Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: Staff

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 received confirmation of a direct care staff from Lanark at Valley on Columbia has tested positive for COVID-19. The staff member has been off since September 11 due to contact with a positive individual outside of work. We are still awaiting approximately 50 test results for staff.

We currently have received close to half of the resident test results from September 15. At this time we have not been notified of any additional positive results for residents from Valley on Columbia. Residents from the Almonte neighborhood at Valley on Columbia and the Oakcrest neighborhood at Woodside Village remain on a three day testing cycle and were tested yesterday and today respectively. We will notify you if we receive confirmation of positive test results.

We are currently caring for five residents in the COVID-19 care area.

Next Staff Testing:
Our next staff testing is scheduled for Monday, September 21, 7 am to 3 pm in the Valley Transitions parking lot. The first half hour from 7 to 7:30 am will be reserved for students, Grand Forks Public School staff that work flex positions, NOC shift, or those with second job conflicts. If you are unable to attend, please contact your supervisor now.


9.16.20 Weekly Update

Testing Results Update
We are currently receiving test results from the September 14 staff testing and are expecting results from the resident testing conducted September 15 throughout the next 24 to 48 hours. We have received confirmation of two staff testing positive, both last working on September 12. One staff from Woodside Village in the Heartland neighborhood and one from Valley on Columbia in the Riverside neighborhood.

In the last week, one resident from Almonte has tested positive from Valley on Columbia and two residents tested positive from Oakcrest at Woodside Village. We are currently caring for five residents in the COVID-19 care area and are happy to report two have recovered this week.

We are starting to see a significant decrease of positive cases among staff at Valley and among our community which is encouraging. Despite this decrease, the rate of positive cases is still considered at a critical level according to the Grand Forks County COVID-19 dashboard. We will not be changing our position on visitation with one designated visitor for each resident and we encourage our staff to use continue to keep your social circles small, avoid gatherings, practice good hand hygiene and wear your make when you are unable to social distance. Hopefully the downward trend will continue.

Next Testing
Our next staff testing is scheduled for Monday, September 21, 7:30 am to 3 pm in the Valley Transitions parking lot. The first hour will be reserved for students, Grand Forks Public School staff that work flex positions, and NOC shift. If you are unable to attend, please contact your supervisor now.


9.15.20 Update

Today we received confirmation of an additional resident from the Almonte neighborhood that has tested positive for COVID-19. The resident is asymptomatic and has been moved to the COVID-19 care area. Contact tracing is in process and you will be contacted if additional precautions are necessary due to exposure.

From the September 13 testing of Almonte residents, four tests are pending and all others have been received. All residents from Almonte will be tested again tomorrow, Wednesday 9/16.

With today’s transfer of the one positive resident, we are currently caring for five residents in the COVID-19 care area at Valley on Columbia.


9.13.20 Update

Testing Event Results

Today we received notification of a resident from the Oakcrest neighborhood testing positive for COVID-19. The resident is asymptomatic and has been transferred to the COVID-19 care area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia. As of 2pm today, there are still 10 pending results from Oakcrest’s testing event on Friday 9/11.

We are currently caring for six asymptomatic residents in the COVID-19 care area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia. Please continue to keep these residents, the care partners in the COVID-19 care area and their families in your thoughts and prayers.

Testing Tomorrow, September 14

As a reminder, mass testing of all staff will take place tomorrow, September 14 from 7 am to 3 pm in the Valley Transitions parking lot. The first hour is designated for college students, high school students, employees of Grand Forks schools who also work for Valley as flex employees and NOC shift. If you are unable to attend this testing on Monday, contact your supervisor now.


9.11.20 Update

Testing Event Results
The testing event has concluded from Tuesday with about eight results that are still pending across the organization. We are pleased to report overall improvement in our active COVID-19 cases: three staff tested positive compared to seven staff from the prior week.  All three caregivers work at Valley on Columbia, one from Riverside, and two from Lanark. One resident tested positive from Woodside Village in the Oakcrest neighborhood, but all other resident results are negative across the company.

We are caring for six asymptomatic residents in the COVID-19 care area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia. Please continue to keep these residents, the care partners in the COVID-19 care area and their families in your thoughts and prayers.

Testing Monday, September 14
Mass testing of all staff will take place Monday, September 14 from 7 am to 3 pm in the Valley Transitions parking lot. The first hour is designated for college students, high school students, employees of Grand Forks schools who also work for Valley as flex employees and NOC shift. If you are unable to attend this testing on Monday, contact your supervisor now.

Company-wide Zoom
If you missed the company-wide zoom today, click here to watch the update >> 9.11.20 Zoom


9.10.20 Update

September 8 Testing Results Update
Today we are receiving results from the September 8 testing of residents and staff. More than half of the results are still pending and from those received, three staff from Valley on Columbia tested positive (1 Riverside, 2 Lanark) and one resident from Woodside Village in the Oakcrest neighborhood tested positive. The resident from Oakcrest has been transferred to the COVID-19 Care Area at Valley on Columbia. Contact tracing is in process and you will be contacted if additional precautions are needed due to exposure.

N95/Resident Precautions/Visitation Suspended in Oakcrest
Each outbreak has been different and lately they have unfolded in an unpredictable way. Our COVID-19 command team has decided that when one resident tests positive, rather than wait for additional round of testing, we will initiate staff N95 use and individual precautions for all residents in a neighborhood. We have the supply of gowns and N95s to do this at this time. Sometimes this will seem like “overkill” in terms of precautions, and other times we will be extremely glad that we took that step three days earlier. The problem is that we get our next test results on what the “right” response should be 3 to 7 days after we needed to make that decision.

Our response to the positive resident in Oakcrest is underway. Fit testing is in process for all Oakcrest staff. N95’s are now required to work on the Oakcrest neighborhood. If you are not part of the Oakcrest staff, please do not spend time on the neighborhood. All residents are on individual precautions within Oakcrest. Gowns, gloves, N95 and face shield will be utilized for every room entry and interaction. With the heightened response necessary on Oakcrest, a $5 per hour differential for shifts worked on Oakcrest is now in effect and will be until it is determined no virus transmission is taking place and we can discontinue the heightened response.

Indoor and outdoor visitation has been suspended in Oakcrest. After 14 days of no positive test results within the neighborhood we will reevaluate when it is safe to restart visitation.

COVID-19 Care Area
We are currently caring for six asymptomatic residents in the COVID-19 Care Area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia. Please keep the residents and staff in your thoughts and prayers and offer encouragement when possible.

Next All Staff Testing – Monday, September 14
The next mass testing will be held Monday, September 14 from 7 am to 3 pm in the Valley Transitions parking lot. The 7 to 8 am hour is reserved for students, flex staff that works for the school system and NOC shift. If you are unable to attend on Monday, please contact your supervisors now for details on an alternative time to test. If you do not attend on Monday, September 14 you will not be paid $50 to test and you may be removed from schedules until your testing is completed.

Thank you for the dedication you show to the residents and those you work with and alongside. Your efforts do not go unnoticed!


9.9.2020 Update

COVID-19 Weekly Update
Last week’s tests resulted in seven staff throughout the company testing positive through our event and two additional staff tested positive through outside testing.  One resident asymptomatically tested positive on the Almonte neighborhood at Valley on Columbia from the September 1 testing, three residents from Almonte asymptomatically tested positive from the September 4 tests, and one additional from the September 7 testing. Visitation was stopped on September 4 in the Almonte neighborhood upon learning about the first positive result.  When confirmation of the second positive result was received on September 6, we moved to full precautions for all residents and N95 respirator usage for all staff on the Almonte neighborhood.

August represented a major change in our community’s safety and each day is a major challenge to keep COVID-19 outside our care communities from a prevalence and severity standpoint.

  • Valley employs approximately 870 people.  For the five months of March through July, we had 43 total staff test positive for COVID-19.  In August alone, we had 54 staff test positive across Valley Senior Living.
  • In May and June, 20 staff consecutively tested positive and never experienced a symptom of COVID-19.  In August, 50 of the 54 staff had symptoms from COVID-19.

With regret we report one resident passed away in the COVID-19 care area last week. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this difficult time. We are currently caring for five asymptomatic residents in the COVID-19 care area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia.

We are awaiting results from Tuesday’s resident and staff testing. We will alert you to any positive test results.

Upcoming Weekly Testing – Note Time Change!
The next mass testing will be held Monday, September 14 from 7 am to 3 pm in the Valley Transitions parking lot. The 7 to 8 am hour is reserved for students, flex staff that works for the school system and NOC shift. If you are unable to attend on Monday, please contact your supervisors now for details on an alternative time to test. If you do not attend on Monday, September 14 you will not be paid $50 to test and you may be removed from schedules until your testing is completed.


9.4.20 Update

Resident Testing Update
All residents from Valley Senior Living on Columbia were tested on Tuesday, September 1. We have received nearly all results and have one positive resident to report.

  • Valley Senior Living on Columbia: We have received confirmation of one resident from the Almonte neighborhood testing positive for COVID-19. The resident has been moved to the COVID-19 care area and contact tracing is in process. You will be contacted if additional precautions are necessary. Four tests from Valley on Columbia were inconclusive and those residents were retested this morning. All residents from Almonte were also tested this morning.
  • Woodside Village: One test is pending and all other results were negative.
  • Wheatland Terrace: All resident test results were negative.
  • Tufte Manor: All resident test results were negative.

COVID-19 Care Area
We are saddened to report one resident died in the COVID-19 care area. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time. With today’s move in, we are currently caring for one resident in the COVID-19 care area at Valley on Columbia.

All Neighborhoods and Care Communities Move to One Designated Visitor Per Resident
With the latest developments in our county including the increased numbers of positive cases and Governor Burgum’s decision to increase the risk level for our county, the COVID-19 command team has decided to limit visitation to one designated visitor for each resident, regardless of whether it is an indoor or outdoor visit.  This designated visitor will be the only person within the family who has the ability to visit for the next week until we reevaluate our situation next Friday.  We will go week to week with decision-making on visitation status.  This will limit the amount of exposure and reduce the number of individuals inside our care communities. Our goal is to preserve the ability for spouses and children to visit.  

Mass Testing Tuesday, September 8
All staff and residents will be tested on Tuesday, September 8. Residents will be tested in the morning and staff will be tested from 1 to 5 pm. If you are unable to attend, contact your supervisor now.

Currently, there are 17 Valley staff who are positive with COVID-19 and are not considered “recovered.”  Nearly everyone is having some symptom(s) during the course of the active infection. This is not happening at work, it is through everyday activity.  Please stop doing the “optional” activities that increase your risk to COVID-19 while our community is going through this outbreak.  We understand the sacrifices  staff, residents, and families make every day to protect themselves and each other and appreciate everyone’s effort. Please remember to wear your mask when in public and unable to social distance, and wash your hands frequently. Thank you for your dedication to Valley. Please stay safe this weekend.


9.2.20 Update

Testing Update

All staff were tested on Monday, August 31, and residents were tested on Tuesday, September 1. Today we received confirmation of seven staff testing positive for COVID-19:

  • One staff member who recently completed general orientation
  • One direct caregiver in the Almonte neighborhood last working on August 19 and tested negative on August 24
  • Two direct caregivers from the Heartland neighborhood at Woodside Village – one staff last worked on August 18 with a negative test on August 24, and the other staff last worked on September 1
  • One direct caregiver from Oakcrest last working on August 23 with a negative test on August 24
  • One support staff from Tufte Manor last working on August 31, and one direct care staff from Wheatland Terrace last working on August 29.

Approximately half of the staff results are still pending and we have not received any resident testing results. We will communicate and additional positive test results when they are received and you will be contacted if additional precautions are needed due to exposure.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released new regulation effective today that will most likely result in weekly testing for the remainder of the pandemic. When one staff or resident positive case is identified within a care community, all staff and residents that tested negative will be retested in the entire building every three to seven days until testing identifies no new cases of COVID-19 infection for a period of at least 14 days since the most recent positive result.

COVID-19 Care Area
We are currently caring for one resident in the COVID-19 care area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia. Two residents have recovered this week and moved home to their neighborhood.

Next Testing
The next all staff testing is scheduled for Tuesday, September 8 from 1 to 5 pm in the Valley Transitions parking lot. If you are unable to attend please contact your supervisor. Those who do not test on September 8 will not receive $50 and may be removed from the schedule until testing is completed and/or may be subject to attendance related penalties at the discretion of the supervisor. Please do not cut in line or block intersections or cross walks during this event. Always watch for pedestrians!

Thank you for your continued dedication to the health and safety of the residents that call Valley ‘home’! Continue to keep your circle small, wear your mask when you are not able to social distance by six feet and practice proper hand hygiene.


8.27.20 Update

We have received confirmation of nearly all resident test results from August 25 and we are happy to report no residents at Valley Senior Living tested positive from this testing event! Only one resident test for Woodside Village and one for Wheatland Terrace are still pending. We have received nearly all staff results from the August 24 testing and have one additional staff member from the Reeves neighborhood who last worked on August 24 that has been confirmed positive.

Summary of Testing Event

Valley on Columbia: 3 staff

Woodside Village: 2 staff

Wheatland Terrace: 1 staff

Tufte Manor: 0 staff

Riverside Neighborhood Update
All Riverside staff and residents tested negative on Monday and Tuesday for the first time since August 2! This is great news! We are optimistic for the same results during a second testing event this week for Riverside on Friday, August 28.

Weekly Testing
All staff from Valley Senior Living will be tested on Monday, August 31 with resident testing scheduled for Tuesday, September 1.

COVID-19 Care Area
We are currently caring for two active cases of COVID-19 in the COVID-19 care area at Valley on Columbia. One resident has returned to their home on the neighborhood today.

Though our county is trending in a bad direction, it is encouraging to see these results for our residents!  Be safe everyone!


8.26.20 Update

Testing Update:
We have started to receive results from the August 24 testing and so far two staff from Valley on Columbia (Lanark: last worked 8/20, Valley Transitions: last worked 8/19), two from Woodside Village (Oakcrest: last worked on 8/21, Non-direct care: last worked on 8/16) and one from Wheatland Terrace (Direct care: last worked on 8/9) confirmed positive. Contact tracing is in process and you will be contacted if added precautions are necessary due to exposure. We will update you if we are alerted to any additional positive test results in residents or staff.

We recognize the situation in Grand Forks County and the community spread that is happening. This is a challenging time for our community and for our care communities at Valley. At this time we understand many employees have some sort of connection to the community spread that is happening. The need to keep your social circle small and the need to wear your PPE properly at work and when outside of work and without the ability to social distance by at least 6 feet is more important than ever.  Of the active cases in Grand Forks County, 333 of 388 active positives are between 15 and 29 years old with 232 of those University of North Dakota students. We are currently discouraging school age, college age and household contacts from visiting. We want to preserve the ability for our residents to see their spouse, siblings and children. We are asking for your cooperation with this for the health and safety of our residents and staff.

Riverside Neighborhood Weekly Update:
In the first 10 days of the outbreak (August 2 to August 11), we tested residents four times and staff twice resulting in 11 residents and 17 staff testing positive for COVID-19. Ten of the staff were identified on the testing from August 10.  When we received our first positive resident and staff results on August 5, we stopped communal dining, activity, and visitation and initiated enhanced cleaning efforts.  On August 10 we switched to N95 masks for anyone working on the Riverside neighborhood.

From August 12 to August 21, residents and staff have been tested three times leading to 5 residents and 5 staff who tested positive for COVID-19.  Three of the five staff had negative COVID tests after their last day worked, and the other two had last days worked of August 8 and August 14.  Not only are the staff results improving, but we are 12 days since the last time a staff member asymptomatically worked on the Riverside neighborhood and tested positive on their next test.

In the last week, 6 residents have returned to the neighborhood and we continue to care for 3 residents in our COVID-19 Care Area.

Visitation Resumes in Oakcrest and Lanark, Riverside remains restricted:
Visitation resumed today in the Lanark neighborhood at Valley Senior Living on Columbia and the Oakcrest neighborhood at Woodside Village. Visitation remains restricted in the Riverside neighborhood, although all residents do have the right to leave the building on outings. Resident outings require the responsible party to complete a form detailing the safety guidelines for outings. If guidelines for safe outings are not maintained, isolation precautions will be implemented when the residents return to their home at Valley for the safety of other residents. Please contact the nursing department if you are interested in arranging an outing.

HR/Payroll response to COVID-19 Exposure in Children and Dependents:
COVID-19 testing is increasing for preschool, school, and college age children.  We are now seeing a new type of absence for our staff due to children who are not able to attend daycare or school due to exposure to a positive case. The staff’s child is healthy but needs to be home for a certain amount of time, typically 14 days after the last exposure to the positive case.  In some cases, the child is too young to stay at home alone.

In the event that this happens to you, here is an explanation of how we will approach each case:

  • When you are notified of an exposure, immediately inform the COVID-19 Staff Illness line and follow instructions.
  • From an employee health standpoint, you are able to work until the point in which your child is either symptomatic OR is asked by the Department of Health to be tested for COVID-19.  The Department of Health will typically request a test to occur between day 7 and day 10 from the last exposure.  You will not be allowed to work from the point in which a test is in process until you have the test results.
  • From an attendance standpoint, if you are unable to arrange for child care on certain days or the entire span of the observation, it does not count as an absence for attendance policy purposes.
  • From a pay standpoint, you will be paid 100 percent for the days that a COVID-19 test is in process.  If your child is positive for COVID-19, you will be paid 100 percent for your shifts during that absence.  If you are unable to work due to being the primary caregiver for your child, we would encourage you to contact your supervisor to work alternative times for your shift, or you will use your Paid Time Off to cover those shifts.

Next Testing Events:
All Riverside staff and residents will test on Friday, August 28. All staff will test on Monday, August 31 and residents will test on Tuesday, September 1. In the event you are unable to attend on the dates listed, please contact your supervisor for details on alternative testing times.


8.24.20 Update

Testing Update – August 21

Today we received confirmation of two residents testing positive for COVID-19 from the Riverside neighborhood. The residents have been moved to the COVID-19 care area at Valley on Columbia. This testing event from August 21 finally covers the full 14 days following the end of communal dining and activity on the Riverside neighborhood that concluded on August 5.  Today is day 15 of all staff using N95 masks on the neighborhood.

Over the weekend a staff member from the Prairieview neighborhood at Woodside Village who last worked on August 17 tested positive. Three staff members from Valley on Columbia have tested positive from the August 21 testing: one staff member from the Riverside and Valley Transitions neighborhoods who last worked on August 9 and two staff from the Lanark neighborhood last working on August 16 and August 23. Contact tracing is in process and you will be notified if additional precautions are needed.

All staff were tested today, August 24 and all residents will test tomorrow, August 25. We will alert you to any additional positive test results.

COVID-19 Care Area

We are currently caring for 5 active cases of COVID-19 in the COVID-19 Care Area at Valley on Columbia.

Community Spread

Over the weekend, the community of Grand Forks continued to see a significant increase in community spread of COVID-19, and this is impacting our staff in numerous ways. Please continue to keep your circle small, wear your face mask when in public and if you are unable to socially distance by at least 6 feet.  Call the staff illness COVID-19 number (701.741.9646) with any symptoms or exposures. This is a critical time where we all need to work together to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community as a whole and in our care communities at Valley.

Recruiter Bonus

We know our employees will recruit the best NEW employees. That is why we are paying you to do it! The recruiter bonus has increased. 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.


8.19.20 Update

Testing Update: Today we were notified of one Riverside resident, two Riverside direct care staff, and one Lanark direct care staff from Valley on Columbia testing positive for COVID-19. In addition, one Woodside Village direct care staff tested positive. These results are from our mass resident testing event on Sunday August 16th and mass staff testing event on Monday August 17th. As of 3pm today, we have not received all of the results from these testing events.

All residents and staff at Valley on Columbia will test again on Friday, August 21 from 12-3pm. This frequent testing will help to ensure we can identify any transmission or spread that could happen within neighborhoods by removing positive staff members from schedules, and by isolating positive residents in the COVID-19 care area. We will continue to remain on high alert for two weeks after any resident positive case, as it can take up to 14 days to potentially develop COVID-19 after exposure.

COVID-19 Care Area Update: We are currently caring for 7 active cases of COVID-19 in the COVID-19 care area at Valley on Columbia. We are grateful that several residents have recovered and have moved back to their rooms within the Riverside neighborhood this week.

Riverside Outbreak/Communal Dining Update: The safety and well-being of our residents and our staff has been a top priority since the beginning of the pandemic. The recent outbreak on the Riverside neighborhood has exposed a number of our residents and staff and their households to COVID-19. To date, we have 14 residents and approximately 20 staff with ties to the Riverside neighborhood who have tested positive during this outbreak. Three residents have died from COVID-19. Five residents have recovered and returned to the neighborhood.

From mid-May to the beginning of August, virtually every case of COVID-19 led to an asymptomatic stay at home for staff or an asymptomatic stay for residents in our COVID-19 Care Area. Until August 2, the Riverside neighborhood had no prior positive residents and had no prior positive staff since mid-May.
The Riverside outbreak occurred with unexpected community spread and severity, especially considering staff were not positive on July 27 and residents were not positive on July 28.

The COVID-19 virus is quickly spread through asymptomatic carriers as soon as two days after exposure. As an organization, we followed the guidelines for reopening and operation. The North Dakota Department of Health was on-site last week to perform a survey where no deficiencies were noted. Whenever possible, we implement best practices and numerous divisions within the Health Department have been very complimentary of our actions.

Communal dining clearly contributed to the speed and size of this outbreak. On June 24, following the North Dakota Smart Restart Guidelines, we entered Phase 2 and resumed communal dining and activity. We knew eating together would increase risk, but it would add necessary quality of life that had been taken away from residents since March. We allowed residents to opt out of communal dining, but virtually everyone understandably chose to go back to the dining room. Despite the fact that each table is socially distanced from the other tables, 10 of 21 residents tested positive in one dining area. In a smaller dining area for eight people, two residents tested positive. Two of seven that do not attend meals in dining areas tested positive.

With additional restart efforts underway in North Dakota and increased community spread happening, the increase of cases in the nursing home setting is unfortunately inevitable. However, we can control the size of an outbreak by limiting the number of times residents will be around other residents without a mask. For the safety of our residents and staff, we will not resume communal dining with more than one person at a table until such time that a major change has occurred in the prevalence of COVID-19 in our area or a vaccine has been administered to our residents and staff.


8.17.2020 Update

On Friday, August 14, all staff and residents from Valley on Columbia and all residents from the Oakcrest neighborhood at Woodside Village were tested for COVID-19. Today we received confirmation of two residents from the Riverside neighborhood testing positive for COVID-19. One resident has transferred to the COVID-19 care area and one is no longer on the Riverside neighborhood. We have received confirmation of a positive COVID -19 test for one staff who last worked on August 11 on the Riverside neighborhood. We are awaiting less than 30 test results for staff, with all others testing negative. We will update you if any of the remaining staff results are confirmed positive.

We are currently caring for 6 active cases of COVID-19 in the COVID-19 care area at Valley on Columbia. We are grateful that several residents have recovered and have moved back to their homes within neighborhoods today.

All residents were tested yesterday and staff were tested today. All residents and staff will test again on Friday, August 21.  This frequent testing will help to ensure we can identify any transmission or spread that could happen within neighborhoods by removing positive staff members from schedules, and by isolating positive residents in the COVID-19 care area. We will continue to remain on high alert for two weeks after any resident positive case, as it can take up to 14 days to potentially develop COVID-19 after exposure.

Visitation continues to be suspended and we have stopped communal dining and activities. Last week, the outbreak in the Riverside neighborhood provided supporting evidence of the risk that communal dining and non-socially distanced activities poses to the residents. Our decision to suspend these activities was made for the health and safety of residents and our staff, who are at high risk of exposure due to the close and frequent care provided.


8.14.2020 Valley on Columbia Testing Update

All Valley on Columbia staff will test today from 12 to 3 pm. Due to the forecast, the testing location has moved to the front side of Valley on Columbia near the main entrance. Please reference this map >> TRAFFIC MAP >> for direction and traffic pattern. Enter the back parking lot, pass through the Valley Transitions lot, and pass by the front of the building from south to north. Testing will happen near the front doors. Traffic will exit on 13th Ave. South.

Employees working today at Valley on Columbia will test outside the back door, just to the north of the loading dock door.


8.13.2020 COVID-19 Update

Resident Testing Results: We have confirmed all resident testing results have been received from the August 11 resident testing. One resident from the Lanark neighborhood at Valley on Columbia has tested positive for COVID-19 and has moved to the COVID-19 care area, and one resident from Oakcrest at Woodside Village has tested positive and has transferred to the COVID-19 care area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia. You will be contacted if additional precautions are needed due to exposure.

This was a critical testing event for our residents. We need to celebrate the fact that the rest of the resident results are negative!

We are currently caring for 10 active cases of COVID-19 in the COVID-19 care area. Since yesterday, one resident has recovered and will be returning to their neighborhood today. We are saddened to report a resident who tested positive for COVID-19 passed away last night. Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers.

Visitation remains suspended throughout Valley Senior Living on Columbia and visitation was stopped in the Oakcrest neighborhood this morning due to the positive test result in a resident.

Upcoming Testing Schedule: All staff and residents from Valley Senior Living on Columbia and all residents from Oakcrest at Woodside Village will be tested tomorrow, August 14. The next ALL staff testing is scheduled for Monday, August 17, 10 am to 4 pm in the Valley Transitions parking lot. If you are unable to attend, contact you supervisor immediately for details on the make-up testing date and time.

Today we held another company-wide zoom. In case you missed it in person, you can view at this link. >> 8.14.2020 Company-wide Zoom

Thank you for your continued efforts to keep our residents and staff healthy and safe. Please lift up fellow staff and the residents in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.


8.12.2020 Weekly COVID-19 Update: Staff Testing Results, 10 Residents in COVID-19 Care Area

We are five months into the COVID-19 pandemic and the last week has been the most challenging so far. We are currently caring for 10 residents with active COVID-19 in the COVID-19 care area at Valley on Columbia. All residents are from the Riverside neighborhood. As we reported yesterday, one resident who was transferred from our COVID-19 Care Area died this week at the hospital.

Indoor and outdoor visitation at Valley on Columbia has been stopped and will be re-evaluated when more testing has been completed. Group activities and communal dining had been suspended on Sunday for Valley on Columbia. As of today, we have stopped communal dining and non-socially distanced group activity at all Valley Senior Living locations. Meals will again be served in rooms for all residents. Indoor visitation, with the exception of Valley Senior Living on Columbia, will continue. We understand the importance to the quality of life that being able to see family and friends brings to residents. We will continue to evaluate this regularly for increased risk.

STAFF RESULTS: Overnight we received confirmation of 10 staff from Riverside, 2 staff from Reeves, 1 staff from Almonte, 1 direct care contract staff, and 1 non-direct care staff from Valley on Columbia testing positive. We received confirmation of 1 staff from the Oakcrest neighborhood at Woodside Village testing positive. Contact tracing of positive staff is in process and you will be contacted if additional precautions are needed due to exposure. No positive staff results were received from Tufte Manor or Wheatland Terrace.

The direct care staff from Riverside who are now out for 10 days creates a ripple effect for staffing at Valley on Columbia.  Some have family and close relationships with other staff within our building who tested negative but are now off the schedule due to exposure to a positive case.  This morning all nursing schedules have been completely redone to add staff to Riverside.  For example, all our recreation staff are CNA certified so a number of those staff will work as CNAs until this resolves.  We appreciate everyone who has stepped up during this time to help out, work extra shifts, and even do different tasks and jobs to assist with managing this pandemic.

N95 USE: The combined use of surgical masks, face shields, gowns, and gloves have been an effective intervention to protect residents and staff until this point in the pandemic.  That clearly was not effective in protecting the staff in this outbreak on the Riverside neighborhood.  Due to the extent of the outbreak, all staff on the Riverside neighborhood started using N95 masks on Monday for a higher level of protection for both residents and staff. We will evaluate the use of N95 masks in other areas after final resident testing results are received.

COVID-19 CARE AREA: The COVID-19 Care Area has been expanded this week to accommodate for the potential need for additional residents testing positive. Residents within the front hall of the Valley Transitions neighborhood have moved and transitioned to rooms within other neighborhoods at Valley on Columbia. We have worked with the Emergency Operations Center at the North Dakota Health Department to contract for a deep cleaning of the Riverside neighborhood that will happen as soon as Thursday or Friday.

ALL STAFF/ALL RESIDENT TESTING: All staff and residents from Valley on Columbia will be tested on Friday, August 14 from 12 pm to 3 pm in the Valley Transitions parking lot. Contact your supervisor if you are unable to attend. All residents will be tested again on Sunday, August 16, and ALL staff will be tested on August 17, from 10 am to 4 pm in the Valley Transitions parking lot. We are grateful for the opportunity to test at this frequency and are confident this is the best way to stop COVID-19.

We will continue to test weekly, with increased frequency at Valley Senior Living on Columbia, until we have two weeks with no positive test results in residents and staff. The frequent testing is the best defense to keep residents and staff healthy and safe and stop the spread of COVID-19.

COMPANY-WIDE ZOOM: Today we held a company-wide zoom to review our current status and to share COVID-19 updates with all employees. If you were unable to join the zoom, please click the link to watch.

>> 8.12.20 Valley Senior Living Zoom


8.11.2020 Update

August 9 Riverside Neighborhood Resident Testing Results

Last night we received confirmation of one additional resident from the Riverside neighborhood at Valley on Columbia who has tested positive.  For Sunday’s tests, 2 of the 26 residents on the neighborhood tested positive in this third round of testing during the last week. This resident has moved to the COVID-19 care area. We are currently caring for 10 residents, all from the Riverside neighborhood, in the COVID-19 care area. Last night we also received confirmation of a staff member from Riverside who has tested positive. Contact tracing is in process and you will be contacted if additional precautions are needed due to exposure.

It is with great sadness that I share a resident from the Riverside neighborhood who tested positive for COVID-19 passed away yesterday.  We shared this with the staff and residents today at Valley Senior Living on Columbia in our Zoom and TV meetings and we will be sharing that in our company-wide communication tomorrow.

Staff/Resident Testing

All staff were tested on Monday and all residents were tested on Tuesday. We have received about 200 of our 750 results so far.  We will report our results tomorrow. This is great improvement from last week in terms of turnaround time from the lab.

Communal Dining and Non Socially-Distanced Activities Will Be Discontinued THROUGHOUT the Organization

With the outbreak on Riverside, we realize the risk we run with residents who are interacting with each other less than 6 feet apart, especially without the use of masks.  This happened between weekly testing events.  With the current level of community spread within our city and state and the fact that active cases are steadily increasing, we will not be doing any communal dining nor will we do activity that has decreased social distancing with mask use.  Until something dramatically different changes in our fight against COVID-19, I anticipate these restrictions will be in place.

Final Thought

Please remember to keep everyone in the Valley family in your thoughts and prayers at this time. Have grace for each other.  This is a difficult time for many with staffing at less than optimal levels due to exposures and symptoms, friends and family struggling with COVID-19 in their homes, and the uncertainty of what changes are yet to come. Keep your thoughts positive, and continue to work together. We are all in this together. You are all heroes.


8.10.2020 Update

Today we received confirmation of an additional resident and two staff from the Riverside neighborhood who tested positive for COVID-19.  A third staff member who works primarily on the Lanark neighborhood also tested positive today.  The resident result is from the testing that was held on Saturday, August 8. We have 22 results received (21 negative, 1 positive) and are waiting on four resident results. Contact tracing is in process and you will be contacted if additional precautions are needed due to exposure.

All staff were tested today and all residents will be tested again tomorrow. Frequent testing will continue to be our best defense to slow and stop the spread of the virus.

We are currently caring for nine active cases of COVID-19 in the COVID-19 care area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia. Please continue to keep our residents and staff dealing with COVID-19 in your thoughts and prayers.


8.9.2020 Update

Yesterday we received confirmation of six residents from the Riverside neighborhood testing positive for COVID-19. The residents have been moved to the COVID-19 care area at Valley on Columbia and are being cared for by a separate nursing team. Contact tracing is in process and you will be contacted if additional precautions are needed due to exposure. These results are from the tests administered on August 6 to residents who reside in the Riverside neighborhood. All Riverside residents will be tested again today and we can expect results in approximately 48 hours.

We are currently caring for nine active cases of COVID-19 in the COVID-19 care area. All residents who transferred to that area are from the Riverside neighborhood.  We are working closely with the North Dakota Department of Health for ongoing support and guidance. We have no additional positive results to report from other neighborhoods at Valley on Columbia or other communities within the organization.

With the increase in active cases within Riverside, we have decided to stop communal dining and group activities within all neighborhoods at Valley Senior Living on Columbia. Our goal is to limit resident interaction with each other in the event that there is unknown asymptomatic spread. At this point, our COVID-19 Command Team is comfortable continuing indoor visitation in all neighborhoods, with the exception of the Riverside neighborhood. We know how important continued contact with family is for quality of life. This visitation remains with one visitor inside the resident’s room at a time. Proper PPE is required at all times for the safety of our residents.

With the potential need to expand the COVID-19 care area, we are initiating moves of Valley Transitions residents to other rooms available at Valley on Columbia. We will also not be accepting any new move-ins to the building until we have results from our next testing event.

We currently have an ample supply of PPE and staffing levels remain adequate. All staff from Valley will be tested tomorrow from 10 am to 4 pm in the Valley Transitions parking lot. If you are unable to attend contact your supervisor immediately.  All residents will be tested (including Riverside) on August 11. This frequent testing, together with remaining focused on our infection prevention protocol, will help to control and stop the spread of the virus.

Please keep the residents and staff in your thoughts and prayers.


8.7.2020 Update

Mass Testing of staff is scheduled for Monday, August 10, from 10 am – 4 pm in the Valley Transitions parking lot. Take time to review the attachments listed below before the testing. We have updated and included many changes on the Valley Senior Living Employee COVID Safety Pledge and on the When to Call the Staff Illness COVID Line informational sheet. All forms will be distributed at the event and there is no need to print and bring with. If you are unable to attend, please contact your supervisor immediately. They will inform you of the make-up time and location. If you are unable to attend the event on Monday you will not be paid $50 to test. Please remember the importance of wearing a mask if you are carpooling to the event with someone who is not from your household. Always be mindful of pedestrians near the testing event and be courteous to others (wait your turn in line, do not block intersections) in the area when arriving for testing.

8.10  Memo from Garth

When to Call the Staff Illness COVID Line 

Employee COVID Safety Pledge


8.6.2020 Update

All results for residents tested on Sunday, August 2 have been received. Yesterday we reported two residents from the Riverside neighborhood have tested positive and have moved to the COVID-19 Care Area. No additional positive results were received within Riverside or any other neighborhood at Valley on Columbia. As reported yesterday, four staff are positive from Valley on Columbia. We are currently waiting on approximately 150 staff results from across the company from the testing conducted on Sunday and Tuesday.

REEVES RESUMES PHASE 2 STATUS on FRIDAY, AUGUST 7:

With the results received from the most recent round of testing, on Friday the Reeves neighborhood can resume indoor visitation, communal dining, and group activities. Visiting hours are from 8 am to 8 pm with one visitor at a time inside the resident’s room.  We are happy to be able to welcome visitors back into the Reeves neighborhood and resume activity as “normal”!

RIVERSIDE VISITATION RESTRICTED:

Indoor and outdoor visitation has been stopped in the Riverside neighborhood. We will need two weeks of testing with no positive resident results to resume Phase 2 status. Virtual visits will be coordinated with recreation at recreation.vc@gmail.com or 701-787-7931.


8.5.2020 Weekly Update

August 2 Testing Results – in process

Today we received results for the mass testing held on Sunday. Valley Senior Living on Columbia received confirmation of two positive residents from the Riverside neighborhood, and four positive staff. One staff member, direct care in the Lanark/Riverside neighborhood last worked on August 5, two non-direct care staff working in the Riverside neighborhood, last worked on July 31 and August 3, and one support staff last working on August 3. The support staff tested negative at our August 2 testing, but was notified of a positive test result from a testing conducted at another place of employment. Contact tracing for these six positive COVID-19 test results from Valley on Columbia is underway. You will be contacted if additional precautions are necessary due to exposure.

Due to the resident and staff positive tests in the Riverside neighborhood, all residents in the neighborhood will now be on precautions until we have at least one round of negative tests for residents. Visitation has been suspended in Riverside, communal dining has stopped and no group activities will be held. All residents from Riverside will be tested tomorrow morning beginning at 9 am. This is a precautionary measure to identify any additional positive, asymptomatic residents.

Other results confirmed via fax include:

Tufte Manor: 60 of 60, all negative (3 additional residents were tested on the 3rd for missing the event on the 2nd. Awaiting results)

Wheatland Terrace: 54 of 54 received, all negative

Woodside Village: 108 of 131 received, all negative

Valley on Columbia: 164 of 173 received, 2 positive residents, the rest negative

All staff: 599 results received, 3 positive staff, all Valley on Columbia

All Staff Testing on Monday, August 10

The next all staff testing event will be Monday, August 10, from 10 am to 4 pm in the Valley Transitions parking lot at Valley on Columbia. If you are unable to attend this event, please contact your supervisor now to alert them and find out more details about the make-up testing event. If you attend the make-up event you will not receive $50 to test. Please be courteous and do not cut in line or block intersections or cross walks while waiting to be tested. We need to remain respectful of other people and businesses in our area as we continue to conduct the mass testing events.

COVID-19 Staff Illness Line – 701.741.9646

Active screening of our employees remains an important piece and a requirement to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in our care communities. We ask that you report to the COVID-19 Staff Illness line at 701.741.9646 in the event you have a symptom related to COVID-19, have had exposure to a positive case of COVID-19, or live within a household of someone who is being tested or is experiencing symptoms.

Recruiter Bonus has INCREASED!

Our number one recruiter of new staff is you!  The recruiter bonus has increased. For every full-time employee you recruit, you receive $1000 after the new employee completes 800 hours of full-time employment (30-40 hours/week), or for a part-time recruit, receive $500 after the new employee completes 400 hours of part-time employment (up to 29 hours/week). We know heroes recruit heroes! Please contact your supervisor or Human Resources at 701.787.7942 for more details and to fill out the recruiter form.

Please keep your thoughts and prayers with our residents who have tested positive and our staff members who are positive or dealing with COVID-19 in their homes. Thank you for your continued dedication to Valley. You are all heroes.


7.31.20 Update

Mass Testing Sunday, August 2
All staff will be tested this Sunday between 1 pm and 5 pm in the Valley Transitions parking lot. If you are unable to attend, contact your supervisor. If you are unable to attend, the make-up testing event will be August 4 from 12 – 3 pm at Woodside Village. Those who do not attend on Sunday will need to make arrangements with their supervisor to attend on the make-up date and will not be paid $50.

Mass Testing Results
We have received final staff results from the mass testing on July 27. Three positive results – one non-direct care staff from Valley on Columbia, a direct care staff from Hearthstone at Woodside Village, and a non-direct care staff from Town Square. Tufte resident results are final and all negative.  Valley on Columbia, Woodside Village, and Wheatland Terrace have about two-thirds of the results back and all are negative.  We will notify you if there are any positive cases.

COVID-19 Care Area
We have admitted a resident who has recently tested positive for COVID-19 to our COVID-19 care area at Valley on Columbia. The resident was admitted directly from Altru Hospital.

Health Department Infection Control Survey at Woodside Village Thursday Afternoon
The North Dakota Department of Health was onsite with two surveyors at Woodside Village to conduct an infection control survey on Thursday. It would not be surprising if they visit Valley Senior Living on Columbia sometime in the near future.  The surveyors wanted to observe staff don and doff PPE.  They asked Carra a number of questions and had a number of requests for documentation.  Congratulations to Carra Hindberg and Woodside Village on a deficiency-free survey!


7.29.20 Weekly COVID-19 Update

Over the last week we had four positive tests for COVID-19 in our organization: two Valley Senior Living on Columbia residents from the Reeves neighborhood, one Woodside Village staff member from the Heartland neighborhood, and an employee from another healthcare entity who works in all areas of the organization. They were all asymptomatic at the time of testing.

Weekly Testing
This week we are changing to a weekly testing frequency for all residents and staff in the organization.  More frequent testing will help us to more quickly detect any cases that might have developed since the prior mass testing so staff can be isolated in their homes and residents are isolated in our COVID-19 Care Area.  Mass testing will occur on Sunday from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm in the parking lot of Valley Transitions. If you are unable to attend, the make-up testing event will be August 4 from 12 – 3 pm at Woodside Village. Those who do not attend on Sunday will need to make arrangements with their supervisor to attend on the make-up date and will not be paid $50.

Change in Isolation Procedure
Our other major change this week is in relation to the duration of isolation for staff or residents identified with COVID-19. CDC recently changed their guidance in relation to the duration of isolation and precautions.  We were previously using a test and time-based strategy of 14 days and two negative COVID-19 tests to have staff return to work and move residents back to their neighborhood.  Now we will be using a symptom and time based strategy of discontinuing isolation 10 days after symptom onset, resolution of fever for at least 24 hours, and improvement of other symptoms.  For those who never develop symptoms, isolation can be discontinued 10 days after the date of their first positive test. For a limited number of people who are severely immunocompromised and are symptomatic, isolation will continue for 20 days.

Neighborhood Updates
Hearthstone returned to Phase 2 of reopening on Tuesday, July 28.  Congratulations on stopping the spread of COVID-19 in a memory care neighborhood!

Reeves continues in pre-Phase 1 with the additional two positive residents from July 21.  All Reeves residents were negative for COVID-19 from the July 25 testing, so outdoor visitation on a scheduled basis will resume as it is a lower-risk activity that doesn’t involve residents interacting with each other.

Recruiter Bonus Doubles
Our number one recruiter of new staff is you!  The recruiter bonus has increased. For every full-time employee you recruit, you receive $1000 after the new employee completes 800 hours of full-time employment (30-40 hours/week), or for a part-time recruit, receive $500 after the new employee completes 400 hours of part-time employment (up to 29 hours/week). We know heroes recruit heroes! Please contact your supervisor or Human Resources at 701.787.7942 for more details and to fill out the recruiter form.


7.24.2020 Update

We are still awaiting final results from the testing events held on Tuesday and Wednesday. The results we have so far include:

Two residents tested positive from the Reeves neighborhood at Valley on Columbia. Both residents are asymptomatic and have been moved to the COVID-19 Care Area. Visitation has been suspended, communal dining has stopped and no group activities will be held in the Reeves neighborhood.

One staff tested positive from the Heartland neighborhood at Woodside Village. The staff member last worked on July 22. Contact tracing has been completed and potential exposures have been notified.

Resident and staff results for Tufte Manor, Wheatland Terrace or Hearthstone are complete with no additional positive results.

Many tests are still pending from the Heartland and Reeves testing on Wednesday. An update will be sent this weekend if additional positive test results are received.

Reminder: Mass Testing Monday, July 27 from 10 am – 4 pm at Valley Senior Living on Columbia in the Valley Transitions parking lot.


7.23.2020 Update

COVID 19 Testing

Monday July 27th 10:00am – 4:00pm

 at Valley Senior Living on Columbia

  • All staff will be tested on this date.
  • If you are unable to make this event date, please contact your supervisor right away.
    • You will still be required to test.
    • You will not receive $50.
    • Valley on Columbia staff working that day, please do not come right at 10 am, and only a couple from each neighborhood at a time.
    • You may be removed from the schedule until you are able to be tested, and/or be subject to attendance related penalties at the discretion of your supervisor.
  • Drive/enter through Valley Transitions parking lot located off of 13th Ave between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. Instructions and paperwork will be provided at the check-in station. PLEASE WATCH FOR PEDESTRIANS!!

7.22.2020

Your actions have saved lives at Valley, but your current actions outside work will continue to save lives.  Please keep your guard up and continue to follow social distancing and mask usage in public!

Here are some extremely alarming trends –

  • The active cases of COVID-19 in Grand Forks County have quadrupled in the last month.  We have about 100 active cases right now in our county.
  • From May to July, Valley had a miraculous stretch of about 70 days in which new cases of COVID-19 – resident or staff – did not develop symptoms OR retest positive for COVID-19.  In the last week…
    • We had three staff develop symptoms and test positive in the last week and one person needed emergency medical attention.
    • A resident we tested on day 10 retested positive this week.
  • The number of staff out due to exposure and symptoms is at is highest point since May.  This is putting stress on our ability to fully staff our departments.

Staff positives from the last seven days include:

Valley Senior Living on 42nd – 1 Town Square in dining, 1 Heartland in nursing, 1 Wheatland Terrace in nursing, Tufte Manor – 1 nursing staff,  Valley Senior Living on Columbia – 1 staff on a leave of absence, 1 Lanark in nursing.

Resident Testing Results

One resident from the Reeves neighborhood tested positive in the last mass testing for a 0.24% positivity rate.  The resident was transferred to the COVID-19 Care area and is asymptomatic.

Neighborhoods with Restrictions

Hearthstone and Reeves have additional restrictions as a result of a positive resident test from both neighborhoods.  We focus on limiting resident interactions with each other for the two weeks following a positive resident test.  We did make the exception of continuing to allow visitation for Reeves.  Visitation is considered a fairly low risk activity since residents’ interactions with each other is limited.

Staff and Resident Testing This Week, Upcoming Mass Testing

Hearthstone is back to weekly testing for residents now.  As a result of positive staff tests, Tufte Manor, Wheatland Terrace, and Heartland are testing weekly.  As a result of a positive resident test, Reeves is continuing to test weekly.  Hearthstone, Wheatland, and Tufte staff and residents were tested on Tuesday, July 21, and Heartland and Reeves are testing Wednesday, July 22. The next mass testing of all employees is scheduled for Monday, July 27 from 10 am – 4 pm in the Valley Transitions parking lot.

Personal Fans

With the warmer temperatures we have heard reports of the use of personal fans under face shields. Do not use fans to cool yourself under the face shield. Doing this aerosolizes your germs and could lead to increased spread of infections.

I9 Forms and #PROTECTINGRESIDENTS T-shirts

The #PROTECTINGRESIDENTS shirts have arrived! You are now able to pick yours up in HR at Valley on Columbia, from Jacinda Nelson at Tufte Manor, and from Kaley Littlejohn at Valley on 42nd. If you have not filled out your updated I9 employment forms, please bring two forms of identification when you pick up your shirt! (Passport or Drivers License and Social Security Card)

Thank you for #PROTECTINGRESIDENTS, you are all Valley Senior Living Heroes!

7.9.2020

This morning we received confirmation of a resident from the Hearthstone neighborhood at Woodside Village testing positive for COVID-19. The COVID-19 Care Area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia has been reopened, the resident has been transferred to the care area, and will be cared for by a separate nursing team.

With the confirmation of a positive resident test in the Hearthstone neighborhood, we return to our prior set of precautions:  outdoor and indoor visitation is restricted, communal dining has been stopped, we will not hold group activities in that neighborhood, and common area use of any kind will be discouraged.  We will make every effort to have residents spend as much time in their rooms as possible.  Due to increased testing capacity, we will test Hearthstone residents this Friday and twice a week until this situation resolves.  Hearthstone staff will continue to be once per week at this point.

All other neighborhoods and care communities remain at Phase 2 with one visitor at a time inside the residents room.

Mass testing of ALL STAFF will be held on Monday, July 13, from 8 am – 4 pm in the Valley Transitions parking lot. If you are unable to attend this testing, you must contact your supervisor. An alternate date is July 15 from 9 am – 11 am, but arrangements do need to be made if you plan to attend the alternate date.

Good news of the day: on our statewide call, the North Dakota Department of Health told us that “brief hugs” at the end of visits are OK!


 

7.8.2020 Update

Our next ALL STAFF testing event is scheduled for Monday, July 13, from 8 am – 4pm in the Valley Transitions parking lot. Please note the change in hours. If you are unable to attend, the make-up testing event will be Wednesday, July 15, from 9 – 11 am. Contact your supervisor if you will be attending the make-up testing event.

If you are unable to attend, contact your supervisor. You will still be required to test, you may be removed for the schedule until you are able to test, and you will not receive $50 for testing.

The North Dakota Department of Health is requiring weekly COVID-19 testing for whole neighborhoods if a positive employee or resident was identified on the previous test event. As a result, all residents and staff of Tufte Manor, Hearthstone at Woodside Village, and the Reeves and Riverside neighborhoods at Valley Senior Living on Columbia were tested this week. Once a neighborhood has had two consecutive weekly tests with all negative results, they will transition to every other week testing.

With no residents testing positive in the past two weeks, all care communities including Tufte Manor are now in Phase 2 of reopening at Valley Senior Living. We are excited for a couple of things we are bringing back: pets and singing!  Visitors and employees are welcome to share the joy and comfort that pets bring to residents and staff.  Resident neighborhood groups can begin singing again (of course, with masks on and socially-distanced)!

Thank you for all you continue to do to keep our residents safe and healthy!


7.6.2020 Update

COVID-19 Testing Update and Schedule
This week staff from Tufte Manor and Hearthstone will be tested on July 7 from 12 to 3 pm in the back parking lot at Valley Senior Living on 42. Due to the latest mass testing with a confirmed positive staff from the Reeves neighborhood that had also worked in the Riverside neighborhood, all staff from Riverside and Reeves will be tested July 8 from 12 to 4 pm in the Valley Transitions parking lot. The new North Dakota Department of Health guideline is to perform weekly testing of any neighborhood with positive test results in staff or residents. Weekly testing will continue through two testing cycles until all staff and residents have negative results.

Tufte Manor approved for Phase 2
We have two consecutive weeks of no resident positive tests for Tufte Manor. As a result, Tufte Manor has been approved to move to Phase 2 by the North Dakota Department of Health. Indoor visitation will now begin with hours from 8 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday and 8 am to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday.  This is the first time Tufte has been able to have indoor visitation so it is an exciting day for many at Tufte!

Valley on Columbia Positive Resident Update
The Valley on Columbia resident from Reeves who was reported to be positive for COVID-19 on Thursday night (July 2), is actually negative.  The State Lab misidentified the case numbers of two people resulting in this error. The resident will move back to their room and the COVID-19 Care area will close! Reeves immediately goes back to Phase 2 for meals, activity, common area use, visitation, and beauty shop.


7.3.2020 Update

We have received results from the COVID-19 tests that were completed on June 29 and 30 for residents and staff. Four total staff had tested positive from June 29 (2 Tufte Manor, 1 Valley on Columbia – Reeves, and 1 Woodside Village – Hearthstone).  Last night we were informed that one resident from the Reeves neighborhood at Valley Senior Living on Columbia tested positive and the resident has subsequently has been moved to the COVID-19 care area.  While Wheatland Terrace has all their resident tests processed, there are still 85 tests to process for Valley on Columbia, 18 for Woodside Village, and 56 for Tufte Manor.

With the confirmation of a positive resident test in the Reeves neighborhood, we return to our prior set of precautions for Reeves only:  outdoor and indoor visitation is restricted, communal dining has been stopped, and we will not hold group activities in that neighborhood.  No common area use, no admissions, no beauty shop appointments, and resident monitoring has been increased to three times per day for the neighborhood.  These precautions may be adjusted when we receive the results of the testing event on Wednesday, July 8.  We do not advise that residents from Reeves leave the building at this time, but it is a resident’s right to do so if they choose.  This resident right remains intact regardless of phases and testing results.

All other neighborhoods at Valley Senior Living on Columbia including Lanark, Almonte, Riverside and Valley Transitions will remain in Phase 2 with one visitor per resident inside the resident room.

When performing the contact tracing for this positive case, the North Dakota Department of Health has given us new instructions on when to furlough staff: anyone who assists a COVID-19 positive resident who is not wearing a mask for a period of 15 minutes or more is on leave for 14 days REGARDLESS of the staff’s PPE use.

Yesterday’s company-wide zoom included more details on resident outings and visitation. Here is a link in case you missed it >> Zoom 7.2.2020

We will not send you another message regarding this testing event unless there is another positive test among the remaining results.


7.1.2020 Update

Today’s weekly update will highlight our mass testing from Monday and Tuesday, resident outings and reminders about visitation guidelines. As of this afternoon we have received staff results for 635 of 752 with four asymptomatic employees testing positive so far. This includes two staff from Tufte Manor, both non-direct care and last working on June 29 and 30, one direct care staff from the Hearthstone neighborhood at Woodside Village last working on June 30, and one direct care from the Reeves neighborhood at Valley on Columbia who last worked on June 30. If any additional precautions are necessary for staff due to contact with these employees, we will be in contact with you. We are awaiting resident test results at this time and will communicate with you if there are any confirmed positive tests.

Resident Outings
Residents have the right to leave our buildings.  We have the right to put residents on 14 days of isolation precautions if their outing exposes them to other people in ways that are not safe for the resident.  We have developed a form that must be signed by the responsible party accompanying the resident or by the resident themselves if they are independently leaving. This form details safe guidelines for outings to protect residents. If a resident is on an outing and it is not possible to adhere to the guidelines, they will be placed on 14 days of isolation and will not participate in communal dining or activities with other residents during that time.

Charge Nurses –This starts immediately – You are the people who will be contacted by families about the outings!  We encouraged families to contact ahead of time, but residents have the right to leave when they would like.  Keep a copy of this form nearby so you can talk through our requirements for a safe outing. We have sent a copy of the form to all primary contacts and residents so they are aware as well.

Visitation
Three of our care communities remain in Phase 2 with indoor visitation permitted. This includes one visitor in the resident room or two visitors with the resident outside on the patio or in the courtyards if space to socially distance is available. Visitation or waiting to visit is not permitted in common areas. Please continue to remind visitors of proper PPE usage, share the guideline on only one visitor at a time if you see more and explain no common area visitation if needed. One thing to keep in mind is that we still have a number of first time visitors and they are not yet familiar with the rules even though we have told them upon getting screened. Thank you for your continued effort in educating our visitors of the safest practices to still allow for family and friends to have in person interactions with residents!

Thank you for your continued dedication to keeping our residents safe and healthy! Don’t forget about the company-wide zoom tomorrow at 2:30 pm.


6.24.2020 Update

This last week has been a nice change of pace!  It’s consisted of making plans to return to a “new normal” and celebrating Silver Linings Day!  Make sure you get your free

#PROTECTINGRESIDENTS shirt today

! Deadline is July 1 to order.  Shirts will be delivered in 2 to 3 weeks. Make sure you put in your name when you checkout so that we know who did the ordering, and regardless of whether you put in your home address, the order will come to Valley to be distributed.

Reminder: Next testing is Monday, June 29!
Our next mass testing event for staff is Monday, June 29 from 8:30 am – 5 pm at Valley Senior Living on Columbia in the Valley Transitions parking lot.

  • All staff INCLUDING Hearthstone and Tufte Manor will be tested on this date.
  • Drive/enter through Valley on Transitions parking lot located off of 13th Ave between 8:30 am and 5 pm.  Instructions and paperwork will be provided at the check-in station. PLEASE WATCH FOR PEDESTRIANS!!
  • If you are unable to make this event date, please contact your supervisor right away.  You will still be required to test and you will not receive $100.  You may be removed from the schedule until you are able to be tested, and/or be subject to attendance related penalties at the discretion of your supervisor.

June 29th is the last testing event in which we are paying $100 for testing.  We will be changing to $50 per mass testing event for those that attend the day of testing starting on July 1. We have been fortunate to receive some additional funding for COVID-related expenses. Testing events are how we continue to share that with you. $50 every other week would be an additional $1,200 annually for each employee and about $1,000,000 annually for the entire company. If that funding source does not continue, we will need to reevaluate our ability to continue to pay employees to attend these events.

Tufte Manor and Hearthstone Testing Update:
We are expecting results today and tomorrow from the weekly testing at Tufte Manor and Hearthstone. We will notify you if any positive test results are received.

Phase 2 Visitation Reminder:
With three of our communities in Phase 2, please remember visitation is limited to one visitor at a time, inside the residents room. No common area visitation is permitted at this time. All visitors and residents must wear face masks at all times and face shields or eye protection are recommended.  The only exception to the visitation guidelines is four people permitted in end of life situations.



6.23.2020 Silver Linings Update 

Long term care and our essential role in society have been highlighted through this pandemic.  Like many people who perform essential services, it’s fair to say that in the past, we in long term care were taken for granted. That fundamentally changed with COVID-19.

So many in our community are grateful for the work you do to keep residents and each other safe and healthy!  We have received kind and supportive letters, emails, and social media posts of messages of thanks and appreciation.  Governor Burgum recognized Valley Senior Living this month in his press conference!

On behalf of our COVID-19 Command Team, our Executive Leadership, and our Board of Directors, today is a day to celebrate us!  Today is Silver Linings Day, a day Governor Burgum has declared as a time to recognize all employees in long term care. The care you provide through masks and face shields, the testing events you willingly attend, the rapidly changing guidelines that have to be followed and adhered to, and the social distancing recommendations you pledge to follow – these are just a few examples of why you are all true heroes, and this day is for you! A day to celebrate how we have all come together to meet the demands of the pandemic, while balancing the changes and challenges both at work and at home.

As an additional thank you, we have a FREE SHIRT for everyone!  Please take a moment and order a #PROTECTINGRESIDENTS shirt today! Shirts will be delivered in 2 to 3 weeks.

Please continue to take care of yourselves, your loved ones, and thank you for continuing to share your compassionate care at Valley Senior Living!



6.22.2020 Update


All Tufte Manor staff will now be tested weekly until further notice! 

Week 1

When: Tuesday, June 23rd
Time: 12-3 pm
Where: Valley on 42nd

(Please see map for directions on how to enter testing event)


Week 2
When: Monday, June 29th
Time: 8:30-5 pm
Where: VT parking lot



6.19.2020 Update

In case you missed today’s all staff zoom here is a recording. The main topic covered was the move to Phase 2 for Woodside Village, Valley on Columbia and Wheatland Terrace. Visitation is now permitted indoors for these three care communities. >> 6.19.2020 Zoom

Click here to read the communication we shared with residents, families and primary decision makers today regarding Phase 2 changes. 


6.18.2020 Update 


Mass Testing Results

Today we received confirmation of one resident who has tested positive for COVID-19 from Tufte Manor. The resident is asymptomatic and has been transferred to the COVID-19 Care Area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia. Due to the positive test results in residents and staff at Tufte Manor this week, group activities, outdoor visits and communal dining will remain on hold.  We have requested weekly testing for all Tufte residents and staff which will start next Tuesday, June 23.

Our mass testing event resulted in 8 total positive staff for a 1.1% positive rate.  On our statewide call today, many people in their communities are just resuming life as normal, but it is anything but normal for us in long term care.  When in public, if you are not able to accomplish social distancing of six feet from prolonged exposure to others, continue to wear a mask.

Phase 2 of Reopening Long Term Care for Valley Senior Living on Columbia, Woodside Village, and Wheatland Terrace (Due to a positive resident test at Tufte Manor they will not advance to the next phase)
With the most recent testing results, we have been approved by the North Dakota Department of Health to move three of our four care communities to Phase 2 tomorrow morning. Phase 2 includes changes to visitation, dining, activities and social outings.

Changes effective Friday

  • Indoor Visitation – Visiting hours will be from 8 am – 8 pm. The visit does not need to be scheduled nor does it require supervision.  Any resident who is not on precautions will be able to have one visitor at a time in their room.  Residents on precautions can continue to have outdoor visits with the exception of the few residents who have been put on precautions due to exposure to someone who was COVID-19 positive.
    • There are a number of previously reserved Father’s Day visits with two people in the courtyard. Those can continue through this weekend.  We haven’t made a final decision on how the outdoor areas will be used going forward.
    • Common area visitation will not be permitted. Each visitor introduces risk to our community and that risk will occur only in the resident’s room who is receiving the visitor.  All visitors will screen in at the front desk and will be given a face mask and a face shield which we are asking them to return for sanitizing once the visit is complete. Masks are required at all times to visit and please feel confident and comfortable reminding visitors of this in the event you see someone without a mask. Every visitor is signing a statement indicating that they are aware they will be asked to leave the premises if they do not follow our guidelines.

Changes effective next week, targeting Wednesday implementation at this point (it may vary by community):

  • Dining – Residents will be able to dine in groups of four per table, socially distanced by 6 feet from other tables. Residents will remain with their neighborhood for dining. Each table grouping of four will be considered a household in the event of expected or confirmed COVID-19. We will be communicating with families if they would like to opt out of communal dining for their resident.
  • Group Activities – Activities with less than 10 participants from the same neighborhood can now resume and do not have to follow strict 6 foot social distancing. All residents must hand sanitize and wear a mask the entire time. Things such as eating and singing will not be permitted during those group activities.
  • Call teams will contact their 10 residents and families on Monday to discuss willingness to participate in more traditional dining and group activities.  Some residents/families may choose to not participate in this and we will care plan accordingly.  Our standard of care will be that residents will eat at a table with three other people and we only need to care plan the exceptions to that.

No action at this point, but we have the ability to initiate:

  • Social Outings – The ability for residents to go on social outings is a part of phase 2. We will be working on the process to allow this to occur in the safest way possible and will share more details on how we can best accomplish this once decided upon.

Communication about the move to Phase 2 will be shared with families tomorrow morning. We are expecting to see many visitors over the weekend and we are happy for these long awaited reunions to happen in the comfortable setting of the residents room. Thank you for your continued dedication to the safety of our residents, it has helped us get to this phase of re-opening!


6.17.2020 Update

Testing Update
Tests from our June 15 and 16 testing event are currently being processed at the lab and we are reasonably certain we have received the results for all staff and are awaiting final results for residents. We have received confirmation of 8 staff testing positive for COVID-19. Four staff are from Valley on Columbia including one from Reeves, one from Valley Transitions, one non-direct care staff and one support staff. Two staff are from Tufte Manor in direct care roles and two from Wheatland Terrace, one direct care and one support staff. All staff are asymptomatic at this time. Please remember no news is good news and you will not be contacted if your results were negative.

Please keep our staff that have tested positive for COVID-19 in your thoughts and prayers.


6.12.2020 Update

All staff COVID-19 testing is scheduled for Monday, June 15. Please reference testing day instructions and information here >> Mass Testing June 15


6.10.2020 Afternoon Update

Yesterday’s all staff zoom covered topics included reopening the COVID-19 Care Area at Valley on Columbia and the executive order to reopen nursing homes with the phased approach. We also discussed the restart of communal dining and socially distanced small group activities, and reviewed the COVID-19 dashboard for Valley Senior Living including the status of all neighborhoods. Please review this zoom if you were not able to attend. >>Zoom 6.9.2020

The next staff testing event will be Monday, June 15. This will include Hearthstone employees. You will be compensated $100 for testing on this day. If you are unable to attend on Monday, please contact your supervisor immediately.

Pictures, Videos, Social Media Reminder:  This week we had a scenario in which a staff shared their photo of a resident that caused distress for that resident.  We are required by law to investigate these incidents. As a result of our investigation, I would like to share the following reminders with you:

  • As staff we are not able to take pictures or videos of residents on our personal devices.
  • We form friendships with residents and visit when we are not “on the clock, ” but we are still employees and this is still prohibited.
  • The mere act of taking photos or videos on your personal devices can be considered resident abuse. The following is from the definition of abuse from our policy: Abuse may also occur if a photograph or recording of a resident, or the manner that it is used, demeans or humiliates a resident(s), regardless of whether the resident provided consent and regardless of the resident’s cognitive status.
  • If you are capturing a moment with a resident, please use Valley Senior Living devices and consult with your nurse or recreation staff to see if the resident has given permission for photos/videos to be taken.

6.10.2020 Update

The next staff testing event is scheduled for Monday, June 15. Please reference testing day instructions and information here >>

Mass Testing June 15


6.8.2020 Update

On Friday and Saturday, June 5 and 6, residents and employees were tested for COVID-19 at all Valley Senior Living communities. Today we received confirmation of two positive residents from Tufte Manor. The residents are asymptomatic and were transferred to the COVID-19 Care Area at Valley Senior Living on Columbia this afternoon.

We are reasonably certain that all resident and staff tests from Valley Senior Living have been processed, although we have not received paperwork with confirmation on Wheatland Terrace residents and Tufte Manor staff and residents beyond the two positive test results.

We are very pleased to see our first mass testing with no staff who were positive for COVID-19!  Unfortunately, two residents were identified as positive and we pray for their continued asymptomatic status with COVID-19.  Thank you for continuing to keep our residents safe and healthy, using your PPE correctly and social distancing! This was another mass testing that reflects your dedication to Valley.


6.5.2020 Update

Governor Burgum Commends Valley Senior Living Employees

Today at the statewide press conference, Governor Burgum announced plans to begin the phased approach to reopening and restarting long term care communities. During his address he commended the work being done by direct care staff and employees at Valley Senior Living communities. Watch and hear his comments at approximately 40 minutes in >>

6.5.2020 Governor Burgum Press Conference

CDC Public Reporting of COVID-19 Cases

The CDC has started the process of publicly reporting nursing home deaths related to COVID-19. Due to HIPAA reasons, we have not previously reported on deaths related to COVID-19. With a commitment to transparency, we are sharing with you the information that is now publicly reported. At Valley Senior Living we have experienced two deaths related to COVID-19. The CDC publicly reported information reflects three deaths, one from Woodside Village and two from Valley on Columbia. The Woodside Village resident is reported at both locations due to a transfer and admission to the COVID-19 care area at Valley on Columbia. We share this information with great sadness. As of June 4, the CDC reports that nursing homes account for over 90,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with over 30,000 of those resulting in death.

We have not had any residents test positive for COVID-19 since we gained access to mass testing for residents and staff and implemented the use of face shields for direct care staff.  We continue to search for ways to implement the best infection control practices for our organization. Upon receiving a shipment of 100,000 surgical masks this week, we added the additional protective measure of single day use of surgical masks for all residents in place of the cloth masks we had been using.

The Long Term Care Restart Will Be a Phased Approach
This week we are excited to have the approval from the North Dakota Department of Health to start limited outdoor visitation!  Visits need to be scheduled 24 hours in advance by contacting the recreation department.  Visits are socially distanced, masks are worn, and residents are limited to two visitors at one time.  Visits can be scheduled with the following people:

The North Dakota Department of Health released guidance yesterday about the conditions for reopening long term care in North Dakota. There are three phases of reopening. Everyone must start at Phase 1 for 14 days. Yesterday, Valley Senior Living entities were approved for Phase 1 reopening which does not include indoor visitation at this time. Phase 1 does allow us to plan for the resumption of communal dining and limited group activities while socially distanced and wearing masks when possible.

We will spend 14 days in Phase 1 and progress to Phase 2 in each community as long as there are no positive tests for residents for COVID-19. Phase 2 does allow for the option of one person at a time visiting inside the building.  With the current prevalence of COVID-19 in Grand Forks County, we will be limited to a Phase 2 level of reopening for the foreseeable future.

We are testing all staff today (Friday, June 5) and all residents tomorrow (Saturday, June 6) for COVID-19.  Provided those results are favorable, we will be determining the safest practices within areas such as dining, activities and visitation and will continue to keep you updated on the changes as they become available.


6.4.2020 Update

REMINDER:

Employee testing Friday, June 5, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Valley Transitions parking lot. Unable to attend? Contact supervisor immediately.

*Hearthstone employees do not need to attend this testing.


6.3.2020 Update

Outdoor Visitation Begins on Thursday!

The North Dakota Department of Health has given guidance to begin outdoor visitation to reunite residents with their families and friends. This guidance includes a phased approach and is dependent on the current COVID-19 status of each care community or neighborhood. Valley Senior Living will begin outdoor visitation at each community tomorrow, Thursday, June 4. The family visits should be limited to two visitors at a time and will need to be scheduled in advance (with the exception of Wheatland Terrace where no appointments are needed).  All visitors will be screened, practice proper hand hygiene and will visit in designated areas. The recreation departments at each community will be coordinating the scheduling of outdoor visits and they will be monitored to ensure residents and visitors social distance and wear masks at all times. Each community will have designated areas for outdoor visitation and hours will vary at each community. Please contact the recreation department if you have community specific questions.

To be very clear, we are NOT open for visitation INSIDE our communities. Outdoor visitation means that two family members are walking inside to be screened, get their mask, and walk to the outdoor area. CMS and the North Dakota Department of Health have not issued any guidance on official reopening. Outside visits will be allowed as long as there are no respiratory illnesses/positive cases of COVID-19 within the neighborhood the resident lives.

Mass Testing
You are doing an amazing job of protecting each other and our residents! Our environment is one of the safest you can work in within Grand Forks. We have yet to have a resident infected with COVID-19 since the implementation of face shields. There is no evidence that any employee has infected another employee with COVID-19.

We are still seeing positive employee COVID-19 cases during mass testing events. While we know it isn’t happening at Valley, it is becoming more difficult to determine the true source of transmission. Your actions and your household’s actions continue to play an integral role in our success in keeping COVID-19 out of our communities. When you attend our mass testing event, you will receive an additional $100 added to your paycheck. For those that do not attend the testing event, you will not receive the $100 safety bonus on your paycheck. You will still need to test prior to resuming work.  We understand that some people have conflicts, but it is a labor-intensive process to test those that miss the event. Please contact your supervisor in advance when you are unable to attend the testing event.

Employee Active Screening
Employees will begin a self-screening process at the beginning and end of each shift. Information and directions will be posted when you enter the building. Please record your temperature and accurately answer the screening questions. A screening monitor will be available to answer any questions you may have. This will create a more efficient process upon entry and exit of the buildings.


6.2.2020 Update

Employee Mass Testing scheduled for Friday, June 5, 8:30 am – 5 pm >>

More Details


5.28.2020 Update

On May 25 and 26, we conducted COVID-19 mass testing of employees and all residents from Valley Senior Living locations. No residents from any Valley Senior Living community tested positive during this testing event!  We have 6 of our employee results that haven’t been faxed to us yet, but we can conclude they have processed all our tests.

We have received confirmation of six employees testing positive. Five employees were from Valley Senior Living on Columbia and one was currently training in our CNA offsite classroom. While they are all asymptomatic, we are concerned for them and hope for continued asymptomatic status with COVID-19.  The Valley on Columbia results include:

  • 1 employee from Riverside. The employee last worked on May 22 and was tested on May 26.
  • 1 employee from Valley Transitions. The employee last worked on May 27 and was tested on May 26.
  • 2 employees not in direct care roles. Both employees last worked on May 27 and were tested on May 26.
  • 1 contract employee. The employee last worked on May 27 and was tested on May 26.

What did we learn from these 1,200 tests?

  • None of the positive asymptomatic employees worked on the same shift or in the same neighborhood, which would suggest that our staff contracted the virus outside Valley Senior Living.
  • No residents tested positive, and we are fortunate to have only three residents who have been put on an additional 14 day precautions as a result of all of our positive staff results.
  • Staff are doing a great job with their PPE, and we need to stay vigilant about resident mask usage.
  • We have people who are off the schedule as a result of not following social distancing during breaks.  This is preventable.  It increases the risk of contracting COVID-19 and thereby increases the risk it could be transmitted to residents.
  • Face shields are here to stay for quite a while.  Face shields cover the easiest portals of entry (eye, nose and mouth) and provide the greatest level of protection in addition to the face mask. Remember – keep your germs to you and their germs to them.
  • Community prevalence of COVID-19 is just as high today as it was in late April, contrary to what you see on the state testing results each day.  Last time we had 4 staff test positive, this time it was 6 people.

On a bright note, we are thankful to have temporarily closed the COVID-19 Care Area today! The last resident being cared for in this area has recovered and moved to their home within a neighborhood at Valley Senior Living on Columbia. The COVID-19 Care Area will remain available and will re-open if we have any additional residents test positive for COVID-19.


5.27.2020 Update

This is your weekly staff update on COVID-19 related activity within Valley Senior Living.  Thank you for attending mass testing yesterday and thank you for continuing to keep our residents safe.

On Monday, May 25, we tested residents of Valley Senior Living on Columbia, Woodside Village, and Tufte Manor with all residents testing negative.  Tuesday, May 26, we tested Wheatland Terrace residents and 791 staff.  We do not have the results for those tests as they started to be processed today.  We are grateful for this opportunity to mass test as this is the most effective tool to prevent and manage COVID-19 in our care communities. Positive results and the identification of asymptomatic staff and residents allow us to furlough employees and cohort residents in the COVID-19 Care Area to contain the virus and stop the spread.

With the increased availability of testing supplies and lab capacity for long term care, we are confident in our ability to continue to test our residents and staff when needed. With the increased testing we want to inform you we will not be notifying you if test results are negative. We will only alert staff of positive test results. Test results are typically processed within 24 to 48 hours and if you have not heard from us, no news is good news! If you have any questions, please contact your supervisor.

There have been no additional COVID-19 cases identified at Valley Senior Living in the last week.  In fact, the three positive cases we reported last week were a result of malfunctioning lab equipment at the state laboratory.  The employee from Tufte Manor and two people in orientation all retested negative and are returning to work.


5.22.2020 Update

Happy Memorial Day Weekend everyone!  Enjoy time with your families this weekend!

Travel
This is a long pandemic and we recognize that travel and resuming non-essential activities is a part of living our lives.  However, we need to socially distance and wear masks.  The following is the statement that you will sign on Tuesday at mass testing which recognizes we are not just doing essential errands anymore:

I will notify my supervisor if I intend to travel domestically or internationally.  There are protocols that need to be followed upon return.  The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) STRONGLY discourages domestic and international air OR cruise travel for all North Dakotans at this time. CDC Travel resource: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

When Can We Stop Wearing Face Shields?
There are a number of items that we discussed in the company-wide Zoom today about resuming life as “next normal.” Most frequent answer to the most frequent question: Face shields are here to stay for a while.  This is mandated by the ND Department of Health when there is a case in the facility.

Testing
Next testing event is Tuesday and yes, you will be paid $100 each for getting tested.  Thank you for your continued sacrifices that you make for our residents’ safety!  Routine testing will help identify small outbreaks throughout the pandemic and we have proven that we are capable of stopping COVID-19 in its tracks if we can identify it.  I might have lied earlier – this is actually the most frequent answer to the most frequent question: We do not have control over whether it is a nasal or oral swab!  We find out the day of the event.

 An Amazing Surprise…
The federal government announced today that they would distribute $4.9 billion dollars to skilled nursing facilities today.  Valley Senior Living received a total of $935,000 in our bank account the SAME DAY it was announced.  This support is vital to our continued success.  We have lower census and higher expenses during this time and this helps us to maintain operations.

To give you an idea of how quickly this gets spent, we ordered $400,000 of isolation gowns yesterday.  We have to pre-pay.  The cost is 500% higher than pre-pandemic.  It is 6 months worth of supply, but we are committed to providing any necessary PPE to you and our residents so we can address any level of a potential outbreak.

Please take a moment to view these two links. The zoom will cover updates and questions from this past week and the article, The Risks – Know Them – Avoid Them, was shared by Faye Salzer, Infection Prevention Coordinator from the North Dakota Department of Health.

Company-wide Zoom Update – 5.22.2020

The Risks – Know Them – Avoid Them


5.20.2020 Update

This is your weekly staff update on COVID-19 related activity within Valley Senior Living.  You are all doing an amazing job of keeping our residents safe!

Let’s resume life as a new normal but be smart about it

.  You and especially your household need to keep social distancing!

Testing Results and Future Testing
In the last week we have had one positive employee test out of approximately 400 tests performed this week.  One staff member at Tufte Manor, not in a direct care role, tested negative for us on May 17 but tested positive for another employer on May 18.  We now perform COVID-19 tests as they begin employment with Valley.  On May 19, we had two new staff test positive for COVID-19 who were completing initial paperwork upon hire.

Our next mass testing for all residents of our care communities is on Monday, May 25.  All staff will be tested on Tuesday, May 26 at Valley Senior Living on Columbia.  If you are not tested this date, you will be removed from the schedule.  Drive/enter through Valley on Transitions parking lot located off of 13th Ave.  Instructions and paperwork will be provided at the check-in station.

​Please come during these time slots according to the first letter of your LAST name:

8:30-10:00 A-C + AM staff volunteers

10:00-12:00 D-H

12:00-1:45 I-MC and anyone scheduled for their PM shift.

1:45-3:30 Me-R and anyone who completed their day shift.

3:30-5:00 S-Z

Summary of Each Community/Neighborhood to Date

Valley Senior Living on Columbia:
COVID-19 Care Area – There are currently two residents living in the COVID-19 care area.  When a resident has two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart, the resident can return to their home neighborhood or building.
Valley Transitions – No residents or employees have tested positive during the first two rounds of mass testing.  All new residents have a negative result prior to admission and are on isolation precautions for the first 14 days of their stay.
Almonte – One employee tested positive April 16.  No residents or employees have tested positive during the first two rounds of mass testing.
Lanark – One employee tested positive April 27.  No residents or employees have tested positive during the targeted testing or second round of mass testing.
Riverside – No residents or employees have tested positive during the first two rounds of mass testing.
Reeves – There have been three residents (last date May 6) and two staff test positive on the Reeves neighborhood (last date April 26).  No residents or employees have tested positive during the targeted testing or second round of mass testing.

Woodside Village:
Hearthstone – No residents or employees have tested positive during the first two rounds of mass testing.
Heartland – No residents or employees have tested positive during the first two rounds of mass testing.
Oakcrest – One resident tested positive on April 27. No residents or employees have tested positive during the second round of mass testing.
Prairieview – Two residents tested positive on April 27. Three staff have tested positive (last date worked May 1).  The second and third round of testing for residents and staff on May 7 resulted in one additional positive staff.  Residents were tested a third time on May 17 with no positive tests.

Tufte Manor:
No residents at Tufte Manor have tested positive.  Residents have been tested once and staff tested twice.  A second staff member tested positive this week for another employer on May 18 after testing negative the prior day for Valley on May 17.  This person is not in a direct care role and last worked on May 15.

Wheatland Terrace:
No residents or employees have tested positive.  Residents have been tested once and staff tested twice.

How Do We Safely Reopen Nursing Homes?
On Monday, May 18, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services outlined what states need to do in order to eventually reopen nursing homes for visitation.  Testing is a major focus for a successful restart.  Baseline testing for residents and weekly testing for staff are required elements along with no recent positive resident cases within the nursing home.  While we do not have official guidance from our state health department yet, North Dakota is well-positioned to meet these criteria.  Our staff are tested approximately every two weeks at this point.  As laboratory capacity is added, this will eventually become weekly testing.

Informed Consent Form for Resident COVID-19 Testing
COVID-19 testing for residents will be ongoing throughout this pandemic, so we have created a consent form for primary decision makers to sign that was sent out today. This will eliminate the need to call families each time before we test.


5.19.2020 Update

We have received confirmation today of an employee from Tufte Manor who has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee, who is not in a direct care role, last worked on May 15, tested negative at our testing event on May 17, and tested positive at a mass testing event for another employer on May 18.

For your information, our next mass test event for all staff will be on Tuesday, May 26 at Valley Senior Living on Columbia.  There will be a more comprehensive company-wide COVID-19 update that we will share tomorrow with all staff.

Our thoughts are with all those in our Valley community and beyond who are facing COVID-19 in their homes.


5.13.2020 Update

Today we received confirmation of an employee that tested positive at Valley Senior Living on Columbia from the May 11 testing. The employee last worked on May 13 and had previously tested negative on April 26. This employee does not work within a resident care area and has had no direct resident contact.

MASS TESTING
Our mass testing efforts this week have been delayed but we have done some significant testing.  To recap,

  • All employees and residents were tested on April 26 and 27 – 1242 total tests.
  • Targeted follow up testing occurred for 325 residents and staff on May 7.
  • We tested 378 additional direct care staff on May 11.  All 151 of Woodside Village’s tests are in with no additional positive tests.  Of the 227 at Valley on Columbia, 22 are pending results and one additional staff listed above tested positive.
  • We have been given testing capacity of 400 people on Sunday.  This will allow us to finish a second round of testing for all Woodside Village and Valley on Columbia residents, all staff that provide direct care or are in the SNF neighborhoods within the nursing homes, some targeted retesting, and some others yet to be determined on Friday.  Please bear with us as we take testing capacity whenever we can.

ORGANIZATION-WIDE COVID-19 POSITIVE UPDATE
The following is a recap of each community/neighborhood so you know the current status.

Valley Senior Living on Columbia:
COVID-19 Care Area – The front hall of Valley Transitions was renovated to become the COVID-19 Care Area and we have cared for five residents. Residents from any Valley Senior Living care community who test positive are transferred to this area. It is completely separated from the remainder of the building with a separate care team.  There are currently three residents living in this area.  Due to HIPAA, we do not report on the condition or transitions of the residents in this area.  When residents have two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart, the resident can return to their home neighborhood or building.
Valley Transitions – No residents or employees have tested positive.  All new residents have a negative result prior to admission and are on isolation precautions for the first 14 days of their stay.
Almonte – One employee tested positive April 16.  Follow up testing of employees and residents on April 26 and 27 yielded no positive tests.
Lanark – One staff member tested positive April 27.  All residents and staff who had exposure to the staff tested on May 7.  All results were negative.
Riverside – No residents or employees have tested positive.
Reeves – There have been three residents and two staff test positive on the Reeves neighborhood.  The last date that a staff member worked on Reeves prior to testing positive was April 26.  Two residents tested positive with the April 27 mass testing.  The most recent resident positive result was from May 7.  This resident had been on full isolation precautions since April 27 so staff exposure was minimal and no other residents were exposed.  Mass testing of all residents and all staff on Reeves on May 7 yielded no new positive tests.

Woodside Village:
Hearthstone – No residents or employees have tested positive.
Heartland – No residents or employees have tested positive.
Oakcrest – One resident tested positive on April 27. All residents and staff were tested on May 7. All results were negative.
Prairieview – Two residents tested positive on April 27. Two staff tested positive on April 27. Follow up testing of all residents and staff on May 7 yielded one additional positive staff.

Tufte Manor:
No residents at Tufte Manor have tested positive. One employee tested positive on April 26. The employee has recovered, tested negative on two consecutive tests at least 24 hours apart, and has returned to work!

Wheatland Terrace:
No residents or employees have tested positive.

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with our residents and staff who are dealing with COVID-19 in their homes.


5.9.2020 Update

Happy Mother’s Day!
We want to wish mothers at Valley Senior Living a wonderful Mother’s Day!  Thank you in advance for those of you who will be working on Mother’s Day for facilitating window and virtual visits as this is a tough holiday to not celebrate face to face for our families and residents.  Wish we had better weather!

Targeted Testing Results
We are extremely happy to report that there were no new residents identified through our testing on May 7!  In our 325 tests, we received confirmation of one new positive COVID-19 test in an employee from Woodside Village in the Prairieview neighborhood. The employee tested negative on April 26, last worked on May 1 and was tested on May 5. Due to an issue with faxing at the North Dakota state lab, we do not have fax confirmation of all test results from the targeted testing held at Valley on May 7. We are fairly certain there are no other positive tests. A phone call  is initiated when a positive result is discovered, and we have not received any additional phone calls.

Results confirmed with a fax include:
Valley on Columbia residents: 44 of 44 received (all negative)
Woodside Village residents: 62 of 63 received (all negative)
Staff: 152 of 212 received
Valley on Columbia: 92 received
Woodside Village: 60 received (1 positive)

The North Dakota Department of Health has informed us that we will be receiving enough supplies to mass test all employees and residents again next week. We are thankful for this opportunity to continue to identify residents or employees that are positive for COVID-19. Our COVID-19 pledge will be updated and reissued next week at mass testing.

Friday Company-wide Zoom
In case you missed the Friday afternoon zoom, here is the link >> 5.8.2020 Zoom


5.7.20 Update

We have received confirmation today of an additional resident at Valley Senior Living on Columbia in the Reeves neighborhood who has tested positive for COVID-19 and an employee from Woodside Village in the Prairieview neighborhood. Contact tracing is in progress and you will be contacted by your supervisor if additional information is needed or if you need to take additional precautions.

We completed testing today for 325 staff and residents today, including all staff and residents in the Reeves, Prairieview, and Oakcrest neighborhoods in addition to other groups as discussed in our communication yesterday. We anticipate that the state lab will be running those tests as early as Friday and as late as Saturday.

To date, 8 staff and 6 residents have tested positive for COVID-19 within Valley Senior Living care communities.

Valley Senior Living on Columbia: 4 Staff, 3 Residents

Woodside Village: 3 Staff, 3 Residents

Tufte Manor: 1 Staff, 0 Residents

Wheatland Terrace: 0 Staff, 0 Residents

Our thoughts and prayers are with those in our Valley family who have tested positive for COVID-19.


5.6.20 Update

HAPPY NURSES DAY to all our nurses at Valley Senior Living and all nurses in your families and our community! We thank them for their service, sacrifice and the care they give. Check out this video of Valley nurses and letters from a second grade class of Discovery Elementary say thank you to our nurses!

FACE SHIELDS
We are implementing face shields while we have recent and active cases of COVID-19 within our communities.  This applies to the neighborhoods within Valley Senior Living on Columbia and Woodside Village.  We need 100% compliance with this immediately.  We look forward to going back to our old eyewear, but for now this is the requirement!

TARGETED COVID-19 TESTING EVENT – THURSDAY, MAY 7
We have a testing event tomorrow.  If you have received a text to be tested, it is mandatory for you.  Our last COVID-19 positive case was identified at Valley Senior Living early on Wednesday, April 29.  However, we know that it is unlikely that it will be our last. Mass testing events every two to three weeks will allow us to identify asymptomatic COVID-19 positive staff and residents across our organization. The North Dakota Department of Health, at our request, has made 325 swabs available to us for follow-up testing that will be held this Thursday, May 7. Dr. Henderson, our Infection Preventionists and others have been meeting to best identify people who should have follow-up testing within our organization. Since the timeframe of many people’s last exposure would have been on Tuesday, April 28, this follow-up testing is held at an appropriate time to detect if there are other positive cases within our staff or residents. Ideally this should occur at least seven days after the last exposure.

The methodology that we have chosen for tomorrow’s testing is based on the following criteria:

  1. We will test all residents and staff in a neighborhood in which there was a resident who was positive for COVID-19.  This includes:
    • Reeves Neighborhood at Valley Senior Living on Columbia
  2. If an employee is identified as COVID-19 positive and no residents tested positive in that neighborhood, follow up testing will occur for the residents and staff who were potentially exposed.
    • A group of 10 residents and 4 staff on the Lanark neighborhood at Valley Senior Living on Columbia will be tested.
    • For the employee on the Almonte neighborhood and the employee at Tufte Manor, our April prior 26 and 27 testing was at least 10 days from the last exposure to staff and residents.  Therefore, we did not recommend retesting.
  3. Valley staff living in the households of businesses with known outbreaks of positive cases of COVID-19.
  4. Valley staff who have been involved in the care for residents with COVID-19.
  5. Valley residents and staff who are positive for COVID-19 and are eligible for retesting by ND Department of Health criteria.  Two negative tests are required for a resident to move back to their home neighborhood or for a staff member to return to work.
  • Oakcrest and Prairieview Neighborhoods at Woodside Village

The intention of the North Dakota Department of Health is to continue mass testing of all employees and residents in long term care. Due to current processing capacity at the state lab and availability of swabs, we may need to continue the targeted testing in between mass testing events until availability increases.

Will staff who are tested tomorrow get paid?  The answer is yes!  Every staff member who tests will be paid $100 each.  The reason is simple – this group of staff have been exposed to a higher degree of risk than other people in the organization.  We will pay everyone next time at our next mass testing event and reevaluate this practice at that point.

NEW REPORTING GUIDELINES FOR CDC AND ND DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
The Centers for Disease Control and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have released new reporting guidelines for communication with residents and families. In addition to the required reporting of COVID-19 positive tests in residents and staff, long term care facilities are now required to report the onset of respiratory illness in three or more staff and/or residents over a 72 hour period.


 

5.1.20 Update

When should you call the Staff Illness COVID-19 number?

Please read this MEMO for direction on when to call the Staff Illness COVID-19 number.  This will help determine when you should call 701.741.9646 if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, have had contact, OR if someone in your household is experiencing symptoms, is being tested or has had contact with COVID-19.

ND Smart Restart
Today, a process called “ND Smart Restart” begins. Despite the fact that businesses, restaurants and bars will reopen, as a long term care employee, the importance of continued vigilance with social distancing, only going out for essential errands, and reducing your in person social circle to only your immediate household is more important than ever. As an employee at Valley, we each have a responsibility to stop the spread of COVID-19. At our testing event last Sunday we asked each employee to sign a pledge to adhere to a set of guidelines. This pledge is for the protection of our residents and your fellow employees. Through our mass testing of 1242 employees and residents, we identified 9 asymptomatic employees and residents. We are in process planning for additional testing events to continue to identify employees or residents who may become infected and could be asymptomatic carriers. Take a moment to read this Viewpoint from Valley submitted to the Grand Forks Herald.

COVID-19 Care Area
It has been determined front hall of Valley Transitions at Valley Senior Living on Columbia will become our dedicated COVID-19 Care Area to accommodate COVID-19 positive residents from all locations within our Valley Senior Living organization. Size of rooms, capacity, and functionality of separate nursing care teams has led to that decision. Additional modifications are currently in process. Isolation and cohorting of positive residents remains an important component to the COVID-19 emergency care plan to stop the spread of the virus.

Company-wide Zoom
Here’s a link to the Friday zoom meeting in case you missed it. >> 5.1.20 Zoom

Please continue to keep the residents and staff who are dealing with COVID-19 in your thoughts and prayers and remember their privacy and confidentiality is of the utmost importance at this time.


4.29.20 10:00 am Update

As of 10:00 this morning, in addition to the four employees organization-wide and two residents from Woodside Village that have confirmed positive tests from yesterday, there are two residents from Valley Senior Living on Columbia in the Reeves neighborhood and one additional resident from Woodside Village in the Prairiewood neighborhood with confirmed positive tests for COVID-19.  All five residents and four employees were asymptomatic at the time of the testing.  The residents have been moved to COVID-19 Care Areas within their buildings that are physically separated from the rest of the building and have separate nursing care teams. You will be contacted if you are required to take any additional precautions. If you have questions, please contact your supervisor.

Since testing started in March, total positive tests are as follows:

Valley Senior Living on Columbia: 6 positive tests             Staff: 4                 Residents: 2

Woodside Village: 5 positive tests                                         Staff: 2                 Residents: 3

Tufte Manor: 1 positive test                                                    Staff: 1                 Residents: 0

Wheatland Terrace: 0 positive tests                                      Staff: 0                 Residents: 0

Testing all employees and residents at Valley Senior Living is giving us the opportunity to identify residents and staff that have the potential to spread this virus to others. We are fortunate to have a less than one percent positive rate among our Valley Senior Living residents and staff considering the community exposure we have in Grand Forks.  We will continue to provide care and support for our residents and staff that have tested positive for COVID-19.


 

4.28.20 9:00 pm Update

As of 8:30 pm this evening, 800 Valley Senior Living employee tests have been completed. Four employees have confirmed positive tests, which is a 0.5% positive rate.  For those that tested on Sunday, the other 796 tests were negative and we are relatively certain that the only staff tests left to run were those that were tested on Monday. In addition to the employee that tested positive on the Reeves neighborhood this morning, throughout today we received confirmation of three additional employees who have tested positive. Two employees are from Woodside Village, both work within the Prairieview neighborhood and one employee from Valley Senior Living on Columbia from the Lanark neighborhood.

This evening, the lab started to process our resident tests.  At 6:45pm, we were notified that two residents at Woodside Village have tested positive with COVID-19. One resident resides in Oakcrest and one in Prairieview.

We are following recommendations from local and state health officials to stop the spread of COVID-19 and the residents who have tested positive will be relocated to the COVID-19 unit within the auditorium at Valley Senior Living on 42nd and cared for by a separate nursing team. If you have additional questions, contact your supervisor. You will be contacted individually if additional precautions are needed. Please keep our families, our residents and your fellow employees in your thoughts and prayers and remember confidentiality and privacy is very important at this time.


4.28.20 Update

We are informing you we have an employee who works at Valley Senior Living on Columbia in the Reeves neighborhood that has tested positive for COVID-19. The last day this employee worked was April 26, 2020. The employee is asymptomatic and was tested on Sunday, April 26 at the mass testing event. The Valley employee was wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) properly and was actively screened before their shift, according to recommended guidelines from federal, state and local health officials and was showing no signs or symptoms of COVID-19 while working. We will inform you of any additional precautions are needed.

We will be receiving a large number of test results throughout today from our mass testing event for employees and residents. We will update you each morning and evening as we receive results.

Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone at Valley Senior Living. Please know that we are strictly adhering to all directions from the local and state health departments.


4.27.20 Update

When will I get my results?

As of 4pm today, we do not have any lab results.  That was to be expected as the lab is now taking about 48 hours to process the specimens, which they received on Sunday night around midnight.  We are expecting to start receiving communication on Tuesday, and this process of notification may take longer.  When we know that we have received everyone’s results, we will communicate that with you via text as soon as possible so you would know that your test was negative.  Until then, no news is good news!

To be clear, there are asymptomatic people everywhere with COVID-19. This may create anxiety as you wonder if you are positive for COVID-19. The testing event that was held should create comfort and eliminate fear. You will soon know if you are positive so you can take action to isolate from your household, our residents, and others. As long as you work in long term care, we are at the top of the list within the country not only for routine testing but also for prioritization of personal protective equipment.

What if I am positive?
The Department of Health will call you and Valley’s Infection Preventionists if there is a positive result from your test.  As soon as we are aware, we will reach out to you to immediately.  Our concern is for you and your family, but please recognize that we have a standard of communicating with all staff, residents, and families within 12 hours of notification of a positive COVID-19 result.  During that window, we will have you complete the Healthcare Worker Account of Exposure Form that you received in your take home packet at testing.  This form assists us with the next step of Contact Tracing for residents or staff who may need to be on additional precautions and monitoring.

IMPORTANT CHANGE:  As of Monday afternoon at 4:30pm, the definition of an “exposure” at the Department of Health changed to include the following parameters:  Who was within 6 feet or less for 10 minutes or more?  Also, for asymptomatic people, contact trace 48 hours BEFORE the test date.  Any staff who test positive will be asked to report their activity all the way back to Friday, April 24.

Please have patience…
For this first time of receiving results, please understand it is a new process for all of us.  We will communicate with you ASAP!

What if I missed the test?
We scheduled a make-up session for those that missed the testing this afternoon and we have a number of people to still test.  We have about 20 people left to track down.  We have calls going out to you and we need to know ASAP when you can come in to be tested before or during your next shift.

COVID Pay
To prepare for the contingency of caring for COVID-19 positive residents, a number of staff are ready to respond to this call and we are grateful for your response to this request.  Our plan and procedure for COVID positive residents has been established. If we need to activate the COVID positive areas for residents, employees working in the COVID-19 care area will receive a $5/hour differential on all hours worked.


4.26.2020 Update

Our mass COVID-19 testing event is going smoothly today.

All Valley staff are asked to come to Valley Senior Living on Columbia by 5:30 this afternoon unless you have made prior arrangements with Megan Anderson at 787-7970.

We are informing you we have an employee who works at Tufte Manor that has tested positive for COVID-19. The last day this employee worked was April 15, 2020. Upon learning that the caregiver’s household member was being tested for COVID-19 due to an outbreak in their workplace, the Valley staff member was placed on paid leave. The household member learned that they were positive for COVID-19 on Saturday April 18. The Valley employee was wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) properly and was actively screened before their shift, according to recommended guidelines from federal, state and local health officials and was showing no signs or symptoms of COVID-19 while working. The employee was tested on Thursday, April 23, and we received confirmation of the positive test this afternoon, April 26. We will continue to update you as more information becomes available and inform you of any additional precautions are needed.

Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out our Valley families and our community members with COVID-19 in their homes.



4.24.20 Update

Valley Senior Living Employee Mass Testing Event – Sunday, April 26, 2020

Employees from ALL Valley Senior Living locations will be tested for COVID-19 on Sunday, April 26.

  • Testing will be conducted in a drive thru model in the back parking lot of Valley Senior Living on Columbia, 2900 14th Ave. South.
  • You will not need to exit your vehicle.
  • Participation is expected for the safety of our residents and staff. Please make every effort to arrive for testing during the time designated below according to the first letter of your last name. If you are unable to make it during your designated time, you may come at any time during the testing event. If you are unable to get tested on Sunday, please call Megan Anderson at 787.7970.
  • Please enter off Columbia Rd. at 13th Ave. South at the stoplight and exit according to the attached map. This will assist with proper flow and save time. SCHEDULE AND MAP TO EVENT
  • This testing is being conducted by Valley Senior Living staff and is ONLY for Valley employees. Test supplies provided by the ND Department of Health. (This is different than the Altru drive thru testing taking place at Altru’s Family Medicine Residency. Do not go to that location.)
  • You will receive a packet of information that must be completed, in your car, before your testing can be conducted. We will have designated parking spots to allow for paperwork completion.
  • Packets will be available for pick-up at employee screening Friday – Saturday if you would like to complete in advance and expedite the process on Sunday.
  • We will be collecting information about other employment, household employment, community contacts, etc. This information will be used for our internal contact tracing in the event we experience positive COVID tests.
  • Tests collected will be processed in Bismarck at the state lab. Results will be communicated with the Valley Senior Living Medical Director, Dr. Henderson.
  • Test results should be received within 48 hours. If you are not contacted, assume your test was negative.

****Safety Pays! Everyone who is tested at this event will receive an additional $100 on their next paycheck. ****


4/23/2020 Update 7:30pm

We have received confirmation that a second caregiver at Valley Senior Living on Columbia has tested positive with COVID-19. Resident and employee safety is our top priority. This employee last worked on the Reeves Neighborhood on April 20. We are in process with resident and family notifications. If you have additional questions, contact your supervisor. You will be contacted individually if additional precautions are needed. Please remember staff and resident confidentiality is very important at this time.

Our thoughts and prayers are with our Valley employees who are dealing with COVID-19 in their homes.


4.23.20

Employee Testing for COVID-19 on Sunday, April 26

As an employee of Valley Senior Living, you will be tested for COVID-19 on Sunday. You are expected to make every effort to be tested on Sunday.  If you know that you are unable to make it on Sunday, contact Megan Anderson at 787-7970.  You will not need to leave your vehicle and this will be a drive through testing event. Please reference the schedule below for your testing time. ALL testing for employees will take place in the parking lot behind of Valley Senior Living on Columbia. More information will be available tomorrow including a map with instructions for entering the testing event and exiting. This will ensure proper flow and save time.

COVID Testing Times – Sunday, April 26
Please report according to your last name.

8:00 – 10:00        A – C and morning event volunteers

10:00 – 12:00      D – H

12:00 – 1:45        I – Mc and employees schedule for Sunday PM shift

1:45 – 3:30          Me – R and scheduled employees finishing AM shift

3:30 – 5:30          S – Z

Safety pays! We are paying you to stay safe. All employees that complete this testing will receive an additional $100 added to their paycheck. Thank you for doing everything possible to keep our residents and employees safe and healthy.


4.22.20 Update

I am very excited to share with you that we will all have the opportunity to be tested for COVID-19 this Sunday.  We have been told by the North Dakota Department of Health that it will be an oral swab that has been approved by the FDA.  Even though we are being given the opportunity to be tested, our lines of defense remain the same.

  1. At work, individual PPE Use, hand hygiene, and resident masking remains our number one defense in preventing asymptomatic transmission of this virus to protect our residents.
  2. At all times, be very aware every time you touch your face, nose or mouth.
  3. Your individual behavior outside of work requires the same attention as when caring for residents.
    • Socially distance at 6 feet at all times and 12 feet or more if you are going to be in a room with others without PPE.  Wear masks in public!
    • Keep your circle small. It is disappointing to hear of employees that continue to not follow social distancing and stay at home recommendations. As long term care healthcare workers, this expectation is a life-saving decision controlled by you for our residents.
  4. Active screening and contact tracing for staff, your close contacts, and the residents are tools that allow us to keep all symptomatic and a few asymptomatic staff members people at home.  Report to the Staff Illness COVID hotline at 701.741.9646 immediately if you suspect having COVID-19 in your household, have had close contact with someone being tested or if you begin experiencing symptoms. You will be removed from the schedule if there is a pending COVID=19 test in your household.

What Happens When We Individually Do Everything and Still Contract the Virus?
We need mass testing on a frequent basis to take steps to resume a normal life.  Think about this: over half of the people who tested positive in the mass testing event were asymptomatic.  Sometimes following every precaution will not be enough.  With our first employee at Valley to have COVID-19, an asymptomatic household member transmitted it to a Valley household member who is also asymptomatic.  If it weren’t for the mass testing event in Grand Forks and our advocacy to actively screen and contact trace all people with exposure to that employer, this case would have NEVER been identified.

It takes the continued availability of testing to mass testing to slow the spread of this virus.  In the last week, the North Dakota Department of Health started the process of rolling out a process to test all staff and residents in a couple of nursing homes.  All Valley Senior Living staff will be tested on Sunday and resident testing will follow on Monday.

Is It Safe To Work at Valley?
This initial testing may cause anxiety for you, but the availability to mass test and to do so on a frequent basis has been the missing component for long term care across the country.  Now more people who are asymptomatic can be identified and sent home to self-isolate, creating a safer environment for both residents and staff.  You will have frequent access to this testing and this will continue to be one of the safest places that you can work in this community, even in the middle of community spread during a pandemic.

Please continue to keep up your lines of defense for our residents, yourselves, and your families.  When that fails, we will now have testing to detect asymptomatic carriers of the virus.


4.21.2020 Urgent Update

We have received confirmation that a caregiver at Valley Senior Living on Columbia in the Almonte neighborhood has tested positive with COVID-19. Resident and employee safety is our top priority. We are following recommendations from local and state health officials to stop the spread of COVID-19 within our communities.

This employee last worked on Thursday, April 16.  Upon learning that the caregiver’s household member was being tested for COVID-19 due to an outbreak in their workplace, the Valley staff member was placed on paid leave.  The household member learned that they were positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, April 18.  On Sunday, April 19, the Valley employee of that household was tested.  Today, April 21, at 2:40pm we were notified that this caregiver is positive for COVID-19.  The caregiver has been and continues to be asymptomatic which is reassuring.

We are performing staff huddles followed by resident notification followed by family notifications.  If you have additional questions, contact your supervisor. You will be contacted individually if additional precautions are needed. Please remember staff and resident confidentiality is very important at this time.

Our thoughts and prayers are with our Valley employees who are dealing with COVID-19 in their homes.


4.18.2020 Update

There are 68 new cases of COVID-19 in Grand Forks County today, and we have our first reported positive cases within three households of Valley employees. There are no Valley staff at this time that have tested positive for COVID-19.  However, we are considering anyone who lives in the same household as any LM Wind Power employee to be exposed to the virus and will be taken off the schedule immediately.  Contact tracing will be done with all who are taken off the schedule in the next 24 hours.  All staff taken off the schedule will be paid at a 100% rate for their scheduled hours.

We are immediately implementing a new PPE procedure for when reporting to work. This procedure includes:

  • You are required to hand sanitize upon entry to the building.
  • Once sanitized, take a new surgical mask and put it on properly before approaching the employee screening station.
  • Wear this mask for the duration.
  • Continue to wear your mask until your end of shift screening has been accomplished.
  • Dispose of your mask as you leave the building.

Our thoughts and prayers are with our Valley employees who are experiencing COVID-19 within their families and households.


4.17.2020 Update

Please watch the linked video from our all staff meeting today.  It starts with appropriate PPE use and

it shares a 5 minute video of a Fargo nursing home’s experience with COVID-19.  

My takeaway: We have to show up to work every day every moment acting as though we all might have the virus.  The proper use of PPE and social and physical distancing remains our best defense to deep the virus from spreading to those that live at Valley.

Contact Tracing
We will begin contact tracing internally to proactively prepare for the potential of employee/resident exposure and to efficiently reduce the spread of COVID-19. This is a detailed process, but is a necessary piece of the COVID-19 preparation plan that is now being implemented.

COVID-19 Drills
Next week we will begin COVID-19 drills to test and exercise our plans and preparedness. Each communities efforts will be slightly different and will be managed at a community level.

Something to Celebrate
During these times of social and physical distancing, a resident at Tufte Manor turned 100! Her family celebrated with a window visit. Happy Birthday, Marion. This is big news >> Marion is Surprised!

Thank you!
We have restricted visitation at all Valley Senior Living communities for over a month now, and we have made changes to our operations almost daily. Today, I would like to thank each employee for the care and extra acts of kindness you have shared with everyone that lives and works at Valley Senior Living. Each day when you arrive at work, remember you are a hero >> Heroes Work Here.


4.15.2020 Update

Today is an unnerving day for us in Grand Forks.  We have our first true outbreak of COVID-19 within our community at LM Wind Power.  As of 4 pm on April 15, we are aware of over 30 Valley employees who have close contact with LM employees.  Through our text message last night, our screening process, and their subsequent calls to the COVID-19 Staff Illness number at Valley, we had our staff report the following about their close contact with LM Wind Power employees:

  1. Does the LM employee have any symptoms of COVID-19?
  2. Has the LM employee had close contact with someone who was positive for COVID-19?

We will not have Valley employees working if their close contact from LM has symptoms or close contact with someone positive for COVID-19.  We provided education to immediately notify the Staff Illness COVID-19 number at 701.741.9646 if there were any changes to their answers.  While there is no Valley employee that has COVID-19 in their household, there are two Valley employees who will not be working due to the circumstances of their close contact’s exposure to people who are or are suspected to be positive for COVID-19.

Everyone else who has ties to LM Wind Power employees are cleared to work at this time.  People might question this, but you don’t eliminate the spread of COVID-19 by taking healthy people off the schedule.  What more can we do to provide a safe environment for our residents and each other at Valley?

IT IS SO SIMPLE.  WEAR YOUR PPE APPROPRIATELY, FOLLOW OUR SOCIAL DISTANCING GUIDELINES, AND PERFORM HAND HYGIENE.  The following are some questions/answers related to our current PPE practices.  It clarifies our current standards based on ND Department of Health recommendations for contact tracing healthcare workers.

When must I wear my mask and eye protection?

  • All employees, regardless of position, must wear a mask and eye protection if you are within 12 feet of another person (resident or staff member) within VSL.
  • You will wear a mask for the duration of your shift as outlined in your mask kit.
  • You will wear eye protection for the duration of your shift.

When is it acceptable to NOT wear a mask or eye protection?

  • When you enter the building to report for your shift.
  • Complete your screening then immediately go to your storage area to put on your mask and eye protection. Do not walk through resident care areas, if possible.
  • When you are eating or on formal break (12 feet away from another person).
  • If you need a short break from the PPE (12 feet away from another person).
  • If you are able to be in a space by yourself (12 feet away from another person).
  • When you are leaving the building.
    • You must remove your mask and eye protection, place them in your appropriate storage area, and leave the building after being screened out without stopping or visiting. Do not walk through resident care areas, if possible.

What is an acceptable mask?

  • Staff must wear a medical grade mask provided by VSL, not a homemade mask.
  • Residents should wear cloth masks (or alternate if care planned).

What is acceptable eye protection?

  • Eye glasses are NOT an acceptable form of eye protection.
  • You must wear a form of eye protection that wraps around and covers your eyes at the sides of your face.
    • If you would like to wear something from home, it must be approved by a member of the COVID-19 Command Team.
  • You may use a face shield in place of goggles or safety type eyewear.
  • We must see your eyes. You cannot wear tinted eye protection.

What happens if I enter a resident’s room who is on standard, contact, droplet with eye protection precautions?

  • You will put on your gown and gloves in addition to the mask and eyewear you have on, according to the instructions.
  • You will remove your gown and gloves upon leaving the room.
  • You will keep your mask and eye protection on.

When would I use a N95 mask?

  • You will use an N95 mask ONLY if you have been fit tested AND you are working with a resident on quarantine or precautions related to COVID-19 AND an aerosol generating procedure is occurring.
  • As directed by the Infection Preventionist when working in the COVID-19 area.

Social Distancing is a must! You should keep a 6 to 12 foot distance from other people when able. If you are less than 12 feet from others, you must wear your mask and eye protection as outlined above.

 


4.13.2020 Update

Do you have another workplace? – Let us know!
Today we are requesting any employee with additional employment or a second job to report that employment to your supervisor immediately. This will assist with contact tracing in the event it is needed for positive COVID-19 in our care communities.

Residents Mask/Employees Mask and Eye Protection

  • Eye protection is now required for all staff for the duration of shifts. We have received a supply of eye protection which will allow each direct care staff member to have a designated pair. Please keep your eye protection with your masks and sanitize for your individual use. Distribution of this eye protection will be completed by the end of day tomorrow.
  • Residents are required to wear masks when receiving direct care. Cloth masks will be used (donations are still being accepted) or a single surgical mask for extended use if cloth masks are unavailable.
  • Direct care staff is required to mask for the duration of shifts.  Continue to store masks according to the re-use guidelines provided by the ND Department of Health.

COVID-19 Related Illness Pay
As a reminder, you are eligible for ESL immediately when you have symptoms of COVID-19 or while you are waiting for your COVID-19 test results.  We waived the requirement to have to take 3 days of PTO first.  If you don’t have access to ESL or PTO, we will pay you for 60% of the wages for the shifts you were scheduled to work during your illness.  People who are on leave due to being in close contact with someone with COVID-19 will take PTO if there is not PTO available, you will be paid for 60% of the wages for the shifts you were scheduled for during home isolation.

Each day Valley is paying about 200 hours a day, or $3,300 per day, to our staff related to this COVID-19 prevention strategy.  Through April 4, we have paid a total of $70,000 of these benefits since the start of the pandemic.  We understand there may be financial pressures for you as caregivers, and we hope this program reduces additional financial harm to your families during this difficult time.

Care19
If you are an Apple user and have not downloaded the Care19 app available from the ND Department of Health, we encourage you do so. This app is a tool to assist with helping determine possible exposure to COVID-19.  It is coming soon to Android.


4.10.2020 Update

This week we have implemented additional recommendations and are following the most up to date guidance from the ND Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, and Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. With expanded knowledge of the potential for asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19, precautions are being implemented swiftly to reduce the chances of transmission within communities.

·       Residents are now required to wear masks when receiving direct care. Cloth masks will be used (donations are still being accepted) or a single surgical mask for extended use if cloth masks are unavailable.

·       Direct care staff will be required to wear eye protection and all staff need to be masked for the duration of their shift.

·       New admissions will be isolated for 14 days in a separate area on Valley Transitions. We have split our Transitional Care into two separate neighborhoods to accomplish this. Residents returning from the hospital will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis for proper placement within our care communities.

Transparency is essential to overcome the fear that is understandably a part of this pandemic. It is likely that we will eventually have employees or residents who will be COVID-19 positive.  Across our company, we will not admit a COVID-19 positive resident.  Any potential residents with respiratory symptoms need to have a negative test for COVID-19 prior to admission. Anyone with prior COVID-19 will need two negative tests for the virus 24 hours apart from each other to be admitted to Valley.

At Tufte Manor and Wheatland Terrace, if a resident is identified with COVID-19, they will transfer to the hospital.  In our nursing homes, if a resident has been identified with COVID-19, we will immediately transfer that person to a separate area within our building. We will not have residents with active COVID-19 infections living among other residents.  We have designated a four-bed area at Valley on Columbia and the Auditorium at Valley on 42nd for COVID-19 positive residents.  A separate nursing team will care for these residents.  If an outbreak is more extensive, we have a number of options available to us within the buildings to care for residents separately depending on the situation.

We will be transparent with our families and residents.  If the Valley Senior Living community where a resident resides is notified of a positive COVID-19 test result for either a resident or an employee, the residents and primary contacts for the residents potentially affected will be notified by staff. We will also send a text message and a follow-up email to all primary decision makers. We will remain transparent with our communications to families and residents, keeping them up-to-date on the status of our communities as the potential for COVID-19 increases. We have COVID-19 information and updates on our website at valleyseniorliving.org and a dedicated hotline at 701.787.7551.

As you prepare for Easter, set an example by wearing a cloth mask in public places such as grocery stores, convenience stores, etc.  Those staff deserve some protection as well and often they are not able to get the PPE that is allocated to healthcare.

Travel: We understand the Easter holiday is one that is typically spent with family. Follow the travel restrictions in place as they do not change just because it is Easter.  Until the situation improves, we continue to enforce home, work, and essential errands only.  If you need to travel for a family emergency, contact your supervisor.  Any discretionary travel may result in a 14 day quarantine and use of your own PTO depending on the circumstances of that travel.

We understand that many people are either temporarily not working or have lost their jobs, and some of those people are members of your households.  Effective immediately PTO Payback rules have been adjusted during this COVID event.  You no longer have to have taken a week of PTO to be eligible to take PTO Payback. You will still need to keep a minimum balance of 40 hours of PTO in your account.  You will be paid at the reduced rate of 75%.

If you missed today’s company-wide Zoom update, please view it here >>Zoom Meeting 4.10.2020

We thank you for all your work to safely care for the residents and each other in our Valley Senior Living communities!


4.9.2020 Update

COVID-19 is in a growing number of our state’s nursing homes and long term care communities.  There are six long term care facilities with residents with positive COVID-19 tests in the Fargo-Moorhead region and at least a couple of other nursing homes in west central North Dakota.  As this virus spreads, and with expanded recommendations from CMS and the ND Department of Health, we will implement the following changes as a precaution for both residents and staff.

We continue to be COVID-19 free at this point, but we need to implement further safeguards with this new information.

  • Residents will be required to wear a mask when receiving direct care and when they are out of their room.
  • We are acquiring cloth masks for all residents to use, but we could use more!  If we do not obtain the need supply by end of day Friday, residents without a cloth mask will be issued a single surgical mask for use.
  • Direct care staff are now required to wear eye protection. This is a precaution to limit staff exposure to the virus with recommendations from the ND Department of Health. With a limited supply of eye protect currently on hand, wear for the duration of your shift and sanitizing after your shift will be required.  Eye glasses are NOT an acceptable form of eye protection.  Disinfect with Cavi1 or    Opti-cide.

Reminders:

  • Download the Care19 app to assist with contact tracing measures in North Dakota to stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • Valley Senior Living is accepting donations of cloth masks for resident use!
  • If you are experiencing any new or worsening symptoms (fever, shortness of breath, cough, sore throat or fatigue), contact the staff illness COVID-19 number at 701.741.9646 for direction on work protocol.

4.8.2020 Update

It is encouraging that Grand Forks County has 11 COVID-19 cases so far out of 749 total tests and only one case of community spread documented to date.  It’s also encouraging that today we have had only 11 new cases statewide out of 849 total tests.  North Dakota nearly leads the nation in the lowest percentage of people who are testing positive for COVID-19 while consistently testing one of the higher percentages of our population.  Keep up the great work everyone!  Here are a few updates…

Register for Care19

Do you want to know if you have come in contact with COVID-19? The ND Department of Health has launched a free mobile app, Care19, to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in North Dakota. This app will assist with tracking, while efficiently and effectively identifying individuals who may have had contact with others who have tested positive for COVID-19. The app is available for download now in the app store.  Learn more >> Care19

Preparing
Recent guidance and recommendations from the North Dakota Long Term Care Association and the ND Department of Health includes emphasis on creating separate areas for new admissions and separate areas for people who test positive for COVID-19 within nursing homes.

  • The long term care profession is submitting a plan to the state for how to care for COVID-19 positive residents within our nursing homes and how to potentially expand our licensed capacity by 10% if a large scale event were to occur on the scale of what has been occurring in New York City.
  • Assisted living and basic care facilities are not expected to care for anyone who is COVID-19 positive – those residents would be transferred to an acute care or nursing home setting.
  • Nursing homes are not expected to take COVID-19 positive admissions unless there is a current resident actively infected with COVID-19 within the nursing home.
  • If a resident tests positive in either nursing home, there will be a separate care team activated for that individual’s care and that resident will move from their current room.
    • At Valley Senior Living on Columbia, the resident would transfer to a 4 bed area within the Riverside neighborhood that is separated from the remainder of the neighborhood by a temporary wall.
    • At Woodside Village, the resident would transfer to the Auditorium in Town Square.

Mask Usage
The use of masks in all care areas is a requirement throughout the organization.  Based on our current usage, we should have enough isolation masks to get us through the end of May.  Until we have a quantity of isolation masks that allows us to go back to single day use, continue to follow the mask re-use protocol. Please review the re-use guidance from the ND Department of Health and instructions for proper donning and doffing, and the importance of excellent hand hygiene.


4.5.2020 Update

Mask kits will be available beginning Monday morning (4.6.2020) for pick up during screening and at the beginning of your shift. Please read instructions for re-use, storage and how to properly put the mask on and take it off. >>

Mask Protocol


4.3.2020

We received new guidance from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services today.

This will be a process that rolls out through Monday in our different communities.

  • CMS now requires all employees to MASK when they are inside the building.  The use of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is vital to minimize the risk of your exposure or your asymptomatic COVID-19 exposure to others during this pandemic.
  • CMS is also requiring that when possible, all residents cover their nose and mouth with a tissue when care partners are in their room.  Residents are not to have medical masks as those need to be conserved for staff.

The specific guidance can be found here:  CMS Recommendations 4.2.2020.  I would highly encourage you to read this as it is a succinct document that outlines the actions long term care is taking to protect our residents.

We plan to distribute a letter to residents on Monday morning outlining these changes and why they are occurring.  Strategies to conserve the supply of PPE are necessary until production is sufficient to meet the needs of all healthcare personnel.  Valley will be implementing a re-use process for masks that aligns with recommendations from CDC and the ND Department of Health. Watch for additional information on mask use and re-use processes on Monday.

Today’s company-wide Zoom call is available for more details on changes related to CMS recommendations, mask usage and the process for admission of new residents.  >> 4.3.2020 Zoom Meeting

Thank you for the care you give and for the dedication you continue to show to all of those that live at Valley Senior Living!  Continue to be mindful of keeping your circle small, follow social distancing recommendations, practice great hand hygiene, and do not touch your face.  This will help keep you, your families and residents safe and healthy during this pandemic.


4.2.20 Update

Based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the American Health Care Association, our active employee screening has been revised again to include symptom triggers beyond the recommendations of the North Dakota Department of Health.

Updates include:

  • Any one of the following symptoms result in a call to the Staff Illness COVID-19 number: a new or worsening symptom including either shortness of breath, cough, sore throat or fatigue
  • In the last 14 days, have you traveled anywhere other than your home, work, and any other essential errands?  (In other words, your travel should have stopped long ago, but if you have traveled out of state, you will need to mask for 14 days while you are at work.)

Call the Staff Illness COVID-19 number at 701.741.9646 with questions or to report any onset of symptoms.

Facts not Fear

During uncertain times it is important to continue to focus on the facts surrounding COVID-19. Employee screening, increased resident monitoring, and routine and additional cleaning within communities continue to make Valley one of the safest places to be during this crisis.  Please view these facts from the CDC.

Neighborhood Dance Challenge

Way to go Hearthstone for answering the Dance Challenge!  Who is next?  Who knew that both Chaplains Gwenn and Bud could dance like this? >> Hearthstone Dance


4.1.20 Update

How can you lower the risk of getting COVID-19?

As we have more cases in Grand Forks County, more people are fearful because they aren’t empowered with the right information.  You can greatly lower your risk contracting COVID-19 by some very simple steps: keep your hands cleandon’t touch your face, keep your social circle small, and socially distance from people outside your circle.  An ICU physician from NY who is caring for COVID-19 patients has recorded a great video with his thoughts on how to keep you and your family safe during this pandemic.  The full YouTube link is >> Protecting Your Family from COVID-19 by Dr. David Price.   It is not required that you watch the video, although the information may calm some fears that people have. Highlights about lowering risk of contracting COVID-19 and what to expect can be found at minutes 3:00 – 11:50 and 25:52 – 27:52.

Clarification on Residents Receiving Items from Outside the Building

Many questions have been asked about the process for deliveries and items being dropped off at locations for residents. This is another process that has changed frequently as recommendations change. With guidance from the ND Department of Health, deliveries are accepted at all locations and items do not require a holding time before they can be delivered to a resident. To streamline this process and to eliminate any potential exposure we have implemented a few guidelines.

  • Items are to be left in the vestibules at each location with a note attached including the name and room number of resident.
  • We are not accepting items that require refrigeration or need to be kept warm.
  • Deliveries will be brought to the neighborhood at shift change. This process reduces traffic in and out of neighborhoods.
  • As a precaution, you may spray an item with Lysol. (furniture, mail, reading materials)

REMINDERS

  • COVID-19 education has been assigned in Health Care Academy and was due yesterday.  Log in at www.healthcareacademy.com if you have not completed it yet.
  • An open enrollment period for people who have previously waived health insurance is open through April 6. If employees would like to acquire health insurance or add dependents, please log into Bright Choices and do a life event. Your ‘life event’ choice will be ‘other’ and the starting date will be April 1. If you have questions, please contact Kathy Feist, Payroll and Benefits Coordinator, at 701.787.7956 or kfeist@valleyseniorliving.org.  If you already have health insurance, you do not need to do anything at this time.

3.31.20 Update

With positive COVID-19 tests in Grand Forks County, we will continue to stress the importance of social distancing for our employees both outside of work and while at work. We have two updates today to communicate:

Employee Screening  

Our employee screening process remains one of the most important tools to eliminate the chance of transmission of the virus into our care communities.  It is now required you stop at the end of your shift for a temperature check at the screening location.

The screening process has changed slightly according to recommendations from ND Department of Health and the questions below are what will be asked at the beginning of your shift. Please review.

  • Do you have any 2 of the following new or worsening symptoms: cough, sore throat, muscle aches, headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, or chills?
  • Fever > 100.4 or  >99.5 for employees over 60?
  • Have you traveled to a country with a Level 3 Travel Warning, been on a cruise, or traveled to US area?
  • Have you had contact with someone that has COVID-19 or is under investigation for COVID-19?
  • Have you traveled on an airplane in the last 14 days?

If you answer yes to any of these questions above, please contact the Staff Illness COVID-19 number at 701.741.9646 to receive further direction.

Health Insurance – New Open Enrollment Period from April 1-6 ONLY!

In response to the COVID-19 national emergency, Medica, our health insurance provider, will provide a special enrollment opportunity for anyone that may have waived the medical insurance at open enrollment, or would like to add dependents to their current plan in this time of crisis.

If employees would like to acquire health insurance or add dependents, please log into Bright Choices at and do a life event. Your ‘life event’ choice will be ‘other’ and the starting date will be 4.1.2020. This open enrollment period will close on 4.6.2020. If you have questions, please contact Kathy Feist, Payroll and Benefits Coordinator, at 701.787.7956 or kfeist@valleyseniorliving.org.  If you already have health insurance, you do not need to do anything at this time.

 

 


 

3.30.20 Update

 

 

Today, Grand Forks County has reported the first two positive tests for COVID-19. Working at a Valley Senior Living care community continues to be one of the safest places to be at this time with the extreme precautions we have in place. There is much more risk in daily activities like grocery shopping, errands, etc. with the potential for exposure to individuals who are not screened as your fellow employees are.

With the development of positive tests in our community, we need to remain focused on eliminating the chance of potential transmission into our care communities. Continue to practice social distancing when away from work and when you are at work. This includes social distancing with co-workers when on breaks, charting, etc. If you have additional concerns about yourself due to age, or have concerns about potential exposure for family you live with that may be immunocompromised, we are allowing the use of masks at this time by employees. We ask that you use the mask for the duration of your shift and do not remove it.

Today’s updates include:

  • Staff will now be actively screened twice per day, upon arrival AND WHEN LEAVING FOR THE DAY.
  • In the nursing homes, we are assessing residents twice per day (O2 sats, lung sounds, and temperature).  This assessment remains once per day at Tufte Manor and Wheatland Terrace.
  • All visitors for end of life purposes will now be masked when in our buildings and no more than two people at a time.
  • We are still accepting donations of hand sanitizer and masks (N95, surgical or dust masks)

If you are experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19, please call the Staff Illness COVID-19 number at 701.741.9646. HR will address your questions.


3.29.20 Update

If you have returned to ND from traveling in the past 14 days, contact the Valley Staff Illness COVID-19 number at 701.741.9646. Human Resources will explain next steps for return to work protocol.

The ND Department of Health, together with the State of North Dakota, have implemented travel quarantine orders as of March 28 and amended those orders this morning (March 29). Essential critical infrastructure workers, as defined by the United States Department of Homeland Security, are exempt from this order. The exemptions include healthcare workers and support staff within healthcare and long term care.

  •  If you have traveled in the last 14 days, you need to call the Staff Illness COVID-19 number at 701.741.9646 immediately and are required to mask for all shifts for 14 days.  Valley reserves the right to ask you to be in home isolation depending on the circumstances of your travel.
  • Daily screening will include symptoms related to COVID-19, temp check and travel questions.
  • This order and the exemptions include individuals returning in the future and those who have returned within the past 14 days.

 

 


 

3.27.20 Update

 

 

Today North Dakota experienced the first COVID–19 related death of a man in his 90s from Cass County. North Dakota has a number of additional cases this week, but fortunately there continues to be no positive cases in Grand Forks County.

Our biggest operational challenge so far has been managing the new screening recommendations for healthcare employees.  It has led to a number of staffing challenges but you have all responded well to pick up open shifts!  We have reached the 14 day mark of not having outside visitation, so it is truly on us now to practice social distancing, perform great infection control practices, and hope for the best.

Reminders:

  • We are still accepting hand sanitizer, surgical masks, N95 masks, or dust masks and protective glasses/goggles
  • COVID-19 education has been assigned in Health Care Academy and this is due by March 3.  Log in at www.healthcareacademy.com.
  • MN residents will receive a card noting proof of employment at Valley for travel from state to state

Earlier today we held a Zoom meeting and highlighted changes to the screening process and discussed scenarios of how we would operate and react to a potentially positive or confirmed positive COVID-19 test. Please watch this company update for the latest information. >> Click Here

Thank you for being on the front lines caring for our residents and for each other!  Here are a few residents sharing a thank you to staff. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxzZmbZUmUs

The dance party challenge continues with the Almonte neighborhood doing the YMCA!
https://www.facebook.com/ValleySeniorLivingonColumbia/videos/210305136970879/


3.26.20 Update

The number of positive COVID-19 tests in North Dakota is 58 with 11 hospitalized. We are continuing to follow the rapidly changing recommendations of government and state health officials.

  • We need hand sanitizer!  This is an item that suppliers are unable to fill in usual quantities, and we need to acquire an emergency supply.  We will accept any size or type of container.  If you, your family or friends have extra supplies for donation to Valley Senior Living, that would be appreciated! Other items that we are proactively seeking include:
    • Surgical masks, N95 masks, or Dust masks
    • Protective glasses/gogglesThese items can be left in the vestibules at each location and they will be distributed to the care community where it can be utilized.
  • All employees have been assigned a NEW and MANDATORY Coronavirus (COVID-19) educational training in Health Care Academy. This module will require completion by March 31st, 2020 and is expected to take approximately thirty minutes to one hour to complete. Please access the training at this link:

 Health Care Academy COVID-19 Education

  • Reminder for MN residents: You have been mailed a card that contains proof of employment at Valley Senior Living. Beginning Friday night, March 27, at 11:59 p.m., you may need this card to travel to and from MN for work. Please carry this with you in your vehicle. Copies of the card can also be picked up at the front desk at your care community. Please contact HR with any additional questions at 701.787.7545.
  • On a lighter note, this video from Woodside Village is so fun to watch!  We need to keep living in times of such uncertainty.  Thanks for the dance party Prairieview neighborhood!  Is there any neighborhood that is up to answer the dance challenge?

Woodside Village Dance Party 


 

3.25.20 Update

 

 

The ND Department of Health has released a new set of screening guidelines for healthcare workers. The screening guidelines, travel guidelines and absence/pay changes are attached for your reference.

 

 

Healthcare Worker Screening Protocol

 

Travel Guidance

 

Absence/Pay Memo

 

 

It is extremely important that if you are experiencing any symptom included on the healthcare worker screening tool, you do not report to your work location and you contact your supervisor. You will receive follow-up communication from the Administration on Call with more direction on next steps for return to work protocol or the need for screening from the Altru Coronavirus Hotline (780.6358) or required testing.

Symptoms and/or circumstances that would require you to stay home from work include:

  • Fever (> 100.4)
  • A symptom related to COVID-19  (Cough, Sore throat, muscle aches, headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, or chills)
  • International travel or travel to an area within the United States with community spread of COVID-19
  • Close contact with diagnosed or under investigation COVID-19 test
  • NEW!  Travel on an airplane will result in mask usage at ALL times for the next 7 days following the flight

The policy related to absences due to COVID-19 precautions and respiratory symptoms is also attached. As a company, we remain dedicated to supporting our employees through this crisis, through illness related absences because of COVID-19 related symptoms, and travel/exposure related quarantines. If you have any questions related to this policy, please contact your supervisor.

Beginning Friday at 11:59 pm, Minnesota residents will need proof of employment at Valley Senior Living in order to cross the state line. This proof of employment will be available for pick up at screening when you report to work, and a second copy will arrive in the mail to your home. This will be required to cross from MN to ND beginning Saturday.


3.24.2020 Update

We are continuously and closely monitoring COVID-19 developments and following guidance and recommendations from our government and public health officials. We will continue to update you daily with any changes.

The Chairman of the Valley Senior Living Board of Directors, John Snustad, has sent the following message for all employees at Valley Senior Living.

“This is where “Our Family Taking Care of Yours” is most important. Thank you for caring, engaging, and uplifting each other and our residents. You play such a critical role. Thank you so much for all you are doing today, and in the days and weeks ahead.”

The work you do every day at Valley Senior Living is appreciated by families, the residents and the community we live in. If you have time to visit our social media pages you will find fun activities that are happening at all our communities. It is a great representation of how we are focusing on our residents during this challenging time.

Thank you to all Care Partners!  Enjoy this quick video!  https://youtu.be/SgpiuufiMjk

 


 

3.23.2020 Update

Positive COVID-19 tests in North Dakota are now at 32. At this time Grand Forks county remains without a confirmed positive test. This does not mean we do not have COVID-19 in our community and county. We need to continue to operate using best practices to prevent transmission into or within our care communities. Thank you for your continued dedication to the health and safety of our residents, yourself and your fellow co-workers.

  • If you have been away from work due to symptoms related to a respiratory illness or due to being tested for COVID- 19 you must be fever-free (without the use of fever-reducing medications) AND symptom free for 72 hours before returning to work.
    • An employee may return to work earlier than 72 hours with proof a doctor’s note; this will be determined on a case by case basis.
    • Contact your supervisor with questions related to return to work
  • PPE Update:  Hand sanitizer and facemasks will be difficult to procure in the short term. In an effort to conserve on hand sanitizer, please use soap and water to thoroughly wash your hands.  Visitors do not need facemasks and do not make them available in common areas.  Cavi-wipes are being conserved for a potential outbreak situation as well.
  • Closing thought – If public health called you tomorrow and told you that you had tested positive for COVID-19 and asked you to list all the places you had been and all the people you had been in contact with for the last 7 days, have you done what you can inside and outside of work to limit your exposure to others?   Please continue to social distance!

 


 

To:  All Valley Senior Living Staff

From: Garth Rydland, President/CEO; Barb Barta, HR Director; and Lori Bott, CFO

Date:  March 19, 2020

Re:  COVID-19 Related Absences and Payment

First and foremost, please social distance from others and keep your circle of people you interact with small during this quarantine period.  Do not come to work if you are sick.  If you have a sore throat, new or worsening cough, fever, or shortness of breath, call your supervisor and do not report to work.  Call the Altru Coronavirus Hotline at 780-6358.

This can lead to more absences and can affect resident care.  In times of crisis like this, we have a tough balance to achieve between being a dependable member of a team caring for residents and not bringing potential illnesses to the workplace.

A number of people don’t have work right now and they don’t have the money to pay their bills.  We don’t know how long this outbreak will last.  We are extremely concerned about you and your families if you continue to experience COVID-19 related absences.  We are going to do our part as an employer to make sure you have a paycheck through this difficult time, even if you have to be at home due to COVID-19 related issues.

The next few paragraphs outline how we are attempting to make this difficult time easier for our staff:

  • As of March 8, 2020, you access ESL immediately for any COVID-19 related screening absences.We are waiving the traditional 3 day PTO use before ESL is accessed.
  • If you are sent home with symptoms that meet our screening criteria and/or diagnosed with COVID-19, you will be paid as follows:
  1. You will be eligible and paid on Day 1 under Extended Sick Leave Crisis (ESLC) code at 100% of your regular rate and hours used will be deducted from your existing ESL balance.
  2. Once your ESL balance is exhausted, you will be eligible and paid at 100% under Paid Time Off Crisis (PTOC) code and hours used will be deducted from your existing PTO balance.
  3. Once both your ESL and PTO balances are exhausted, you will be eligible and paid under Administrative Leave Crisis Code (ADMC) at 60% of your regular rate until you meet the return to work guidelines for people affected by COVID-19.
  • If you are required to home isolate due to our concerns of you being exposed to someone who is being tested for COVID-19, OR you initiated travel prior to March 13 which resulted in a 14 day quarantine and you are not symptomatic, you will be paid as follows:
    1. You will be eligible and paid at 100% under PTOC code and hours used will be deducted from to your existing PTO balance.
    2. Once your PTO balance is exhausted, you will be eligible and paid under ADMC at 60% of your regular rate according to the time guideline for home isolation.
    3. If you become symptomatic during home isolation, you should call the Altru Coronavirus Hotline at 780-6358.If diagnosed with COVID-19, you would qualify for ESLC.Travel that results in a 14 day quarantine that began on March 13 or later is not eligible for any Administrative Leave Crisis pay.  You can use PTO only.
  • In the event Valley Senior Living receives any disaster relief payment directly relating to these salaries we will first offset that revenue against Administrative Leave Crisis payments, then apply to Extended Leave Crisis payments and reinstate related hours to employee and last apply to Paid Time Off Crisis payments and reinstate related hours to the employee.
  • We understand that for a number of you, your schedules have been turned completely upside-down.Sometimes our active screening process delays you in getting to your work area.Effective March 8, 2020, the following changes have been made to the Points and Incidents tracking system:
  • Tardies will be temporarily suspended from tracking.
  • COVID-19 related absences will not accumulate points, including those relating to lack of access to daycare due to COVID-19 related closures.

In summary, we have created a system for any COVID-19 related absences that will give you easier access to your ESL, and will result in at least a 60% paycheck for you if you don’t have PTO or ESL balances.

We have to continue to operate under an abundance of caution for our residents.  Thank you for your dedication to our residents at Valley Senior Living!

 


 

3.19.2020 Update

Positive COVID-19 tests have doubled in North Dakota since yesterday. This remains a critical time for our care communities to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.  While no cases have been identified in Grand Forks, there are 100 tests pending completion for our community.

  • Childcare Option – Little Keepers Drop-In Play Center at 2520 South Washington is opening their facility to families working in healthcare. They can accommodate newborns to 11 years old. Call for hours and pricing. 701.738.8129
  • Only come to a Valley Senior Living community if you are scheduled to work. If you need to speak with your supervisor, please call or text.
  • According to recommendations from the CDC, please conserve PPE immediately. We have removed masks from public areas, Cavi wipes from lifts, etc.  We will be issuing revised guidance for PPE use in tomorrow’s employee communication.

 

3.18.2020 Update

This is an especially critical time to be diligent about preventing the transmission of COVID-19 into our care communities.

All staff MUST be actively screened upon entry into the building. You MUST be screened before entering the neighborhood where you work.  You also must be screened if you leave the building and re-enter during your shift. Screening includes a temp check and respiratory screen for cough or shortness of breath. If either symptom is present you will be asked to go home and your supervisor will be contacted.

Altru has established a Coronavirus Screening Hotline (701.780.6358) you can call with questions or concerns about COVID-19 testing.

We are asking staff to not enter the building unless they are scheduled to work. This is a time to social distance as per recommendations from the CDC.

We are currently at the point of having adequate supplies of PPE (personal protective equipment) in the event we would experience positive COVID-19 testing. We do not have a surplus or excess PPE or cleaning supplies. Please do not remove these items from the building for personal use. These items are needed to care for our residents and to keep our staff safe.

Thank you for making the adjustments needed, (staffing, distancing during breaks, staff lounges, parking and much more), to prioritize and protect the needs, safety and health of our residents and the staff that cares for them.

 


 

3.17.2020 pm Update:

  • Two additional people have tested positive in ND for COVID-19 – one in Ward County and one in Cass County.
  • Altru has established a COVID-19 hotline that will establish employees needs for testing. Please call the 24/7 Coronavirus Screening Hotline at 701.780.6358.
  • As of today, the ND Department of Health has made COVID-19 testing more available and long term care residents and staff are priority groups to test.
    • If any staff are in contact with someone who is suspected of having or in the process of being tested for COVID-19, contact your supervisor by phone as soon as possible.  Do not come on-site to report this.
    • If you have traveled internationally or have close contact with someone who has traveled internationally, please contact your supervisor immediately. The Altru Coronavirus Screening Hotline at 701.780.6358 will advise on next steps.
    • Staff who are in close contact with those who have internationally traveled should attempt to limit interaction with them for 14 days.  We had our first staff member who became ill who is living with someone who traveled internationally within the last 14 days. We sent that employee to be tested for COVID-19.
    • Valley Senior Living has already tested two residents as a precautionary measure.  In the coming days and weeks, this testing will become more routine as residents with respiratory illnesses do not test positive for influenza or RSV.
  • Upon entry into the building and prior to entering neighborhoods, all employees must be screened for symptoms of respiratory illness and fever.
  • If an employee is symptomatic you will not be permitted to work and have contact with residents. We are working with Altru to arrange for a process for COVID-19 testing in these situations to insure our employees are not positive before returning to work.

No change since yesterday:

  • Visitors are restricted with an exception for end of life circumstances
  • Any employees who have traveled internationally in the last 14 days needs to contact their supervisor immediately
  • It is imperative that employees stay within their neighborhood and do not travel between neighborhoods. This is one step to prevent the spread of illness. Social distancing is also very important.
  • I understand this neighborhood restriction makes breaks and lunch time difficult. Please have an understanding that the reason for this is to protect our residents and employees. At this time dining services will not be providing food for staff, the break rooms are essentially closed to employees except for neighborhoods that have direct access to them from their care area or offices. Please come to work prepared with lunches that can be kept cold without the use of a refrigerator, and use the microwaves on the neighborhoods to heat your food. I understand this is an inconvenience, but this is necessary.

I want to thank you all for your dedication to Valley Senior Living, each other and our residents.


3.17.2020 Update

  • March 18 and March 19 HR MANDATORY paperwork meetings are cancelled for this week.  Will reschedule at a later date.
  • All staff (direct patient care and others) will be screened for respiratory symptoms and temperature upon arrival for shift.
    • If symptoms (fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat) are present employee will be dismissed from work and asked to be tested for COVID-19. With a negative result for COVID-19 employee may return to work.  Scheduled time missed will be coded as Extended Sick Leave without needing to use PTO.
    • All International travel requires 14 days away from work with no symptoms before returning to work.
      • This absence from work requires PTO or is unpaid as travel was optional.
  • All staff are asked to stay within their neighborhood. Social distancing is very important to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • We are closing our staff lounge at Valley on Columbia and Valley on 42nd to prevent people from different neighborhoods gathering in the same place.  Please practice social distance of 6 feet during your breaks!
  • Resident and family visitation remains restricted to critical conditions and end-of-life.
  • All group activities are being suspended on neighborhoods until further notice.
  • Non-essential employees will be working from home when possible.
  • All non-essential meetings will be cancelled.

We are concerned for all staff with young families who are scrambling for a solution to care for your children.  If you have an absence related to this, it will not be coded as absence for attendance purposes.

___________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

3.13.2020 Update

 

  • Today the ND Department of Health officially recommended LIMITING visitation to only those that are immediate family of residents who are in critical condition or at end-of-life.  We will enforce this starting tomorrow, Friday, March 13.
  • All staff must be screened prior to starting their work shift.  This will occur on your neighborhood.  Departments such as dining services and administration will be screened outside the neighborhoods.
  • We are extremely serious about you not coming in to work if you have these respiratory infection symptoms.  Starting on March 12, if you are sent home or call in with the symptoms of a respiratory condition from the previous paragraph, you will immediately be able to use your Extended Sick Leave rather than use three days of Paid Time Off first.

__________________________________________________________________________

Protecting our residents’ health and safety is our top priority.  We continue to learn about how deadly the COVID-19 (coronavirus) is for the elderly.  In the nursing home in Washington, 23 of the 50 residents who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus have died, which is four more than yesterday.

We have received guidance from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, the American Health Care Association, and new guidance today from the North Dakota Department of Health to address this health crisis.  As a result, we all need to function as if there is an outbreak of respiratory illness already in our building.  Upon careful consideration, we are limiting visitation to immediate family of residents who are in critical condition or at end-of-life. 

As always, we ask that you practice excellent hand hygiene to protect yourself and the residents.  Sanitize or wash your hands in the following circumstances:

  • when you enter in the building, when you walk into the resident’s room, when you leave the room, and when you leave the building
  • before eating food and before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, using the restroom, or after touching common surfaces such as tabletops, chairs, doorknobs, bedside tables, remote controls, etc.

 

Restricting Staff and Visitors

Starting on Friday afternoon, staff will be screened prior to starting their workday.  Screening includes taking temperatures and assessing whether you have signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection such as fever AND a cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat.  If you have respiratory infection symptoms at work, report to the charge nurse immediately.  If you have symptoms such as a stuffy nose, sore throat, or a “dry cough” with no fever, you need to mask at work until you have no symptoms of the cold.

 We are extremely serious about you not coming in to work if you have these respiratory infection symptoms.  Starting on March 12, if you are sent home or call in with the symptoms of a respiratory condition from the previous paragraph, you will immediately be able to use your Extended Sick Leave rather than use three days of Paid Time Off first.

 Limiting Resident Interactions
While no residents at Valley Senior Living have been affected by COVID-19, we are essentially functioning as if an outbreak has already occurred.  Non-essential medical appointments such as routine dental or vision appointments will be cancelled.  We are cancelling any outside groups from performing or meeting within our communities, and we are cancelling any building-wide activities that would result in residents from different neighborhoods or communities to interact with each other.

 

In summary, here is what you can do to help:

  1. Perform your work as if there is an outbreak within the building right now.  Do not walk through or visit other neighborhoods if you do not have a purpose to be there.  Discourage residents from visiting other neighborhoods.
  2. Report to charge nurses if you have symptoms of a respiratory illiness or if you notice changes in resident condition.
  3. Help our residents limit their interactions with others.
  4. Offer residents the opportunity to call family members by phone or using FaceTime or Skype if that is an option.
  5. Program our organization’s communication phone number into your phone 248-965-0282.  This is the number we will use to give you updates and links to our communications regarding COVID-19.
  6. We are suspending our “Bring Your Child To Work” program until further notice.  Do not bring your children with you to visit residents outside of work hours either.  Pets are still ok to come in; there has been no link to transmission at this time.
  7. Refer people to the public resources we have created for them.  We have established a dedicated telephone line, 701.787.7551, that will provide updates on this situation.  On our valleyseniorliving.org website, we will have a page dedicated to updates for families and visitors.  Please call the dedicated number or visit our website for updated information as we react to this rapidly changing situation.

Thank you for everything you do to serve the residents entrusted in our care. We will work through this together to provide safe, high-quality care that our residents deserve, while supporting each other and ensuring the safety of all who work and reside here.