November 14 2020,
I want to thank you all for your efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 at Evenglow. As the number of cases climb in Livingston County the number of cases climb among Evenglow staff and residents. This is a time to double-down on our efforts, meaning making sure we cleanse our hands, stay at least 6 feet apart, and wear our masks properly. For Evenglow staff, this also means using these practices outside of work.
Two of the most important holidays of the year, in terms of family gatherings, are nearly here: Thanksgiving and Christmas. We all must weigh the importance of attending gatherings against the threat of a spreading virus. My wife and I are not going to gather with family at Thanksgiving and we are considering canceling our plans for our two daughters to come home at Christmas. These are painful decisions, but three of the four of us are at-risk for complications should we contract the virus. All residents and many staff, and staff family members are at-risk as well. If family gatherings must go on, please practice the proper use of masks and distancing. I know hugging is greatly desired, but the risk is great. Residents who go out of the building for any reason, holiday or otherwise, will need to quarantine upon their return.
Indoor visitation going into winter is not promising. There isn’t a senior community, that is licensed by the state, that is anywhere close to qualifying for indoor visitation due the number of cases in their county or region. The ultra-violet rays from the sun help to kill the virus, but the sun’s rays are weaker in the winter, so we will see the virus strengthen. As proof, we are seeing the number of cases increase, as the time the sun is out decreases. The tents on the Lodge patio that I have purchased have proven to be ineffective standing 24/7 in the wind. We have a plan for a better structure at the Lodge and Health Center. I encourage you to schedule virtual visits until then, and after.
The months ahead are not encouraging, but spring and a vaccine are very promising. We have made it through this situation for over 8 months and improvement is in sight, optimistically 4 months. I don’t think any of us expected this COVID experience to last this long, I surely didn’t. But, we have gotten this far and we can make it to a brighter time.
Again, thank you for your efforts! Our staff has done a great job caring for and serving residents. I appreciate all of their efforts!
October 16, 2020
We received notice that two residents tested positive for COVID-19. The residents have been moved to the 1st floor east wing of the Health Center. All other residents at both Evenglow locations tested negative. Most results for employees are in and all are negative.
Family members who are Resident Representatives received a recorded message yesterday and residents received a paper notification yesterday. Residents were reminded to continue practicing social distancing, use of masks, and washing/sanitizing hands. Employees will spend more time cleaning frequently touched today. Patio visits will continue. Lodge dining and activities will continue in small groups. Tjardes Health Center dining and activities will be restricted.
President & CEO
Evenglow was notified that 2 Evenglow employees located at the Lodge have tested positive for COVID-19. Both employees have been off work since Thursday, October 8th and are currently quarantined at home for 2 weeks. All residents tested negative. All Evenglow Lodge & Health Center residents and employees will be tested for COVID-19 this week. Notification for positive results will be given to residents, responsible parties and employees.
October 5, 2020
No new positive COVID test for employees or residents. Patio visits will resume Thursday, October 8. Limited communal dining and limited activities may soon after if testing continues to be negative.
We are nearing an announcement on visits during the colder weather. Stay tuned.
September 30, 2020
Dear Residents and Family members:
I understand the disappointment of going back into Phase I and the greater restrictions on visitation and resident dining that comes with it. I will attempt to further explain the reasons for this action.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is responsible for oversight of Long Term Care facilities (LTCf) and hospitals throughout the country. They also oversee state agencies that inspect nursing homes and hospitals to assure compliance with regulations. CMS has issued guidance on operations of LTCf and hospitals during the pandemic. Although the word “Guidance” is used, it is up to each organization to establish systems and protocols for compliance.
The guidance is 16 pages long, so to summarize the part that relates to phasing, a resident who contracts the virus in the facility is considered an outbreak and as such we have to revert to Phase I. An employee who contracts the virus does not require reverting to phase I because he or she may have caught it outside the facility, and more importantly can be quarantined outside the facility. Quarantining the resident inside the building carries risks of spreading to others through staff and possibly other means.
How long do we stay in Phase I? Testing will continue weekly and all tests must be negative for at least 14 days. There are other criteria which includes sufficient staff and PPE, number of cases in the county and region, available hospital beds and ventilators, etc. Currently, the most significant hurdle for us is no positives in this next 14 day cycle.
Our plans for colder weather outdoor visitation are nearing completion. Plans include a 10×10 tent with canvas sides and an electric heater set up next to a sliding door in the Lodge building for Lodge residents. If it works reasonably well, we may expand to two tents. The Health Center residents will visit between the doors at the front of the Health Center, or a tent on the patio at the exit to the patio from the Health Center.
Phase III has provisions for indoor visiting and we are making plans, but facilities must advance from lower through each phase in order to enter Phase III. Again, the greatest hurdle at this point will be no positives in each 14 day cycle. Each phase carries with it a 14 day cycle in order to advance to the next phase.
We are reminding staff of our obligation to use masks properly and social distance, as well as smart behavior outside of work.
I know the isolation is difficult, and I know that bouncing back and forth between phases is as confusing as it is difficult. Thank you for your cooperation and patience.
September 29, 2020
COVID-19 testing completed last week of residents and staff are all negative other than the one positive resident previously reported. Because of the positive resident test result, unfortunately we will have to convert back to Phase 1. Which means postponing patio visits. discontinuing communal dining and group activities at this time. Sorry for any inconvenience and thank you for your support.
September 9, 2020
Dear Residents & Families:
No new COVID-19 cases to report. Thank you for your efforts to curtail the spread of the virus. Testing will continue for two more weeks to complete the 28 day cycle.
We recognize the isolation has been going on a long time and you are missing your family members. This is a difficult time for many of you. We will open patio visits again starting Thursday, September 10th. If testing continues to go well, we will open the dining rooms and activities to 9 residents at a time, as we did in the past, but not this week.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is requiring more frequent testing throughout the country based on levels of infection in the facility and in the community. For Evenglow, that means Infection levels will be determined by new resident or employee cases in the facility and cases in the county.
Testing will be conducted monthly if there are no new cases during a 28 day cycle and if the infection rate is below 5% in the county.
Weekly testing if there is a new case within the facility, or the county rate is between 5% and 9.99%.
Testing will be conducted twice per week if the infection rate in the county is 10% or greater.
The Illinois Department of Public Health recognizes, as do we, that colder weather is coming and patio visits will end at some point due to weather. IDPH has provided some initial guidance on indoor visitation. We are working on locations and systems to enable indoor visitation. Evenglow and the region of the state will need to meet IDPH criteria in order for Indoor visitation. The criteria includes, no infections in the building, low infection rate in the region, sufficient PPE, and stable staffing.
Thank you for your patience and cooperation during this time. We all look forward to the time when this COVID threat subsides.
Mark Hovren, CEO
August 24th, 2020
With Evenglow’s recent ongoing testing procedures, it was found that 1 Evenglow Lodge employee tested positive for COVID-19 on this date. Testing will continue every week for the next 2 weeks until we are able to attain a status of all the tests returned to be negative. As soon as we are able to update you, we will send out more information.
August 4, 2020
One employee COVID-19 case at Evenglow Lodge location.
One employee COVID-19 case at Evenglow Inn location.
Residents and employees will be tested weekly for a minimum of 4 weeks until we have no positive cases. Patio visits are canceled for this period. Staff will continue to where face masks, and as of today, will start wearing face shields.
Management is in the process of rectifying the lack of hair care services. More information will be provided in the coming week or two.
When communicating with residents and family we will continue to communicate as we have in the past. We will still provide a brief recorded message via tele/cell phone to the resident’s responsible party and post more extensive information on the website. Residents will receive communication in writing. When you receive the recorded message, assume a more complete message is on the website at www.evenglowlodge.org \ About \ COVID-19 Update.
IDPH has been saying for the past month or more that a Re-Opening plan for Long Term Care is coming out. It appears we are getting very close. At this point, the Re-Opening appears to be primarily inside visitation. Outside visitation will still be the preferred visitation, but when poor weather is with us, there appears to be a plan for inside visitation with conditions. One of the conditions will be no active cases.
Due to the conditions, facility plans for inside visitation could change in hours. We will communicate the plan and conditions when they come out. We will communicate the changes in visitation as effectively as possible.
President & CEO
July 10th, 2020
We are happy to report there have been no cases of COVID-19
among staff and residents in any of the Evenglow buildings.
There are many questions about when the restrictions will be
lifted. Long Term Care (LTC) in this context means congregate living, is
in Phase 1, whereas the re-opening for state commerce is in Phase 4. The
Illinois Department of Public Health is responsible for the re-opening plan LTC
and they are in the stage of final approvals for their plan. They
understand the burden of restrictions on residents and family visitation and
movement outside the buildings. Given the earlier media attention, and
now congressional scrutiny of nursing home deaths, they are taking a very
cautious approach. With that said and aside from the obvious visitation
concerns, things are going well. The Lodge dining room was divided into
three areas by nearly floor to ceiling dividers. Up to 10 people can be
in an area, including employees. One employee is assigned to an area, so
9 residents can be seated for meals, one per table. Due to the
reduced seating, residents are assigned to two meal times per meal.
The Tjardes Health Center (THC) has a little more complex system
which I won’t go into here, but a modified version of the Lodge plan was
implemented in the THC, and this was due to different resident needs, and
Patio visit times have been changed to accommodate morning
visits and avoid the heat. Each building times are a little different due
to requirement of the specific building and available staff. We are
required to provide either intermittent supervision, or supervision of the
visits in order to assure social distancing. We have chosen intermittent
supervision, which again is different at each building. Please call the
receptionist at the Lodge to make appointments for Lodge and THC resident patio
visits and call the Inn for patio visits there.
Health Center 9:00 am, 10:00am, 1:00 pm
Lodge 9:00 am, 9:45 am, 12:45 pm, 1:00 pm, 1:45 pm and 2:00 pm.
Hair care is probably the greatest concern among
residents. Now and then staff who have experience has cut hair. No
perms or other more complex types of hair care is being done. Summer is
the time many of our employees take vacation and so it is difficult to enable
staff who have hair care experience to break away from the duties they were
hired for. Beauticians that provided hair services prior to the Pandemic
are anxiously awaiting the green light to return to Evenglow. Phase 1
restricts contractors who are not medically necessary from entering the
There are many opinions about the necessity for these
restrictions. Providers and policy makers who have responsibility for the
health of people in LTC facilities naturally take this very seriously. In
addition to residents, we have many employees who are themselves at significant
risk if they contract the virus, and many have family members who are at
significant risk. They continue to work each day at Evenglow
despite the risk, but obviously take precautions very seriously. Out of
respect for their courage and efforts, and the risk to residents, we ask
your continued cooperation with the precautions Evenglow management has
put into place.
June 24, 2020 Update:
Evenglow Lodge & Tjardes Health Center Visitor
Visitors are still restricted
from entering Evenglow buildings to visit their loved ones. Under IDPH guidance released 6-18-2020,
residents are allowed to have outdoor visitation from their loved ones, weather
permitting. These precautions, of
course, are in place to reduce the risk of transmitting SARS-CoV-2
(Coronavirus). Please partner with us in
scheduled 1 hour increments-allowing up to 45 minutes for the visit
all visits are to be made 24 hours in advance by calling the facility
will pre-screen visitors not more than 24 hours in advance of the visit via
Upon arrival, the
visitor will be screened again and visitor temperature will be taken at the
reception desk at Evenglow Lodge. The receptionist will direct you to the
All visitors need
to bring and wear their own facemask (cloth or disposable is acceptable.)
Please make sure the face mask is covering your nose and mouth at all times
No visitors under
the age of 18 allowed
limited to two visitors at a time per resident per day
are from 12:45 pm to 4:00 pm every day
Please maintain social distancing during the
visit by staying 6 feet away from the resident
Visits will be supervised
by Evenglow Staff
contact is allowed between the visitors and the residents. This includes hugging.
No food can be
eaten during the visit as this requires the removal of the facemask
If you develop
any COVID-19 symptoms within 14 days of your visit, please contact the facility
may be cancelled due to inclement weather at any time
June 19, 2020 Update:
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced Friday that outdoor visitation is now open, however there are several requirements that must be planned, communicated, and staff trained in order to offer it. Evenglow management will do all the ground-work and establish a procedure and make an announcement to residents and families next week. We are sorry for outdoor visitation not being available this weekend. Evenglow has to consider the following limitations and restrictions that IDPH has put in to place and make our policy regarding patio visits to include the following:
-Resident may not have any more than 2 visitors
-Adequate shaded outdoor space
-Ensure minimum 6 feet apart
-Facility must set maximum number of visits per day
-The family/visitor must have a scheduled appointment
-Facility must screen visitors by phone no more than 24 hours in advance using the CDC screening tool
-Outdoor space must have an ingress and an egress without entering the facility
-Facility may set the time duration of each visit
-Facility should have staff supervising visits to ensure face covering and social distancing
-Supervision may be continuous or intermittent.
We really appreciate your understanding in the consideration of all of these restrictions and we will be sure to work on starting patio visits as soon as we are able.
June 12, 2020 Update:
Dear Residents and Family Members:
I’m sorry for the sudden recorded phone message last Friday concerning the termination of patio visits. On top of it, a more thorough message was to be posted on our website, but it crashed right after the phone message went out. I was trying to be compliant with the new information we received Friday afternoon, which led to the communication being done poorly, for which I apologize.
Still no COVID 19 cases among residents and staff at Evenglow!
I believe there is confusion over the state phasing and Long Term Care phasing. The term Long Term Care (LTC) includes nursing homes, assisted living and independent living. States and LTC have different phasing structures. The state is currently in phase 3 and LTC is in phase 1. Phasing is determined by the governor and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).
IDPH is putting the pieces in place for the opening of LTC. The first piece was the COVID 19 testing of all residents and employees, which was done at Evenglow a week and one half ago. Prevention and testing plans in all Nursing Homes will be completed by each organization today. I don’t know what IDPH’s next step will be, but I suspect we will receive more information on the relaxation of restrictions in the coming week or two.
Up to 10 people are allowed to gather in a room with social distancing. This allows 9 residents and 1 staff member in a room together. As a result, small group activities can be conducted. It also means small group dining can be offered. We plan to divide the Lodge dining room into three areas and offer two different dining times in each. One server and up to 9 residents will be able to dine in each area. Unfortunately, in order to comply with the 6-foot social distancing rule, we will seat only one resident at a table. But the good news is it will be one-step closer to a more normal dining experience. More information will be conveyed soon!
Dining at Evenglow Inn and in the Tjardes Health Center will remain as it is.
Visitation continues to be restricted. I am hoping a relaxation of this restriction comes soon. We offer virtual visits and window visits, but appointments need to be made so that we can assist residents.
Residents can go to medically necessary appointments, but we really need your help in not abusing these appointments. The point of restricting visitation, appointments that are not medically necessary and other outings is to reduce the number of contacts with those who could have the virus. All residents, some employees, and some employee family members are at risk for serious health threats if they contract COVID 19. I know there are many residents who take this very seriously, as do those employees who are at risk and employees with at risk family members. Given how well we have done, and the sacrifice and work that has gone into remaining COVID 19 FREE, it would be a shame to ruin it now. It won’t be long before we have more freedom, so let’s make sure we get there.
Only the residents and the Responsible Party receive this letter, so please convey the information to other family members. We will post this letter on the website at www.evenglowlodge.org. Choose the “About” button. Then choose the COVID 19 menu choice. The password is Evenglow2!5. Notice what might look like a “1” in 215 is actually an exclamation mark. “!”
As always, thank you for your cooperation and understanding.
President & CEO
June 5, 2020
The Illinois Department of Public Health clarified a previous statement today in a conference call that visitation, whether inside the building or outside, is not permitted. Starting Saturday, June 6 we can no longer offer patio visits. Window visits are still allowed, but the window will need to be shut.
We are looking into alternatives and will convey our findings as soon as possible.
The state is in Phase 3 of re-opening, but Long Term Care facilities (Nursing homes, Assisted Living, Independent Living) are in Phase 1. IDPH is preparing to move into phase 2.
Residents may go out for medically necessary appointments, but no others. If a resident insists on leaving the campus for any reason, the resident will need to be quarantined for 14 days.
The Illinois Department of Public Health receives guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and from the CDC.
June 2, 2020
This past Friday the governor issued an emergency order which included the directive to nursing homes to develop a COVID 19 Testing plan that complies with the guidance from the CDC (Center for Disease Control). We have 14 days from the date of the emergency order to develop our plan and it will be communicated to residents, families, and employees. There are many questions yet to be answered, but the essential parts of it are that residents and employees will be tested using a nasal swab test for a baseline measure. We need to have an agreement with a lab that can provide quick turn-around results, and we report results via a designated website.
The reason for testing is that as the state opens up and people have more contact with others, there is a greater chance for the spread of the virus. We currently screen employees twice during their shift and residents once per shift, so the testing is intended to identify people who carry the virus, but are asymptomatic (no symptoms).
The state contracted with a company to form teams of nurses to go to every nursing home in the state to inspect infection control practices, and practices described in the paragraph above. Coincidentally, a team of 5 nurses showed up at Evenglow last Friday. Their inspection of Evenglow’s infection control policies and procedures, as well as our COVID 19 procedures went well. They also swab tested 82% of residents and employees in the Lodge and Tjardes Health Center (THC). We received the results Monday and ALL WERE NEGATIVE!
Thank you for your continued support of our policies and procedures during this pandemic.
May 8, 2020
Due to the cooperation of families and residents, and the work of our employees, Evenglow does not have any COVID-19 cases as of this writing. Our staff have been doing an excellent job cleaning and practicing infection control techniques. If staff, or a resident is tested positive for COVID-19 we will contact you ASAP. The communication will be via a recorded message on a phone system that distributes those messages.
What happens if a resident tests positive for COVID-19?
Evenglow will not admit a resident who test positive for COVID-19 at this time. The first floor east wing of the Tjardes Health Center (THC) has been set aside for use as the COVID wing for Lodge & THC residents. This wing will be used for people with COVID, those that have symptoms, and those that are new to the THC, but have not been tested. Staff dedicated to the wing will work in the wing for the shift. They will enter and exit through the door at the end of the hall and will not leave wing. We have an empty resident room on the wing set aside for a break room where staff will eat. Residents will eat in their rooms. Dietary will bring meals for residents and staff to the closed double doors where staff will meet them and take the meals inside. We will make every effort to avoid equipment entering and leaving the wing. If equipment does leave the wing, it will be thoroughly sanitized.
If a current resident of Evenglow Inn shows symptoms of the virus, the resident would be contained in their room until test results are returned. If the COVID test came back positive, the resident would be quarantined to their private room per CDC guidelines. Only staff dedicated to the resident’s room will be entering or exiting the resident’s room.