Walker Methodist

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Dear Walker Methodist family,

On August 10, Minnesota Department of Health issued guidance for senior living communities to consider before allowing visitation. They created a two-phased approach. We continue to receive updates to this guidance, and new regulations from other agencies continue to complicate the situation. Even though MDH said we can enact phase 2 as early as this weekend, Walker Methodist will remain in phase 1 for the time being.

This was not an easy decision to come to, but we believe it is the best and right decision for the health of our residents and team members. The last thing we want to do is open too soon and without all the necessary safety measures in place.

Multiple providers, including Walker Methodist, have many questions about the guidance that MDH is still working through. Phase 2 requires that a testing plan be put in place, but the testing requirements continue to change—just two days ago the Centers for Medicaid/Medicare Services put new testing regulations in place without warning to senior living providers. This has caused a new complication in testing plans that we need to work through.

Additionally, many of our communities would not be ready to move to Phase 2 because of the increase in cases of the coronavirus in the general community. There are new restrictions based on how many cases of COVID-19 are found in the county, not just in our buildings. With new restrictions, we also need to provide additional team members to accommodate the increased monitoring and screening required.

This decision does not affect the Essential Caregiver Program. Those who have been deemed an essential caregiver are still allowed into the community, provided they continue to follow the guidelines and that the building does not have active cases of COVID-19.

Our goal is to invite more visitors, but we will do so in a deliberate and wise manner. While I cannot promise that we will be ready to open by September 11, I will provide you with an update to the situation by then.

Status Update

Since my last letter, there has been an uptick in cases in our communities. This mirrors the statistics in many parts of Minnesota, where we have seen a rise in cases.

As communities begin to open more, and as residents, family members, and team members go out into the public, we must all be diligent in wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and washing hands. Your efforts are vital in our battle against COVID.

As of August 26, these are the resident cases so far this month.

  • Havenwood of Burnsville. 2 active cases. 3 recoveries. 0 deaths.
  • Eastwood Senior Living (Mora). 11 active cases. 0 recoveries. 1 death.
  • Health Center (Minneapolis). 15 active cases. 5 recoveries. 1 death.
  • Place (Minneapolis). 1 active case. 1 recovery. 0 deaths.
  • Plaza (Anoka). 3 active cases. 1 recovery. 0 deaths.

Please continue to pray for our residents and team members who are fighting the virus.

Thank you for your trust and understanding. Together we will overcome.

Scott Riddle
President and CEO, Walker Methodist ​​​​