August 17, 2020
Dear Residents, Families and Friends,
Life has continued to be fairly calm at Villa Guadalupe since last month’s letter. Thank God, there have been no new cases of COVID-19 among the Residents or Sisters, and only 1 new case among our staff members, which was diagnosed 3 weeks ago.
We are looking forward to life returning to normal, even if it must be a “new normal.” The New Mexico Department of Health has given directives on entering Phase 1 of visitation for Residents. Open window visits or outdoor visits are proposed for facilities in counties that have a positivity rate of less than 5%. Unfortunately McKinley County has not yet met this criterion, but we do not give up hope because the list of counties is updated at the end of each month.
Additionally, to qualify for visitation a facility must complete a two-week testing cycle with no new cases of COVID-19. This is more complicated than it may seem because the situation with the virus is always changing. For example, even if McKinley County were on the visitation list at this point, if we were to have even 1 new positive case, we would have to go an additional 2 weeks without any other new cases to be considered a “COVID negative” facility qualified to begin open-window or outdoor visitation.
In addition, as long as McKinley County has a relatively high infection rate, and is thus considered a “positive county,” even if our Home remains COVID-free we cannot begin visitations until the County as a whole qualifies with less than a 5% positivity rate.
While plans are being made to begin open-window and outdoor visits as soon as we qualify, telephone calls, video-visits (through Microsoft Teams), letters and closed window visits are still possible, and we encourage you to keep in touch with your loved one by these means as often as possible. It does them so much good! All screening measures must be maintained for closed window visits.
Many positive things have been happening here at Villa Guadalupe these past few weeks! Very soon we will be taking down the plastic barrier separating the COVID-positive Residents from those who are negative. This is a very positive sign for us! At the same time, we are preparing for the required quarantining of Residents who need to go out for doctor appointments, and for the upcoming flu season.
On August 4 one of the Residents who has recovered from COVID celebrated her 106th birthday! We received authorization from the New Mexico Secretary of State for the Resident’s family to gather outside the sitting area windows to celebrate with her, while she remained inside. This was a joy-filled day for everyone.
We continue to receive donations of all types. Two weeks ago we went to the Gallup Airport on a Saturday morning to meet a pilot from Angel Flight who had several gallons of hand sanitizer to deliver them to us. We were asked to drive onto the tarmac towards the 3-seater private plane from which this gentleman was unloading gallon jugs of hand sanitizer, which had been belted into every compartment of the small aircraft! It was quite a scene! We are very grateful for all that this generous man is doing for us, and for all of the other donations we have received.
We continue to pray for you and our whole extended Villa Guadalupe family.
God bless you,
Sr. Sarah and all the Little Sisters
Together let’s pray to Saint Jeanne Jugan to stop the spread of the virus. Click here for her novena prayer.
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