliminates the need for this part of the benefit.
  • The childcare benefit has not been utilized for a full day of pay in 2021. Schools and daycares are staying open while managing potential exposures without closing.

These changes allow us to discontinue the COVID bank without creating a financial burden on staff. As such, we are returning to our pre-COVID policies of 3 days PTO, then ESL when someone is sick.

Testing Schedule – Test BEFORE your shift on Monday
Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village staff will test on Monday, March 22 at the Alerus Center. Testing will take place from 5 am to 9:30 am and from 1 pm to 3:30 pm. Times have changed to give us the best chance to keep visitation happening in our nursing homes. Many people have the weekend off, so if they test positive on Monday prior to work it should not affect visitation for your building. Please continue to use door 2 and you must contact your supervisor if you are unable to attend this testing event (Tufte Manor and Wheatland Terrace DO NOT report for testing).

Please remember: You MUST test before your shift on Monday.

  • All departments must report to the Alerus Center Door 2 BEFORE you report to your shift.
  • If you do show up to your shift before getting tested, you will be directed to the Alerus for testing before you start your job duties.
    • Tardies will not count against you for this day only, as we understand with doing Binax Rapids, it does take a little longer to get through the line.

Since February 28 Unvaccinated Test Positive, 0 Vaccinated Test Positive
The statistics surrounding the vaccine continue to offer promise for the future of the pandemic. Across North Dakota, two people died in nursing homes due to COVID-19 throughout the entire month of February, which is an amazing improvement since the fall. We have yet to have a positive case of COVID-19 among the 900 staff and residents who have been fully vaccinated at Valley Senior Living.  We currently have one neighborhood that is closed for visitation due to a positive staff test. As the vaccine continues to prove its safety and effectiveness, please consider starting your vaccine series now to help our care communities return to a more normal operation for both residents and staff.

If you are interested in receiving the vaccine, please contact Kayla Porter at kporter@valleyseniorliving.org / 701-787-7952, or Carra Hindberg at chindberg@valleyseniorliving.org / 701-787-7839.


3.17.21 Update

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

In case you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is the link >> 3.17.21 ZOOM Today’s ZOOM is very informational and covers changes to revised guidance.

Test Before Your Shift on Monday Next Week!
This is a tricky change, but I think everyone can support why we are doing this. Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village staff will test on Monday, March 22 at the Alerus Center. Testing will take place from 5 am to 9:30 am and from 1 pm to 3:30 pm. Times have changed to give us the best chance to keep visitation happening in our nursing homes. Many people have the weekend off, so if they test positive on Monday prior to work it should not affect visitation for your building. Please continue to use door 2 and you must contact your supervisor if you are unable to attend this testing event (Tufte Manor and Wheatland Terrace DO NOT report for testing).

Please remember: You MUST test before your shift on Monday.

  • All departments must report to the Alerus Center Door 2 BEFORE you report to your shift.
  • If you do show up to your shift before getting tested, you will be directed to the Alerus for testing before you start your job duties.
    • Tardies will not count against you for this day only, as we understand with doing Binax Rapids, it does take a little longer to get through the line.

CMS/CDC Guideline Changes
Due to the effectiveness of the vaccine, the CDC and CMS issued revised guidance regarding visitation and proper procedures relating to fully vaccinated residents and healthcare employees.  Please review this graphic for the clarification on visitation after residents have been vaccinated. Additional changes are in process in relation to the 14 day precaution requirements for residents who move in or return from the hospital. Later this week we will communicate the upcoming changes that will affect precaution requirements for vaccinated vs. unvaccinated residents.

Unfortunately there is no new guidance that will allow us to get back to “normal,” such as full use of dining rooms and visitors not being restricted to resident rooms or apartments during their visits. The changes this month are an incremental improvement in quality of life for long term care residents. We still have progress to make before life returns to normal.

As the CDC and CMS continues to revise regulations we are expecting to see the regulations to become for focused on vaccinated vs. unvaccinated staff and residents. We are still reporting after a large number of tests have been administered on our residents and staff since February 2, our company results include 8 unvaccinated staff testing positive and 0 vaccinated staff or residents testing positive. With the closing of visitation at our buildings, we have heard from many residents and family members with frustration about losing their ability to be with, and visit residents due to positive staff tests. As the CDC guidelines state, vaccinated can now have close contact with a vaccinated resident moving forward. As we know, the percentage of vaccinated residents is very high! They are ready for hugs and in order for that to happen, the staff member needs to be vaccinated.

Would you like to get vaccinated?
If you are interested in receiving the vaccine, please contact Kayla Porter at kporter@valleyseniorliving.org / 701-787-7952 or Carra Hindberg at chindberg@valleyseniorliving.org / 701-787-7839.

Testing Results
We have received all results from March 14 and 15 testing events for residents and staff and all results are negative. This outbreak testing for Woodside Village did allow for visitation to resume this morning within the Prairieview, Oakcrest and Heartland neighborhoods. Visitation will remain suspended within Hearthstone until 14 days with no new infections has been accomplished. Compassionate care visitation is available for Hearthstone residents when approved in advance by the social work team or charge nurse.

Eden Training
As a member of the Eden Alternative Registry, training new employees to embrace the aging experience by following the Eden Alternative philosophy has always been a rewarding part of the onboarding process. Throughout the past 12 months of the pandemic we have not been able to provide this in-person training to new employees. This week we are holding an Eden Alternative training blitz that requires employees hired in the last 12 months to attend. We are excited to be bringing back the training that helps us create a joyful environment, sense of family and community, and stresses respect for residents.

Recruiter Bonus
The recruiter bonus is back! For every full or part-time employee you recruit, you will receive:

$500 after the new employee completes 800 hours full-time work (30-40 hours/week)

$250 after the new employee 400 hours part-time work (up to 29 hours/week)

  • Rehires must not have worked at VSL within the last 6 months.
  • If the new hire is attending the Nursing Assistant class, the counting of the hours begins upon receiving CNA certification.

Help us recruit the best! Visit the Valley Senior Living Facebook page and share the recent post about open positions at Valley with your friends and family! It could mean an extra $500 for you!


3.12.21 Update

We will be using BinaxNOW antigen testing at the Alerus Center on Monday from 11a-3:30p for all staff for Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village. However, if you have higher risk factors or depend on the sensitivity of the PCR test, you may choose to complete the more sensitive PCR test if you wish. Please communicate this when checking in for you test.

Here is our rationale for moving to Binax testing:

  • Preliminary data shows that the vaccine is protecting our residents, so we are comfortable with the tradeoff of moving to a less sensitive test with a quicker result.
  • Staff positives stop visitation, so let’s give ourselves the highest possible chance to keep it going with a testing design that captures actively positive cases and minimizes the lookback period that stops visitation. Remember, if a staff member has worked in the building in the prior two days, it triggers the end of visitation.

The pros/cons to Binax testing:

  • Pro: BinaxNow results are immediate.
  • Pro: Use of BinaxNow shrinks the “lookback period” that would stop visitation to just Saturday and Sunday.
  • Pro: Binax testing will give us active infections. This will eliminate the issue of prior positive staff testing positive because the extremely sensitive PCR test identifies old virus particles. If you test positive on an antigen test, it’s a current infection.
  • Con: BinaxNOW tests are less sensitive so there are times in which it will not detect an asymptomatic case.
    • Prior to resident vaccinations and higher community spread, this was extremely problematic.
    • With lower community spread and less than 10 long term care residents declining the vaccine across the organization, missing a potential asymptomatic case is not as detrimental.
    • Vaccinations and using PPE appropriately should protect residents from any asymptomatic positive staff. We have not seen any evidence of COVID transmission to residents since they have been fully vaccinated.

Testing Frequency

Both Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village will be required to test this week and next week due to our most recent staff positive cases.

Visitation

Visitation restarted at Valley on Columbia this morning after clarification with the Department of Health with the new guidance. It will continue until another staff tests positive.

Visitation stopped at Woodside Village yesterday. This may change next week if no additional staff test positive.


3.11.21 Update

Does Vaccine Work? Unvaccinated Staff 8 Cases, Vaccinated Staff 0 Cases

Today we received confirmation of two unvaccinated staff, one from Hearthstone at Woodside Village last working March 10, and one support staff from Valley on Columbia last working March 8, have tested positive. This brings our total to 8 unvaccinated staff testing positive since a number of our staff were fully vaccinated on February 2. The infections confirmed today have stopped visitation at Woodside Village until a round of outbreak testing has been completed. We are working with the North Dakota Department of Health in regard to the support staff member from Valley on Columbia who tested positive. This staff member has no resident interaction. We will proceed with the final determination if this positive infection will extend our visitation restrictions by an additional 14 days after we receive additional information from the ND Department of Health.

Currently 2 tests are pending for both Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village. All other tests have been accounted for at this time.

COVID-19 Care Area
The COVID-19 care area has closed at Valley on Columbia. The fully vaccinated resident from Lanark that tested positive was further evaluated by the North Dakota Department of Health and after additional testing has been deemed negative. The resident has moved home to their neighborhood.

Upcoming Testing Schedule
Due to the recent test results, all staff from Woodside Village and Valley on Columbia will test this Monday, March 15 from 11 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. If you are unable to attend, please contact your supervisor.

In case you missed yesterday’s zoom, you can watch the link now >> 3.10.21 Zoom


3.10.21 Update

Revised Visitation Guidance Released For Nursing Homes
Details are attached. I’m underwhelmed and disappointed in this new guidance because a single staff positive case still stops all visitation for an entire nursing home until the next testing event. An “outbreak” is still any single staff or resident positive test.

One area of improvement is that if the entire rest of the building is clear on the next testing event, visitation can reopen for the non-affected neighborhoods. However if the second week has any additional cases in any other areas of the facility, the whole building is shut down. This came out at 3:30pm today, so more discussion to come after our statewide call tomorrow. Under this new guidance, on a positive note, Valley on Columbia would have had visitation on all neighborhoods except Valley Transitions for the last week.

I understand caution on CMS’s part (there were still nearly 1,000 people that died of COVID in SNFs in the week of February 21) , so I will take a deep breath and hope that this is truly interim guidance. Read the guidance here >> QSO-20-39-NH-Revised

Resident Result Update
Late last night we received notification of an asymptomatic resident that tested positive from the Lanark neighborhood. The COVID-19 care area has reopened after being closed for more than a month. Because this resident is fully vaccinated we are working closely with the North Dakota Department of Health on further guidance on this positive test result. Additional precautions are now in place within Lanark and communal dining has stopped in that neighborhood.

The North Dakota Department of Health Lab has encountered an issue with a processing machine and our staff test results are currently delayed and expected to be  processed soon. We will continue to update you when we receive results.

Governor Burgum Rescinds Orders
With over 85% of long term care residents fully vaccinated, Governor Burgum is set to eliminate two executive orders, 2020-22 and 2020-22.1, effective Friday morning. We are aware of these changes to the orders and are expecting more clarification on Thursday afternoon. The state has also committed to providing rapid testing supplies, free of charge, to care communities to keep residents, staff, and visitors safe by identifying asymptomatic cases and to further curb the spread of COVID-19.

Congrats Sam Jallo!
Sam Jallo, Employee Health Nurse has assumed the role of Safety Director for Valley Senior Living.  Combining these two roles is a perfect opportunity to continue to enhance employee and resident safety while developing, implementing, and maintaining the functions of the employee health program for Valley.

Thank you to Gina Roller for serving as the Safety Director for the last 7 years! Our programs have made great progress in creating a safer environment for staff at Valley during her tenure!

Your safety has been a major focus of our efforts at Valley. We have been tracking certain safety statistics in the same way since 2011. Everyone should know that 2020 was a great year in traditional employee safety in many respects despite dealing with COVID.

Here’s a few things we can celebrate in 2020 – In the last 10 years, we had…

  • the fewest incident reports per employee,
  • the fewest reportable injuries per employee to Workforce Safety and Insurance,
  • the lowest OSHA DART rate on record for our company (Days Away, Restricted, or Transferred),
  • the lowest Days Away from Work Rate, and
  • the lowest Total Injury and Illness Rate!

Please congratulate Sam on her new role!


3.9.21 Update

The CDC has released new recommendations about things that fully vaccinated people can start doing that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic. These guidelines do not apply to health care settings, including long-term care, but do apply to the general public. Although masking and physical distancing remains a requirement while at work, fully vaccinated people now have more options when away from work. Highlights of the recent recommendations include:

  • You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.
  • You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from other households (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those pole or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • You should still avoid medium or large-size gatherings.

Please take a few moments to review the latest information from the CDC to understand the benefits of being fully vaccinated. >> CDC Benefits of Vaccine Update

Dr. Henderson Reviews Recent COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Monitoring
Since the first two COVID vaccines used in the US were made using a new type of technology that was unfamiliar to most, there were many who had concerns about the possibility of more or different side effects than are seen with other more traditional vaccines. Fortunately, with the tens of millions of doses given of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines so far, the frequency and types of reactions have been right in line with what we’ve seen for other commonly used vaccines, like those for influenza, pneumococcal pneumonia, or shingles. According to a report in the CDCs weekly publication, the MMWR (link below), the rate of anaphylactic reactions (hives, throat swelling, trouble breathing, etc) was just under 5 cases per 1 million doses of the vaccine given and over 90% of all the reported reactions were not serious. These two vaccines have been shown to be very effective in preventing illness from COVID and you can be reassured that the risk of serious reactions is very low. – Dr. Chris Henderson

First Month of COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Monitoring — United States, December 14, 2020–January 13, 2021 | MMWR (cdc.gov)

Resident Results from Sunday, March 7
We have received all results, with one test pending from Valley on Columbia. All results for both Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village residents are negative! It is expected that we will have most staff test results by tomorrow.

Governor Burgum Receives Vaccine
Each county in North Dakota is now vaccinating the Phase 1C priority group. This group includes essential workers not previously vaccinated, and people with one underlying health condition. Approximately 57 percent of North Dakotans are considered essential workers. Governor Burgum received the first shot of the Moderna vaccine today in Bismarck.

“Getting vaccinated helps protect not only yourself but those around you, and we’re grateful to be able to do our part today now that the Phase 1C priority group, including government workers, is eligible,” Burgum said. “North Dakota is a national leader in vaccine administration because of the outstanding efforts of team members like the public health staff and North Dakota National Guard members at the Bismarck Event Center and at sites across our great state.”


3.8.21 Update

Hoping for a good week! Here’s what’s happening this week at Valley related to COVID-19:

  • Monday – receive resident results from WV and VC Sunday tests
  • Tuesday/Wednesday – receive staff results from WV and VC Monday tests

If no positive staff or residents this week –

  • Immediately, both WV and VC will move to MONTHLY testing of STAFF ONLY!
  • Friday, March 12 at 8am – visitation would resume at Valley on Columbia

Is the Vaccine Working? – ABSOLUTELY.  Please get vaccinated if you haven’t already! Here’s an article that came out today regarding nursing homes across the US.  What is amazing is that the numbers shared in the below article are already UNDERSTATED.  For the week of February 21, there were 1,903 new cases nationwide, a 94% decrease from the first week of December with 32,489 cases.

March 8, 2021
‘Absolutely astonishing’: 90% drop in COVID cases shocks Parkinson, industry leaders

Leaders of the nation’s largest nursing home association knew there would be decreases of coronavirus deaths and cases at facilities following the availability of the COVID-19 vaccines. But the rate at which the numbers have plummeted across the country has come as a huge shock to providers.

“A peak of 30,000 [new] cases per week just three months ago, now just 3,000 cases per week — a 90% drop,” Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association, said during a CNN interview late last week. He added that the reference data was “about two weeks old,” implying the numbers could be even more favorable.

“As I talk to providers around the country this week, they are telling me that they have zero cases. It’s absolutely astonishing. We all thought that the vaccine would reduce cases. I don’t think any of us thought that we would have zero cases but that’s the case in almost all the nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the country. It’s amazing and fantastic,” he said.

Parkinson attributed the success to state and local governments prioritizing long-term care residents and staff for the shots, and just how well the vaccine is working.

“It’s really hard to put into words how well this vaccine works. There were very few side effects with these shots and the results speak for themselves,” Parkinson said. “In most facilities right now, absolutely no COVID.”

He acknowledged, however, that vaccine acceptance by staff is still a problem.

“That’s been the one negative thing about the program,” he explained. “We had really good uptake from the residents — 80% to 90% of the residents said ‘yes’ and took the vaccine. Unfortunately, with staff we’re only at about 40% right now.”

Last week, AHCA and LeadingAge set a new target of getting 75% of staff vaccinated by June 30. The groups plan to hit that goal by tackling the “misinformation out there” about the vaccines.

“As we’re able to beat those down, we think we’re going to be able to get the staff vaccination rates up. Even without that high level, we’re still seeing no cases in the facility. I think we have some level of herd immunity even at the numbers that we have right now,” Parkinson said.

He added that the next steps should include the federal government setting aside doses for incoming residents and new staff members, and also the reopening of facilities.

“These residents haven’t been around their loved ones now for almost a year,” Parkinson noted. “It’s been incredibly difficult on them and their loved ones. Now that we’ve reached this level of success, we really think it’s time to open the buildings up.”

It’s OK to start thinking optimistically ahead, he told host Kate Bolduan.

“I think we have the clinical nightmare in nursing homes behind us, and now we can really get to recovering from the emotional side that the residents and the staff and the incredible trauma they’ve gone through,” he added. “If we just continue to stay vigilant with this program, all of the horrible stats on cases and deaths in nursing homes, those are over, those are history.”


3.4.21 Update

Since yesterday’s all staff meeting via >> Zoom 3.3.21, a number of staff have reached out to give consent to vaccinate. It’s great to see that we finally have information on the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine over the last two months. The consent form for the vaccine is attached if you would like to fill it out now.

  • If you work at Valley on Columbia or Tufte Manor, interoffice it to Kayla Porter. You can also give initial consent by phone at 787-7952 or email at kporter@valleyseniorliving.org.
  • If you work at Valley on 42nd, interoffice it to Carra Hindberg. You can also give initial consent by phone at 787-7939 or email at chindberg@valleyseniorliving.org.

Why Vaccinate? We’ve heard all the reasons. Here’s why it’s important at Valley:

  1. It’s effective in preventing COVID-19 for residents and staff. Here’s the proof:

  • Not a single vaccinated Valley employee (or resident) tested positive in the month of February.
  • There were 6 COVID positive unvaccinated staff in February.
  • Based on the numbers of staff who were vaccinated (506) versus those that were not (364), we would have expected to see 8 vaccinated staff test positive if the vaccine were not effective. However, not a single vaccinated staff tested positive.

  1. It’s safe.

In the first 4.5 million doses administered, the chance of having an anaphylactic reaction was 4.5 in 1,000,000 (Source: CDC). Dr. Henderson made more comments on this in our company zoom yesterday >> Zoom 3.3.21  Will you have some side effects? Possibly, which means your body’s immune system is responding to the vaccine and that’s a good thing. When we saw this happen to a number of us, we added a benefit to pay you for up to 16 hours of missed work due to side effects from the vaccine that doesn’t affect your PTO or ESL.

  1. You do not want to be the next person to stop visitation for your care community.

Four people have stopped visitation or have extended the visitation restrictions at Valley on Columbia in February. Three were in the last week of February alone. As someone who receives the disappointed and angry statements from residents and families, I understand their frustration. This is triggered if a staff worked in the building 48 hours prior to the COVID test date.

  1. You do not want to be the next person to trigger weekly testing for all staff and residents.

Great news! We are going to test staff MONTHLY and not test residents at all if a building can get out from under weekly testing requirements.  That requires NO positive staff or residents cases for 14 days in that community. Congratulations to Tufte Manor and Wheatland Terrace for moving towards monthly testing! This is retriggered if a staff worked in the building 14 days prior to the COVID test date.

  1. I already had COVID so I’m protected, right? Maybe not.

You may have some level of protection, but a number of people found no antibodies post-COVID based on their subsequent blood tests. Here’s our experience so far:

  • At Valley last week, 3 asymptomatic people with prior cases of COVID from last fall retested positive.
    • The two people who had taken the vaccine were able to retest out and be considered negative.
    • The unvaccinated staff retested positive and was considered a new infection.


3.3.21 Update

After testing events, I’ve had a number of people ask me if the staff who are testing positive are vaccinated or not. The short answer is only unvaccinated staff are testing positive.

We had six total cases that were considered new infections for COVID-19 for the company in February – all six staff had not been vaccinated.  There has yet to be a vaccinated staff member test positive for COVID-19.  There were no residents who tested positive the entire month, possibly because only 12 long term care residents at Valley have declined the vaccine.

While we know it will not be 100 percent effective for everyone, the vaccine is certainly off to a great start for our residents and staff! We shared this information and more in our Company Zoom today >> Zoom 3.3.21. Thank you to Dr. Henderson who gave us an update on the safety of the vaccine!

Having said that, 60% of staff have received at least one dose of vaccine! We would love to see this continue to increase as people feel more comfortable with its safety. If you have not received the vaccine and would like to start the process, please contact Carra Hindberg at 701-787-7839 or Kayla Porter at 701-787-7952.

February Highlights

  • 0 Residents Positive in February!
  • COVID-19 Care Area has been closed since January 29
  • 8 Staff Positive Tests in February
    • 3 Prior Positives upon testing positive after 90 days triggered a retest protocol
      • 2 staff (fully vaccinated) were negative with retesting so not considered positive
      • 1 staff (unvaccinated) retested positive
    • 5 Staff First Positive Cases
      • All unvaccinated and had symptoms
      • 3 of 5 were identified through testing at clinic due to symptoms
      • 2 triggered stoppage of visitation at Valley on Columbia
      • 2 would not have been vaccinated yet – new employee, construction contractor

Testing Update

Residents and staff were tested on February 28 and March 1. All resident results were negative. All staff results that have been received were negative, there are 35 pending tests as of noon today.

Visitation remains suspended at Valley on Columbia due to positive test results in staff last week. Visitation will resume at Valley on Columbia once we have reached 14 days with no newly positive staff or residents. The option for “campus outings” to the concourse connecting Valley Senior Living to Altru Hospital remains an option for families and residents to see each other. Compassionate Care visits are another option for families and residents to see each other.

Visitation continues as “normal” at Woodside Village, Wheatland Terrace and Tufte Manor.

Testing Schedule

Residents at Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village are scheduled to test Sunday, March 7. Staff at Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village only will test on Monday March 8 from 11am-3:30pm at the Alerus Center. If you are unable to attend the scheduled testing on Monday, please contact you supervisor as soon as possible.

Great news! Staff in Housing will test monthly and residents will not be required to test at all.  We will only test residents if they exhibit signs and symptoms consistent with COVID-19. If a positive staff or resident result is received, we will need to revert to weekly testing for staff and residents. We continue to follow CMS guidance with this change in testing protocol. CMS directs us to test staff once a month and has no requirement for residents to test when there is a positivity rate of less than five percent in our county.  Grand Forks County has consistently had a positivity rate between two and three percent over the last few weeks, recently trending down to 1.5 percent.

Did you know Valley Senior Living was on the cover story of the New York Times last week?

The positivity rate has dropped drastically across long term care in North Dakota and across the country. In case you missed it, Valley Senior Living was highlighted in the New York Times cover story on February 25 about the decline of nursing home cases nationwide – “Nursing Homes, Once Hotspots, Far Outpace U.S. in Covid Declines”. This week, Provider Magazine reported that “CMS data shows a 82 percent drop in Nursing Home Covid Cases”. During that same time, community cases decreased by 46 percent, showing an obvious link between the vaccine and how it prevents cases in long term care.


2.26.21 Update

We have received confirmation of two staff from Valley on Columbia that have tested positive, including a direct care staff member from Valley Transitions who last worked on February 25, and a contract employee with last work day February 24. Visitation at Valley on Columbia remains suspended. We must reach 14 days with no newly positive staff or residents in order to resume visitation.

Testing Schedule
All staff test on Monday, March 1 from 7 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. If you are unable to attend please contact your supervisor now.

Have a great weekend! Thank you for all you do for the residents at Valley Senior Living!


2.24.21 Update

Residents and staff from Valley on Columbia tested on February 21 and 22. All resident results were negative, and last night we were notified three previously positive staff members received positive test results. This includes one Riverside direct care last working February 23, one Lanark direct care last working February 22, and one non-direct care with last work day February 23. Today we were notified of a symptomatic support staff member from Woodside Village who last worked on February 18 has tested positive.

Unfortunately, we must proceed with current CMS guidance and visitation has been suspended, effective immediately, at Valley on Columbia due to positive test results in staff. Visitation will resume at Valley on Columbia once we have reached 14 days with no newly positive staff or residents. The option for “campus outings” to the concourse connecting Valley Senior Living to Altru Hospital remains an option for families and residents to see each other. Physically distanced dining and activities continue at Valley on Columbia and residents continue to have the option to purposefully visit other neighborhoods when necessary. Visitation remains available at Woodside Village due to the positive staff member not working in the past 48 hours.

Visitation continues as “normal” at Woodside Village, Wheatland Terrace and Tufte Manor.

Testing Schedule
All residents are scheduled to test Sunday, February 28 and staff will test Monday, March 1. Staff testing will be conducted at the Alerus Center from 7:00 am to 3:30 pm. If you are unable to attend the scheduled testing on Monday, please contact you supervisor as soon as possible.

COVID-19 Care Area
The COVID-19 care area remains closed at Valley Senior Living on Columbia with no residents testing positive throughout the company. The positivity rate has dropped drastically across long term care, basic care, and assisted living in North Dakota, with an obvious link to the vaccine.

Vaccine Update
Today we reached the 60% mark for staff who have received at least one dose of vaccine! We would love to see this continue to increase as people feel more comfortable with its safety. If you have not received the vaccine and would like to start the process, please contact Carra Hindberg at 701-787-7839 or Kayla Porter at 701-787-7952.

Company Zoom
In case you missed the company zoom earlier today, please view this update >> Zoom 2.24.21


2.18.21 Update

Today we are sharing changes to visitation with our residents and their families. We will now permit two people to visit at a time if necessary. We continue to recommend one visitor at a time to decrease risk, although we do understand certain situations with two people may be optimal.

Visitation guidelines to reduce risk, protect the health and safety of our residents and staff, and to adhere to the regulations currently in place from CMS include:

  • All visitors must wear a face mask for the entire time they are in the building.
  • All visitors will complete a health screening upon entry to include questions about symptoms and temperature will be taken.
  • All visitation must take place inside the resident’s room. No common area visitation is permitted.
  • One to two visitors will be permitted at a time per resident. One person is recommended to allow for proper physical distancing within resident rooms.
  • Both the resident and the visitors must maintain proper mask use for the duration of the visit.
  • Do not bring food to eat during the visit. This requires removing masks and poses risk to the resident.
  • Physical distance while visiting.
  • Pets are permitted to accompany visitors.
  • It is recommended that regular visitors seek vaccination at the earliest option.

As an employee, if you observe a visitor that is not adhering to any of the guidelines above, please notify the charge nurse immediately. Face mask compliance is extremely important during visitation to minimize risk of transmission or spread of the virus.

Visitation is scheduled to resume at Valley on Columbia beginning Monday morning, February 22 at 8 am pending no positive test results between now and then.

The Doors are Open!
The doors between neighborhoods are now open at Woodside Village and at Valley on Columbia. This mean that residents have the option to leave the neighborhood to visit or friend or go for a walk. It is very important that residents continue to use their PPE correctly when leaving the neighborhood. The observation area at Oakcrest and Valley Transitions at Valley on Columbia will continue to be restricted areas that require extra precautions to enter. We ask that residents do not visit within these areas.

Staff Testing
Valley on Columbia staff will test on Monday, February 22 at the Alerus Center from 12 noon to 3:30 pm. Please contact your supervisor if you are unable to attend.

Partners In Caring
If you are interested in being a part of Partners In Caring and supporting resident needs, staff development and nursing scholarships, please contact Shaun Havis in the Valley Senior Living Foundation office at 701-787-7997 or email shavis@valleyseniorliving.org before 2/26/21.


2.17.21 Update

COVID-19 Staff Illness Line
Please remember to call the staff illness line at 701.741.9646 when symptoms related to COVID-19 begin, even if you are not scheduled on that day. This includes cough or congestion, runny nose, sore throat, muscle/body aches, headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, chills, new loss of taste or smell, nausea/vomiting or diarrhea. We have regulatory requirements to report to residents and families when clusters or three or more staff or residents report these symptoms over a 72 hour period.

ZOOM
If you missed today’s company zoom, here is the link >> 2.17.21 ZOOM

 Testing Results
All resident and Valley staff results from the February 14 and 15 testing are negative! One contract staff member who was a previous positive received a positive result on the first test after the 90 day period. As explained before, this is potentially dead virus that is being identified through a PCR test. This test result does not affect visitation.

Staff from Valley Senior Living on Columbia will test on Monday, February 22 to fulfill the weekly testing requirement due to the positive staff member within the last 14 days.

The next all staff testing is scheduled for March 1. This will include Tufte Manor, Wheatland Terrace, Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village.

Eye Protection Changes
Staff working in all areas other than observation areas are now permitted to wear the PPE eyeglasses or goggles. The full face shield is no longer required. Visitors are no longer required to wear face shields although they will remain available upon request.

Pets
We are welcoming pets back to our care communities! This includes pets that have been screened to be onsite with employees during their scheduled shifts, and the pets that are brought in with visitors to see residents. The resident cats Ole from Hearthstone and Carter from Prairieview have also returned to Woodside Village after staying with foster families for many months.

Staff as Volunteers
Finally, one incremental step forward today – Staff are welcome to be in the building when you are not working. Sign in as you normally would through the self-screening process. You are considered a “volunteer” when you come in to the building. A number of staff used to do this prior to the pandemic to visit with residents, assist with projects, be an “abider” for a resident at the end of life, or to bring a pet for a visit. You are independently able to direct your own volunteer activities as you know exactly what the residents like to do!

The distinction of volunteer vs. visitor is an important one. If we consider you a visitor, there will be times in which you may not be able to come in due to a positive test by a staff member or resident stopping visitation. However, we are allowed to have volunteers at the discretion of our care communities. While we are not ready to invite all volunteers back yet, those of us who are staff that participate in serial testing and are PPE experts should have the ability to safely volunteer in your care community! Let’s keep making progress to restore quality of life for our residents!


2.12.21 Update

Thank you to everyone who participated in Giving Hearts Day! From the taco in a bag, caramel rolls and online giving, your support of Valley Senior Living on this huge day of giving across North Dakota is appreciated. Over $1000 was raised by our staff through the on-site fundraisers. Thank you!

HUGS
It has been brought to our attention that many staff are still hesitant to share a hug or hold the hand of a resident due to prior restrictions and recommendations during the pandemic. The comforting power of touch has been absent for many months and we want to reinforce that you are able to share that hug or hold a hand! Although the recommendation of physical distancing remains intact, short interactions including a hug or hand squeeze is acceptable and encouraged!

Campus Outing Change at Valley on Columbia
Earlier this week we highlighted with family members the option of “campus outings” to the concourse connecting Valley Senior Living and Altru Hospital as an option for residents and family at Valley Senior Living on Columbia. We have a few changes to the process that will reduce the wait time for residents and those accompanying them on the campus outing. Beginning immediately, “campus outings” to the concourse area will require the family member to enter the building and screen, go directly to the nursing team station and check out the resident. At this time the proper paperwork will be completed and the resident will be released for the campus outing. The family member with then be asked to take the resident through center court and to proceed through the Almonte neighborhood to the concourse door. Upon return, the family member is asked to bring the resident directly back to the team station for check-in. Staff will then take the resident to their room. Hours that we will be able to accommodate this form of campus outing will be from 8 am to 8 pm.

CDC Releases Vaccine Document
CDC has also released a new document with “Key Things to Know about COVID-19 Vaccines”. Please take a moment to review this!

Staff Testing
All staff will test on Monday, February 15 from 7:00 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. Please contact your supervisor if you are unable to attend.


2.10.21 Update

This has been a really good week at Valley! Highlights are greatly outweighing the low moments in our fight against the pandemic!

  • Residents are returning to the dining rooms and resuming some activities that we have previously not been able to do!
  • Staff are able to get rid of our face shields and go back to the basic eye protection!

Today we are announcing a change for staff who test positive for COVID-19. Since April 2020, we have been paying staff who are positive for COVID-19 from a separate benefit that does not affect your ESL or PTO. Effective immediately, if a staff member tests positive for COVID-19, payment will be as follows for scheduled hours during the absence:

  • First, it will come out of an employee’s existing COVID bank.
  • If the COVID bank has been exhausted, the employee will use their existing ESL bank for compensation, followed by PTO.
  • If an employee’s PTO and ESL are exhausted, the time away from work will be unpaid.

Exposures and childcare related absences will continue to be paid through the COVID bank until exhausted, then will be paid through PTO.

COVID-19 related symptom absences will continue to be paid through the COVID bank until exhausted, then one day of PTO followed by ESL.

Upcoming Staff Testing – All residents will test on Sunday, February 14 and all staff test on Monday, February 15.

Due to the positive test results in a staff member from Valley on Columbia the staff and residents from Valley on Columbia are required to test weekly until 14 days have been reached with no additional positive test results. Valley on Columbia will also test on February 21 for residents and February 22 for staff.

In case you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is a link to watch it. >> 2.10.21 Zoom


2.8.21 Update

A staff member from the Lanark neighborhood who last worked on February 7 has tested positive today, February 8. This will suspend visitation at Valley Senior Living on Columbia until we reach 14 days with no newly positive staff or residents. Dining with one person at a table and physically distanced activities will continue in all neighborhoods.

Reminder – 2nd Dose Vaccine
Thrifty White Pharmacy will be at Valley Senior Living on 42nd in the Auditorium tomorrow morning, February 9, from 8 to 10 am to administer the 2nd dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for those who started the series 21 days ago.


2.5.21 Update

In January we notified you of a lab error that occurred due to a software malfunction at the state laboratory that affected our results from December 26 through January 8. The malfunction affected a total of 181 positive COVID-19 results across the state, eight of which were from Valley Senior Living. This included two residents and two staff from Valley Senior Living on Columbia and four residents from Woodside Village. With guidance from the North Dakota Department of Health, four residents currently within the COVID-19 care area were retested and moved from the COVID-19 care area to an observation area for 14 days. We are pleased to report that all residents tested negative over the course of those 14 days and have moved back to their neighborhoods.

Today we learned that the state laboratory’s software malfunction dates back to early November and 27 additional residents and staff were affected. Their original positive tests are now considered “inconclusive.” This affected 11 residents with dates of positive tests ranging from November 28 to December 22. We also have 16 staff affected with dates of positive tests ranging from December 11 to December 22. Here is the community by community breakdown:

  • 1 Resident from Wheatland Terrace
  • 4 Residents, 9 Staff from Woodside Village
  • 1 Resident, 1 Staff from Tufte Manor
  • 5 Residents, 6 Staff from Valley Senior Living on Columbia

These tests have now been resulted and reclassified as inconclusive. Valley Senior Living staff have contacted or left messages with all residents, primary decision makers, and employees who were affected by this lab error. If you have not been contacted, you are not included in this group of incorrectly resulted tests.

The 27 residents and staff will resume regular surveillance testing on February 14 for residents and February 15 for staff. More information will be released from the ND Department of Health within the upcoming days and we will share that with you when received.

This is an incredibly disappointing day for all of us.  A total of 35 residents and staff and families were isolated, lost out on Christmas celebrations with families, and endured much stress worrying about what effects COVID would bring to them and their loved ones.

On a positive note, all of the residents who were affected by this error returned to their neighborhoods in good health, which is remarkable because there were COVID positive and COVID negative residents living in the COVID-19 care area at the same time. Our organization ensured that every resident had a private room with a private bathroom and a basic level of negative air in the room. During this time, we expanded our COVID Care Area to ensure that this high standard could remain intact. The staff did a great job with their infection control precautions between caring for residents. These practices and accommodations made it possible for this lab error to not have an impact on the health of the residents.

NO Resident or Staff Testing February 7 & 8
Due to the low positivity rate we will now return to every other week testing. The testing event schedule for this upcoming Sunday and Monday has been cancelled. All residents will test on Sunday, February 14 and staff will test at the Alerus Center on February 15.

Don’t Forget!! 2nd Dose Vaccine – February 9
Thrifty White Pharmacy will be onsite at the Auditorium at Valley Senior Living on 42nd Tuesday, February 9 to administer 2nd dose COVID-19 vaccine to staff who have only received one dose so far. The vaccine clinic will be available from 8 am to 10 am.


2.4.21 Update

We are excited to announce that due to low positivity rates across Valley Senior Living, our county, and statewide, we are testing staff and residents every other week. Therefore, we are cancelling our upcoming testing event for staff and residents scheduled for February 7 and 8. The next scheduled testing of all residents will be February 14 and staff will test on February 15.

 We tested twice a week from October through January, recently backing off to weekly testing. Our testing schedule has routinely exceeded the requirements of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and it continues to do so. We understand that there may be some apprehension for some to test less often. We are doing this for a number of reasons:

  1. We have just concluded three tests in a row that have yielded no positive residents. In the last three staff events, one new staff member who was not yet working in our buildings tested positive. Over the last three events spanning about 3,000 tests, one person has tested positive.
  2. Active COVID-19 cases in long term care residents across the entire state of North Dakota is currently less than 10 people. One can conclude that in addition to lower community spread in the state, the vaccine is proving to be extremely effective.
  3. The vaccine is an effective tool to prevent the spread and severity of COVID-19. Only 3% of our resident population across Valley Senior Living have declined the vaccine. This week we reached a point in which the great majority of all residents have the full effectiveness of the vaccine.
  4. We continue to test any residents or staff who become symptomatic. We use a BinaxNOW rapid test and if the rapid test results as negative, a PCR follow-up test will be collected. Residents will isolate and staff will be removed from schedules until results are received.
  5. We are continuing to physically distance and wear masks as a means to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As we restart some normal activities, we are not putting any residents or staff in a position where two people are less than six feet apart without masks.

COVID-19 Staff Illness Line
Please continue to call the COVID-19 Staff Illness Line (701-741-9646) if you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Please leave a detailed message on the voicemail and expect a follow-up call from the employee health nurse or an infection preventionist. According to guidance from the CDC, if you have been exposed to someone who is positive for COVID-19, immediate testing is ineffective in detecting the virus if symptoms are not present. The COVID-19 Staff Illness Line will determine when testing will be most effective and if testing is even necessary. Please wait to receive direction from the COVID-19 line before being tested due to exposure.

Partners In Caring
Congrats to the gift card winners in the Partners In Caring drawing including Amy Fite, Angie Borgen and Bethany Bailly. If you are still interested in joining the Partners In Caring for resident needs, staff enrichment and nursing scholarships, contact Shaun Havis at the Foundation by calling 701-787-7997.

Company Zoom
In case you missed the company zoom yesterday, here’s the link >> 2.3.21 ZOOM


2.3.21 Update

All resident and staff results have been received from the January 31 and February 1 testing. All resident results were negative, and confirmation was received of one staff member testing positive. The staff member was currently training off-site. This positive test result in an off-site employee will not affect visitation at any care community.

Visitation
Visitation opened this morning at Valley Senior Living on Columbia! All care communities are now open for one visitor at a time inside a resident’s room. Visitation has the potential to be stopped on a community by community basis if a positive test in a resident or staff member is received. We are hopeful that our residents will be able to continue visitation!

2nd Dose Vaccine Clinic – February 9
The last COVID-19 vaccine clinic for staff and residents that are due to receive the second dose of the vaccine is set for Tuesday, February 9, from 8 am to 10 am in the Auditorium at Valley Senior Living on 42nd. For those who have consented and are awaiting their first dose, we do not have a scheduled date for your initial vaccine yet.

Holiday Gift from Valley
If you did not pick up your Holiday Gift at the testing event on Monday, February 1, it is now available to pick up in the HR office at either Valley Senior Living on 42nd  or Valley on Columbia, or with Jacinda at Tufte Manor. Gifts not picked up by this Friday, February 12 will be forfeited. Contact Diane at 701.787.7942 or Kaley at 701.787.7829 with any questions or to set up a time to pick up.

Giving Hearts Day
Thursday, February 11 is Giving Hearts Day! Giving Hearts Day is one day of giving in North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota. Join in the fun with activities at all care communities next week. Watch for posters with times, dates and more details for your community. Funds raised for Valley Senior Living will be used for intergenerational programming. All gifts of $10 or more up to $10,000 will be matched by generous donors including Vaaler Insurance, Jean Peterson and Dean & Mae Wieland.

February 10 – Taco In a Bag for lunch in the Auditorium at Valley Senior Living on 42nd

February 11 – Caramel Rolls by Paula at Tufte Manor

February 11 – Taco In a Bag for lunch and Caramel Rolls in singles or 4 packs at Valley Senior Living on Columbia

Online giving is easy and convenient in the event you will not be available for the in person fundraisers. Visit https://app.givingheartsday.org/#/charity/469 to schedule a gift now and you will be registered to win a 2021 Chevy Silverado from Dakota Medical Foundation and the Impact Foundation!


1.29.21 Update

Holiday Gift and Testing Reminder!

Staff test Monday, February 1 at the Alerus Center from 7 am to 3:30 pm. The holiday gift from Valley Senior Living and the Foundation will be distributed at testing. If you are currently not in the testing cycle, we ask that you still stop by the Alerus to pick up your holiday gift on Monday.

Learn more about Partners in Caring    >> Partners


1.28.21 Update

Testing Update
We have received all but three resident results for Valley on Columbia from the January 26 staff testing and January 27 resident testing and all results are negative! Congratulations on another great testing event! This allows us to continue visitation at Woodside Village, Tufte Manor, and Wheatland Terrace for the foreseeable future!

Holiday Gift Pick Up on Monday, February 1
In true pandemic fashion, the holiday gift that was ordered for all staff before Christmas was delayed in the areas of production and shipping due to COVID-19. We have finally received the gifts and will be distributing them
to all employees on Monday, February 1st at staff testing at the Alerus Center! All staff are asked to stop and pick up their gift from Valley! If you are not currently in the testing cycle we ask you still stop by the Alerus Center on Monday between 7:00 am and 3:30 to pick up your gift!

 Partners in Caring
Are you part of “Partners in Caring”? 230 employees are currently giving back and contributed almost $52,000 in 2020! Thank you for your gifts that support resident needs, staff enrichment and nursing scholarships. More information about Partners in Caring is included in this link. Join us at the Alerus Center at staff testing on Monday to sign up, learn more or change your contribution amount. All pledge forms turned in have a chance to win gift cards!


1.27.21 Update

We have received confirmation of one resident from the Riverside neighborhood who has tested positive for COVID-19 at the hospital. Additional precautions are now in place within the Riverside neighborhood. We are currently caring for one resident in the COVID-19 care area at Valley on Columbia. Two residents recovered this week and moved home to their neighborhood.

 Testing Results and Update
As a company, no positive staff test results have been received at any care community in the past seven days from our testing events last week. Staff tested yesterday and residents test today. We are receiving results from yesterday’s staff testing with 182 results are in for Woodside (all negative), 28 results for Wheatland Terrace and 35 for Tufte Manor, all negative so far. No results have been received for staff at Valley on Columbia.

Testing has transitioned to weekly for both staff and residents. Staff testing will be held each Monday in February at the Alerus Center from 7:00 am to 3:30 pm. Now that we are testing weekly, it is very important to contact your supervisor is you are unable to test on Monday’s and you will need to arrange for an alternate time in order to remain on the schedule.

Operational Changes to begin February 4
With the current positivity rate in Grand Forks County, our current testing results, and the full effectiveness of the vaccine, we will begin to change the way we are operating beginning February 4 to give residents the best quality of life possible within the current requirements and guidelines we must continue to adhere to from CMS and the ND Department of Health. Please review this link for more details on the “new normal”!

Vaccine Update
We are happy to report a total of 479 employees have received either both doses of vaccine or at least the first dose, and only 3% of residents have declined the vaccine. If you are within the group that has only received one dose, please continue to watch for additional information regarding when the second dose will be scheduled.

To continue to eliminate barriers related to receiving the vaccine, each employee will receive a bank of 16 hours of vaccine related side effect compensation. This benefit will assist new employees who have not accumulated any PTO or ESL as we continue to offer the vaccine to new hires. If you received the vaccine and experienced symptoms that required an absence from work, your pay will reflect the use of this vaccine pay in the upcoming pay period.

If you have not consented to the vaccine and are now interested in taking advantage of being within the priority group for long term care, please contact Carra Hindberg at 701-787-7839 or Kayla Porter at 701-787-7952 to get on the list for upcoming vaccination opportunities.

Company Zoom
In case you missed the company zoom from earlier today, here is the link! >> 1.27.21 Zoom
The zoom this week covers operational changes, the COVID-19 care area update, and a vaccine update. Thank you for the outstanding work you continue to do.


1.25.21 Update

Testing Update
All results have been received from the January 22 testing with all staff and all residents testing negative! Congratulations!

Visitation opens at Woodside Village
With the latest testing results, we have reached two weeks with no newly positive residents or staff at Woodside Village. Visitation with one designated visitor per residents re-started earlier today! We are happy that we now have three communities with reopened visitation with a designated visitor. Please remember this visitation will be required to end immediately if a staff or resident tests positive in a future testing event.

Staff Test Tomorrow
Staff testing will take place from 7:00 am to 3:30 pm, tomorrow, January 26 at the Alerus Center (Door 2). Contact your supervisor if you are unable to attend as you will need to test later in the week. Since we are testing weekly, people can’t miss an event without making it up.


1.21.21 Update

Previous Positive Staff and Residents
Over the past few weeks many staff and residents who had previously tested positive over 90 days ago have begun testing again. Two previously positive staff and two previously positive residents at Valley Senior Living on Columbia tested positive again and were treated as a new infection this past week.  Yesterday we had a resident test positive on their first test after 90 days so it was not treated as a new infection after consultation with the Department of Health.

To explain the process in more detail, when someone tests positive, they do not retest for 90 days due to the potential for the “old” infection triggering a positive result. If someone tests negative on their first test after 90 days, any subsequent positive test is treated as though it is a new infection. This is frustrating for both residents and staff alike who are asymptomatic, but we are expecting to encounter this situation over the next few months as previous positive people begin testing.  We will continue to follow the guidance from the North Dakota Department of Health in regards to precautions for these residents and staff.

While this is creating significant challenges, the bottom line is that residents are returning to their neighborhoods in good health. It has been about three months since a resident from Valley has been hospitalized or has died due to COVID-19. In fact, a number of residents have been asymptomatic throughout their infection.

Vaccine Update
Thank you to everyone who attended the vaccine clinics this week. We are happy to report nearly 1000 residents and staff were vaccinated over three days with 950 of those being the 2nd dose!

Anyone who is interested in receiving your first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and need to change your consent please contact Carra Hindberg at 701-787-7839 or Kayla Porter at 701-787-7952 to get added to the list.

Staff Testing Moves to Weekly
Staff from Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village will test on Friday, January 22 at the Alerus Center from 7 am to 3:30 pm. Wheatland Terrace and Tufte Manor staff will not need to test Friday. In the event you are a Wheatland Terrace or Tufte Manor staff and missed the Monday testing, please report to testing at the Alerus Center on Friday.

Next week testing is scheduled for all staff on Tuesday, January 26 at the Alerus Center from 7 am to 3:30 pm. Please contact your supervisor if you are unable to attend.

Nominate Valley Senior Living!
Giving Hearts Day is February 11. Again this year, Gate City Bank is giving away $75,000 to charities and non-profits with the most nominations. Help us out and nominate Valley Senior Living as many times as possible! Click this link >> https://woobox.com/3nu7ca to nominate over and over and over again. Thank you! You can also find this information on Facebook and Twitter. Please share with your friends and family.


1.20.21 Update


Letter from Executive Board Chair, John Snustad

 Valley Senior Living Staff,

 On behalf of the Executive Board of Directors for Valley Senior Living, we want to thank you for the tremendous dedication you each have shown during this relentless pandemic. The past year has been challenging and difficult and you have all sacrificed so much to bravely and skillfully care for the residents at Valley, while fighting COVID-19. Today, we are here to ask for one more thing.

 The arrival of the vaccine is great news in the fight to end COVID-19 and the pandemic. We are excited that 97% of the residents at Valley Senior Living have consented to receive the vaccine to protect themselves and to protect you. In order for residents to have visitors again, including their family for emotional support, we need to maintain no positive staff or residents to reopen visitation. This will be much easier to accomplish if all staff and residents are vaccinated.

 As the Board, we encourage you to have confidence in the vaccine process and we urge you to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible! Thank you so much to the two-thirds of staff who have received the vaccine or will receive your first vaccinations next week.  To those that have not consented to the vaccine, please reconsider the opportunity to be vaccinated you have been given as a long-term care employee. It does not produce an immediate end to this battle we have been fighting for nearly a year, but it does help to keep the residents, you, and your families safe.

 Thank you for your service and dedication to the residents!

 John Snustad

 Vaccine Update
Staff and residents from Woodside Village received the 2nd dose of COVID-19 vaccine. We have received reports of sore arms and other mild to moderate side effects in employees from Valley on Columbia. If you experience side effects or are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 please contact the COVID-19 Staff Illness line at 701-741-9646. The staff illness line will determine next steps related to your ability to report to work.

Thursday, January 21
Where: Woodside Village Auditorium
Time: 10:30am-12:30pm
Who: Wheatland Terrace and Tufte Manor Staff

  • Tufte Manor Residents
  • Time: 7:30am Start
  • Wheatland Terrace Residents
  • Time: Ballpark of 9:30am-10:00am Start

 If you have not received your first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and have not changed your consent to receive the vaccine, there is still time to do so! Contact Carra Hindberg at 701-787-7839 or Kayla Porter at 701-787-7952 to get added to the list.

 January 18 Test Results
We have received all results from the January 18 resident and staff testing. One resident from Valley Transitions and one resident from Riverside tested positive. The Riverside resident is a previous positive re-entering the testing cycle who will remain on the neighborhood, isolate with precautions and continue to test. Two staff members (one previous positive) from Valley Senior Living on Columbia (1 Almonte, last worked 1/15 and 1 Reeves, last worked 1/19) also tested positive from this event.

 Staff Testing Moves to Weekly
Staff from Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village will test on Friday, January 22 at the Alerus Center from 7 am to 3:30 pm. Wheatland Terrace and Tufte Manor staff will not need to test Friday. In the event you are a Wheatland Terrace or Tufte Manor staff and missed the Monday testing, please report to testing at the Alerus Center on Friday.

Next week for all staff on Tuesday, January 26 at the Alerus Center from 7 am to 3:30 pm. Please contact your supervisor if you are unable to attend.

Thank you for your continued dedication to the residents at Valley! If you missed the company zoom earlier today, here is a link to the recording – 1.20.21 ZOOM


1.19.21 Update

Valley Senior Living on Columbia residents and staff received the 2nd dose of COVID-19 vaccine today!

  • Thrifty White Pharmacy will be at Woodside Village in the Auditorium tomorrow from 7:30 am to 1:00 pm
  • Wheatland Terrace and Tufte Manor staff vaccinate on Thursday in the Auditorium from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm.

Additional doses may be available this week for staff who would like to consent to receive the vaccine. Please contact Kayla Porter at 701-787-7952 or Carra Hindberg at 701-787-7839!

All staff will test on Friday, January 19 from 7 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. If you are unable to attend, please contact your supervisor!


1.18.21 Update

Vaccine Clinic Schedule (2nd Dose)
Thrifty White Pharmacy will be at Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village this week to administer the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all staff and residents that received the 1st shot. If you are receiving your second dose, please bring your vaccine card! It is extremely important that you make every effort possible to attend as scheduled below to use all allotted and available vaccine. If you are unable to attend, contact your supervisor now to make alternative arrangements.

Tuesday, January 19
Where: Valley on Columbia Community Room
Time: 7:30am-1:00pm
Who: Valley on Columbia Staff and Residents

Wednesday, January 20
Where: Woodside Village Auditorium
Time: 7:30am-1:00pm
Who: Woodside Village Staff and Residents

Thursday, January 21
Where: Woodside Village Auditorium
Time: 10:30am-12:30pm
Who: Wheatland Terrace and Tufte Manor Staff

  • Tufte Manor Residents
  • Time: 7:30am Start
  • Wheatland Terrace Residents
  • Time: Ballpark of 9:30am-10:00am Start

If you have not received your first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and have not changed your consent to receive the vaccine, there is still time to do so! Contact Carra Hindberg at 701-787-7839 or Kayla Porter at 701-787-7952 to get added to the list.

Testing Update:
One resident and one staff member from the Almonte neighborhood tested positive for COVID-19 from the January 15 testing event, with both being previous positive individuals outside the 90 day testing window. All other staff and residents from Valley Senior Living were negative. Additional precautions are now in place within Almonte for a 14 day period to include the use of N95 respirators, three times daily resident monitoring for respiratory illness, no activities and additional cleaning precautions.

The last two testing events for Valley have detected a total of 1 prior positive resident at VC and 3 positive staff – 1 new positive (VC), 1 prior positive(VC) , and 1 through the use of a rapid BinaxNOW antigen test (WV).

Weekly Testing Returns!
We are happy to announce we will return to WEEKLY test next week! This week will complete twice weekly testing with all staff and residents testing on Friday, January 22. Next week will begin weekly testing with date, time and make-up options to be determined. We are optimistic and hopeful as we move to less frequent testing for both residents and staff. We will continue to rapid test those who become symptomatic.


1.14.21 Update

Staff/Resident Testing Update
We have received notification of one staff member who last worked on January 13 from the Lanark neighborhood has tested positive. The remaining staff and residents are all negative from the January 11 and 12 testing event!

Staff Test Friday January 15
Staff testing tomorrow at the Alerus Center from 7 am to 3:30pm. Please use door two. If you are unable to attend, contact your supervisor now.

Vaccine Reminder
Thrifty White Pharmacy will be at Valley on Columbia on Tuesday and Woodside Village on Wednesday and Thursday to administer the second dose of the COVID-19 Vaccine. The schedule is available here >> Vaccine Clinic #2 Don’t forget to bring your vaccination record card!

Silent Auction
Check out the fun items available on the silent auction to benefit Chaplaincy Ministry at Valley! Register at this link – https://valley.cbo.io – and start bidding!


1.13.21 Update

Late yesterday afternoon the North Dakota Department of Health Public Health Laboratory notified Valley Senior Living of a software malfunction on a piece of laboratory equipment. The malfunction affected a total of 181 positive COVID-19 results across the state from December 25, 2020 through January 8, 2021. Within the 181 affected positive results, eight were from Valley Senior Living. This included two residents and two staff from Valley Senior Living on Columbia and four residents from Woodside Village. With guidance from the North Dakota Department of Health, four residents currently within the COVID-19 care area were retested and moved from the COVID-19 care area to an observation area for 14 days. All eight residents and staff will resume regular surveillance testing. The company zoom from earlier today has more details >> 1.13.21 ZOOM

Testing Update:
We continue to test twice weekly to identify any residents or staff who may be positive for COVID-19. Throughout the last seven days we have received notification of four residents and eight staff testing positive. Two of the resident positive tests were later ruled inconclusive. The remaining positive tests at Valley Senior Living January 7 through January 13 were as follows:

Tufte Manor: 0 Residents, 1 Non-Direct Care Staff

Valley Senior Living on Columbia: 1 Resident (Riverside), 2 Staff (1 Lanark, 1 COVID-19 Care Area)

Woodside Village:  1 Resident (Heartland), 5 Staff (2 Oakcrest, 1 Heartland, 2 Non-Direct Care)

Wheatland Terrace: 0 Residents, 0 Staff

COVID-19 Care Area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia: 3 Residents, 6 Residents moved off the COVID-19 care area this week

2nd Dose Vaccine Schedule
Thrifty White Pharmacy will be at Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village next week to administer the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all staff and residents that received the 1st shot. If you are receiving your second dose, please bring your vaccine card! Click HERE for Schedule!

Tuesday, January 19
Where: Valley on Columbia Community Room
Time: 7:30am-1:00pm
Who: Valley on Columbia Staff and Residents

Wednesday, January 20
Where: Woodside Village Auditorium
Time: 7:30am-1:00pm
Who: Woodside Village Staff and Residents

Thursday, January 21
Where: Woodside Village Auditorium
Time: 10:30am-12:30pm
Who: Wheatland Terrace and Tufte Manor Staff

  • Tufte Manor Residents
  • Time: 7:30am Start
  • Wheatland Terrace Residents
  • Time: Ballpark of 9:30am-10:00am Start

Visitation at Wheatland Terrace
We are happy to report visitation with one designated visitor is set to restart tomorrow at Wheatland Terrace pending no positive test results in residents or staff from the January 11 and 12 testing events. Tomorrow concludes the 14 day period with no newly identified positive results in that neighborhood.

Testing Schedule
All staff will test on Friday, January 15, from 7 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. Please use door 2. If you are unable to attend, contact your supervisor now.

W2’s are Available for Staff to Print
2020 W2’s have been released into the ESS RPO site. You can now view and print your tax forms. Log into: https://ppo.payrollproinc.com/kiosk/login/login.aspx and select Pay History and Tax Forms. Contact Kathy Feist in Payroll with any questions (701-787-7956).

Silent Auction for Chaplaincy Ministry and Around Our Table Virtual Event
Don’t forget our annual Chaplaincy Ministry benefit hosted by the Valley Senior Living Foundation is re-imagined and virtual this year! You have the opportunity to support Chaplaincy Ministry for residents by purchasing a virtual seat at a table. Visit the website https://give.classy.org/AroundOurTable2021 for more details and to reserve your spot today! A silent auction is also underway at https://valley.cbo.io where you can purchase items with all funds raised supporting the Chaplaincy Ministry program, end-of-life services, and more.


1.11.21 Update

Vaccine Update/Company Zoom
We have been notified by our pharmacy partner, Thrifty White Pharmacy, they will offer the vaccine one more time to Valley Senior Living employees before moving on to the next phase in the distribution plan. If you consented and were not able to attend when the vaccine was offered in December or if you have made a decision to consent to receiving the vaccine, please contact Infection Preventionists Kayla Porter at (701-787-7952), or Carra Hindberg at (701-787-7939) to change your consent and secure your dose of the vaccine. We are required to inform Thrifty White Pharmacy of the number of consents by 5 pm on Tuesday, January 12. Please call ASAP!

If you still have questions or concerns regarding the vaccine, today’s company zoom focused on Dr. Henderson answering staff questions and/or concerns. Please take a minute to watch this all staff Zoom.

Staff/Resident Testing Update
We have been receiving staff and resident test results from January 8 and 9 throughout yesterday and today. Two residents and eight staff have tested positive. The residents include one from Riverside at Valley on Columbia and one from the Heartland neighborhood at Woodside Village. Both residents have moved to the COVID-19 care area where we are now caring for seven residents.

Staff testing positive from January 8 include:

Woodside Village:

  • 2 Direct Care, Oakcrest, last worked January 4 and 11
  • 1 Direct Care, Heartland, last worked January 11
  • 1 Non-Direct Care, last worked January 9

Valley Senior Living on Columbia

  • 1 Direct Care, COVID-19 Care Area, last worked January 11
  • 1 Direct Care, Lanark, last worked January 8

Tufte Manor

  • 1 Direct Care, last worked January 8

One non-direct care staff member from Woodside Village was confirmed positive this afternoon through the use of a BinaxNOW rapid antigen test after developing symptoms. This staff member’s last work day was January 9.

All staff tested today and all residents will test tomorrow. The next staff testing is scheduled for Friday, January 15 from 7 am to 3:30 pm. Please contact your supervisor if you will not be able to attend.

 Please remember to contact Kayla or Carra if you would like to receive your COVID-19 vaccine before the state of North Dakota moves on to the next phase in the distribution plan. If you do decide to wait, we do not have guidance on how long it could be before an ample supply is available to the general public. The Zoom link above has more details regarding your opportunity to receive the vaccine with the rest of your co-workers and the residents at Valley!


1.8.21 Update

Testing Update

From our January 6, testing…

  • Woodside Village – one resident tested positive from Heartland
  • Valley on Columbia – one resident on Almonte and one resident on Riverside tested positive
  • Tufte Manor and Wheatland Terrace all clear!

For your calendars, next week’s staff testing is MONDAY, January 11 and FRIDAY, January 15.  Residents test this Saturday followed by next Tuesday and Friday.

COVID-19 Care Area

We are caring for seven residents right now in our COVID Care area. Three residents moved in last evening and one resident moved back to their neighborhood today.

Visitation

In order to restore visitation, all staff and residents need to test negative within a building for 14 days. This is challenging right now, but Tufte Manor has been able to be open for visitation for a few days now which is very exciting for reuniting families! We hope Wheatland Terrace can join next Thursday.

Vaccine

Last week Valley Senior Living vaccinated 834 residents and staff. This week, the independent residents of Country Estates and Cherrywood Village were vaccinated!  This puts us at over 900 people vaccinated in our organization. We have about 120 staff and residents that are waiting for their next opportunity to receive the vaccine. We would love to add more to the list!

Please contact Kayla Porter (701-787-7952) or Carra Hindberg (701-787-7839), Infection Preventionists, with questions or to verbally change your preference to be placed on the list for future vaccine clinics. Please get vaccinated to protect our residents, yourselves, and your families!

1.6.21 Update

Vaccination Update:
I am pleased and thankful that we are starting the New Year with the chance for our residents and staff to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This past week 834 residents and staff from Valley Senior Living communities received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, administered by our vaccine partner, Thrifty White Pharmacy. We have not received the schedule for the second dose, but are expecting that to be available approximately 21 days after the first dose. Residents and staff have responded very well to the vaccine. There were a number of sore arms and a few headaches reported. One staff member missed one day of work due to the vaccine.

This week, the residents at Country Estates at Valley on 42nd and Cherrywood Village at Valley on Cherry are being vaccinated.  It’s great to see that these residents could get their vaccine as quickly as they did!

We have about 120 staff and residents that are waiting for a second opportunity to receive the vaccine. We would love to add more to the list! Please contact Kayla Porter (787-7952) or Carra Hindberg (787-7839), the Valley Infection Preventionists, to verbally change your preference to be placed on the list for future vaccine clinics. It remains our collective responsibility to have as many residents and staff vaccinated as possible to protect the vulnerable residents who live at Valley.

Staff/Resident Testing Update:
All staff were rapid tested with BinaxNOW antigen tests yesterday with no positive tests identified. All residents are testing today and we will continue to update you with the results we receive. All staff will be PCR tested on Friday, January 8, from 7 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. Please contact your supervisor if you are not able to attend.

Here are the newly identified positive tests at Valley Senior Living from December 30 through January 6:

  • Tufte Manor: 0 Residents, 0 Staff
  • Valley Senior Living on Columbia: 1 Resident (Riverside), 1 Staff (Support Staff)
  • Woodside Village:  2 Residents (1 Hearthstone, 1 Heartland), 1 Staff (Prairieview)
  • Wheatland Terrace: 0 Residents, 1 Staff

We are currently caring for five residents in the COVID-19 care area and are happy to report that 2 residents moved home to their neighborhood this week. Please continue to keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Overall, this has been a great week for our residents and staff at Valley!


1.4.20 Update

Testing Update
Since our last staff communication, a resident from the Riverside neighborhood tested positive from their December 30 test and moved to the COVID-19 care area on December 31. All staff and residents were tested on January 2 and two residents were identified as positive, one from Heartland and one from Hearthstone at Woodside Village. These residents transferred to the COVID-19 care area on January 3. We are now caring for six residents in the COVID Care area. In addition, two staff were positive including one non-direct care staff from Valley on Columbia and one direct care staff from the Prairieview neighborhood at Woodside Village who last worked on January 1.

Staff Testing
The next staff testing will be tomorrow, Tuesday, January 5 from 7 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. If you are unable to attend please contact your supervisor.

Tufte Manor Visitation
I am happy to share visitation with one designated visitor will resume effective immediately at Tufte Manor! Tufte Manor has completed 14 days of testing with no positive residents or staff. Visiting hours will be from 8 am to 6 pm. Small group, socially distanced activities will also resume at Tufte Manor.


12.31.20 Update

Testing Results
We are receiving results from the December 30 testing of residents and staff. One resident from the Hearthstone neighborhood has tested positive and transferred to the COVID-19 care are at Valley on Columbia. One direct care staff member from Wheatland Terrace also tested positive. Results are still being received and we will notify you of any additional positive results. NEW TWIST (pun intended) on testing – We are working with the Department of Health on a study of side-by-side Binax tests and PCR tests during Saturday’s staff test event.  You will have the PCR swab as normal, but also be offered the BinaxNOW test. Please take both tests to give our state more data on how these tests perform side by side. Preliminary information has shown that the Binax NOW tests are more accurate in agreement with PCR testing in identifying COVID-19 for symptomatic people, but the BinaxNOW tests may not detect COVID-19 for a number of asymptomatic cases identified by a PCR test.

We are currently caring for four residents in the COVID-19 care area. Please continue to keep these residents and the staff in your thoughts and prayers.

Staff Testing on Saturday
Due to the New Year holiday, staff will test on Saturday, January 2nd from 10 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. Please enter through door 2 and use caution in the parking lot. If you are unable to attend it is important that you notify your supervisor in advance.

Vaccination Week Complete!
We are happy to report residents and staff from all care communities had the opportunity to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine this week! Thank you to all employees that took this first step in protecting yourself and the residents you care for. So far only sore arms have been reported in both residents and staff. For those that have received the first dose of the vaccine this week, please stay tuned for more information about the 2nd dose which will be available in approximately 21 days.

Continue to watch for more updates and information about the next opportunity to receive the vaccine. We have recently received many questions about how to consent for the next opportunity to receive the vaccine. Please contact Kayla Porter (787-7952) or Carra Hindberg (787-7839), the Valley Infection Preventionists, to verbally change your preference and you will then be placed on the list for future vaccine clinics.

Happy New Year to All
Thank you for your dedication to the residents at Valley Senior Living this past year. I am wishing you a Happy New Year and all the best in 2021! Here is a link to the company Zoom from earlier today. ZOOM 12.31.20


12.30.20 Update – Tufte and Wheatland Vaccinate Tomorrow – 12/31

Two days of vaccinations are nearly complete for Valley Senior Living, and we received notification that Tufte Manor and Wheatland Terrace residents and staff can vaccinate tomorrow, December 31! The schedule is as follows:

  • Tufte Manor residents will begin vaccinating at approximately 7:30 am
  • Wheatland Terrace residents will begin vaccinating at approximately 9:00 am
  • All Staff from Tufte Manor and Wheatland Terrace will vaccinate in the Auditorium at Woodside Village from 10 am to 1 pm or until vaccine supply has been exhausted. Please arrive early and enter through the front entrance at Woodside Village.

We have nearly completed two days of vaccinating at Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village. Hope is in the air! Take a peek at how excited everyone was to have the opportunity to get the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the video links below! Click HERE to read the latest Grand Forks Herald story focusing on Woodside Village and featuring Carra Hindberg, Dr. Henderson and Woodside Village resident Jim Steckler.

Valley Senior Living on Columbia – Vaccine Day – Dose # 1

Woodside Village – Vaccine Day – Dose # 1

COVID-19 Care Area Update
We are currently caring for three residents in the COVID-19 care area. Earlier today, five residents recovered and moved home to their neighborhood.

Staff/Resident Testing Schedule
All staff and residents will test on Saturday, January 2, from 10 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center due to the holiday on Friday. If you are unable to attend, please contact your supervisor now.


12.29.20  Update

Vaccination is underway! Today, the residents and staff at Valley Senior Living on Columbia were vaccinated. So far everyone has been doing just fine, but please contact the COVID-19 Staff Illness line at 701-741-9646 if you experience any COVID-related symptoms post-vaccination.

Tomorrow, December 30, residents and staff from Woodside Village will be given their first dose of the vaccine. Thrifty White Pharmacy will be onsite in the Auditorium from 7:30 am to 4 pm. Please enter through the main/front entrance and remember your health insurance information if you did not provide it at the time of consent.

We just learned this afternoon that residents and staff of Wheatland Terrace will get the vaccine on Wednesday, January 6 and Tufte Manor will be on Thursday, January 7. More details to follow.

Staff Testing Schedule
The staff testing schedule has changed this week due to the holiday on Friday. All staff will test tomorrow from 7 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. The second testing of the week will be held on Saturday, January 2 from 10 am to 3:30 pm. If you are unable to attend a testing, you must contact your supervisor to make alternate arrangements. If you are absent from two consecutive testing events, you will be removed from the schedule.

Test Results 
We have received confirmation of one support staff member from Woodside Village who last worked on December 27 has tested positive for COVID-19. This result does conclude the staff and resident testing from December 26. We are currently caring for eight residents in the COVID-19 care area at Valley on Columbia. Please continue to keep these residents in your thoughts and prayers.

Grand Forks Herald
We are excited to have nearly completed day one of vaccinating residents and staff! Click Here to read the story from the Grand Forks Herald that shares our excitement as an organization for all residents and staff that had the opportunity to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.


12.28.20 Update

It’s VACCINE week! We are excited to have confirmation from our pharmacy partner, Thrifty White Pharmacy, the administration of the Pfizer vaccine will begin tomorrow at Valley Senior Living on Columbia, and Wednesday at Woodside Village. As more information becomes available for Wheatland Terrace and Tufte Manor we will communicate that with you. Here are some things to remember:

  • Valley on Columbia residents and staff will be vaccinated Tuesday, December 29 from 7:30 am to 4 pm in the Community Room near the main entrance, please enter through the front doors.
  • Woodside Village residents and staff will be vaccinated on Wednesday, December 30 from 7:30 am to 4 pm in the Auditorium. Please enter through the main entrance/front doors.
  • If you did not have insurance information at time of consent, you must bring that when you report to vaccinate.
  • As recommended with any vaccination, you should remain onsite for a period of 15 to 20 minutes after you received the vaccine to ensure you do not encounter an adverse reaction.

Testing Results Update
12/22 Tests: 5 staff, 1 resident positive – All results for staff and residents have been received from the December 22 testing. A total of five staff members tested positive (3 from Valley on Columbia, and 2 from Woodside Village) and one resident from Lanark at Valley on Columbia was confirmed positive.

12/26 Tests: 3 staff, 2 residents positive – Two residents from Valley on Columbia (1 Reeves, 1 Riverside) tested positive, one contract staff from the Oakcrest neighborhood at Woodside Village, and two employees from Valley on Columbia were positive including a non-direct care employee and a support staff from the Almonte neighborhood, all with last work day of December 24.

Staff Testing Schedule Change this Week!
Staff testing will be held on Wednesday, December 30 from 7:00 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center and on Saturday, January 2 from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. If you are unable to attend, please contact your supervisor now. If two consecutive testing events are missed, you will be removed from the schedule.

REMINDER! COVID-19 Vaccine starts tomorrow!
Residents and staff at Valley on Columbia will start vaccinating tomorrow morning at 7:30 am with Woodside Village on Wednesday at 7:30 am. If you have given consent and will not be able to attend, please contact Sam Jallo as soon as possible so all doses can be used.

If you originally did not consent to the vaccine and have changed your mind (like a number of other people already have), please contact Kayla Porter, Carra Hindberg or Sam Jallo. They will assist with changing your consent and arrange for you to be added to upcoming COVID-19 vaccine opportunities.


12.23.20 Update

COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives at Valley Senior Living on Tuesday and Wednesday
We have just received notification from Thrifty White Pharmacy, our COVID-19 vaccine partner, that residents and staff of the NURSING HOMES who signed written consents will be vaccinated on Tuesday and Wednesday, December 29 and 30!

Valley on Columbia vaccinates on December 29 in the Community Room. Woodside Village vaccinates on December 30 in the Auditorium. Vaccines will be administered from 7:30 am to 4 pm each day!  Things to remember:

  • If you did not have insurance information at time of consent, you must bring that when you report to vaccinate.
  • All employees will temp and mask upon entering the building. Please enter through the main entrance at both Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village.
  • Social distancing is required while waiting.
  • As recommended with any vaccination, you are welcome to remain onsite for a period of 15 to 20 minutes after you receive the vaccine to ensure you do not encounter an adverse reaction.

The plan for vaccinating assisted living at Wheatland Terrace and basic care at Tufte Manor is to be determined and dependent on the amount of vaccine that is received in each shipment. The pharmacy is expecting to vaccinate assisted living and basic care residents and staff within one to two weeks.

Weekly Testing Update
This week the positivity rate was just over 2% with 13 total staff members and seven residents testing positive over two testing events for Valley Senior Living. The second staff testing this week will move to Saturday, December 26 from 10 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. If you are unable to attend testing on Saturday or will be missing two consecutive testing events due to be away for the holidays, please contact your supervisor asap.

We are currently caring for seven residents in the COVID-19 care area. Two residents recovered this morning and were able to move home to their neighborhood.

Zoom
Here is a link to today’s company zoom with more information regarding the vaccine schedule >> Zoom 12.23

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas to everyone!


12.22.20 Update

Since last night we have received notification of two additional residents that tested positive from the December 19 resident testing. One resident is from the Riverside neighborhood at Valley on Columbia and one is from the Heartland neighborhood at Woodside Village. Both residents moved in to the COVID-19 care area last night where we are now caring for nine residents. Please continue to keep these residents and the COVID-19 care area staff in your thoughts and prayers during this holiday season and beyond.

Testing Schedule Update
The next all staff testing event is scheduled for Saturday, December 26 from 10 am to 3:30 pm to avoid testing on Christmas Day. If you are traveling or will be gone for the holiday it is very important to contact your supervisor if you are unable to attend the Saturday testing event. Please remember if you miss two consecutive testing events you will be removed from the schedule. Your supervisor, in conjunction with Employee Health Nurse Sam Jallo, will arrange a time for you to test asap after your return. Remember, it is very important to contact your supervisor if you will not be at testing!

Vaccine Update
Since last Friday’s consent signing day, there have been a number of people who have changed their minds and now would like to receive the vaccine. If you happen to be one of those people, please reach out to an Infection Preventionist, Kayla Porter or Carra Hindberg, or Sam Jallo in Employee Health. They will get you added to the wait list for when vaccine is available.

Please take a few minutes to watch this video presentation from Dr. Carson regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. It does take a four minutes to download the video, but the content is relevant to long term care employees as Dr. Carson is also a medical director at a nursing home in Fargo.  Covid-19 Training Video-Dr. Paul Carson

The amount of vaccine we will get in the first shipment and allotment is still undetermined. We are fairly certain residents at Valley Senior Living on Columbia will be vaccinated on December 29 and residents at Woodside Village will follow on December 30. If a vaccine quantity remains available, direct care staff followed by support staff and non-direct care will also be vaccinated. We are planning for vaccination to take place each day from 7:30 am to 4 pm on-site at Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village. Please watch for a more detailed plan on Monday, December 28 when we have heard more from Thrifty White Pharmacy.  The pharmacy is still determining the plan for both staff and residents within assisted living at Wheatland Terrace and basic care at Tufte Manor.

Bell Insurance Gift Card Drawing
Bell Insurance and Bell Bank is #PayingItForward by purchasing gift cards to local businesses and then donated them to Valley Senior Living to share with our employees. A drawing was held from each culture neighborhood. Congrats to the recipients of $50 gift cards this holiday season. Please click here to see the lucky winners. Watch your mail for your gift card if you are on the list!


12.21.20 Update

Resident Testing Results
We have received confirmation of three residents that have tested positive from the December 19 testing. One resident is from the Hearthstone neighborhood and one is from Prairieview at Woodside Village. A resident from Lanark at Valley on Columbia also tested positive. These three residents will be moving to the COVID-19 care area today. Once the moves are complete, we will be caring for seven residents in this area. Additional precautions are now in place for the Hearthstone and Lanark neighborhoods due to the new infections including N95 respirators, common area use and socially distanced activities are suspended and resident respiratory illness onset monitoring will increase to three times daily. As of 3:30pm we had approximately half of the resident results back from the Saturday testing event.

Staff Testing Results
We have received confirmation of 11 staff members testing positive since the December 18 testing. This includes six from Valley on Columbia, one from Tufte Manor and four from Woodside Village.

Valley on Columbia

  • 1 Direct Care – Lanark, last worked 12/19
  • 1 Direct Care – Almonte, last worked 12/18
  • 1 Direct Care – Riverside, last worked 12/19
  • 1 Direct Care – Reeves, last worked 12/20
  • 2 Non-Direct Care – last worked 12/18

Woodside Village

  • 2 Direct Care – Prairieview, last worked 12/20
  • 1 Non-Direct Care Prairieview – last worked 12/18
  • 1 Non-Direct Care – last worked 12/18

Tufte Manor

  • Direct Care – last worked 12/20

Testing Schedule
The testing schedule for this week is adjusted slightly due to the Christmas holiday. All staff will test tomorrow from 7 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. All staff will also test on Saturday, December 26 from 10 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. If you are unable to attend please contact your supervisor now. Employees will be removed from the schedule until they are able to test if two consecutive testing events are missed.

 Vaccine Update
Thank you to everyone who attended testing and consent signing last Friday at the Alerus Center as we prepare for the vaccine to arrive next week! A few unknowns remain as to when we will receive the vaccine and what quantity we will receive. Valley on Columbia residents are currently scheduled for December 29 and Woodside Village residents on December 30. The schedule for other residents and staff will be determined by the quantity received by the pharmacy. We will continue to update you as we get more information from Thrifty White, our pharmacy partner for vaccination.


12.18.20 Update

Last night we received confirmation of two residents testing positive for COVID-19. One resident is from the Prairieview neighborhood at Woodside Village and one is from the Reeves neighborhood at Valley on Columbia. Both residents have moved to the COVID-19 care area. We are currently caring for eight residents in the COVID-19 care area. Please continue to keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

 Frontline Workers Festival
The Frontline Workers Festival is scheduled for Sunday afternoon with a parade and fireworks. Read more details here and join the celebration >> Festival

Vaccine Update
Like the line from a Christmas carol, A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices! Thank you to all staff for coming to the Alerus today and filling out the needed paperwork for Valley to obtain our shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine. This pandemic has taken so much from us, from the residents, from our children and from what we knew as normal. Seeing the first vaccines being administered and knowing we, as Valley employees, are next in line with availability the week of December 28 is an amazing feeling. Thank you!


12.17.20 UPDATE: Please choose to get vaccinated 

We have received confirmation of a resident from Tufte Manor that has tested positive for COVID-19 earlier today. The resident has transferred to the COVID-19 Care Area at Valley on Columbia. Two staff members also tested positive yesterday, one support staff from Wheatland Terrace who last worked on 12/11 and one direct care from the Heartland neighborhood at Woodside Village who last worked on 12/14. It was an excellent testing event for staff!

ALL STAFF needed at Alerus Center tomorrow to sign consent, whether or not you will be taking the vaccine!
All staff are needed to report to the Alerus Center tomorrow to complete the COVID-19 vaccine consent form. Staff COVID-19 testing will also take place at the same time. The event is open from 7 am to 3:30 pm, please use door two. If you are unable to attend, please contact your supervisor now. Consent forms and the Emergency Use Authorization fact sheet is available at the front desk of each building. All forms are required by 3:30 pm, tomorrow, December 18.

MEAP Grant
The Medical Expense Assistance Program grant has been exhausted and is now closed.

Vaccine Update
This is an important and exciting week in 2020 for Valley Senior Living.  Our staff and residents will choose to get or not get the vaccine. The vaccine, and the hope for an end to this pandemic is finally here, and will protect the residents, you, and your families and friends.

We have just asked all our residents if they are getting the vaccine. Most of them have said yes. Many residents and families have one question in return this week, “Are you?”

 It is understandable that our residents and families have this expectation because we have done everything possible to protect them up to this point. I wish that the vaccine would completely protect them if they choose to take the vaccine, but it doesn’t. That’s why long term care staff have access and have been prioritized to receive this vaccine before everyone else.

Being among the first people in the country to get the vaccine comes with apprehension. For some it is excitement. We are not alone in this debate. Next door at Altru yesterday, staff were literally fighting over which departments should be the first 450 people to be vaccinated. Some Altru staff are wondering if they should get the vaccine or not. Vaccination for our residents and staff is our road to ending this pandemic for our residents and for each other. Let’s all work to build this road, build it as quickly as we can, together!

You are being asked to consider doing something that you may not have complete confidence in at this point, but all indications are that it is safe. If this decision were completely your own, you might take a wait-and-see approach or be reluctant to take it at all. However, you work with the most vulnerable people and have turned your life upside down this last year to keep them safe. The residents and families have an expectation that you will take this vaccine to keep them safe. This is obviously going to create some conflicting feelings.

I shared with a family member today that a number of staff are considering not taking the vaccine. Their immediate reaction was one of disbelief and great disappointment because this will only prolong the pandemic. The more people that are vaccinated now, the sooner we all can resume more normal activity. It’s the light at the end of a tunnel, or the final leg of the race as we anxiously anticipate the vaccine by the end of the month.

For those who want the latest information about the vaccine as of 1:00pm this afternoon for the State of North Dakota, click here to view our statewide call today – skip to minute 52 – the presentation takes about 30 minutes. It was excellent information.


12.16.20 URGENT UPDATE: Consent forms needed by 3:30 Friday from ALL STAFF

ALL EMPLOYEES (including those that are within the 90 day window of not testing), and whether or not you are taking the vaccine, must fill out this consent form by Friday, December 18 at 3:30 pm. We have received the Pfizer fact sheet and the consent to vaccinate form from the pharmacy. The consent is attached for your review and a copy of the fact sheet is also attached. Options for consent form completion include printing and bringing the form to the Alerus Center mass testing Friday between 7 am and 3:30 pm, or filling out a copy on-site at the Alerus Center on Friday. Medical insurance information will be required with the consent. We are supposed to receive our vaccine during the week starting December 28.

If you are unable to attend the Consent Signing and Testing Event on Friday, please contact your supervisor. Consent forms and the Pfizer fact sheet will also be available at the reception desk at each community. Once completed you can return to the reception desk.

Attached is our company zoom including information from Carra, Kayla, Dr. Henderson, and myself. This is a critical moment for us to take control of our future. Please take the time to read the following information as this is a critical moment for us at Valley:

I’m thrilled that in polling our residents and their families that only a few residents will decline the vaccine. The residents can’t wait to take the vaccine, regardless of the side effects. I’m extremely glad to hear this because it will be extremely hard to protect people who don’t want to protect themselves. This pandemic does not end until we are vaccinated. You have an opportunity that billions of people in this world won’t have access to for months if not years.

Society prioritized you to get the vaccine above virtually everyone in the world in order to protect the most vulnerable people in our society – long term care residents.  Let me be clear – this is your choice. There will be a few of you that your primary physician will not recommend that you are vaccinated at this time. The rest of us need to protect you. Some of you may live an extremely socially-distanced life outside work and may continue to do so until you are comfortable with the vaccine. No judgement here. This is about protecting our residents. I applaud and will continue to support all of you who continue to make difficult decisions to protect the people you love.

I’m trying to play this out as time goes on because every staff member who is eligible for the vaccine needs to get it to end the pandemic within our walls. If we have staff that can continue to contract COVID-19, consider the following:

  • Let’s talk about life and death first. The vaccine is 95% effective so it may not work for 5% of our residents. It’s not enough that all our residents get the vaccine. Imagine that it is not effective for the two to three residents that you love the most in a neighborhood (remember-it’s ok that we have favorites J). Now imagine having to live with the fact that you unknowingly contracted COVID-19, cared for those residents, and now they are positive for COVID-19.  If you chose to be vaccinated and were part of the 5% that it didn’t work for, you did what you could. If you chose not to receive the vaccine, did you? I personally couldn’t live with myself and I don’t think you could either.
  • After vaccination, residents deserve to get their lives back as soon as possible. They should not have to wear masks, they should be able to eat together, attend activities together. What will prevent that? Staff who continue to test positive for COVID.
  • Residents and their families deserve to be reunited! Every time a staff member tests positive, indoor visitation is cancelled for two weeks for the entire building according to CMS.  This is heartbreaking because as I write this, I just received a message on social media a Christmas wish that I received from a family member this morning that his mom and all who care for his mom get the vaccine, and that leadership will do everything it can so that visitation can resume.

This pandemic is over when people decide to vaccinate or choose social distancing as their way of life. Thank you to all who are considering taking the vaccine and I hope that those that are not will consider how your actions could affect the residents.


12.15.20 Vaccine Update

Yesterday we were contacted by Thrifty White, our partner pharmacy for vaccine distribution, that residents and staff will be able to get the Pfizer vaccine the week of December 28!

More details to come tomorrow, but in order to get the vaccine, you will need to sign a consent. We will set up stations at the Alerus Center for signing consent forms on Friday.

The Pfizer vaccine emergency use authorization is now available >> click here, along with this video message from Dr. Henderson regarding the vaccine.

To those that have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past – EVERYONE IS ELIGIBLE FOR THE VACCINE as long as you are beyond the active phase of your illness and not experiencing symptoms.

It is not mandatory or a condition of employment that you take this vaccine. I hope that you see this as an opportunity to protect our residents and your families! More to come later this week!


12.15.20 Update

Staff testing is happening until 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. Please use door 2 as usual. If you are going between 11 am and 12:15 pm the Grand Forks Senior Center will be distributing the holiday Christmas meal to seniors and Alerus Drive will not be accessible to Valley employees. Alerus Center staff will redirect you to the correct entrance or you may enter at the far north end and drive around the back of the building.


12.14.20  Update

Testing Update
One resident from Wheatland Terrace tested positive yesterday and has transferred to the COVID-19 care area at Valley on Columbia. With only a handful of pending tests, all other results are negative. This weekend we also received confirmation of seven staff members testing positive including one from Valley on Columbia and six from Woodside Village. These positive tests include:

Valley on Columbia

  • Direct Care – Almonte, last worked 12/11

Woodside Village

  • Direct Care – Hearthstone, last worked 12/12
  • Direct Care – Heartland, last worked 12/10
  • Direct Care – Prairieview, last worked 12/12
  • 2 Non-Direct Care, last worked 12/11
  • Support Staff, last worked 12/11

Staff and Resident Testing Schedule
As we approach the holidays, our testing schedule may need to be adjusted to match capacity at the state lab. We will keep you informed of upcoming testing dates the rest of December as soon as we have confirmation. This week all staff will test on Tuesday, December 15 and Friday, December 18 at the Alerus Center from 7 am until 3:30 pm. If you are unable to attend please contact your supervisor. Residents will test on Wednesday, December 16 and Saturday, December 19.

New York Times Article about the link between College Students and COVID-19 Cases
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to be interviewed by the New York Times regarding students, the connection to community spread, and the connection to cases in long term care. The reporter also talked with two other Valley employees – Molly McHugo and Jan Wysocki, both of whom did a great job in their interviews.

At the beginning of my interview with Sarah, it was clear that the story was going to be that students were clearly the focus of “the blame” for community spread. As you will see in the story, high population college communities have higher COVID cases since August than non-college communities.

What I hope that she came to realize after talking with us is that students have been a saving grace for us. I was glad to see that quote made it into the article, but wished she would have left in my explanation as to why that is… At a time when so many staff are out on exposures, illness, and COVID-19 positive cases, Valley Senior Living could have never staffed our care communities without students!

Our record high numbers of total staff, especially flex staff (many of whom are students) are essential to care for our residents each day.

Though it is tough to be highlighted in such a sad story, I think the article did a nice job painting the picture of how everyone is connected. Thank you to our students at Valley for caring for our residents and helping us to get through this pandemic! Here is a link to the article >> NY Times

Vaccine Update
It is exciting to see the first people vaccinated in the United States today! Everyone’s question is understandably when we will be vaccinated at Valley Senior Living? Today’s answer is that planning is underway and that the long term care vaccinations are projected to start the week of December 28. Not much beyond that is known at this point. We will share information with you as soon as it becomes available.

 The CDC has released 8 things to know about the COVID-19 Vaccine >> https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/8-things.html  We will continue to share more information and updates as they become available.


12.12.20 

COVID-19 Positive Test Result Update for MEAP Grant

The COVID staff illness line is getting a high volume of texts and doing her best to get back to everyone. Please note you may not be able to get a copy of your results until Monday morning.

Thank you for your patience!


12.12.20 MEAP Update

We had previously made you aware of this program, but it appears that you do not need to have had medical expenses associated with a COVID-19 infection to apply for the grant!

The North Dakota Medical Expense Assistance Program (MEAP) is open and accepting applications now. As a Valley Senior Living employee, if you have tested positive for COVID-19 and would like to apply for this grant, please access the form at https://belegendary.link/MEAP

This is an assistance program for healthcare workers and first responders who have tested positive for COVID-19. Applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis. Funding will be approved if the application meets all criteria and funding is available. It appears as though a $1000 grant may be available with proof of your positive test. If you are in need of the positive test result for submission with your application please text the COVID-19 Staff Illness number (701.741.9646), include your full name, building you work at and email address. They will forward you your positive test results to include with the application in the order requests are received.

Applications close December 20, 2020 at 5:00 pm. Contact MEAP Hotline at meap@nd.gov or 701-328-6004 with any additional questions.


12.11.20

Resident Testing Update
We have received all but two pending tests from the resident testing on December 9. Two residents tested positive, one is from the Heartland neighborhood at Woodside Village and one from Almonte at Valley Senior Living on Columbia. Both residents have moved to the COVID-19 Care Area at Valley on Columbia. We are currently caring for four residents in the COVID-19 Care Area and one resident moved home to their neighborhood earlier today.

Rapid BinaxNOW Tests
Our use of BinaxNOW rapid tests continue to evolve. We used the BinaxNOW tests today for the first time for a group of residents in one hallway in Almonte and Heartland to potentially identify any new infections. All results were negative! The idea behind using rapid COVID-19 tests (BinaxNOW) with people who are not symptomatic is that it has the potential to identify someone with a new infection and gives us the opportunity to isolate them sooner which will lead to a more isolated outbreak. It is meant to supplement PCR testing, not replace it.

  • The advantage: BinaxNOW tests, when they find someone is positive, have been accurate in identifying someone with COVID-19.
  • The disadvantage: BinaxNOW tests are not known to identify everyone with COVID-19.

A small sample of data of 69 COVID-19 positive people in North Dakota (not a scientific study) showed that the Binax NOW tests identified 44% of the asymptomatic and 79% of the symptomatic cases that were identified through COVID-19. The follow up PCR was positive 100% of the time that the BinaxNOW test was positive.

Staff Testing
The next staff testing event will be held on Tuesday, December 15 from 7 am to 3 pm. If you are unable to attend, please contact your supervisor.

Here’s a link to today’s company zoom >> 12.11 Zoom


12.10.20 Update

Staff Testing Event Results
Congratulations everyone – we just had our third amazing staff test event in a row!  This test event resulted in one positive test of a direct caregiver from the Reeves neighborhood at Valley on Columbia. One Tufte Manor staff test and one Woodside Village staff test remain pending while all other results are received and negative. We are awaiting resident test results from December 9.

Please don’t let these great results give you a false sense of security. One of our resident and staff outbreaks this year happened on a neighborhood with no prior staff testing positive for over two months on that neighborhood.

As we get closer to the finish line on this pandemic, we can finish strong through great PPE use and social distancing for yourselves and for the residents. Do not come to work if you have symptoms!

Staff test tomorrow at the Alerus Center from 7 am to 3:30 pm. Please contact your supervisor if you are unable to attend.

Frontline Worker Festival
Alerus, the City of Grand Forks and the Altru Care Team are hosting the Frontline Workers Festival, a celebration of gratitude for the service and sacrifice of our community’s essential workers, on Sunday, December 20. This community event is open to the public and free of charge. The celebration will include a car parade and a fireworks display as a thank you to essential workers.


12.9.20 Update

Yesterday we received confirmation of a Valley Transitions staff member who last worked on December 3 tested positive on December 7.

Valley Senior Living as an organization has continued to see a decline in the positivity rate throughout our staff. This week we experienced less than 1% of our staff testing positive for the first time since September!

From our testing events held November 30 through December 6 for staff and residents, only 5 staff and no residents tested positive. So far this week 1 staff and 1 resident have tested positive. Our testing schedule remains twice weekly and all staff were tested yesterday and residents are testing again today. We will update you if any additional positive test results are confirmed with staff or residents from the Tuesday staff and Wednesday resident testing.

We are currently caring for three residents in the COVID-19 Care Area at Valley on Columbia. This week one resident tested positive from Woodside Village through the use of a rapid Binax test and one a resident moved in to the COVID-19 care area from the community. We are happy to report two residents have recovered this week and moved home to their neighborhoods.

Activities
Social distanced activities, with no food, will begin this week in all neighborhoods at Valley on Columbia, Wheatland Terrace and all neighborhoods at Woodside Village except Heartland. Tufte Manor will remain paused on activities until more testing events are completed with no positive results. We are excited to offer this opportunity to many residents!

Staff Testing
Staff testing is scheduled for Friday, December 11 from 7 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. If you are unable to attend, please contact your supervisor.

Bell Insurance Pays It Forward with Gift Cards for Staff
Bell Insurance and Bell Bank selected Valley Senior Living as the recipient of their #PayItForward holiday project this year. $2000 in gift cards to locally owned businesses have been given to Valley Senior Living to share with employees. All employees will be included within their culture neighborhood for Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village, and employees from Tufte Manor and Wheatland Terrace will be entered into drawings for these gift cards. Thanks to Bell Insurance, and thank YOU for all you do!


12.8.20 Update

Positive Resident on Heartland
A resident from the Heartland neighborhood at Woodside Village tested positive today through the use of a rapid Binax test after developing symptoms. The resident has transferred to the COVID-19 care area at Valley on Columbia. An additional resident was admitted to the COVID-19 care area yesterday. We are caring for five residents within that area. Please continue to keep these residents and the staff in your thoughts and prayers.

First Person Vaccinated!
The first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been administered in the UK to an individual who will turn 91 next week. Read more here as distribution of the vaccine begins! >> First Person Receives Pfizer Vaccine

Valley Senior Living is Recognized by US News and World Report – 5 stars!
Valley Senior Living on Columbia and Woodside Village were recognized in the Grand Forks Herald today for receiving 5 stars and “high performing” status from U.S. News and World Report. This distinction is a direct reflection of the quality of care that is provided by our staff. Thank you! Read more here >> Grand Forks nursing homes among U.S. News and World Report’s best  Valley Senior Living was also recognized for the percentage of staff that completed the CMS COVID-19 training to slow the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes.

When You Had COVID-19, Did You Have MEDICAL EXPENSES? You may be eligible for a grant to pay for those costs!
The North Dakota Department of Commerce, in collaboration with Workforce Safety & Insurance, is administering a North Dakota Medical Expense Assistance Program (MEAP) for first responders and frontline healthcare workers. Federal CARES Act dollars were reallocated on December 3, 2020 to provide medical expense assistance to frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The application becomes active tomorrow morning at 10:00 am.

Please review the information below to determine if you may be available:

1) Employees may be eligible for MEAP as first responders or frontline healthcare workers.

  1. To be eligible for MEAP, an applicant must:
  2. be a first responder or frontline health care worker infected with COVID-19 (employee or volunteer), and
  3. have received a positive COVID-19 medical diagnosis on or after March 13, 2020, and have been denied a claim, or have not applied, for workers’ compensation benefits from WSI for COVID-19

To apply for the MEAP, go to the https:/belegendary.link/MEAP. Note: This application link will be active at 10:00 am on Wednesday, December 9, 2020.

The program will close when funds are exhausted or at 5:00 pm on December 20, 2020, whichever comes first. Funds will be awarded on a first come, first served basis.

The MEAP application period is short due to federal regulations that CARES Act dollars be spent by the end of 2020.


12.7.20 Update
Testing Update
Staff: Friday results are in and we had one caregiver test positive from the Oakcrest neighborhood. This makes a total of 5 staff positive over the whole last week!
Residents: Saturday results are mostly in and everyone is negative! 2 pending tests for the company at this moment. No residents tested positive last week across the company.

Reminder – we test on Tuesday and Friday this week at the Alerus Center from 7 am to 3:30 pm. If you are symptomatic, call the COVID Hotline at 701-741-7946 to schedule a rapid COVID test.

Restart of Socially Distanced Activities!
With the stellar test results, there are now a number of neighborhoods who have had no staff test positive over the last 14 days. With the decreased level of staff positivity and no visitation, it’s now safe to resume socially-distanced activities with masks (and no food) which is a great step in the right direction! We are not addressing dining at this time, but look forward to continued improvement in community spread. This applies to all communities with the exception of Tufte Manor who had a resident test positive within the last 14 days.

COVID-19 Care Area
We continue to care for three residents in the COVID-19 Care Area with a planned admission for this afternoon. Thank you for keeping all residents and staff in your thoughts and prayers.

Vaccine Update/Company Zoom
Later last week the North Dakota Health Department put out an update on the vaccine. CLICK HERE for Update. Still many questions unanswered. If you missed last week’s company zoom, Dr. Henderson addressed a number of questions we have received about the vaccine (last half of the meeting):   Company Zoom


12.4.20 Update

Testing Update
Our Wednesday resident test results are in and everyone is negative!  Our Tuesday testing event resulted in 1 rapid and 1 PCR positive staff. This has been a week of exceptional results for Valley, and for that we are thankful.

COVID-19 Care Area
In the last day we had two residents move into the COVID-19 care area from Altru. We are now caring for four residents in that area. Thank you for keeping all residents and staff in your thoughts and prayers.

Vaccine Update/Company Zoom
We continue to receive more information about the upcoming vaccine for COVID-19. Attached you will find a great document with answers to many frequently asked questions. We will continue to share more details about the vaccine and a timeline for arrival and vaccination as the information becomes available. Yesterday we shared a document with some frequently asked questions.

Thank you to Dr. Henderson for joining the company Zoom call today to answer some of the questions we have received about the vaccine:   Company Zoom  Please watch this as it gives you answers to what we know at this point.

Have a great weekend!


12.3.20 Update

Our staff testing event from Tuesday, December 1 is nearly complete with only seven tests currently pending (3 from Valley on Columbia, 2 from Woodside Village and 2 from Wheatland Terrace).

AMAZING NEWS!  From the testing event a total of two people tested positive! One staff member from Valley Transitions who last worked on December 3 and one staff member from Lanark who last worked on December 2 tested positive yesterday through the use of a rapid test. WAY TO GO VALLEY! Thank you for having a safe Thanksgiving in order to keep our residents and yourself safe and healthy!

Our next staff testing event is scheduled for Friday, December 4 at the Alerus Center from 7 am to 3:30 pm. If you are unable to attend please contact your supervisor.

Thank you for your recent questions submitted through the survey link regarding the upcoming COVID-19 vaccine. Click here to review a great document that answers many of the questions that we received from the survey link. Please take time to review it. Additional questions that were asked through the survey will be addressed soon. There are still a number of questions that will be answered when the product literature is released with the Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA.

See you tomorrow during our company Zoom!


12.2.20 Update

Since Monday we have received confirmation of three staff members who have tested positive from throughout the company:

  • A Lanark staff member who last worked 12/1
  • A Wheatland Terrace staff member who last worked 11/19
  • A Tufte Manor staff member who last worked 11/15

Valley Senior Living as an organization has seen improvement lately in the numbers of cases of staff and residents:

  • 91 staff tested positive in November, down from 106 staff in the prior month. 30 staff per week tested positive in the first two weeks, and 16 staff per week tested positive in the last two weeks, a decrease from 4.7 to 2.6 percent per week.
  • 8 residents tested positive in November, down from 35 residents in the prior month.
  • In November, there were no deaths due to COVID-19. In October, four residents died from COVID-19.

We are currently caring for two residents in the COVID-19 Care Area at Valley on Columbia and are happy to report two residents have recovered this week and moved home to their neighborhoods.

Our testing schedule remains twice weekly for residents and staff and the schedule has shifted this week. We are testing staff on Tuesday and Friday, and residents on Wednesday and Saturday. Currently we are awaiting results from the Tuesday and Wednesday testing events. The next all staff testing will be Friday, December 4 from 7 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. Please use door two and use caution in the parking lot due to the cross traffic created by the Altru testing line. In the event you develop symptoms or new symptoms begin, the COVID-19 Staff Illness Line (701.741.9646)  will determine if you are a candidate for a rapid test and will instruct you when and where to report for that test.

Vaccine Update
This week the federal vaccine advisory panel and the CDC have recommended that health-care workers and residents of long-term care facilities be the first to receive COVID-19 vaccine doses from the limited supply that will be available initially. We continue to gather questions from staff through the survey link. If you have not taken the survey and have questions, please do so soon, as we will be compiling a FAQ and following up on questions that have been asked. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CSQ6BB7

Thank you for continuing to keep our residents and each other in your thoughts and prayers. You are all HEROES and the work you do at Valley is so appreciated!


11.30.20 Update

Staff testing is December 1 from 7 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. If you have new or worsening symptoms, call the staff illness line at 741-9646 and rapid test at 12:00pm.

***If you were not able to attend the testing this past Friday and are also unable to attend tomorrow’s testing event, you will be removed from the schedule until you are able to test.***

Staff and resident testing has changed days to secure more timely processing of tests at the North Dakota State Lab. Staff will now test on Tuesday and Friday each week and residents will be tested on Wednesday and Saturday. Notify your supervisor if you are unable to test prior to the testing event.

Staff Tests from Friday (11/27)
We have received all staff results from the Friday, November 27 testing. Six total staff were confirmed positive:

  • 3 from Valley on Columbia – 1 direct care from Valley Transitions with last work day 11/18, 1 direct care from Lanark with last work day 11/27, and 1 CNA class member with last work day 11/27.
  • 2 from Woodside Village – 1 direct care staff from Oakcrest who last worked on 11/20, and 1 direct care staff from Prairieview at Woodside Village who last worked on 11/24.
  • 1 from Wheatland Terrace – 1 direct care staff member who last worked on 11/24 and one

Resident Tests from Saturday (11/28)
Two residents have been confirmed positive:

  • 1 from Tufte Manor identified early on Sunday morning
  • 1 from Valley Transitions confirmed last night.

Both residents have moved to the COVID-19 care area where we are currently caring for three residents.

Staff Rapid Tests from Monday (11/30)
We did 8 rapid tests for staff today.  One was positive:

  • 1 direct care staff from Wheatland Terrace who last worked on 11/19.

Thank you for doing the best you could to make the Thanksgiving holiday weekend the best it could be for the residents!


11.29.20 Update

Testing Update
This weekend we have been receiving results from testing events held earlier in the week and on Friday and Saturday. Two residents have tested positive, one from Wheatland Terrace and one from Tufte Manor, and both have moved to the COVID-19 Care Area at Valley on Columbia. We are currently caring for these two residents in the this area. One resident recovered on Friday and moved home to their neighborhood. Tufte Manor and Wheatland Terrace have returned to the use of N95 respirators for all staff and dining, activities and visitation remains suspended.

Staff results received since Thursday (11/26) include:

Valley Senior Living on Columbia – 5 staff members positive

  • 1 Valley Transitions – last worked 11/18
  • 1 Lanark – last worked 11/27
  • 1 CNA Class – last worked 11/27
  • 1 Riverside – last worked 11/22
  • 1 Contract staff (VT, Almonte, Reeves) – last worked 11/21

Wheatland Terrace – 1 staff member positive

  • Direct Care – last worked 11/24

Woodside Village – 2 staff members positive

  • Prairieview – last worked 11/24
  • Oakcrest – last worked 11/20

Only four tests remain pending for the 11/27 staff testing event. 92 tests remain pending for the resident testing event held on 11/28.

REMINDER! No staff testing tomorrow at the Alerus Center. Staff testing will now be held on Tuesday and Friday. Next staff testing is Tuesday, December 1 from 7 am to 3:30pm. If you are unable to attend please contact your supervisor. Rapid testing of symptomatic staff will continue and you will be notified by the COVID-19 Staff Illness line if you should report for rapid testing.


11.25.20 Update

TESTING DAYS CHANGING: COVID testing is moving back to the ND State Lab starting on Friday which will lead to quicker results by one to two days on average. As a result, staff testing will now take place on Tuesday and Fridays and resident testing will be Wednesday and Saturday.

The next all staff testing will be Friday, November 27 from 7 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. If you have symptoms, test between 12:00 and 12:30 pm. If you are unable to attend, please contact your supervisor. Next week testing will move to TUESDAY, December 1. When entering the Alerus Center parking lot please slow down and be cautious near the Altru testing line to avoid accidents in that area.

Rapid Testing and Weekly Update
Through the use of rapid testing due to symptom onset, three staff members out of four tested were confirmed positive earlier today. Two staff from Valley on Columbia include one direct care staff from Valley on Transitions who last worked on November 22, and one non-direct care staff from Valley on Columbia who last worked on November 23. The third positive staff is from the Hearthstone neighborhood at Woodside Village with a last worked day of November 24.

We are awaiting test results from the all staff testing on Monday, November 23, the resident testing on November 24, and the Wheatland Terrace resident results from November 21.

Despite the extremely high numbers of cases in our community and state, we are encouraged by our recent results:

  • No residents tested positive in the last week, down from three from the prior week. We have one resident in our COVID care area. Two residents recovered this week and moved home to their neighborhood.
  • 16 staff tested positive in the last week (2.5% of our staff). The staff positivity rate is half of what it was the first two weeks of November when it was 5% positive.

Company ZOOM: In case you missed the company-wide zoom update earlier today, here is the link >> 11.25 ZOOM  Thanks everyone for the great questions about the vaccine!

Yesterday we shared information about the upcoming COVID-19 vaccine. If you have any questions or concerns related to the vaccine, please fill out this survey >> COVID- 19 Vaccine Update Survey

Please continue to keep our residents and staff in your thoughts and prayers! Although this Thanksgiving will be different than many in the past, there is always something to be thankful for! At Valley Senior Living we are thankful for the exceptional job our staff has done this past year. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!


11.24.20 Update

COVID-19 Vaccine Update from Dr. Henderson, Kayla Porter, RN, BSN, CIC, Infection Preventionist, and Carra Hindberg, RN, BSN, CIC, Infection Preventionist

 It is looking more likely that a first round of vaccines may be distributed in mid to late December. While there are still a number of questions to resolve, we do have some answers:

  • It will be free of charge.
  • Healthcare workers will have first priority for the vaccine, with direct care staff having priority if there is an initial shortage of doses. When it is approved,
    • Pfizer has allocated 41,000 doses that could vaccinate 20,500 North Dakotans (Initial dose and second dose 3 weeks later).
    • Moderna has allocated 30,000 doses that could vaccinate 15,000 North Dakotans (Initial dose and second dose 4 weeks later).
  • The following is a brief article from the CDC about the vaccination plan. If after reading this information you have questions or concerns about the vaccine, please share them with us via a one question survey at the following link: COVID- 19 Vaccine Update Survey. You can respond anonymously or give us your name. We will use these questions to help guide us in future information that we share about the vaccine as more details become known.

10 Things Healthcare Professionals Need to Know about U.S. COVID-19 Vaccination Plans

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/vaccination.html

Updated Nov. 20, 2020

In the United States, there is not yet an authorized or approved vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The federal government, through Operation Warp Speed, has been working since the pandemic started to make one or more COVID-19 vaccines available as soon as possible. Although CDC does not have a role in developing COVID-19 vaccines, CDC has been working closely with health departments and partners to develop vaccination plans for when a vaccine is available.

With the possibility of one or more COVID-19 vaccines becoming available before the end of the year, here are 10 things healthcare professionals need to know about where those plans currently stand.

  1. Many COVID-19 vaccine candidates are in development, and clinical trials are being conducted simultaneously with large-scale manufacturing. It is not known which vaccines will be authorized or approved—CDC is planning for many possibilities.

CDC is working with partners at all levels, including healthcare associations, on flexible COVID-19 vaccination programs that can accommodate different vaccines and multiple scenarios. CDC is in contact with your state public health department and immunization program manager, and we will continue to stay in contact throughout this entire process.

  1. The safety of COVID-19 vaccines is a top priority.

The current vaccine safety system is strong and robust, with the capacity to effectively monitor COVID-19 vaccine safety. Existing data systems have validated analytic methods that can rapidly detect statistical signals for possible vaccine safety problems. These systems are being scaled up to fully meet the needs of the nation. Additional systems and data sources are also being developed to further enhance safety monitoring capabilities. CDC is committed to ensuring that COVID-19 vaccines are safe. Learn more about how CDC works to ensure the safety of vaccines in the United States.

  1. As a patient’s most trusted source of information about vaccines, you will play a critical role in helping build confidence in COVID-19 vaccination.

As you talk with patients, acknowledge the disruption COVID-19 has had on all our lives. This allows you to establish common concerns that can be addressed by vaccination. It’s understandable that patients will have questions and CDC is developing resources to help you address these concerns.

  1. At least at first, COVID-19 vaccines may be used under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Learn more about Emergency Use Authorization and watch a video on what an EUA is.

  1. Once FDA authorizes or approves use of COVID-19 vaccine(s), limited quantities will become available very quickly because of advance planning by the U.S. government and other entities.

Typically, it can take months for a vaccine to become available after it receives FDA authorization or approval, but in the case of a COVID-19 vaccine, it could be a matter of days. CDC is already planning, in collaboration with many partners, for delivering vaccines. With funding from the federal government, manufacturing capacity for selected vaccine candidates is being advanced while they are still in development rather than waiting to scale up after approval or authorization.

  1. Limited COVID-19 vaccine doses may be available this year, but supply will increase substantially in 2021.

The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as large quantities are available. The federal government began investing in select vaccine manufacturers to help them increase their ability to quickly make and distribute a large amount of COVID-19 vaccine.

  1. If there is limited supply, some groups may be recommended to get a COVID-19 vaccine first.

Experts are working on figuring out how to give these limited vaccines in a fair, ethical, and transparent way. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) gave input to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). ACIP will issue recommendations to CDC once a vaccine is authorized or approved for use.

  1. All interested vaccination providers may not receive vaccines immediately.

If there is a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines, doses will likely be distributed to providers that serve groups identified to get vaccinated first. There will be an application and onboarding process for those interested in providing COVID-19 vaccines. There are specific logistical requirements, including requirements for vaccine storage and handling, product tracking, administration, and reporting. It will be important to work with your state and local health department to get the latest information on vaccine distribution and availability in your community.

  1. At first, COVID-19 vaccines may not be authorized, approved, or recommended for children.

Only non-pregnant adults participated in early clinical trials for various COVID-19 vaccines. However, clinical trials continue to expand who is recruited to participate. The groups recommended to receive the vaccines could change in the future.

  1. COVID-19 vaccine planning is being updated as new information becomes available.

CDC will continue to update this website as plans develop.

Please respond to the one question survey and share any questions or concerns you have about the COVID-19 Vaccine: COVID- 19 Vaccine Update Survey


11.23.20 Update

We have received our test results from the November 20 testing of staff. Five staff from Woodside Village and two from Valley on Columbia tested positive (one from the 11/20 and one from a rapid test 11/23).

  • Woodside Village – 2 direct caregivers from Oakcrest, last working on November 21 and 22, 3 non-direct caregivers, last working on November 20 and 21
  • Valley on Columbia – 1 direct caregiver from Riverside, last working on November 9, 1 direct caregiver from Reeves, last work day November 20, and 1 non-direct caregiver, last working on November 17

No residents tested positive in the last two events. We have final results from the November 17 resident testing, with 2 test pending, all others are negative. All 11/21 Tufte, Valley on Columbia, and Woodside Village tests are back and negative. We are waiting on Wheatland Terrace resident results.

The COVID-19 care area is currently caring for two residents. One resident recovered and moved home to their neighborhood on Saturday.

All staff are testing today at the Alerus Center and all residents will test tomorrow. Symptomatic staff will rapid test at the Valley on Columbia classroom at noon on Wednesday. The next all staff testing is scheduled for Friday, November 27. If you are unable to attend, please contact your supervisor now.


11.20.20 Update

Testing Results
We have received all but 14 test results from the November 16 staff testing. Six staff have tested positive with two from Woodside Village, one from Tufte, and three from Valley on Columbia.

  • Woodside Village – 1 Direct Care (Oakcrest – 11/13) 1 Non Direct Care (10/31)
  • Valley on Columbia – 2 Direct Care (Almonte – 11/17, Valley Transitions – 11/9) 1 Non Direct Care (11/10)
  • Tufte Manor – 1 Direct Care (11/14)

Two additional staff were confirmed positive today through the use of rapid testing due to symptom onset. One staff member is from the Prairieview neighborhood at Woodside Village and last worked on November 18, and one is a non-direct caregiver from Valley on Columbia who last worked on November 11. We will continue to utilize the rapid testing with symptomatic staff at 12:00 to 12:30 on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week.

We are receiving resident test results from November 17. So far all residents from Tufte have tested negative, all residents test received for Valley on Columbia have been negative with 15 pending and we have not received any of the results from Woodside Village or Wheatland Terrace. We will notify you if any of the remaining results are positive.

COVID-19 Care Area
We are currently caring for three residents in the COVID-19 care area. Please keep these residents and the COVID care area staff in your thoughts and prayers.

Reminder
All staff will test on Monday, November 23, 7 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. Symptomatic staff come at 12:00 to 12:30 pm for your rapid test. Please use door 2. If you are unable to attend, contact your supervisor.

Thanksgiving/Holidays
COVID doesn’t take the holiday off. Neither should you from social distancing. I’m not saying don’t see your family. I’m going to see my Mom for Thanksgiving – socially distanced in my garage. FaceTime or Zoom with your family if you can’t be together and don’t attend or host if you can’t socially distance your guests. The following is a link to CMS guidance for the holidays: CMS Alert

Benefits Enrollment
Open enrollment for health, vision, dental, and other employment benefits is underway and runs through December 7, 2020. Liazon is requesting everyone to sign up by December 4 to ensure your benefits cards are mailed to you by the start of the new year. If you have questions please contact Kathy in payroll at 701.787.7956. The enrollment website is: https://brightchoices.liazon.com/Account/LogOn?ReturnUrl=%2f

Thank you Healthcare Heroes! You are doing amazing work in a pandemic. Here is a link to today’s company Zoom >> 11.20 ZOOM


11.18.20 Update

Test Results Update
We are encouraged to see staff testing events are improving significantly from the prior week.  This is the first sign that we could see decreased cases in Grand Forks County in the coming weeks.

  • Between November 2 and 6, we had 40 staff and 2 residents test positive for COVID-19.
  • Between November 9 and 13, we had 15 staff and 3 residents test positive for COVID-19, two from the Prairieview neighborhood at Woodside Village and one from the Lanark neighborhood at Valley on Columbia.

When you consider we had 55 staff positive for COVID-19 during the last two weeks and 5 residents test positive in total, you are clearly doing a phenomenal job of mask use and hand hygiene to keep our residents safe!

All staff were tested on Monday, November 16, and all residents were tested Tuesday, November 17. We are beginning to receive results from staff testing and remind you to watch for text message notification from the state lab with your test results. In the event your test would include positive results, please call the Incident Commander immediately at 701.215.5360. We are expecting resident results within 24 to 48 hours. As usual, we will keep you informed of any additional positive test results.

All Staff Testing
The next all staff testing will be held on Friday, November 20 from 7 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. Use door 2 and call your supervisor if you are unable to attend.

Rapid Testing Staff
We will continue to rapid test staff only when symptomatic. Situations when rapid testing will be utilized include:

  • A person who is symptomatic will be instructed to attend the next rapid testing event.
  • A person who does not have results from a previous test that was completed due to symptoms will be instructed to attend the next rapid testing event.
  • A person who does not have improvement in symptoms or has new or worsening symptoms (even with a negative PCR result), will be instructed to attend the next rapid testing event.

If the rapid test result is negative, the person will proceed through PCR testing. If the results is positive, the positive employee protocol will be initiated and the employee will begin quarantine.

The schedule for rapid testing includes:

  • 12:00 – 12:30p on Staff Mass Testing Events Days (Monday and Friday at Alerus Center)
  • 12:00 – 12:30p on Wednesday, starting next week (11/25) at Valley on Columbia, back classroom

Benefits Enrollment Starts Today
For the first year in many years, the cost of health insurance will slightly decrease in 2021! Open enrollment for health, vision, dental, and other employment benefits starts today, November 18, and runs through December 7, 2020. Liazon is requesting everyone to sign up by December 4 to ensure your benefits cards are mailed to you by the start of the new year. If you have questions please contact Kathy in payroll at 701.787.7956. The enrollment website is: https://brightchoices.liazon.com/Account/LogOn?ReturnUrl=%2f

CMS Training
Valley Senior Living was publicly recognized yesterday by the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services for having more than 50% of our staff completed the CMS training designed to help staff combat the spread of coronavirus in nursing homes. This is a critical step to equip staff with the latest information regarding infection control, vaccine distribution and other topics. Valley Senior Living joins only two other nursing homes in the state of North Dakota to accomplish this milestone.

Vaccine Update
We have received a COVID-19 vaccine availability update from Grand Forks Public Health. It is likely that Pfizer and Moderna will submit for FDA emergency use authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine in the near future and could be approved for use soon. Noted next steps for vaccination include:

  • The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will make recommendations on the use of the vaccine after EUA authorization.
  • It is likely that healthcare providers (paid and unpaid) with direct patient contact will be the first to be vaccinated.

Current planning assumptions are that 18 million doses will be available initially in the United States. North Dakota could then expect about 42,000 doses, which could be used for about 21,000 people (each person needs two doses). We are hopeful for a vaccine in the near future, for the health and safety of residents, and to allow us to return to a new normal at Valley Senior Living.

Nominate Valley Senior Living
Here’s something fun! Scheels in Grand Forks is accepting nominations of non-profits to support with a giving campaign during the holiday season. Here is the link to the google doc where you can nominate Valley Senior Living.

  • Website – valleyseniorliving.org
  • Select Other & Type – Senior Living

We are currently caring for three residents in the COVID-19 care area. Two residents recovered and moved home to their neighborhood today. Thank you for continuing to support each other and thank you for the care, compassion and support you give to the residents. You are all heroes during this pandemic!


11.17.20 Update

Staff Testing Results
We are receiving results from the November 13 staff testing. Two staff from Tufte Manor tested positive, one direct care with last work day November 1, and one non-direct care with last work day November 15. One staff member from Prairieview at Woodside Village tested positive who last worked on November 9, and one staff from Lanark at Valley on Columbia tested positive with last work day November 9.

All staff were tested yesterday and residents were tested this morning. We will continue to update you with any additional positive test results that are received. Please continue to check the text message notifications with individual testing results. If a positive result is received, contact the Incident Commander immediately at 701.215.5360.

Symptomatic Staff and Rapid Testing
Staff will be rapid tested only when experiencing symptoms:

  • A person who is symptomatic will be instructed to attend the next rapid testing event.
  • A person who does not have results from a previous test that was completed due to symptoms will be instructed to attend the next rapid testing event.
  • A person who does not have improvement in symptoms or has new or worsening symptoms (even with a negative PCR result), will be instructed to attend the next rapid testing event.

If the rapid test result is negative, the person will proceed through PCR testing. If the result is positive, the positive employee protocol will be initiated and the person will be quarantined.

The schedule for rapid testing will be as follows:

  • 12:00-12:30p on Staff Mass Testing Event Days (Monday and Friday).
  • 12:00-12:30p on Wednesdays ***Starting 11/25/20*** This will be completed at the Valley on Columbia campus, back classroom.

COVID-19 Care Area
We are currently caring for five residents in the COVID-19 care area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia. Please keep the residents and all staff at Valley in your thoughts and prayers!


Testing Results
Yesterday we received confirmation of one resident from the Prairieview neighborhood at Woodside Village tested positive. The resident was moved to the COVID-19 care area at Valley on Columbia last night. All other resident tests from November 14 have been received with negative results. We are currently caring for five residents in the COVID-19 care area. One resident recovered and moved to a neighborhood today. Please continue to keep these residents and the staff in the COVID-19 care area in your thoughts and prayers.

Today we received confirmation of a support staff member who tested and last worked on November 13 at Valley on Columbia has tested positive. In addition, a non-direct care staff member from Valley on Columbia who reported to work today and then developed symptoms has been confirmed positive through a rapid test. We will continue to rapid test symptomatic staff and residents as needed and for quick identification of positive infections.

We have had very little communication regarding the Friday staff tests other than the one positive result. All staff were tested again today and all residents will test tomorrow. Please continue to stay safe and healthy, and thank you for your continued dedication to Valley and the residents!


11.13.20 Update

Testing Update
Today we received confirmation from the November 10 testing that one resident from the Lanark neighborhood at Valley on Columbia tested positive. This resident moved to the COVID-19 care area today. We are currently caring for five residents in the COVID-19 care area. Three residents are from Woodside Village, one from Valley on Columbia and one is a move in from Altru. Please continue to keep these residents and the COVID-19 care area staff in your thoughts and prayers.

In addition to the all staff testing today, symptomatic staff were rapid tested this afternoon. Of the 13 staff members tested, two were confirmed positive. One staff member was from the Reeves neighborhood at Valley on Columbia with last work day November 12, and one was from the Prairieview neighborhood at Woodside Village with last work day November 11.

All residents will be tested tomorrow and all staff will test on Monday, November 16 at the Alerus Center from 7 am to 3:30 pm. Contact your supervisor if you are not able to attend.

As we approach another weekend, the Board of Directors at Valley has asked to share a message with all staff:

Dear staff of Valley Senior Living,

At our Valley Senior Living Board meeting on Thursday, Pastor Lynn Ronsberg lead us in devotions that were very timely and meaningful to the board.   I’d like to share it with you.

Devotion for Valley Senior Living
This pandemic has gone on much longer than any of us ever expected or anticipated.  These days we are all weary and overwhelmed with the burdens it has caused on our lives, and we wonder: How long will this go on? The psalmist asks the same question in Psalm 13:

 Psalm 13 How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?

How long will you hide your face from me?  

How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long?

How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? 

 Consider and answer me, O LORD my God! Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death, and my enemy will say, “I have prevailed”; my foes will rejoice because I am shaken. 

But I trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.  I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Notice at the end of the Psalm, after asking the question “How long?” and telling God what it feels like and what is needed, the Psalmist remembered God’s steadfast love and presence, even in the midst of difficult and challenging times.  God IS there, even in these challenging times!  We are not forgotten and on our own.  God leads us through these days.

Just 10 psalms later is the beloved Psalm 23, a psalm of hope and comfort.  God is our shepherd, watching out for us, leading us, providing for us, and even carrying us through times like these.

Psalm 23 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. 

He makes me lie down in green pastures;

he leads me beside still waters;

he restores my soul.

He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me;

your rod and your staff– they comfort me. 

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,

and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD my whole life long.

Here the psalmist proclaims, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me.”  God IS with us in this pandemic, giving us hope and comfort and his constant presence.  May you know that and feel God’s presence as you care for the residents and staff of Valley Senior Living.  You are appreciated and you are loved!

We on the board respond with a humble and heart felt AMEN.  Thank you for all you are doing for our residents, your team mates, and our community!

John Snustad, Board Chair

In case you missed today’s company zoom with updates from the week, here is the link to view >> ZOOM 11.13.20


11.12.20 Update

Testing Results Update

We continue to await the final test results from the November 6 and Monday, November 9 staff testing, and Tuesday, November 10 resident testing (Woodside Village starting to receive results today).

Today we received confirmation of one resident from Prairieview at Woodside Village tested positive. The resident has moved to the COVID-19 care area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia. We are now caring for three residents in the COVID-19 care area, all from Woodside Village.

Last night and this morning we received eleven additional positive test results for staff from Valley. These positive tests include:

  • Woodside Village (3): 1 direct care from Hearthstone – last work day 11/8, 1 non-direct care – last work day 11/11, 1 direct care from Oakcrest – last work day 9/6
  • Valley Senior Living on Columbia (8): 1 direct care from Reeves – last work day 11/2, 1 direct care from Riverside – last work day 11/1, 1 non-direct care from Valley Transitions – last work day 11/11, 1 contract staff from Valley Transitions – last work day 11/11, 2 non-direct care- last work days 11/4 & 11/11, 2 support staff – last work days 10/8 & 11/11.

So far a total of 27 staff have tested positive between Friday and Monday’s tests. We have approximately 80 pending results between the two testing events.

Infection Control Survey from ND DoH
Valley on Columbia had our 5th unannounced infection control survey from the Department of Health onsite this afternoon. The survey will finish with offsite interviews tomorrow. Everything has gone well so far.

Friday Testing – Rapid Tests for Symptomatic Staff
Friday we are testing from 7am to 3:30pm at the Alerus Center as usual with one change: if you have COVID-19 related symptoms, come to the Alerus between 12pm to 1pm.  We will use the Abbott BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests to determine if you test positive or not for COVID-19. You will have your results in 15 minutes.

  • If you test positive with the BinaxNOW test, we will contact the North Dakota Department of Health to report the positive case.
  • If you test negative, it is only presumed negative and you will proceed to taking your PCR test. It is only PRESUMED negative because you may still find out you have COVID-19 with the PCR test because that test is more sensitive to detecting the virus.

The BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests have been proven to be very accurate in identifying positive COVID-19 in symptomatic individuals. In our experience, residents that test positive with the BinaxNOW test who have had a previous PCR test in process later find out that the PCR test was positive as well. Also in our experience, we have had a symptomatic resident have tested negative with the BinaxNOW, but they tested positive from their PCR test on the same day. This just underscores that people are only presumed negative and that you should continue to isolate yourself until you have your PCR test back.

With the alarming community spread that is happening, call the COVID-19 Staff Illness line at 701.741.9646 with any new symptoms, or any exposures to individuals positive for COVID-19. Thank you for the unending dedication to the job you do and to the residents at Valley!


11.11.20 Update

Last Friday, November 6, all staff tests were shipped to the lab in North Carolina that works in conjunction with the North Dakota State Lab. We were notified on Monday that the lab had been experiencing IT issues and our results would be delayed. The confirmation texts are functioning for some and not others. Please monitor your personal phone in case you would be notified of a positive test result. If you do receive a call, it is extremely important that you contact the Incident Commander immediately at 701.215.5360.

So far today, we have confirmation of eighteen staff members testing positive. This includes:

Valley On Columbia: 9 Staff (1 Lanark – last worked 11/5, 1 Riverside – last worked 11/8, 2 Reeves – last worked 10/6 & 10/28, 1 COVID-19 Care Area – last worked 11/7, 1 Almonte – last worked 11/6, 1 Contract Direct Care Staff – last worked 10/31, 1 Non-Direct Care – last worked 10/28, and 1 Support Staff – last worked 11/11)

Woodside Village: 3 staff (2 Prairieview – last worked 11/5 & 11/8, 1 Heartland – last worked 11/10)

Tufte Manor: 6 Staff (4 Direct Care – last worked 10/26, 11/1, 11/2, & 11/8, 2 Non-Direct Care – last worked 11/10 & 11/11)

Wheatland Terrace: 0 Staff

COVID-19 Care Area

We are currently caring for two residents from Woodside Village in the COVID-19 care area at Valley on Columbia. Please continue to keep the residents and staff in your thoughts and prayers.

The current status of active cases at all Valley Senior Living communities as recorded by the North Dakota Department of Health (the new active cases received on Monday for residents and today for staff will be included in tomorrow’s North Dakota Department of Health dashboard update as they have been experiencing technical issues):

Valley Senior Living on Columbia: 0 Residents, 14 Staff

Woodside Village: 0 Residents, 12 Staff

Tufte Manor: 0 Residents, 6 Staff

Wheatland Terrace: 0 Residents, 1 Staff

COVID-19 Care Area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia: 2 Residents, 2 Recovered This Week

Veterans Day
Today, Veterans Day, we would like to extend our sincere thank you to veterans who have served so selflessly and courageously. We have many Veterans who live at Valley, and many who work at Valley. To those who have served, and those who continue to serve… Happy Veterans Day!

For Valley, this has been another week with a low number of residents testing positive. We thank our staff, and we thank the residents for continuing to be diligent with PPE usage and all other precautions that are necessary to stop the virus from spreading within our care communities. Other long term care facilities in North Dakota are struggling, and we ask that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers. Currently, there are about 1,400 residents and staff in our state currently infected by COVID-19. For additional updates continue to check our website at valleyseniorliving.org and on the informational hotline at 701.787.7551.

Staff Testing
All staff will test on Friday, November 13, from 7 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. Please use door 2. If you are unable to attend, contact your supervisor now.


11.10.20 Update

We have received confirmation of all tests from the November 7 testing of residents. Two residents, as reported last night, have been confirmed positive. The two residents are from Woodside Village (Prairieview and Hearthstone) and transferred to the COVID-19 Care Area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia last night. One of the two Woodside Village residents was a prior positive resident.

At Valley on Columbia we had a prior positive resident from the Riverside neighborhood, who upon waiting 90 days, tested inconclusive the first time and then subsequently positive for the second test. This is an issue that is happening more frequently in our state as residents hit their 90 day retest window. The following is a description of how we handle these situations.

From Dr. Henderson and Kayla Porter, Infection Preventionist:

I know there have been some concerns expressed about our residents who have repeat tests positive for COVID. This is something that we have spent a lot of time researching and discussing and we felt explaining our reasoning would help to alleviate some of those concerns.

For patients who test positive for COVID 19, after 10 days for most people (and in cases about 15), they haven’t been able to isolate any live virus from these individuals, telling us they aren’t contagious. However, many of these people still have fragments of viral genetic material still present and may still test positive with the type of swab that we are doing regularly as a screening test. During this 90 day window, the CDC feels it is less likely to develop a new re-infection and it isn’t recommended to re-test people who are asymptomatic during this time.  

After about 90 days, there is more of a chance of waning immunity or of minor mutations in the virus that make it possible for people to become re-infected and potentially get sick and/or be able to spread the virus to other people. 

How VSL uses this information:

 A resident who is previously positive that has become eligible for re-test (after 90 days) WITH NO SYMPTOMS and are not a part of an identified outbreak:

  • If negative result(s) and then a positive result

            -We treat as new infection since we’ve had evidence that they cleared their old infection and now may have had a new exposure

  • If positive result(s) right after becoming eligible or if inconclusive result(s) then a positive result

           -We treat this as residual from their “old” infection since it is most likely that these people are part of the group that still had old non-infectious virus                          particles to flag the test positive and they aren’t very likely to be able to spread it to other people 

There are a different set of criteria used if a resident is symptomatic (within or outside of their 90 window) or if there is an identified outbreak in that area. These cases will be looked at individually. This link goes into detail a bit more about that: ​https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/duration-isolation.html

-Dr H & Kayla

At this time we still are awaiting all staff results from Friday, November 6. The tests collected on November 6 are being processed at the lab in North Carolina where they are experiencing IT issues. We are hoping to receive these results within the next 24 hours. As usual, we will alert you to any positive test results in staff. If you would happen to receive the personal text confirmation of your COVID-19 test and the result reads as positive, please contact the incident commander immediately at 701.215.5360.

We are also anticipating results from the staff testing held on Monday, November 9 and resident testing held today to be arriving within 24 to 48 hours.

Let’s all do our best to take care of ourselves and each other through this very tough stretch of this pandemic. Thank you for the work you do and the exceptional care you provide to the residents!


11.9.20 Update

Over the weekend we were fortunate to close the COVID-19 Care Area for two days after our last two residents moved back to their neighborhoods.  Also, all resident tests from November 3 were negative.

From our November 7 resident tests, we received confirmation of a Prairieview and a Hearthstone resident who tested positive at Woodside Village. The COVID-19 Care Area is reopening this evening for those transfers in progress.

All staff results from Friday, November 6 and some resident results from Saturday, November 7 are still pending.

Watch for the text message notification from the lab with your test results. Please check those results as soon as received and notify the incident commander at 701.215.5360 if your results reflects a positive test.

The current pandemic situation in our community and state remains alarming, unsafe and may result in many adverse effects. Long term care is suffering across the state with numerous outbreaks and our hospital systems are stretched with many at full capacity in accordance with staffing ratios. The infection rates in North Dakota continue to occur at more than six times the national rate. Please continue to limit your chances for potential exposures by keeping your social circles small, only doing essential errands, ordering food for curbside pick-up vs. dining in, and avoiding all large gatherings. Your actions outside of work directly impact the health and safety of the residents you care for. Thank you for continuing to do the right thing!


11.6.20 Update

My profuse gratitude continues to go to all of you.  Thank you for your continued dedication and sacrifice for your residents. Your use of PPE and social distancing inside and outside work affects whether our residents will live through the next couple of months before there is a vaccine for them. Yesterday there were 1000 residents and staff with COVID cases in the state. Today it is 1300 – almost 600 long term care residents are currently positive for COVID-19 in North Dakota. This doubled within the last week.

Test results are unacceptably slow to come in for residents – from Tuesday, we have 12 tests for VC and about half of the results for WV, all negative so far. Staff testing is scheduled for Monday, November 9 from 7 am to 3:30 pm inside the Alerus Center. Please use door 2. If you are unable to attend, contact your supervisor.

Attached is today’s health officer’s dashboard for Grand Forks County. Here is a link to the North Dakota dashboard – please look throughout the state long term care facilities are currently in crisis. These documents are doing a great job of documenting society’s negligence and inability to protect our state’s most vulnerable citizens.

That said, you are all doing a fantastic job of using your PPE at work. Keep it up. We have had 60 staff in the last two weeks test positive for COVID and we have an outside chance of temporarily closing our COVID Care area on Saturday (pending Tuesday’s test results of course).

Here is the zoom link from our company-wide call today: Bottom line – It is every individual and household’s responsibility to not contract the virus – not just for your health, but so we can continue to safely care for our residents.


11.5.20 Update
The number of active positive cases in Grand Forks County is currently 1048. Nearly 600 people have died in North Dakota with COVID-19 and nearly 1000 residents and staff of long term care across North Dakota are currently positive with COVID-19. Hospital capacity in North Dakota is very limited.

Please stop all unnecessary activity to limit your potential exposure to the virus. Wear your mask, physically distance, and practice good hand hygiene. Do not gather with others who are not from your immediate household. Each one of us needs to take this seriously for the health and safety of the residents we care for, for our families, and for ourselves.

 NEW PROCESS CHANGE:

  • Your COVID-19 test results are being texted directly to you before we are contacted by the Department of Health. It is your responsibility to verify you are negative when you receive your message.
  • If your result reads positive, immediately call the Valley Senior Living Incident Commander at 701.215.5360. This is a different number than the COVID-19 Staff Illness line.

Please take a moment to program these numbers into your phone:

VSL Incident Commander: 701.215.5360

VSL COVID-19 Staff Illness Line: 701.741.9646

If you are not receiving your text results from 844-937-2881, please notify the check in team at the all staff testing on Friday.

Staff Testing Results – 18 Staff Test Positive:
We have received all but four staff test results from the November 3 testing event. 18 total staff tested positive bringing our staff positivity rate to 5% for the week. Contact tracing is in process for all staff and you will notified if additional precautions are necessary due to exposure. Positive staff include:

Valley on Columbia

  • 1 Contracted employee working within Lanark and Reeves, last working 11/4
  • 1 Direct Care staff from Almonte, last working 11/4
  • 1 Direct Care staff from COVID-19 Care Area, last working 11/2
  • 1 Direct Care staff from Lanark, last working 10/30
  • 2 Non-Direct Care staff, last working 11/2 and 11/3
  • 2 Off-site staff, last working 11/4

Woodside Village

  • 2 Direct Care staff from Heartland, last working 11/4 and 11/5
  • 1 Direct Care staff from Hearthstone, last working 11/2
  • 2 Direct Care staff from Prairieview, last working 10/28 and 11/4
  • 1 Non-Direct Care staff, last working 11/4

Tufte Manor

  • 1 Direct Care staff, last working 11/3
  • 1 Non-Direct Care staff, last working 11/3

Wheatland Terrace

  • 1 Direct Care staff, last working 11/4

Resident results from the November 4 testing are expected within the next 24 hours. We are currently caring for three residents in the COVID-19 Care Area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia.

All Staff Testing:

All staff will test on Friday, November 6 from 7 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. Please use door 2. The twice weekly testing schedule will continue with all staff testing each Friday and Monday. If you are unable to attend, contact your supervisor.

Stay safe and stay well, thank you for all you do to care for the residents at Valley.


11.4.20 Update

Testing Results:
As the positivity rate in Grand Forks County and our community remains unacceptably high, our COVID-19 testing frequency will continue with a twice per week schedule for all staff and residents. All staff were tested on Monday, November 2 and residents were tested on Tuesday, November 3. We have received all but two test results for Wheatland Terrace, and we are awaiting final results for the other communities. We have received confirmation of one positive test from Woodside Village. The staff member is a direct caregiver in the Heartland neighborhood with a last worked day of October 27.

A wrap up of Friday’s testing included 13 positive staff company-wide and no positive residents from Saturday. We are currently caring for three residents in the COVID-19 care area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia. Two residents recovered this week and one resident who was hospitalized died on Friday. We ask that you keep the family in your thoughts and prayers.

Observation Area:
With greatly increased community risk, the back hall of Valley Transitions will be a formal observation area for our skilled nursing facilities. ALL admissions and ALL hospital returns for Valley on Columbia and Woodside Village will go through a 14 day period of isolation precautions on Valley Transitions.  This area gives us the advantage of having dedicated staff to concentrate this increased risk in one area without further exposing our long term care residents. Move ins and hospital returns for Tufte Manor and Wheatland Terrace will be directly to their room or apartment and will require 14 days of isolation. For those staff working in this area, N95 masks will be a standard part of the PPE.

The current status of active cases at all Valley Senior Living communities as recorded by the North Dakota Department of Health (the new active cases received today will be included in tomorrow’s North Dakota Department of Health dashboard):

Valley Senior Living on Columbia: 1 Resident, 14 Staff

Woodside Village: 0 Residents, 12 Staff

Tufte Manor: 0 Residents, 3 Staff

Wheatland Terrace: 0 Residents, 1 Staff

COVID-19 Care Area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia: 3 Residents, 2 Recovered This Week

This has been the third week in a row that fewer residents are testing positive at Valley Senior Living, but we see statewide that a number of long term care communities previously unaffected are experiencing unprecedented outbreaks. There are about 1,000 residents and staff in our state currently infected by COVID-19. Please keep those in long term care across all of North Dakota in your thoughts and prayers.

Staff Testing:
All staff will test on Friday, November 6, from 7 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. Please use door 2. If you are unable to attend, contact your supervisor now.


11.2.20 Update

Testing Update:
We have received nearly all resident test results from October 31 (15 remaining for Valley on Columbia, 1 remaining for Wheatland Terrace) and all results are negative!

We have received all test results for staff from the October 30 event. Yesterday we reported on three staff that tested positive (2 from Tufte Manor and 1 from Woodside) and today we have an additional 10 staff with positive test results.

Valley on Columbia:

  • 2 Direct Care from Almonte, last working 10/23 and 10/26
  • 1 Direct Care from Reeves, last working 10/31
  • 1 Non-Direct Care, last working 10/29
  • 3 Contracted Employees working within Valley Transitions, Reeves, Riverside and Lanark, last working 10/30 and 10/31

Woodside Village:

  • 1 Direct Care from Prairieview, last working 10/25
  • 1 Direct Care from Hearthstone, last working 10/29
  • 1 Non-Direct Care, last working 10/26
  • 1 Contracted Staff within Oakcrest, last working 10/30

COVID-19 Care Area:
We are currently caring for four residents in the COVID-19 care area. Please continue to keep the residents with COVID-19 and the care team in your thoughts and prayers.

Last night the prayer vigil was held along Columbia Road. The faith leaders at the vigil prayed for all Saints, those who have passed with COVID-19, those suffering with COVID-19, care partners at Valley Senior Living and all healthcare workers in our community. Here is a video of the event >> Prayer Vigil 11.1.2020


11.1.20 Update

COVID-19 Care Area:
We are saddened to report a resident who was hospitalized with COVID-19 passed away on Friday. Please keep the family and our staff in your thoughts and prayers.

We are currently caring for four residents in the COVID-19 Care Area.

Testing Update:
We are receiving results from the Friday, October 30 testing event for staff. So far, two non-direct care staff from Tufte Manor have tested positive with last work days of 10/29 and 10/30. One support staff from Woodside Village has tested positive with last work day of 10/30. We will update you with the final results tomorrow, and we are expecting resident results within the next 24 to 48 hours.

Prayer Vigil:
A prayer vigil will be held along Columbia Road tonight from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. Luminaries will line the sidewalk from the entrance to Altru Emergency Room  to 14th Ave. South. Faith leaders from many congregations will be on hand. This is not a time to gather, but rather a time to stop for individual prayer with a focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, those suffering with COVID-19, and frontline staff.

All Staff Testing:
All staff will test tomorrow, Monday, November 2 from 7 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. Please continue to use door 2.

Thank you for your continued dedication to the residents at Valley.


10.30.20 Update

Resident Testing Update:
Yesterday we received confirmation of one resident testing positive for COVID-19 from the Riverside neighborhood at Valley on Columbia. All other tests results for residents have been received and they are negative.

All staff are being tested today and all residents will be tested tomorrow. We will notify you of any positive test results. Don’t forget staff testing will take place on Monday, November 2 from 7 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. Please continue to use door 2. If you are unable to attend, contact your supervisor now.

COVID-19 Care Area:
We are currently caring for four residents in the COVID-19 care area. Two residents recovered and moved home to their neighborhood today.

Company Zoom and Update:
Today you received a handout at the staff testing event explaining changes that will be implemented over the next few weeks. Please reference this handout or watch the company-wide zoom for more details. If you have any additional questions, contact your supervisor for clarification. You can expect a letter by the end of next week with details explaining how many hours of COVID-19 absence pay you have used and how many are remaining.

Prayer Vigil:
Faith leaders from our community will be hosting a prayer vigil along Columbia Road Sunday evening from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. Luminaries will line the sidewalk from the Altru Emergency Room entrance to 14th Ave. South on Columbia Road. You are welcome to stop by at any time for a moment of prayer. There will be no formal program or prayer, and social distancing and masks are required. The faith leaders have extended the invitation to all staff from Valley Senior Living to join in this prayer vigil as we continue to face COVID-19 on the frontline line 24/7.

Halloween:
Woodside Village and Wheatland Terrace will host a drive-thru trick-or-treating on Saturday from 3:00 to 4:00 pm in the parking lot on the north side of Valley Senior Living on 42nd. Bring the kids, wear your costume, and drive-thru for a treat! Pictures and video will be taken and shared with residents. You are encouraged to make a sign of encouragement or a Happy Halloween message for residents.

Thank you for your tireless commitment to our residents through this pandemic. Please continue to keep yourself, your family and all residents safe and healthy.


10.29.20 Update

Resident Testing Update:
We have received nearly all resident results from the October 27 testing event across the organization. One resident from the Riverside neighborhood has tested positive and has moved to the COVID-19 care area. We are very happy to report all other residents from Valley Senior Living on Columbia (except 5 pending), Woodside Village (except 1 pending), Wheatland Terrace, Tufte Manor have been accounted for and they are negative!

Next Staff Testing:
All staff are now required to test twice each week. The next all staff testing is Friday, October 30 from 7 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center, use door 2. If you are unable to attend, contact your supervisor now.

Halloween:
With Halloween this weekend, please remember costumes cannot interfere with your regular and required PPE usage while at work tomorrow and Saturday.


10.28.20 Weekly Update

The last round of testing at Valley Senior Living resulted in 17 total staff members testing positive.  Over the last week we have had a total of 29 positive staff tests and 3 positive resident tests (2 at Valley on Columbia and 1 at Wheatland Terrace). This is an alarming rate of new infections over a short period of time and is a representation of what is happening in our community.

Testing results from October 26 include:

Wheatland Terrace

  • 1 Direct-Care, last worked 10/26
  • 1 Non-Direct Care, last worked 10/24

Woodside Village

  • 3 Direct Care staff from Prairieview, last worked 10/21, 10/24 and 10/27
  • 2 Direct Care staff from Heartland, last worked 10/24 and 10/27
  • 1 Direct Care staff from Oakcrest, last worked 10/27
  • 1 Support Staff, last work day 10/27
  • 1 Non-Direct Care, last worked 10/27

Valley Senior Living on Columbia

  • 2 Direct Care from Reeves, last worked 10/20 and 10/26
  • 1 Direct Care from Riverside, last worked 9/30
  • 2 Non-Direct Care, last worked 10/25 and 10/27
  • 1 Support Staff, last worked 10/15

Tufte Manor

  • 1 Non-Direct Care, last worked 9/30

All staff and all residents are now tested twice weekly. Residents were tested on Tuesday, October 27 and we are awaiting those results. We will notify you of any positive test. The next staff testing is schedule for Friday, October 30 from 7 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center, use door 2. If you are unable to attend, contact you supervisor now.

COVID-19 Care Area Update:
We are currently caring for six residents in the COVID-19 care area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia. Four residents recovered this week and one moved home. One resident remains hospitalized and one resident passed away last weekend in the COVID-19 care area. Please keep those residents, families, and staff in your thoughts and prayers.

Text Message Text Results from ND DOH:
Many of you may be receiving the text message test results from the North Dakota Department of Health in regard to  your COVID-19 test results. When you receive this test message you will need to click the link and enter your date of birth to view your individual test result. This is what the display will look like:

Grand Forks Mask Resolution:
On Tuesday, the Grand Forks City Council passed a mask mandate for the City of Grand Forks. This is step in the effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. Although Valley Senior Living has required the use of face masks within our facilities since the beginning of the pandemic, the mandate now reinforces our efforts for proper PPE usage when on our property. Click Here to view the resolution.


10.26.20 Update

We are saddened to report one resident died in the COVID-19 care area over the weekend. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and the COVID-19 care area staff at this time. We also received confirmation of a resident from the Almonte neighborhood testing positive for COVID-19 on Sunday. The resident moved to the COVID-19 care area.

Testing Results from October 23 & 24:
We are receiving results from the October 24 testing of residents and have received nearly all results from the October 23 testing of staff. We have received confirmation of ten staff members testing positive. Five are from Valley on Columbia (1 Reeves, 1 Almonte, 3 Non-Direct Care), two from Woodside Village (1 Hearthstone, 1 Non-Direct Care) and three from Tufte Manor (2 Direct Care, 1 Non-Direct Care).

Some resident results are starting to come in this afternoon. We have confirmation of one resident from Wheatland Terrace testing positive and one resident from Valley Transitions has tested positive. Both residents will move to the COVID-19 care area today. We will now be caring for 7 residents in the COVID-19 care area and we are happy to report three residents recovered and move home to their neighborhood today. Neither of these neighborhoods had a previously positive resident for the entire pandemic until today.

All staff were tested today and all residents will test tomorrow. We will continue to test twice weekly for the foreseeable future with the next staff testing scheduled for Friday.

We thank you for your continued dedication to the residents and to each other during this pandemic.


10.22.20 Update

Testing Results
All resident test results have been received from the October 19 and October 20 testing event. All resident test results are negative with only a couple of  tests pending for residents. Riverside and Almonte were not in this round of testing results on a different schedule with testing. We expect a set of results for those neighborhoods tonight or tomorrow.

COVID-19 Care Area Update
We are currently caring for nine residents in the COVID-19 care area. One resident recovered today and has returned home to their neighborhood. Two residents remain hospitalized. Please keep the staff that is working in the COVID-19 care area in your thoughts and prayers and provide encouragement.

 Supporting Staff during a Pandemic
This is an unprecedented time for everyone, and the situation continues to change daily, both in work life and home life. This may be one of the most stressful times of your career. The Employee Assistance Program at Valley Senior Living is here to provide resources for you and for your family members. You do not need to be a part of a health plan or other company benefits to access the support services. All services accessed are kept completely confidential and Valley Senior Living is not notified of who is accessing services. The wide range of services addressed include:

  • Stress and Anxiety
  • Grief and Loss
  • Marital/Relationship Difficulties
  • Family Situations
  • Alcohol and Substance Abuse
  • Parenting Questions
  • Workplace Concerns
  • Anger
  • Financial and Legal
  • Child & Elder Care

Assessment, short-term counseling and referral to community based resources are included as part of your Employee Assistance Program benefit, free of charge. You also have the option to access online seminars, financial and daily living calculators, relocation services and healthy living tools.

The employee assistance program available to Valley employees is LiveWell Solutions, a resource for living well at home and work.

Click on the Living Well Resources option and enter the company code: VALLEY

To reach LiveWell Solutions by phone, call 1.866.831.2181. You will have the opportunity to arrange visits, request a consultation, receive assistance with on-line resources, or access crisis care 24/7, 7 days a week.

Staff Testing, Friday, October 23
We will transition to twice per week testing of all staff and all residents across the company due to the positivity rate in our county. All staff will test tomorrow, Friday, October 23 from 7 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. Enter through door 2.

The staff testing schedule will now be every Monday and Friday and resident testing will be conducted on Tuesday and Saturday until further notice.


TWICE A WEEK TESTING BEGINS THIS FRIDAY FOR STAFF
The next all staff testing will be held on Friday, October 23 from 7 am to 3:30 pm inside the Alerus Center. Enter through door 2. The number of staff testing positive continues to rise. We are currently able to maintain staffing, although situations may become less than optimal. We are switching to testing all staff and residents twice per week based on the positivity rate of our state and in our county. Residents will be tested on Tuesdays and Saturdays while staff will be tested on Mondays and Fridays.

If North Dakota were a country, we would have the highest cases per capita of COVID-19 in the WORLD right now. Click to view the Grand Forks Health Officer’s Dashboard 10-21 which shows the dire situation we are in right now. 

Go back to early pandemic levels of activity. Stop any non-social distanced activity outside work beyond your household. This goes for the other people in your household as well.  Most of our staff’s positive results is due to community spread. Shrink your household’s social circle until this improves. We will not be able to care for our residents if this trend continues to worsen.

Testing Results Update:
Two residents were confirmed positive from Valley on Columbia, one from Almonte late on Tuesday (10/20) and one from Riverside today (10/21). Both residents have moved to the COVID-19 care area. We are now caring for 10 residents in the COVID-19 care area and two residents with COVID-19 are hospitalized. 12 residents recovered and returned home this week! With great sadness we reported that two residents did pass away this past weekend with COVID-19. Please continue to keep their families and the care staff in your thoughts and prayers.

The current pandemic situation in Grand Forks County has moved to the high risk level and at Valley Senior Living we are experiencing the effects of the extreme community spread that is happening. From the staff testing event on Monday, Valley had 20 staff members test positive for COVID-19, which is a staff positivity rate of 3%. This is triple what we would see on a higher week of staff testing over the last few months.  Very few of the positive staff are asymptomatic, with many experiencing symptoms that have begun within the last two days.

Valley on Columbia:

  • 2 Direct Care from COVID-19 Care Area, last working 10/18 and 10/19
  • 2 Direct Care from Lanark, last working 10/14 and 10/17
  • 2 Direct Care from Almonte, last working 10/16 and 10/20
  • 1 Direct Care from Reeves, last working 10/20
  • 1 Direct Care from Valley Transitions, last working 10/13
  • 4 Non-Direct Care staff, last working 10/16 and 10/20
  • 2 Support Staff, last working 10/2 and 10/12

Woodside Village:

  • 2 Direct Care from Heartland, last working 10/10 and 10/18
  • 1 Direct Care from Prairieview, last working 10/19
  • 2 Non-Direct Care, last working 10/18 and 10/19

Wheatland Terrace

  • 1 Direct Care, last working 10/19

Tufte Manor

  • No staff or residents testing positive

The current status of active cases at all Valley Senior Living communities as recorded by the North Dakota Department of Health (the new active cases received today will be included in tomorrow’s North Dakota Department of Health dashboard):

Valley Senior Living on Columbia: 4 Residents, 25 Staff

Woodside Village: 0 Resident, 11 Staff

Tufte Manor: 0 Residents, 1 Staff

Wheatland Terrace: 0 Residents, 4 Staff

COVID-19 Care Area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia: 10 Residents, 12 Recovered This Week, 2 Hospitalized

Visitation and non-essential medical appointments:
Visitation remains suspended at all locations and non-essential medical appointments will be cancelled and rescheduled for a later date. The high positivity rate in Grand Forks County poses an extreme risk for visitation inside our care communities and for residents who attend non-essential medical appointments.

We thank you for your continued dedication to the residents and to each other during this pandemic.


10.20.20 Update

Test Result Notification Change
We have had numerous requests by staff to have access to COVID-19 test results in a timely and efficient manner. The North Dakota State Lab, where our tests are currently being processed, will now be directly notifying each staff member with a text message of the negative or positive result. This change may happen as soon as this week for some employees and others may begin receiving the text result confirmation next week. We have no control over what time of day they may text you. As a company we will continue to report positive test results and include more detailed information about community and neighborhood where employees work.

The number of positive cases within Grand Forks County continues to spike. The positivity rate is nearing the point in our county where we may be required to test twice per week. In the meantime, please continue to reduce your interactions with those outside your immediate circle. We are not close to the finish line of this marathon and we each have a personal responsibility to keep residents and each other safe and healthy.


10.18.20 Update

It is with great sadness that we report two residents passed away yesterday who were in our COVID-19 Care Area. Please keep their families and our COVID-19 care area staff in your thoughts and prayers. We are currently caring for 12 residents in the COVID-19 care area. Two residents returned to their neighborhoods this weekend and three residents are in the hospital.

Testing results from the October 14 for Tufte and October 15 for Almonte were all negative. One resident from the Riverside neighborhood has tested positive for COVID-19 from October 15. This test result was received after the resident had transferred to the hospital due to an unrelated health condition. We continue to test these residents every three days.

Two staff tested positive from the makeup test event, one from Valley Transitions and one from Reeves. This brings our total staff positive from that event to a total of 19 staff, which is double anything we have experienced in a similar testing event. On Saturday, one staff member from the Prairieview neighborhood at Woodside Village has also tested positive.

Reminder – All staff are testing Monday, October 19, as usual at Alerus Door 2.

Please keep your activity and exposures to others as low as possible. The numbers of cases of COVID-19 rates in Grand Forks are nearly as high as when the UND students returned, and positive testing rates are at record levels.

Thank you all for your dedication to our residents – we are so fortunate to have such amazing staff to care for residents and each other to get through this pandemic.


10.15.20 Update

We have received final results from the latest round of testing for staff and residents. We have no additional positive results to report. The Tufte Manor resident test results from Sunday, October 11 were received overnight with all results negative! Recap of 10/11, 10/12, and 10/13 tests: 17 positive staff, 2 positive residents.

We are caring for 20 people in our COVID-19 Care Area. Three residents are still in the hospital. Two people went home today with four expecting to go home tomorrow!

In case you missed the company-wide zoom today, here is the link: Zoom 10.15.20

Upcoming testing reminders:
All Almonte and Tufte staff will test tomorrow, Friday October 16 from 12 to 2 pm in the Valley Transitions parking lot.

All staff will test Monday, October 19 from 7 am to 3:30 pm at the Alerus Center. Please use door 2.

Important Update:
The rates for the Valley Senior Living offered health insurance plans (medical, dental, vision and voluntary benefits) will not increase this year! In fact, they will slightly decrease. This is exciting news as we look ahead to 2021.


10.14.20 Weekly Update

Since the start of the pandemic in March, each week at Valley Senior Living presents new challenges. Our current situation at Valley Senior Living is similar to what is happening within the greater community and the State of North Dakota. Overall as a company, 17 staff members tested positive across the company yesterday, all from the staff testing event on October 12. There is no common link to the 17 staff cases – only three came from Tufte, Almonte, and Riverside combined. This is double the number we have seen in previous testing weeks. All staff results have been received.

We have results for everyone except for three people at Valley on Columbia between Monday and Tuesday’s tests. Two residents tested positive, one from Almonte and one from Riverside at Valley on Columbia. We are still waiting on most of the resident tests from Tufte Manor on Sunday, October 11. Wheatland Terrace has 53 results received, all negative from Tuesday, October 13. Woodside Village has 63 results received, all negative, 69 pending.

The spread in our community is happening at an alarming rate, and it is affecting all of us at Valley Senior Living. Please stop any unnecessary events, errands, etc. Do not eat inside restaurants, and do not go to bars. Patronize them by curbside pickup or delivery.

Testing results for staff includes:

Valley on Columbia: 11 staff

  • 1 Direct Care from Almonte, last working 10/13
  • 1 Direct Care from Reeves, last working 10/13
  • 1 Direct Care from Riverside, last working 10/12
  • 1 Direct Care from Valley Transitions, last working 9/30
  • 2 Direct Care from the COVID-19 Care Area, last working 10/7 and 10/11
  • 4 Non-Direct Care staff, last working 10/5 and 3 on 10/13
  • 1 Outside Contractor, last working 10/13

Woodside Village: 4 staff

  • 2 Direct Care staff from Prairieview, both with last working 10/11
  • 1 Direct Care staff from Heartland, last working 10/5
  • 1 Non-Direct Care staff, last working 10/12

Tufte Manor: 1 staff

  • Non-Direct Care, last working 10/13

Wheatland Terrace: 1 staff

  • Direct Care, last working 10/4

As we care for 22 residents in the COVID-19 care area today, 3 have recovered an moved home to their neighborhood this week, and 3 are currently hospitalized with 2 of those in critical care. Please say extra prayers for residents in the COVID-19 care area and the staff that is doing an exceptional job on the frontline each day. This is a very challenging time and the support of each other is important at this time.


10.12.20 Update

The past week has been extremely challenging at Valley. With the number of residents continuing to increase in the COVID-19 care area due to the current outbreaks, thank you all for supporting the residents and each other. Please reach out to your supervisor if there is an area where we can support you during this time.

Two Neighborhoods “Reopen” This Week!

  • Congratulations to the Oakcrest neighborhood on reaching day 15 without any additional residents who are positive. That neighborhood will resume as others at Woodside Village as of today (Monday).
  • Congratulations to the Lanark neighborhood on reaching day 18 without any additional residents who are positive. Due to the number of cases at Valley on Columbia, we are doing a hybrid reopening for the neighborhood in which staff will use N95s until we receive this week’s staff test results. Look for a communication from Kayla on the clarifications.

Testing Update:
We have received confirmation of four residents, three from the Almonte neighborhood and one from Riverside testing positive for COVID-19. The residents have been moved to the COVID-19 care area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia. Confirmation was also received of four staff members testing positive from the Friday testing event. Three staff are from the Almonte neighborhood with last working days of October 8, 9 and 11. One staff has lasted worked within the Reeves neighborhood on October 8.

The good news is that the other Almonte and Riverside resident results have been received and are negative (1 still pending for Almonte).

RESIDENT TESTING: All Tufte residents were retested on Sunday, and all residents from Almonte and Riverside were tested today as they continue on the three day testing cycle.  All other residents will test tomorrow.

STAFF TESTING: All staff from Valley Senior Living were also tested today. Tufte and Almonte staff should plan to test again on Friday.

COVID-19 Care Area:
We are currently caring for 22 residents in the COVID-19 care area with 2 residents in the hospital. We have expanded the COVID-19 care area to have capacity to 26 residents and potentially more if we put a second person in a private room. Please continue to keep the residents and staff in that area in your thoughts and prayers.


10.11.20 Update

We received positive COVID-19 results for 2 Tufte residents last evening.  Both of the residents are asymptomatic and were transferred to the Covid Care area at Valley on Columbia at 9:00 AM today.  The remaining Tufte resident results have been received and are all negative.  We are still awaiting results for residents of Almonte and Riverside, as well as staff results from Tufte and Almonte.

COVID-19 Care Area Update:
We are currently caring for 19 residents in the COVID-19 care area.  With the expansion of the area this week, we currently have eight open rooms with the ability to semi-privates residents in rooms if absolutely needed.   This will give us the capacity to care for an additional 16 residents if needed.

Visitation Update:
Visitation continues to be suspended within all of Valley Senior Living communities, with the exception of compassionate care visits.

All Staff Testing:
The next all staff testing will be Monday, October 12 from 7:00 am to 3:30 pm inside the Alerus Center. If you are unable to attend please contact your supervisor.


10.9.20  PM Update

Company-wide Zoom from 1:00 pm on October 9 >> Zoom

Reminder: All staff testing is scheduled for Monday, October 12 from 7 am to 3:30 pm inside the Alerus Center, enter through door number 2. All staff will also receive their flu shot at this time. If you are an employee that is not COVID-19 testing due to previous positive results, you are still expected to attend this event to receive your flu shot. If you are unable to attend, please contact your supervisor now.

Please keep residents and staff in your thoughts and prayers this weekend.


10.9.20 URGENT UPDATE

Last night we were notified of 5 additional residents living at Valley Senior Living on Columbia who are positive for COVID-19. Three residents are from the Almonte neighborhood and two residents are from the Riverside neighborhood and have been moved to the COVID-19 care area. An additional 4 residents were confirmed positive from Tufte Manor and will be transferred to the COVID-19 care area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia today. This will bring our census to 18 residents on the COVID-19 Care Area.

With the confirmation of residents positive within the Riverside neighborhood, this area will return to full precautions including N95 use. We have stopped all indoor and outdoor visitation immediately at Valley on Columbia. Admissions and move-ins to Valley on Columbia have been stopped. Moves from Valley Transition rooms to other areas within the company are in process to make additional space to potentially expand the COVID-19 care area to have space to care for positive residents.

Late last night and this morning we were notified of two Woodside Village staff (1 Oakcrest, 1 Non-direct care), four Tufte Manor staff and five Valley on Columbia staff (3 Almonte, 1 Lanark, 1 Riverside). You will be contacted if additional precautions are needed due to exposure.

Staff from Almonte and Tufte are testing today in the back parking lot near the loading dock at Valley on Columbia from 12 to 2 pm. We are expecting to receive test results throughout the weekend from various days of testing in neighborhoods and with staff. We will continue to notify you if additional positive results are received.

Reminder: All staff testing is scheduled for Monday, October 12 from 7 am to 3:30 pm inside the Alerus Center, enter through door number 2. All staff will also receive their flu shot at this time. If you are an employee that is not COVID-19 testing due to previous positive results, you are still expected to attend this event to receive your flu shot. If you are unable to attend, please contact your supervisor now.


10.8.20 Update

Testing Results:
We are awaiting the majority of our test results from the staff and resident testings that have been held since October 4. It is unfortunate that the state lab is processing our results slower than usual in the vulnerable situation we are currently in. Last night a resident from the Almonte neighborhood tested positive through the use of a rapid test. The resident has moved to the COVID-19 care area. A staff member from the Oakcrest neighborhood who last worked on October 3 also tested positive. Contact tracing for both the resident and staff is in process. You will be contacted if additional precautions are necessary.

We will update you if there are any additional positive test results that are received from the testing.

Visitation, Dining and Activities Changes:
COVID-19 is at a high prevalence and severity in our community and state. It has made our current level of activity an unacceptable risk for our residents and staff. Due to recent outbreaks at Tufte Manor and Valley on Columbia, we are at a point in which we have stopped admissions to Valley Senior Living on Columbia transitional care so that we can continue to have the capacity separate our COVID-19 positive residents from those who are negative.

After much consideration, the COVID-19 command team has decided to revert to many pre-phase one protocols that were in place this spring. Changes that will occur beginning Friday at 8:00 pm for a minimum of two weeks include:

  • Indoor visitation will be suspended
  • Socially distanced activities will be suspended
  • Communal dining of one resident per table will be suspended

Outdoor visits can continue with the one designated visitor for each resident. Visitors will still be required to screen in before the visit. Indoor and outdoor visitation in the Lanark and Almonte neighborhoods remain suspended due to the latest test results.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have issued updated guidance on compassionate care visits. While end-of-life situations have been used as examples of compassionate care situations, the term “compassionate care situations” does not exclusively refer to end-of-life situations. Examples of other types of compassionate care situations include, but are not limited to:

  • A resident, who was living with their family before recently being admitted to a nursing home, is struggling with the change in environment and lack of physical family support.
  • A resident who is grieving after a friend or family member recently passed away.
  • A resident who needs cueing and encouragement with eating or drinking, previously provided by family and/or caregiver(s), is experiencing weight loss or dehydration.
  • A resident, who used to talk and interact with others, is experiencing emotional distress, seldom speaking, or crying more frequently (when the resident had rarely cried in the past).

Allowing a visit in these situations would be consistent with the intent of “compassionate care situations” and the latest guidance from CMS.  Also, in addition to family members, compassionate care visits can be conducted by any individual that can meet the resident’s needs, such as clergy or lay persons offering religious and spiritual support. For questions related to compassionate care visits and situations, please contact your social worker or care coordinator. Although we strongly discourage outings at this time, they remain a right of each resident. 

Flu Shots:
Flu shots will be given on Monday, October 12, at the next staff testing at the Alerus Center from 7 am to 3:30 pm. For those who are excluded from COVID testing at this time, please attend this event to get your flu shot.


10.7.20 Weekly Update

Let’s start with something a little more positive during this tough week with COVID-19. Here’s a fun video that was shared with our churches on Zoom during the Annual Meeting last Monday: >> 2019 – 2020 Highlights

Also, take a look at our Annual Report that we shared with the Board of Directors. Great snapshot of the year and easy to read.

Within our Valley Senior Living organization, we are feeling and experiencing the effects of the high positivity rate in our state throughout our care communities. Currently we have four of eleven neighborhoods within our company that are considered to be in outbreak status. Altru is seeing the highest number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 at one time since the start of the pandemic, and the Valley Senior Living COVID-19 care area is at its highest census since it opened. Today North Dakota reported a record 24 deaths, mainly from long term care facilities, from the last few days. It is increasingly difficult to keep our residents and staff safe and healthy during this time.

Since the last weekly update we have experienced and are managing an outbreak at Tufte Manor. Four residents tested positive late Thursday evening, October 1 with an additional group of four more residents testing positive on October 4. All residents have been transferred to the COVID-19 care area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia. Late last night, October 6, we received confirmation of two residents testing positive from the Almonte neighborhood at Valley on Columbia. These residents have also been moved to the COVID-19 care area.

Two staff members have tested positive over the last day. One is from the Almonte neighborhood and has not worked since September 29, and the other is from Heartland at Woodside Village, last working on October 4. Contact tracing is in process and you will be contacted if additional precautions are necessary due to exposure.

All are starting to receive results from the Monday and Tuesday testing of staff and residents. We will notify you if additional positive test results are received.

COVID-19 Care Area Update:
We are currently caring for nine residents in the COVID-19 care area. Two residents have recovered this week and moved home to their neighborhoods. Please continue to keep the residents in the COVID-19 care area in your thoughts and prayers, and continue to thank the staff who have stepped up to care for these residents. You are true heroes during this pandemic and the care you are providing is appreciated!

Visitation Update:
Visitation is suspended in the Lanark and Almonte neighborhoods at Valley on Columbia, throughout Tufte Manor and in the Oakcrest neighborhood at Woodside Village. This Friday we will be reevaluating visitation throughout the company. Based on what is happening in our buildings and in our community, later this week we will most likely stop all visitation to our communities for at least a period of one to two weeks. We do not have the capacity for COVID care to continue to grow at this pace, so we need to reduce risk wherever we can until things slow down for both Tufte and Almonte.

All Staff Testing:
The next all staff testing will be Monday, October 12 from 7:00 am to 3:30 pm inside the Alerus Center. If you are unable to attend please contact your supervisor.

Final Thought:
In tough weeks like this, we realize that with visitation stopping soon, we will once again be called on to be the in-person family for our residents as we were the entire spring. During this pandemic, it has truly been Our Family Caring For Yours!  Thank you for all you do for the residents!


10.2.20 Update

Today, four asymptomatic residents tested positive from Tufte Manor and have been transferred to the COVID-19 care area at Valley on Columbia. We are now caring for six residents in the COVID-19 care area. Please continue to keep our residents and staff in your thoughts and prayers during this pandemic. All residents from Tufte Manor will be tested today and begin a three day testing cycle. This is an added level of surveillance to more quickly identify other residents who may have contracted the virus and to properly isolate those testing positive. The three day testing schedule will continue until 14 days pass with no additional positive test results in residents. The staff have moved to N95 use and implemented the other practices that have been successful in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our skilled communities.

As for other testing results for the rest of the company, Valley Senior Living on Columbia and Woodside Village are in with all results negative. No resident results have been received for Wheatland Terrace. All results for Tufte Manor came in today with the four positives as previously stated. During the mass testing event, there were two Valley on Columbia staff that tested positive for COVID-19. One staff member who is not in a direct care role had not been on site since September 17, and another staff member last worked on Reeves on September 23.

Visitation remains suspended within the Lanark neighborhood. Visitation in all other neighborhoods at Valley on Columbia continue to permit one designated visitor at a time inside a resident’s room. We continue to discourage school age and college age individuals from visiting.

Attached is a link to our corporate zoom update for COVID-19 from this afternoon: ZOOM


9.30.20 Update

Testing Update
Staff were tested on Monday, September 28 and residents were tested on Tuesday, September 29. We have received all but four of the Woodside Village results and are awaiting results for Wheatland Terrace, Tufte Manor and Valley on Columbia.

We have confirmation of four positive results from Woodside Village:

  • 1 contract staff member who last worked on September 29 within Heartland at Woodside Village, and Riverside and Valley Transitions at Valley on Columbia.
  • 1 direct care from Oakcrest who last worked on September 28
  • 1 direct care from Prairieview who last worked on September 24
  • 1 direct care from Hearthstone who last worked on September 27

Contact tracing is in process and  you will be contacted if additional precautions are necessary due to exposure. We are expecting the remainder of the staff results and resident results in the next 24 to 48 hours.

COVID-19 Care Area
We are currently caring for two residents in the COVID-19 Care Area. Three residents have recovered and returned to their neighborhoods this week. Thank you to the staff in the COVID-19 Care Area for all you do for the residents positive with COVID-19.

Visitation Update
We are happy to report we have reopened the Almonte neighborhood to visitation at Valley on Columbia. Visitation within the Lanark neighborhood and Oakcrest neighborhood remains suspended due to recent test results. We will not be changing our position on visitation for Friday, October 2 through Thursday, October 8. Our position will remain one designated visitor for each resident. We will reevaluate this again next week. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have issued updated guidance on compassionate care visits. While end-of-life situations have been used as examples of compassionate care situations, the term “compassionate care situations” does not exclusively refer to end-of-life situations. Also, in addition to family members, compassionate care visits can be conducted by any individual that can meet the resident’s needs, such as clergy or lay persons offering religious and spiritual support.

All Staff Testing Moves Indoors to the Alerus Center
The next all staff testing event will be held Monday, October 5 from 7 am to 3:30 pm, inside the Alerus Center. Please enter through door number 2 located near the southwest corner of the building. All staff will be required to wear a mask while inside the building. If you are unable to attend you will not be paid $50 to test. Please contact your supervisor now if you have a conflict and need details about the make-up event.

Wear Your Smile
We strongly encourage all staff to wear your picture holder name badge when you are at work. This allows residents the chance to see who you are behind the face mask. They are truly missing your smile!

Recruiter Bonus
Heroes Recruit Heroes! The recruiter bonus continues! For each full-time employee you recruit, you will earn $1000 and $500 for a part-time employee. If you have any questions please contact HR for more details! A list of open positions is available at valleyseniorliving.org/apply.

Quick things to remember this week:

  • If  you are experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19, have been exposed to someone who has tested positive, or have someone in your household experiencing symptoms, call the COVID-19 Staff Illness line at 701.741.9646. They will determine if you are cleared to work or what the next appropriate steps are.
  • If  you are in a neighborhood requiring the use of N95 respirators, only wear the respirator you are fitted for. Please reach out to Staff Development, Employee Health Nurse or Kayla Porter with questions or concerns.


9.29.20 Update

Staff and Resident Results Update
Today we received confirmation of two direct caregivers from Valley on Columbia, one from Reeves who last worked on September 24 and one from Riverside who last worked on September 25, both testing positive for COVID-19. They were both tested outside of a Valley Senior Living testing event due to symptom onset on September 27. Contact tracing is in process and you will be contacted if additional precautions are necessary due to exposure.

As of this morning, all test results for the resident testing on September 25 and 26 in the Almonte and Lanark neighborhoods have been received. Results are all negative with two tests inconclusive in the Almonte neighborhood. Results from the Oakcrest testing on September 26 are also arriving with three still pending. From this testing we have confirmation of one positive resident we reported on yesterday, and the remaining tests received have all been negative.

We are currently caring for two residents in the COVID-19 care area and are happy to report two residents have returned home to their neighborhood this week.

Visitation
With the latest testing results within the Almonte neighborhood, visitation is set to resume tomorrow morning at 8:00 am. Visitation remains suspended in the Lanark neighborhood at Valley on Columbia and in the Oakcrest neighborhood at Woodside Village.

We are expecting staff testing results from the Monday testing will begin arriving this evening or tomorrow. We will notify you if we receive any additional positive tests. Thank you for keeping the staff and residents in your thoughts and prayers. It is very important that we continue to remember the basics during this pandemic and when away from work including proper hand hygiene, social distancing and wearing your mask. Thank you for your dedication to the Valley family.


9.28.20 Update

Almonte, Lanark and Oakcrest Testing Update
Today we were notified of one resident from the Oakcrest neighborhood that tested positive from the September 26 testing. The resident has been transferred to the COVID-19 care area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia. Contact tracing is in process and you will be notified if additional precautions are necessary due to exposure. We are still waiting on approximately 20 test results. We will notify you if we receive confirmation of any additional positive results. We are currently caring for three residents in the COVID-19 care area and are happy to report one resident returned home to their neighborhood earlier today.

With the latest test result within the Oakcrest neighborhood, visitation will remain suspended and residents will continue to test on a three day cycle until 14 days with no positive test results is accomplished. Visitation is also suspended in the Almonte and Lanark neighborhoods at Valley on Columbia.

Thank you to all who attended our first inside testing event at the Alerus Center. We are expecting results within 24 to 72 hours. Please keep our residents who are experiencing COVID-19, are feeling isolated, or are fearful of the pandemic in your thoughts and prayers. The work you do each day is truly heroic and appreciated!


9.25.20 Update

All staff testing is schedule for Monday, September 28 from 7 am to 3:30 pm inside the Alerus Center. Please enter through door 2 near the southwest corner. If you are unable to attend please contact your supervisor. Masks are required when inside the building.9.25.20 Update

In case you missed it, here’s today’s company-wide zoom >> 9.25 Zoom


9.24.20 Update

Resident Testing Results
All results have been received for Woodside Village, Wheatland Terrace and Tufte Manor from the September 22 testing, and all results are negative for those communities.

We have confirmation of one resident from Lanark that has tested positive for COVID-19. At Valley on Columbia there are 34 pending tests (4 from the Lanark neighborhood) that we have not received at this point. The resident has been moved to the COVID-19 care area at Valley on Columbia.

With the testing results from today, indoor and outdoor visitation will be suspended in the Lanark neighborhood and residents will begin to test on a three day cycle. All staff working within the Lanark neighborhood will transition to the use of N95 respirators.

We are currently caring for four residents in the COVID-19 care area at Valley on Columbia. Thank you for everything you do to keep our residents safe and healthy, and for the care and grace you share with each other during these challenging times.


9.23.20 Update

Testing Update:

We are happy to report that this week no additional residents from the Almonte or Oakcrest neighborhoods tested positive for COVID-19 from the testing on September 19 and September 20. All staff were tested on Monday, September 21 and residents were tested yesterday. We only have 1 pending result for VC and 2 pending results for WV, otherwise all test results are in.

We have six positive results this week:

  • 2 non-direct care staff from Valley on Columbia. Last worked September 15 and 23.
  • 1 direct care from Oakcrest who last worked on September 23, and 2 non-direct care from Woodside Village with last worked days September 14 and 21.
  • 1 non-direct care staff from Wheatland Terrace who last worked on September 15.

Contact tracing is in process and  you will be contacted if additional precautions are necessary due to exposure. We are expecting resident results in the next 24 to 48 hours.

Update from North Dakota Department of Health:
The North Dakota Department of Health is adjusting COVID-19 testing and contact tracing strategies to address the recent uptick in confirmed COVID-19 cases among residents and staff at long-term care facilities in the state. The State Lab and the VP3 team will assist with strategic adjustments that include:

  • Testing of long-term care residents and staff has been prioritized over all other testing, and every effort will be made to return results from long-term care tests within 24 hours of testing to allow for immediate isolation and cohorting of positive residents and staff, and quarantine of close contacts.
  • Contact tracing and follow-up with long-term care residents and health care workers also has been prioritized through the NDDoH.
  • The NDDoH will begin to implement a plan to use emergency medical technicians and others to conduct test swabbing and is prioritizing approximately 200 nurses from the NDDoH’s Department Operations Center to provide staff coverage as needed in long-term care facilities and other congregate settings.
  • The federal government is providing the state with Abbott BinaxNOW point-of-care testing that can be used at long-term care facilities that will assist facilities when residents and health care workers present with symptoms.

Visitation Update:
The positivity rate in Grand Forks County remains at a critical level. Visitation remains restricted for the Almonte neighborhood due to recent testing results. We will not be changing our position on visitation for Friday, September 25 through Thursday, October 1. Our position will remain one designated visitor for each resident. We will reevaluate this again next week. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have issued updated guidance on compassionate care visits. While end-of-life situations have been used as examples of compassionate care situations, the term “compassionate care situations” does not exclusively refer to end-of-life situations. Examples of other types of compassionate care situations include, but are not limited to:

  • A resident, who was living with their family before recently being admitted to a nursing home, is struggling with the change in environment and lack of physical family support.
  • A resident who is grieving after a friend or family member recently passed away.
  • A resident who needs cueing and encouragement with eating or drinking, previously provided by family and/or caregiver(s), is experiencing weight loss or dehydration.
  • A resident, who used to talk and interact with others, is experiencing emotional distress, seldom speaking, or crying more frequently (when the resident had rarely cried in the past).

Allowing a visit in these situations would be consistent with the intent of “compassionate care situations” and the latest guidance from CMS.  Also, in addition to family members, compassionate care visits can be conducted by any individual that can meet the resident’s needs, such as clergy or lay persons offering religious and spiritual support.

All Staff Testing Moves Indoors to the Alerus Center
The next all staff testing event will be held Monday, September 28 from 7 am to 3:30 pm, inside the Alerus Center. Please enter through door number 2 located near the southwest corner of the building. All staff will be required to wear a mask while inside the building. If you are unable to attend you will not be paid $50 to test. Please contact your supervisor now if you have a conflict and need details about the make-up event.


9.18.20 Update

Testing Wrap-Up
We are happy to report this week’s testing was extremely successful despite the high number of active cases in Grand Forks County. Staff testing was conducted on Monday, September 14 with a total of three staff testing positive (two from Valley on Columbia and one from Woodside Village). All resident test results received so far from the Tuesday, September 15 testing have been negative. Almonte and Oakcrest residents continue to be tested on a three day schedule and all Almonte results were negative. We are awaiting the Oakcrest results at this time.

The next staff testing is schedule for Monday, September 21 from 7 am to 3 pm in the Valley Transitions parking lot. The first half hour (7 to 7:30 am) is reserved for students, NOC shift and any flex employees who work a job that does not allow them to attend after 8 am. If you are unable to attend the testing on Monday, please contact your supervisor now to make alternative arrangements to be tested.

Recruiter Bonus
We know our employees will recruit the best NEW employees. That is why we are paying you to do it! So far 12 current employees have recruited new employees for Valley in the last month under the increased recruiter bonus! For every full-time employee you recruit, we will pay you $1000, and for every part-time employee earn $500. Contact HR to fill out the recruiter form today. Heroes recruit Heroes! Recruit the best, and let’s make a difference together.

Residents Want to See Your Smile!
Residents and staff are missing the smiles that are hidden behind the masks. Remember to wear your picture in the clear plastic clip on badge holder so everyone knows who is behind the mask. Over the next few weeks the Recreation and HR will assist with printing photos of anyone who needs a photo! If you need a picture holder, please contact your supervisor. Thanks for wearing your smile, both on your shirt and behind your mask. We appreciate it J

Testing Events are Moving Indoors to the Alerus Center
Beginning September 28, staff testing moves inside the Alerus Center. Watch for more details next week.


9.17.20 Update

Testing Update:
Today we receive