To: Residents and Staff of Moravian Manor Communities
From: David Swartley, President/CEO
Date: August 3, 2021
RE: Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Update #42
I am writing to update you on the latest COVID-19 cases at Moravian Manor Communities (MMC). My last update was in May; while we have had a nice break, the Delta variant is causing some changes in the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.
Last week an employee tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The employee is home resting and has had moderate symptoms. This event required us to place the Baer Center for Assisted Living and our Herrnhut Personal Care area into a “Yellow Zone,” which means no visitation and limited movement for the residents. We have done two rounds of testing of the residents and employees in that area, and all have been negative. Assuming there are no changes this week, we will reopen these areas on Saturday. This change has affected the residents and employees in the Baer Center and the salon located in this footprint. To our knowledge, there are no further positive residents or employees.
The following LNP online article (should be in the paper Wednesday morning) highlights that Lancaster County has increased to a “substantial” level of community transmission. The text of the article is below.
Lancaster County is now at a ‘substantial’ level of COVID-19 transmission. (see map below)
Lancaster County is now considered to be at a “substantial” level of community transmission of COVID-19, according to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Per the latest CDC guidance, people in areas reporting “substantial” or “high” transmission rates are urged to again wear masks indoors regardless of their vaccination status.
Click here to check county transmission levels on the CDC’s website. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determines the transmission rate by studying new cases per 100,000 residents and the rate of new positive tests in the last seven days. “Substantial” transmission rate is defined as counties having between 50 and 99 new cases per week, and “high” transmission is more than 100 cases per week.
According to the CDC’s data, Lancaster County has seen an 86.5% increase in cases in the last seven days and a 1.84% increase in positivity rates. In addition, new hospital admissions related to COVID-19 have seen a 100% increase in the last seven days.
The CDC reports that 309,443 Lancaster County residents – or 56.7% – have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Another 274,221 residents – 50.2% — are fully vaccinated.
While we are not “shutting things down,” we ask all residents to remain masked in indoor common space areas at Moravian Manor Communities on both campuses. These areas are Garden Court Dining Room, Owl’s Nest, Gathering Place, Corner Pocket, Hall of Fame, Fireside Lounge, and Steinman Hall. We also are asking all health care visitors to stay masked while visiting regardless of their vaccination status. These changes are in line with the CDC guidelines and our effort to remain proactive. While there are breakthrough cases with vaccinated people, the safety data on the vaccines remains very high.
Our recent change is simple. If you are in a public place, mask up.
Recently, I completed reading “The Great Influenza” by John Barry. The book was a very detailed look at the outbreak in 1918 and a history of medicine in the United States. While I found it to be a laborious read, the parallels to today’s events are uncanny. Political bluster and lack of trust in science were undoubtedly not invented during our pandemic! One observation I have made is that fighting a pandemic is challenging as the directives keep on changing. Early in the pandemic, I could not publish an update before the CDC issued new directives. Jules Verne, the French author of Journey to the Center of the Earth, stated, “Science, my boy, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make because they lead little by little to the truth.”
I challenge you to find comfort in the changing guidance for those frustrated and tired of changing recommendations since it represents new knowledge! I still recall spraying down packages during the early days of the pandemic. But, with new knowledge, we learned that was not necessary. I am guessing that the number one question will be, “I am vaccinated. Why ask me to wear a mask?” It is simply a numbers game. While you are very safe if you are vaccinated, breakthrough cases are occurring. If a breakthrough case occurs, we must shut down for visitation. We learned this first-hand last week in our Assisted Living area. The Delta variant spreads as quickly as chickenpox. If the virus cannot find a host, it will die. The more we can do to shut down “host sites,” the more quickly we get out of this. There is a very high probability life would have already returned to normal if our nation vaccinated at the same rate as all of you.
Vaccines: Between 96% and 98% of our residents are vaccinated, depending upon the area in question. Our employees are currently 67% vaccinated. This past week, vaccine administration nationally doubled from current levels. Perhaps a positive by-product of the Delta variant is the understanding that the vaccines are incredibly safe and historically effective!
Our Board has formed a Vaccine Task Force exploring the pros and cons of mandating the vaccine for our employees. With staffing shortages and various reasons for declining the vaccine, we continue to search for the best way forward. Experts expect full FDA approval for the Pfizer vaccine by the end of August or September at the latest. Thus, FDA approval would remove one barrier. The other three primary concerns appear to be fertility concerns, Constitutional Rights, and minority distrust of government-sponsored vaccines (this is understandable given the Tuskegee debacle in 1932). This discussion will be ongoing.
For those of you seeking additional information, continuous updates are available at the following websites: