Dear Families of SJU Communities,
I have to say it again, you are all amazing, and your patience and support is felt. It is not public knowledge, but almost every nursing home and many assisted living places in our community have significant outbreaks of COVID-19. What you have heard is that several folks have died in long-term care centers. At this time, we have had no COVID-19 related deaths in any SJU community. While we have had a few cases, we have not seen what others have experienced. In addition to your prayers for our residents, please pray for all care-givers and residents of every community. I can say with high certainty, no one desires to see this activity increase. SJU has been in regular contact with many of these communities we offer support to each other.
As you can imagine during this pandemic, especially at this time with Yellowstone County and surrounding counties experiencing some of the highest proportions of COVID-19 in the county, the healthcare workforce in Billings and even at St. John’s is extremely limited and fragile. It is their work that has kept infection limited within St. John’s. We have received federal funds and have in-turn provided much of that in the way of staff bonuses and hazard pay, along with the recruitment of additional screening and support staff. In full disclosure, we are struggling to find employees desiring to work in healthcare at this time.
While indoor visitation is still restricted, outdoor “scheduled” visitation will generally begin next week. Staff testing is occurring each week or twice a week, depending on location worked and status of COVID-19 activity. As outdoor visitation begins, please take the time to thank staff for undergoing frequent and required testing so that we can offer visitation. We will occasionally restrict visitation throughout the organization or within isolated buildings depending on presence of COVID-19 in facilities. Unfortunately Vista, Meadowlark Landing, and Transitional Care Cottage will not be allowed to have any visitors at this time until each respective unit goes 14 days without the presence of COVID-19. Your facility or unit staff will inform you when outdoor visitation can resume. To help prevent opportunities for exposure, there will be no food allowed and masks are required. Designated visitation areas will be made available by appointment only and limited in duration so all those who desire can participate at least monthly. Please contact your Social Worker, Service Coordinator, or Community Life staff for more information.
David Trost, St. John’s United CEO, will host a Zoom Meeting for resident families on Tuesday, September 29th at 11:30 am.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 817 4120 0945