Like many other congregate care settings across Minnesota, our community has, sadly, been greatly impacted by the Coronavirus. The passing of several residents of Saint Therese of New Hope’s long-term care center was the subject of recent media coverage, which we’ll address below. But, first, we want to extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of these residents.
We are called to serve our community in heartfelt ways, inspired by our mission: do ordinary things with extraordinary love. We care deeply about the role we play in the lives of our residents and sincerely grieve the loss of anyone to this devastating virus. Our hearts are with their loved ones.
The pandemic has been an extremely sorrowful experience for the entire Saint Therese community— residents and families as well as our employees and their families. Our team has responded bravely and compassionately; many employees working double or 12-hour shifts for colleagues who couldn’t come in. Their dedication is nothing short of inspiring. We thank them for their ongoing commitment to our wonderful residents.
In honor of their efforts, it’s important we remember that even before Governor Tim Walz issued a statewide peacetime emergency order, we initiated aggressive infection control measures and proactive screening. These tactics began before his announcement on March 13 to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at Saint Therese of New Hope. Despite our ongoing efforts in navigating these new challenges, especially in close quarters where nearly all residents live in double rooms, some residents and employees tested positive for Coronavirus. Some got sick and recovered, and others, sadly, did not.
At all Saint Therese communities, we continue to take every possible precaution to stop the spread of COVID-19, including:
– Isolating COVID-19 positive residents wherever possible
– Monitoring asymptomatic residents and testing where appropriate
– Instructing employees to treat all exposed residents as if they have been
infected; wearing the appropriate CDC-recommended masks and personal
protective equipment (PPE) during interactions
– Closing our building to all visitors
– Cancelling group activities — including those led by third-party partners
– Increasing sanitization of high-frequency areas and common spaces
– Urging residents to practice social distancing and frequent hand-washing
– Screening all employees for illness, including taking employee’s
temperature at the start of and midway through each shift; sending
anyone with COVID-19 symptoms home to self-quarantine per guidelines
from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the Minnesota
Department of Health (MDH).
We have worked closely with MDH since this pandemic began. MDH assigned an infection control specialist to consult with us regularly on adherence to MDH guidelines as well as those of the CDC and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to protect residents and employees from COVID-19.
And, we will continue to align with MDH regarding the release of specific data related to Coronavirus, including positive cases, hospitalizations and mortality rates.
Saint Therese— like all aging services providers in Minnesota— has an urgent need for PPE, like face masks, gowns and gloves, and testing for employees. We welcome your donations of new, unused PPE. If you would like to make a donation, please email Vice President of Philanthrophy Meghan Bethke.
We appreciate your support and understanding. All of us at Saint Therese are blessed to continue caring for you and your loved ones and are driven to do so to the very best of our ability throughout this very difficult time.