Focus on prevention of COVID-19 virus establishes new procedures.   COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 Prevention: Community Updates - Week of 3/7/2020

Look here for ongoing community updates for residents and staff. As always, the first priority of Kendal at Oberlin is the health and wellness of the individuals we serve and the staff who serve them. As a result, Kendal is adhering to guidance from state and federal health authorities. New community updates will be added to this article as they becomes available.

March 14, 2020: Update to Residents

Calm, Proactive Preparedness

New Updates Today

First Confirmed COVID-19 Case in Lorain County

  • Lorain County Health Department announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the county.  Dave Covell, Lorain County Health Commissioner stated it is spreading in the area.

Dining Option to be offered starting Mar. 17

  • Starting Mar. 17, independent living residents may opt out of the meal plan for a 2-Week period through March 31 and receive a special one-time meal credit of $7.50 per day. This will likely decrease the distance between diners, helping with the concern for adding to the threat of coronavirus.  Watch for a special form available this week to enroll in this option. Consideration will be given if this needs to go beyond Mar. 31.

Health Services

  • All NH visitors Restricted- The Ohio Department of Health, following the lead of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has restricted all visitors in Nursing Homes and Residential Care Facilities, such as our Stephens Care Center.  The only exception will be for end-of-life situations.
  • Please stay in touch with your family and friends in the Stephens Care Center via phone calls, texting, FaceTime and other means.  Kendal is working to leverage available technology to assist in maintaining connection. Today, we already connected a number of families using iPhones, iPads and laptop computers with facetime and skype.
  • Outpatient Therapy will be limited to one patient per room.  One outpatient will be given therapy in the Massage Room and one in the Therapy Gym.  A third location will be identified.   If you have a therapy appointment, please call ahead of your appointment to confirm time and location, 440-775-9816.
  • Control of Facemasks In order to control the supply of facemasks, all facemasks will be stored and provided to staff members or residents with the assessment and discretion of the RN Nurse Manager or the Health and Wellness Clinic Manager. The few staff who are seen with facemasks (9) are the only staff who have medical clearance to have not had a flu shot.
  • Dining is being accomplished with all hands on deck to put together trays and in-room delivery for the most part having closed our congregate Friends Corner.

Proactive Preparedness

  • This virus is mainly spread from person to person, between people within 6’ of one another and through respiratory droplets produced when infected person coughs or sneezes.  These droplets can land in the mouths or noses people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled in the lungs.  Source-CDC website.
  • Containing the Virus- In order to contain this virus, confirmed in Lorain County today, we encourage all residents and staff to practice social distancing, maintaining 6’ distance when out in public (such as grocery shopping) and to only go out in public when absolutely necessary.
  • Soap and Water for handwashing- Please conserve your sanitizer and use soap and water whenever it is available. It is far more effective and you can preserve sanitizer supply for when soap and water is not available.

March 14, 2020: Update to Residents

Our Theme is Calm Preparedness

Important Update

Late yesterday, March 13th, Amy Acton, MD, Director of the Ohio Department of Health directed that all visitation in Nursing Homes and Residential Care Facilities be suspended. Only essential personnel are permitted to be in our Stephens Care Center. The only exception is to visit a resident who is at the end-of-life, and the with that, the requirements for screening and limitation to one visit per resident per day remain.

March 13, 2020: Update to Residents

Our Theme is Calm Preparedness

New Updates Today

Kendal has had wonderful cooperation from residents, staff members and visitors as new procedures are implemented to address the changing needs required in this pandemic episode. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate these times together.

Fortunately, there are still no confirmed cases in Lorain County  but this can change at any time. We continue to work as a community to keep Kendal at Oberlin healthy.

Monthly Coffee Hour

  • Monday’s Coffee Hour on March 16 is cancelled. Kendal is working toward technological options to keep our community connected during this pandemic.

Health Services

  • Effective Monday appointments are required for all visits to the Health and Wellness Clinic. You must call ahead for any reason including blood pressure checks. Please call 440-775-9819.  Health and Wellness Clinic staff will determine if an in-clinic or home visit is most appropriate to limit exposure. Open clinic hours on Mondays and Fridays are suspended at this time.
  • Virtual appointments are being considered using an Apple device or Skype.
  • Residents returning from any cruise will need to practice “social-isolation” for 14 days in their home.  Kendal will provide necessary directions prior to/upon returning home.

Heiser Front Doors

  • To maintain limited access to the Stephens Care Center, we will be securing the Heiser Front Entrance at 7:30 PM daily beginning Monday, March 16.
  • Apartment Access- If any resident still needs a fob for access to the apartment, contact Facility Services. 

Fitness Center

  • We appreciate residents maintaining their exercise routines. Please remember to sanitize thoroughly all equipment before and after every use. We have increased using antibacterial solutions for all high touch surfaces. 

All Hands on Deck

  • Our staff, all departments, are working together to assist with the daily needs of the residents of the Stephens Care Center, such as delivering meal trays and other tasks. Please understand staff may not be able to address the usual Kendal business in their  timely way (including email and phone calls) as these higher priorities are addressed.

School-Age Children

  • Kendal is working toward a plan for staff members’ school-age children who now need daily oversight while schools are closed. A plan is being created to enable staff parents to bring their children to an off-campus location in order to continue working at Kendal.

Manager On Duty

  • This weekend marks the beginning of scheduling two Managers on Duty each weekend to help with managing the additional needs as a result of the pandemic.  

Saturday: Terry Kovach and Toni Merleno 

Sunday: Shenell Hinton and Barbara Thomas 

We are moving towards providing daily or as needed updates on the Kendal at Oberlin webpage rather than distributing electronic and paper copies to all residents.  Please check the webpage or Administrative Heiser bulletin board for these updates. Thank you.

March 12, 2020: Update to Residents

Our Theme is Calm Preparedness

New Updates Today

  • All staff members are being health-screened daily.
  • All vendor/construction employees are being health-screened daily.
  • All contractor projects in the SCC have been suspended until further notice.
  • Kendal is working towards a message board at our entrance to alert all entering our campus regarding COVID-19;
  • The Ohio Governor has closed schools for the next three weeks which will impact staff members with school-aged young children;
  • Kendal’s Early Learning Center will close effective Monday, March 16, through the end of the month.
  • The Ohio Governor has banned all mass gatherings of 100 people or more.  The KORA calendar is being updated of what activities remain scheduled for residents.
  • The Langston salad bar will be closed with other salad and soup options from the line service beginning Monday, March 16;
  • Fox and Fell will become total waited service without the buffet also effective Monday, March 16.
  • Stephens Care Center residents are taking all  their meals in the Center via tray service and will not be permitted to use any other dining room.
  • The Country Kitchen and the Friends Corner dining room have suspended food service.  Therapy services for SCC residents will take place in the Friends Corner dining room as a temporary location.
  • IL residents will continue to receive their therapy in the Therapy Room adjacent to the Health and Wellness Clinic.
  • Important messages will be sent electronically via our website and KORA’s website while posted hard copies can be found on the Heiser bulletin board under Administration.
  • Small groups may still meet although check your calendar for cancellations.
  • Groups hosted by outside-Kendal presenters or facilitators are cancelled until further notice.
  • The Apartment Building doors will be secured at all hours and residents will be required to use their key fobs to enter.  Visitors (not residents) must enter via Heiser doors and be screened for clearance.
  • All entrances to the SCC have been secured from the outside access.
  • The only open entrance is via Heiser hallway. Access to the pool and fitness rooms will be only through the pool parking lot doors and the west-end entrance doors next to the fitness equipment room.
  • All visitors including Kendal IL residents to the SCC must enter via Heiser and be screened for clearance to enter the SCC.  By order of the state of Ohio, all visitors to the SCC must present a valid state ID or driver’s license. These restrictions will also be evident in the evening hours.
  • The Kendal Resale Shop has been closed until further notice.
  • Independent living residents should feel welcome to take their meals home.
  • Visiting in the Stephens care Center will be limited to family/significant other members only and one visitor per resident per day.
  • Reminding all the Stephens Care Center may not be used as passage to and from the pool and fitness center and cottages on the west and northwest ends of campus.  Residents and staff must use outside walkways and drives to get to their destinations.

Calm Proactive Preparedness

March 11, 2020: Update to Residents

Our Theme is Calm Preparedness

Visitor Screening in the Stephens Care Center

As you have heard in the news, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been confirmed in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH).  We do not have any cases of COVID-19 at our community, but this development triggers heightened infection control practices and protocols as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Please know that maintaining the health, wellness and safety of you and our community is our number one priority.

We are now taking steps to prevent the spread of this illness and be positioned to respond quickly and effectively should it impact someone in our setting.

Effective immediately, based on CDC and ODH guidance, no visitor will be permitted into our Stephens Care Center who meets any of the following criteria:

  • Signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat.
  • In the last 14 days, has had contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, or under investigation for COVID-19, or are ill with respiratory illness.
  • International travel within the last 14 days to countries with sustained community transmission. (For updated information on affected countries visit:
  • Resides in an area where community-based spread of COVID-19 is occurring.

Any visitor to the Stephens Care Center should expect to be screened for the issues outlined above and to follow additional infection control practices while in the SCC – which may include wearing personal protective equipment, a specific handwashing regimen, and restricted access to portions of our campus. As ordered by the State of Ohio, all visitors to the SCC must present a valid state ID or driver’s license. We understand that communication with your friends and loved ones in the Stephens Care Center is incredibly important and encourage you to communicate with them in additional ways such as the telephone, video chat, e-mail, or social media.

No SCC Pass Through

Also, effective immediately, the Stephens Care Center may not be used as passage to and from the Pool and Fitness Center and cottages on the west and northwest ends of campus.  Residents and staff must use outside walkways and drives to get to their destinations.

Visitors from Outside Kendal

Any person who has taken any recent trips (within the last 14 days) on cruise ships, or participated in other settings where crowds are confined to a common location, should refrain from visiting the Stephens Care Center and, best practice, the entire Kendal at Oberlin community, until they have been symptom-free for at least 14 days.

Please know that the news about the spread of this new disease is concerning for us all. In addition to limiting visitation to prevent the illness in the Stephens Care Center, we are also focused on infection control best practices with our staff and residents.  Staff have been trained on the symptoms of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), CDC recommended infection prevention techniques, and have clear protocols for staff to stay home and not come to work if they are ill or symptomatic.  Remember that you are a key partner in keeping yourself and others healthy—wash your hands often; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; notify staff if you feel sick.

We continue to monitor information and guidance from ODH, the CDC and the Lorain County Health Department and are working with state and local public health and emergency preparedness officials to prevent the illness and strengthen our preparation for a possible outbreak.

We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause, but we are keeping your safety as our number one priority.  Communication is key, and we will continue to update you on any news, emerging issues, or changes in our regular operations. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time with questions or concerns you may have.

Returning Travelers Protocols

Given the heightened awareness of COVID-19, Kendal at Oberlin is implementing special protocols for residents that have recently traveled.  We are doing this with input from the Centers for Disease Control, the Ohio Department of Health and strong collaboration with the Lorain County Health Department.

We are working closely with residents when they return to Kendal to ensure two things, 1) they are healthy, 2) they have not been to a high risk area where they could have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus.  With our local Lorain County Health Department, we are assessing each individual resident situation upon their return and receiving guidance from the Lorain County Health Department, specific to the travel destinations and return routes of our residents.

In light of a resident’s travel destination(s) and return route, there are three possible scenarios:

  • Resident returns to Kendal with no symptoms and has not been in or through a high risk area.  In this case, we will ask that the resident self-monitor for signs of infection, such as a cough, shortness of breath or fever.  If such symptoms become present, the resident will be instructed to notify Kendal immediately and other appropriate protocols will be put in place.
  • Resident returns to Kendal with no symptoms but has been in or through a high risk area.  With guidance from the Lorain County Health Department, the resident may be asked to “socially isolate” her/himself for up to 14 days while monitoring for signs of infection, such as a cough, shortness of breath or fever.  If such symptoms become present, the resident will be instructed to notify Kendal immediately and other appropriate protocols will be put in place.  During the time of “social-isolation”, Kendal will provide regular check-ins with staff and provide daily meal delivery.
  • Resident returns to Kendal, regardless of destination, with symptoms present, such as a cough, shortness of breath or fever and COVID-19 is suspected.  With guidance and the authority of the Lorain County Health Department Health Commissioner, resident will be put on mandatory “social-isolation”.  During the time of “social-isolation”, Kendal will provide regular check-ins with staff and provide daily meal delivery.  The duration of this “social-isolation” will be determined by the Lorain County Health Department

The purpose of these protocols is to ensure the health of our community.  We thank you in advance for your cooperation.

The situation with COVID-19 is changing daily and we will continue to provide more updates to staff so that each of us are empowered to do our jobs well and safely, for our health, the health of our families and residents we serve.

March 6, 2020: Update to Residents

Our Theme is Calm Preparedness

As of this writing, there have still been no recorded cases of COVID-19 in Ohio, we are being encouraged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Ohio Department of Health and the Lorain County Health Department to calmly prepare and ensure our systems and processes are in place should or when COVID-19 impacts our region.

Kendal Systemwide Webinar Monday, March 9th 11 AM in the Auditorium


The Kendal System will be providing a Kendal Systemwide Webinar on Monday, March 9, at 11 AM to share with residents and staff the steps Kendal is taking in preparation for impact of COVID-19.  Please join us in the Auditorium for this important communication.  

Review of our Kendal’s Preparation 

Our focus continues to be on Infection Control and Education; Local Health Care Partnerships; Supply/Vendor Review and Contingencies; Travel Considerations; Timely, Current & Accurate Information; Communication; Workforce Contingencies and Planning; Education and Community Preparation.

The past several weeks Kendal Health Care Staff have been reviewing our infection control policies and procedures to ensure conformity with the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Ohio Department of Health, and the Lorain County Health Department.  This has included refresh training with our clinical staff to ensure we are ready if/when COVID-19 impacts our region.

Kendal continues to communicate directly and routinely with the Lorain County Health Department and Mercy Allen to ensure an on-going dialogue with our strategic relationships and partnerships with our local health systems as well as part of our on-going surveillance and detection of any local disease outbreak, including COVID-19.

Our Department Heads are also reviewing our business preparedness should COVID-19 impact our workflow processes, this includes resident meal delivery when needed, contingency planning for staffing, encouraging of staff members to stay home if they feel ill, suspending staff member call-off disciplinary actions, working from home protocols as needed for some staff, supplier relationships-including medical supplies, housekeeping supplies, and food deliveries.  Our Health Care Staff are daily monitoring the usage of personal protective equipment (medical masks, gloves and gowns) to ensure we always have enough on-hand should an outbreak occur in our area.    We are also focused on surveillance and detection of illnesses in the Kendal Early Learning Center (ELR), providing education to ELC families and staff members.

Please note: these tasks listed above are not all inclusive. Staff members are working on a number of other COVID-19 preparations as well.

Our Pandemic Planning Committee is comprised of our Medical Director Georgia Newman, Department Heads, and Kim Leek, RN Infection control preventionist.  We are also adding resident Bill Hole, MD and a second resident medical expert.  We appreciate their willingness to bring their expertise to this committee.

What Can Residents Do to Prepare? 

If you are feeling ill, or have a cough, fever or are sneezing, stay in your home.  If you do leave your home, maintain 6’ clearance between you and others.  You might consider wearing a medical mask, available at the Community Center entrances.

The simplest thing everyone, residents and staff alike, can do is first to continue to practice good health habits, washing hands frequently for 20 seconds, avoiding others who are ill, keeping a 6’ distance from those who may be coughing or sneezing, eating well and sleeping well to keep your immunity strong.  Additionally, it would be wise and a general good winter practice to keep a two-week supply of food and water in your home should you become ill and housebound for a short time.  Canned goods or frozen foods and bottled water are excellent for this preparation.

If you feel ill, please call the Health and Wellness Clinic at 440-775-9816 Monday-Friday 8 AM-4:30 PM or the RN Nurse Manager at 440-775-9800 at all other times, for consultation.

Advice from a retired Professor of Pathology, University of California San Diego

(from former Kendal resident, source not confirmed, but good recommendations) 

Dear Colleagues, as some of you may recall, when I was a professor of pathology at the University of California San Diego, I was one of the first molecular virologists in the world to work on coronaviruses (the 1970s). I was the first to demonstrate the number of genes the virus contained. Since then, I have kept up with the coronavirus field and its multiple clinical transfers into the human population (e.g., SARS, MERS), from different animal sources.

The current projections for its expansion in the US are only probable, due to continued insufficient worldwide data, but it is most likely to be widespread in the US by mid to late March and April.
Here is what I have done and the precautions that I take and will take. These are the same precautions I currently use during our influenza seasons, except for the mask and gloves.

  1.  NO HANDSHAKING! Use a fist bump, slight bow, elbow bump, etc.
  2.  Use ONLY your knuckle to touch light switches. elevator buttons, etc.. Lift the gasoline dispenser with a paper towel or use a disposable glove.
  3. Open doors with your closed fist or hip – do not grasp the handle with your hand, unless there is no other way to open the door. Especially important on bathroom and post office/commercial doors.
  4. Use disinfectant wipes at the stores when they are available, including wiping the handle and child seat in grocery carts.
  5. Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds and/or use a greater than 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer whenever you return home from ANY activity that involves locations where other people have been.
  6. Keep a bottle of sanitizer available at each of your home’s entrances. AND in your car for use after getting gas or touching other contaminated objects when you can’t immediately wash your hands.
  7. If possible, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard. Use your elbow only if you must. The clothing on your elbow will contain infectious virus that can be passed on for up to a week or more!

What I have stocked in preparation for the pandemic spread to the US:

  1. Latex or nitrile latex disposable gloves for use when going shopping, using the gasoline pump, and all other outside activity when you come in contact with contaminated areas.
  2. Note: This virus is spread in large droplets by coughing and sneezing. This means that the air will not infect you! BUT all the surfaces where these droplets land are infectious for about a week on average – everything that is associated with infected people will be contaminated and potentially infectious. The virus is on surfaces and you will not be infected unless your unprotected face is directly coughed or sneezed upon. This virus only has cell receptors for lung cells (it only infects your lungs) The only way for the virus to infect you is through your nose or mouth via your hands or an infected cough or sneeze onto or into your nose or mouth.
  3. Stock up now with disposable surgical masks and use them to prevent you from touching your nose and/or mouth (We touch our nose/mouth 90X/day without knowing it!). This is the only way this virus can infect you – it is lung-specific. The mask will not prevent the virus in a direct sneeze from getting into your nose or mouth – it is only to keep you from touching your nose or mouth.
  4. Stock up now with hand sanitizers and latex/nitrile gloves (get the appropriate sizes for your family). The hand sanitizers must be alcohol-based and greater than 60% alcohol to be effective.
  5. Stock up now with zinc lozenges. These lozenges have been proven to be effective in blocking coronavirus (and most other viruses) from multiplying in your throat and nasopharynx. Use as directed several times each day when you begin to feel ANY “cold-like” symptoms beginning. It is best to lie down and let the lozenge dissolve in the back of your throat and nasopharynx. Cold-Eeze lozenges is one brand available, but there are other brands available.

I, as many others do, hope that this pandemic will be reasonably contained, BUT I personally do not think it will be. Humans have never seen this (specific) virus before and have no internal defense against it. Tremendous worldwide efforts are being made to understand the molecular and clinical virology of this virus. Unbelievable molecular knowledge about the genomics, structure, and virulence of this virus has already been achieved. BUT, there will be NO drugs or vaccines available to protect us or limit the infection within us. Only symptomatic support is available.

I hope these personal thoughts will be helpful during this potentially catastrophic pandemic. You are welcome to share this. Good luck to all of us!

Our Goal:  Calm Preparation with Proactive Measures moving forward.

Contact Information

If you have any questions or concerns, you may contact Stacy Terrell, Chief Health Services Officer at 440-775-9811.