Saint Mary's Home of Erie, PA

COVID-19 Response

Last updated on 5/14/2021

COVID-19 Response

Saint Mary's Home of Erie's top priority is the health and wellness of our residents and employees. We understand the concerns surrounding COVID-19 and its impact, and we are committed to making sure our residents, their families and our community are aware of our active efforts for prevention and containment.

Use these links to jump to a specific section on this page:


COVID-19 Status

As part of our commitment to transparency, we are sharing the status of COVID-19 in our facilities including positive (active) cases, recovered cases, and deaths. The data reported is cumulative and will be updated throughout each week as needed.

Status Report:

Visitation and Reopening

Visitation Information

Saint Mary's at Asbury Ridge is open to visitors in Residential Living and the Alzheimer's Unit. Visitation is suspended on the Skilled Nursing units until further notice.

On May 7, one resident tested positive for COVID-19. Visitation will remain suspended on the skilled nursing units until further notice. Residential living and the Alzheimer’s unit at Asbury Ridge are currently green zones. As these areas are unaffected, they are able to remain open to visitors. Outings for residents in these areas can also continue. If visiting someone in the green zones, please be aware that you are entering a building with an active COVID-19 red zone. All residents and employees are being tested routinely for a two week period.

Saint Mary's East is currently closed to all visitors until further notice.

On May 13 and 14, two employees tested positive for COVID-19. All visitation is suspended at Saint Mary's East until further notice while outbreak testing is conducted. All East residents and employees are being tested routinely for a two week period. If testing reveals no additional cases of COVID-19 in other areas/units of the facility, it is possible that visitation may resume for residents in unaffected areas/units prior to facility wide visitation resuming. If testing reveals one or more additional cases in other areas/units of the facility, visitation will remain suspended for all residents until the criteria is met. We will keep families informed on the visitation status of their loved one's area/unit as the process evolves.

Following revised guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released on March 10, Saint Mary's Home of Erie is happy to share that the majority of visitor restrictions have been lifted. These changes apply to visitation only; all other measures remain in effect.

Visitation is based upon the county positivity rate and the outbreak status of Saint Mary's. Visitation may be limited if there is a new outbreak.

It is Saint Mary's goal to provide for the safety of our residents as well as their emotional well-being. As we partner together in following the core principles below to reduce the possible transmission of COVID-19, we believe this can be accomplished.

While indoor visitation is now permitted in resident rooms, outdoor visitation is preferred if possible, even amongst fully vaccinated individuals. Vaccination is highly encouraged but not required for visitation.

For visiting outside at Saint Mary’s East, those in Residential Living and the Gallagher Center may use the appropriate courtyards in their area of care. For Skilled Nursing, Neighborhood C may use the central courtyard and Neighborhood D may use the Reed Street portico.

For visiting outside at Saint Mary’s at Asbury Ridge, those in Residential Living and the Memory Unit may use the appropriate courtyards in their area of care. For Skilled Nursing, Neighborhood D may use the main entrance portico and Neighborhood E may use the activity patio.

In a continued effort to keep our residents, employees and visitors safe, we are requiring that visitors adhere to the following principles:

  • Screening upon entry to the facility
  • Wearing of well-fitting face covering at all times
    • All visitors must wear face coverings regardless of vaccination status
  • Observing social distancing measures
  • Using proper hand hygiene
  • Limiting travel through the building
    • Visitors should proceed directly to the residents room and should not roam about the building. Use of common areas, cafés, etc. are not permitted at this time.
  • Limiting the number of visitors per resident at a time to two (2) individuals to help maintain social distancing measures in the facility
  • Fully vaccinated residents may choose to have physical contact with their loved one while wearing a face covering. Hand hygiene should be performed before and after close contact.
  • Visitors are still not to be bringing items, food or packages with them into the facility.

Some additional information is provided below to help answer any remaining questions you may have about visiting with your loved one:

Reopening Information

Saint Mary’s Home of Erie is following a three-step reopening plan as outlined by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. While reopening does not mean a complete return to normal operations, it does allow for limited forms of visitation to occur and for the reintroduction of certain services as we advance through each step – services like communal dining, activities, permitting non-essential personnel and visitation.

The Implementation Plan for Reopening for each campus can be found here:

These plans are fluid as guidance and regulations change frequently. Dates are not set in stone and are subject to change. If at any point during reopening there is a new facility onset of COVID-19 or if the positivity rate increases in Erie County, Saint Mary’s will halt reopening and will return to our restricted visitor policies. We encourage all families to review the plans above and familiarize themselves with our strategies.


Vaccine Information

To aid in managing vaccination efforts, Saint Mary’s participated in a nationwide effort known as the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program. Our healthcare partner in this program, Walgreens, assisted our team in coordinating and administering an authorized COVID-19 vaccine to our residents and employees.

The vaccine was offered to all willing and able residents and employees during on-site clinics. Clinics were held at Saint Mary's East on December 30, January 20 and February 10. Clinics were held at Saint Mary's at Asbury Ridge on January 5, January 26 and February 16.

Vaccine Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers

Walgreens offered the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine which is a two-dose series administered three weeks apart. A Fact Sheet for this authorized vaccine can be found below:

Please review this document as it will help you understand more about the benefits, risks and potential side effects of vaccination.

Why Get Vaccinated?

The COVID-19 vaccine is an important tool in our fight against this virus. We understand that some of you may have concerns surrounding the safety of these new vaccines. We want to assure you that these vaccines have undergone the same level of rigorous testing for safety and efficacy as other vaccines. We encourage all of our employees, residents, families and friends to get vaccinated.

Below is a special message to our employees from Dr. Robert Geiger, Medical Director at Saint Mary's at Asbury Ridge.



To learn more, a number of frequently asked questions about the vaccine and more helpful information can be found here:


What We've Been Doing

In accordance with the guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and the PA Department of Health concerning higher-risk populations such as the elderly, we have been diligently enacting precautionary measures within both of our communities to help protect our residents and staff.

Some of these measures include:

  • On April 28, 2021 CMS and PA DOH released updated testing guidance that affects fully-vaccinated individuals. It is no longer required for fully-vaccinated residents and employees to be tested routinely. Unvaccinated employees however must continue to be tested with a frequency as determined by the county positivity rate. If the facility experiences an outbreak (one or more new cases) then testing of all employees and residents is required regardless of vaccination status.
  • On March 10, 2021 CMS released revised guidance that lifted a number of visitor restrictions for long-term care facilities who meet the criteria and can ensure that visitors are adhering to the core principles of infection prevention. These changes apply to visitation only; all other measures remain in effect.
  • On December 30, 2020 and January 5, 2021 the first vaccination clinics were held at our campuses in partnership with Walgreens. During these clinics, the COVID-19 vaccine was offered to all residents and employees who wished to be vaccinated.
  • As of September 23, 2020, employees have been provided with face shields and are required to wear them when in resident care areas as an added precaution.
  • Weather dependent, residents may use designated outdoor areas, such as our internal courtyards and patios, to get some fresh air and enjoy the sunshine. Residents will be required to wear masks and maintain social distancing as appropriate.
  • Residents, for whom it is appropriate, are required to wear a face mask or covering whenever they leave their room and whenever someone else enters their room. Fabric face masks are being provided to residents for this purpose. We are also providing fabric face masks to staff for personal use outside of work.
  • Beginning April 6, 2020, staff will be provided with a face mask and will be required to wear the mask at all times when working. Any essential vendors who enter the building will also be required to wear a mask.
  • Effective April 2, 2020, families and friends will not be permitted to visit at resident windows due to security and privacy risks.
  • Effective March 20, 2020, we will not accept in-person deliveries/drop-offs of food, cards, books, magazines, gifts, or laundry at this time. This is done in an effort to limit risk of the virus entering our building. We continue to accept florist deliveries and USPS mail, along with UPS and FedEx. All items will be quarantined before being delivered to residents.
  • Adult Day Services is closed beginning March 16, 2020 until further notice.
  • Restricted Visitations
    • Effective March 14, 2020, at both Saint Mary's East and Saint Mary's at Asbury Ridge, visitations have been restricted. We will work with families on other ways they can connect with a loved one during this time. Video chat appointments can be made Monday - Friday. To help our staff coordinate, please schedule in advance.
    • Exceptions will be made for immediate family members of residents receiving hospice/end-of-life care.
    • We will notify family members if there is a change in the condition of their loved one.
  • Resident activities that expose residents to groups of people have been suspended. This includes communal dining and attendance at Mass, which will be televised for residents until further notice.
  • Staff is required to enter through the employee entrance, where they will be screened at the start of each shift. Staff continues to be provided with additional education and resources on Infection Prevention and Control.
  • Medical and cleaning supplies are being monitored and used as efficiently as possible

As new information becomes available and as the situation evolves, additional action may be taken. We understand how difficult and uncertain of a time this is for residents and family members, but these actions are necessary to protect the seniors in our care and the employees who care for them. We are grateful for the community's understanding, cooperation and trust.

What You Can Do

We urge everyone to follow the recommendations from the CDC and the PA Department of Health, which include regular hand washing, covering your cough or sneeze, frequent cleaning and disinfecting, practicing social distancing, wearing a mask in public, and staying home if you are sick.

Be Prepared
It is important to be prepared not just for the novel coronavirus, but for a number of situations. For information on ways you can plan ahead, visit ready.gov

Stay Informed
It is important to stay informed as this is a rapidly evolving situation. For the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding COVID-19, we recommend visiting cdc.gov and health.pa.gov.


COVID-19 Communications

Weekly email updates for families and friends have been ongoing since March 20, 2020. To sign up for these email updates regarding Saint Mary's & COVID-19, please send your contact information to eberkstresser@stmaryshome.org

Letters

Email Updates


Contact:
Emma Berkstresser
Director of Marketing and Development
(814) 836-4394
eberkstresser@stmaryshome.org