Charles Morris visitation delayed due to positive COVID test of one staff member
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COVID-19Community dining paused for now

Charles Morris visitation delayed due to positive COVID test of one staff member

All residents and staff will be tested for the coronavirus through next week. If there are no positive test results, Charles Morris will be able to resume its reopening plan.

Mary Z. gets a 94th birthday visit from her family at Charles Morris  (Photo provided by Jewish Association on Aging)
Mary Z. gets a 94th birthday visit from her family at Charles Morris (Photo provided by Jewish Association on Aging)

Communal dining at Charles Morris Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, which had resumed on Sept. 8, has been put on hold after officials received word on Sept. 13 that a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. Contact tracing was performed and those who were in contact with that staff member were notified, according to Deborah Winn-Horvitz, president and CEO of the Jewish Association on Aging.

On Sept. 14, the JAA began conducting “mandatory universal testing of all residents and staff at Charles Morris,” said Winn-Horvitz in a prepared statement. That testing will continue through next week.

If two weeks of successful universal testing with no positive cases occur, the JAA will be able to resume its three-step reopening plan at Charles Morris, incrementally lifting the COVID-19 restrictions which have been in place since March.

The plan, implemented in accordance with requirements issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Department of Human Services, will lead to resumption of the entry of visitors and volunteers and to reinstate communal dining, activities and outings for residents.

The JAA enacted Step 1 on Sept. 8, allowing the resumption of communal dining and social activities among five or fewer residents with safety protocols in place, including proper social distancing, handwashing and mask wearing, according to a written statement from the JAA.

Steps 2 and 3 will allow the inclusion of larger numbers of residents for communal dining and activities, with a maximum of 10 in Step 2, and more than 10 in Step 3.

Outdoor visits between residents and a limited number of visitors will be permitted in Step 2; in Step 3, indoor visits will be permitted in designated neutral areas.

Visitation is limited to residents who have not been exposed to COVID-19 and who have not had a positive test result for the virus in the past 14 days. All visitors will be screened prior to the start of the visit.

The JAA will move to Step 2 if there is no new onset of COVID-19 cases for 14 consecutive days from the commencement of Step 1. Step 3 will begin if there is no new onset 14 days from the start of Step 2.

The JAA’s Weinberg Terrace, Weinberg Village, and AHAVA Memory Care Center are now in the first of the three steps, involving communal dining. Step 2, involving outdoor visits, are schedule to begin at those three communities in the middle of next week.

“As we move forward, our vigilant procedures remain in place to protect the people we care for and our team at JAA remains committed to reuniting residents and their families as quickly and safely as possible,” said Winn-Horvitz. PJC

Toby Tabachnick

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