May 13, 2020
It’s safer to stay at home. COVID-19 has not changed. – Dr. Barbara Ferrer, May 10, 2020
With many businesses reopening and more people out and about, it would appear conditions in Southern California are improving. The news, however, paints an all but certain picture.
Last Sunday the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which governments rely on for projections of where the pandemic is going, increased the projected number of deaths in California through August to 6,086. That’s an increase to the original projection of 1,420.
On Monday Governor Newsom announced that 70% of California’s economy had reopened, and L.A. County reported that daily new cases and deaths were below the seven-day averages. And yet on Tuesday, L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer announced a three-month extension of safer-at-home orders. It’s very confusing, as you can see.
What is certain, though, is that COVID-19 has disproportionately affected people 65 years of age and older, with L.A. and Orange counties reporting 75% and 70% respectively of total COVID-19-related deaths coming from that group.
Absent a vaccine and/or medication to treat the disease, the most effective defense we have is testing. Testing provides a snapshot of where we are at the moment, identifies asymptomatic carriers, and informs our decisions regarding the reintroduction of services and programs. But test results are not always accurate and should not provide a false sense of security. Furthermore, testing does not prevent someone from immediately contracting the virus after receiving a test.
As you know, ECS has done lots of testing on its campuses. We will continue to test staff members, and I hope that every one of you will take advantage of the opportunities to be tested when they are available. To date, the tests have identified four non-symptomatic COVID-19-positive team members and agency staff, who, without those tests and through no fault of their own, would have continued to work, potentially spreading the virus to residents and fellow team members. We are monitoring these team members and praying for their safe return to work.
We are truly in this together, and though some decisions are mandated by regulatory agencies, many come about through collaboration with residents and team members. In our weekly resident leadership Zoom meetings, we discuss the latest guidance and gain insight into specific issues affecting resident life. We know you want this to be over. We all do. For now, the most powerful tool we have is to be tested.
Fatigue is a natural consequence of isolation and anxiety, and I am so sorry you’re having to go through what you’re going through. I encourage you, though, to remember the words of Francis of Assisi – Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
James S. Rothrock
President & CEO
April 2, 2020
In fierce storms we must do one thing…we must put the ship in a certain position and keep her there. – old seaman
Although we receive additional information every day, and sometimes minute by minute, two activities continue to provide the best defense against the coronavirus – maintaining a distance of six feet from others and washing our hands after touching any surface that may have been exposed to the virus. As in a fierce storm, we must stay the course by maintaining these vital preventive measures throughout the crisis.
We all see how the numbers go up every day. Reality says that this virus will touch us. Already we have had one employee test positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. I am happy to report, this employee is at home recovering and seems to be doing well. But this is not likely our last case.
Over the past weeks, we have worked to limit the transmission of the virus while at the same time preparing for potential cases within our communities. We have sought to explain the actions taking place to contain the spread of the virus and to care for those affected by it through the Frequently Asked Questions, updates on the ecsforseniors.org website, and printed sheets placed under residents’ doors, near timeclocks and throughout our communities.
While your safety is our paramount concern, so, too, is your mental and overall physical health. The need to have mental stimulation and, frankly, fun doesn’t go away because of an out-of-control virus.
Life Enrichment departments continue to advance new virtual programs –fitness, cooking, education, and worship. If you haven’t already explored these opportunities, please do. They can help turn this time of social remoteness into a time of growth. And, if you need assistance connecting with loved ones and friends, please contact your Life Enrichment department. Six months ago, few of us were aware of Zoom. Today people across America are using it to have birthday parties, family reunions, and to spend meaningful time with loved ones. We can help you with that. Let’s work together to find the positive in this sad and chaotic situation.
Finally, I thank each of you for your personal contribution to the safety and well-being of not only yourselves, but those around you. The seas are rough! But stay the course, and eventually they will calm.
Please take a moment to view a caring, compassionate and encouraging message from the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, the Rt. Rev. John H. Taylor to the ECS family.
James S. Rothrock
President & CEO