Walker Methodist


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Dear Walker Methodist family,

On March 12, we enacted a long list of restrictions in order to protect our seniors from the virus that the nation was only beginning to encounter. Now, two months later, we are still diligently living by these new rules and working hard to continue enhancing our residents’ lives. 

I am proud of our team members who continue serving our residents despite their fears. I am encouraged when I hear from families about good the work that our teams are doing to care for their loved one. And I am humbled by the residents who are adjusting with grace to so many changes to their daily lives.

One change that our team members and residents will experience in the coming days is the move to further use of personal protective equipment for all direct care givers in all situations, not just when a positive or suspected case is identified. Over the last 60 days, we had a team exploring every option to secure all the necessary PPE to make this happen. PPE means that all direct care team members will continue to wear a facemask (which they have been doing for some time already) and face shield or goggles. There are a number of cleaning, storage, and usage guidelines from Centers for Disease Control and the Minnesota Department of Health that accompany the use of each piece of the ensemble, and we will adhere to those requirements.

We know that these measures will help to protect our team members and residents by creating a barrier to germs. We also know that this will create another emotional barrier that may further isolate residents. The first time you actually encounter someone wearing all of this PPE can be a bit jarring. We will do everything possible to make sure our residents continue to experience the love and care that our team is known for. 

Testing update

We, along with other senior living providers and LeadingAge Minnesota, have been reaching out to legislators and other governing bodies, asking for more testing, especially for asymptomatic team members and residents. Because COVID-19 can be spread before any symptoms are present, we believe that testing of those without symptoms is essential in protecting our most vulnerable people.

We received good news in the last week from the State of Minnesota, that in the near future, more testing will be available for symptomatic individuals. This means that we should be able to test team members if they have even one symptom or believe they were exposed, versus just asking them to stay home for 14 days. Swabs are becoming more available to test residents when their doctor provides us an order. We are awaiting guidance from our governing institutions that will allow testing of asymptomatic team members and residents. You will hear more from us as we see this progress.

Status update

We desire to be transparent and forthcoming with all of our residents and families, so we will be sharing weekly updates regarding our communities with COVID-19 cases. Please know that if your loved one was tested or received a diagnosis, the primary emergency contact would have been contacted before this letter was sent. And if a community has an active case, the executive director or administrator will be in contact with the primary emergency contact at least weekly with a community-specific update.

Of our 19 communities, with approximately 1,500 residents, there are four communities with active resident cases.  

  • Care Suites of Edina: 3 active cases. 1 recovery. 1 death.
  • Health Center (Minneapolis): 10 active cases. 9 recoveries. 10 deaths. All contained to one unit.
  • Plaza (Anoka): 4 active cases. 0 recoveries. 0 deaths.
  • Westwood Ridge (West St. Paul): 1 active case. 0 recoveries. 0 deaths.

We mourn for those who passed, and we rejoice with those who have recovered. We know that we have a long battle ahead of us; there will likely be more cases—we see Minnesota’s cases growing each day. But there will be victories, too, and we praise God for his care and comfort during this time.

Thank you for your continued support and trust. Together we will overcome.

Scott Riddle,
President and CEO, Walker Methodist