GROVE CITY – For Grove City-area nursing homes and personal care facilities dealing with COVID-19, things seems to be heading in the right direction.
“We’ve gone 14 days without any cases,” Amber Morian-Gowetski, administrator at Orchard Manor, said on Feb. 4.
The skilled nursing and personal care home in Grove City currently has 78 residents and about 150 staff members.
There was an outbreak of the virus over the holidays, during which new admissions were halted, and there have been 21 resident deaths related to COVID-19 since Orchard Manor first started tracking virus data.
So things have been challenging, but the staff has been amazing, she said.
“I’m just really proud of our team here at Orchard Manor,” Morian-Gowetski said.
They hope to resume regular in-person visits soon for residents and their loved ones.
For now, visits are being allowed for end-of-life situations and compassionate care, meaning a team of employees decides if certain residents would benefit from a visit.
Compassionate-care visitors must are screened upon entry. That includes a rapid COVID-19 test to confirm they’re negative. Orchard Manor covers the cost of the test.
“I really do think it has helped the residents,” Morian-Gowestski said of those visits.
Other residents are able to talk to loved ones through Zoom video chats, or they can say “hello” with a window visit.
Small group activities with the appropriate precautions are being organized, and community members continue to send cards and ask how they can help.
Residents and staff have received COVID-19 vaccines through CVS, which has given everyone a positive boost, she said.
Grove Manor, which offers nursing, rehabilitation and personal care services in Grove City and has 54 residents and about 100 employees, is also reporting good news.
“We’re doing really well here,” said Terri Gabany, nursing home administrator.
It hasn’t had any COVID-19 cases since December, and administrators were excited to secure vaccines for staff and residents.
“We gave candy bars out,” Gabany said of the vaccine clinics.
The chocolate bars have a label that reads “Thank you for being on our team! Hope is on its way in 2021!”
Indoor visitation is curtailed except for compassionate care. Other residents communicate through video chats and window visits, using an intercom, said Gabany and Jeff Black, chief business officer and corporate compliance officer at Grove Manor.
There have been 13 resident deaths related to COVID-19, most recently in October. Those residents were honored at Christmastime with a “tree of hope.”
“That was something pretty special,” Gabany said.
The families of those residents were in favor of the tree, and it’s that kind of support that is so important, Gabany and Black said.
Community members have been offering prayers and dropping off activity kits, food and water, which makes a big difference.
Grove Manor is accepting Valentine’s Day cards for residents, which can be dropped in a box in the main entry, or mailed to 435 N. Broad St., Grove City, PA 16127.
Quality Life Services, which is based in Butler and has 10 facilities, has no current cases at its Grove City and East Lackawannock Township locations, Mary Susan Yurek, chief quality officer, said Feb. 4.
It’s been more than two weeks since either of those locations reported a case of the virus, she added.
There was an outbreak in the personal care unit in the township, which also reported six resident deaths since the pandemic started.
No new admissions were accepted during the outbreak.
“From an operational standpoint, that’s a challenge,” Yurek said.
In Grove City, there are 109 residents in the nursing unit and 20 in personal care. In the township, there are 48 in skilled nursing and 100 in personal care.
These individuals are among the community’s most frail and vulnerable, so QLS is asking everyone to please help mitigate the spread of the virus.
That includes getting the vaccine if you are able and eligible, Yurek said, adding that residents and staff are being vaccinated.
Visitors are still not allowed; QLS must wait for Mercer County’s virus rate to drop below 10 percent.
In the meantime, staff and residents are being vaccinated, and residents are keeping busy with small group or one-on-one activities and enjoying video chats with loved ones.
And QLS is once again accepting more applications for Don’t Stop Dreamin’, a charity program that the company oversees.
Residents can apply for “wishes,” which have included a new television or laptop, a special dinner, hot air balloon ride, honorary high school and college diplomas, concerts, sporting events, and more.