General Questions

Is the vaccine available to residents and employees?
Yes! Walker Methodist provided vacation clinics to residents and team members beginning in January of 2021. We have also established a partnership with Polaris Pharmacy so that we are able to provide vaccinations on an ongoing basis.

What happens if I move in and I need a vaccine?
We are able to provide the vaccine to you.

Which vaccine will you be getting for residents and employees?
We are able to provide Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

What do I do to get the second dose of the vaccine?
We can assist you in getting the second dose through our clinic.

What happens if I discharge or move out before receiving the second dose?
You can return to Walker Methodist to receive the second dose.

What about third doses and booster doses?
Third doses are currently approved for any individual who is moderately to severely immunocompromised. If this applies to you and you have a physician’s order, we can administer this dose to you any time. Booster doses are given when the primary vaccine series was sufficient, but it is likely to have waned over time. Booster doses are currently recommended to be given 8 months after your initial vaccination series. These are not yet approved by the FDA, but we anticipate they will be soon. Walker Methodist has an established partnership with Polaris Pharmacy, and we are in the planning process now to be able to offer this once it is approved.

Who is considered an essential caregiver?
An essential caregiver is someone who provides assistance to a resident, such as medication management, dressing or personal hygiene, social-emotional support or other essential tasks. Those who were essential caregivers before the outbreak are allowed to continue these vital services.

What is Walker Methodist doing for additional cleaning in the communities?
Walker Methodist already has effective cleaning measures in place, but we have stepped up our efforts by increasing the frequency of cleaning in common areas and high touch points (door knobs, light switches). Our culinary team has increased cleaning measures in the kitchens and implemented additional disinfecting procedures. We also are using a disinfectant that is specifically approved for COVID-19.

How are you combating social isolation and loneliness?
Group activities are taking place in our communities. Our life enrichment teams continue to come up with creative and fun activities to meet the needs of our residents. We continue to follow MDH guidance regarding how to do these safely. Although group activities may need to pause from time-to-time, residents are still able to participate in events and activities. Our life enrichment teams will continue to be nimble and design programming on an individual basis when group activities are on hold.

Is my loved one safe?
We believe that residents are in a safe place because our staff is well-versed in infection control measures and knows how to properly conduct isolation procedures. Our communities are highly regulated, and we adhere to the guidance from MDH, CMS, and CDC.

Will you tell us if there is a case of COVID-19 in the community?
We are doing all that we can to avoid having COVID enter any of our communities, but when we do have a confirmed case of COVID-19, we promise to be open and forthright in our communication. We notify residents in that community, family members who are named as the responsible party, and our team members quickly. We respect the privacy of all and do not release confidential information publicly. We also provide regular communication within communities.

May I bring food or other supplies to my loved one in one of your communities?
Yes, you may. There may be times you will be asked to leave them at the front doors and the concierge or another team member will make sure items are distributed.

What is screening?
We follow the guidance of the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health. This involves asking a series of questions regarding COVID-19 symptoms (cough, fever, sore throat, etc.) as well as a whether you have had contact with someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days. Everyone who enters our communities will be screened with these questions prior to entering.

Can I visit my loved one?
We are open for general visitation in our communities. There may be times, though, when visitation must pause temporarily. This is based on the status of COVID-19 in the community. If we have a positive case, we are required to close visitation while we complete outbreak testing of all residents and team members. If no further cases are identified, we are able to re-open all areas of visitation except the area where the positive case occurred. This area must remain closed until we have 14 days with no new cases of COVID-19. If new cases occur during outbreak testing, then visitation across the community must remain closed until 14 days have passed with no new cases.

Are the Fitness Centers open?
Fitness Centers are open to residents who reside in the community. The general public may also participate when general visitation is open. Residents can sign up for a designated time as the number of residents in the fitness center is limited. Some group classes are able to meet but are smaller in size and may have a few adjustments to make them safe. The Fitness Center technicians and community leaders can provide more information on current restrictions and offerings.

Can residents leave the community?
Yes. The Minnesota Department of Health advises residents to use caution when out in the community. The MDH also discourages going out in the community when the county positivity rates are above 5%. If residents have a high-risk exposure to someone with COVID-19 (spending greater than 15 minutes within 6 feet over a 24-hour period) they will be required to quarantine for 14 days.

Can I volunteer?
Volunteers are allowed if general visitation is open. Please contact the community directly to get current restrictions and opportunities. There are a number of ways that you can help our residents without entering the buildings, like making cards or donating books or movies.

How can I help?
There are a number of ways that you can help. The most important is to take good precautions when with other people, abiding by physical distancing guidelines and appropriate masking guidelines. Other ways that you can help include making cards for residents, or by donating to support Walker Methodist employees who are hit by the COVID-19 crisis in unique ways.

Are you hiring?
We are hiring for many positions throughout Minnesota and in Onalaska, Wisconsin.

How are residents being served their meals?
Residents can eat meals in the dining room if they are not ill or do not display any signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Residents who are fully vaccinated may dine together and are not required to socially distance. Masks should be worn except when eating. If a resident is unvaccinated, they may eat in the dining room but must be at least 6 feet away from others and should wear a mask except when eating. Meals are also served in their rooms per choice and or when in isolation or quarantine. Food is served in dishes that keep food hot or cold. Residents still have choice in their meals, but it may be a modified menu on certain days. Those with eating concerns have a team member with them in their room or are brought to the dining area for individual monitoring.

How are you attending to the spiritual needs of residents?
This is critical to our residents. There is a Chaplain assigned to each community to complete one-to-one meetings. We also are able to provide some video options to residents. Small service options are now available with appropriate social distancing present. Outside pastors and church visitors are allowed when general visitation is open. End of life compassion care and last rites visits are available at any time.

Are you still taking admissions?
Yes. We are a critical component to the overall health care system. We need to continue to assist hospitals with discharges of individuals who need additional therapy or nursing care to be able to return home. Additionally, some individuals need long term care and cannot return home. We are also able to admit to our assisted living, memory care, and care suites communities. We do screen everyone through our normal health screening process with heightened awareness to infectious disease and protocols required to care of each individual. We only accept individuals when we can meet their individualized needs.

What can you tell me about the Delta variant?
The Delta variant is more contagious and spreads at least twice as easily from person to person. Vaccinated individuals can get breakthrough cases and be contagious. Vaccinated individuals represent a small amount of the current transmission occurring around the country, which means that vaccines are proving to be effective. Nearly all hospitalizations and deaths continue to be among the unvaccinated.

Do I have to be quarantined when I move-in?
This depends on vaccination status. If you are fully vaccinated, don’t have any symptoms, and have not had exposure to someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days, you will not be required to quarantine.

Do I have to wear my mask and socially distance at all times?
Everyone is required to wear a mask and practice social distancing in common areas. MDH has loosened some restrictions as follows:

Meals/Activities – if all residents present are fully vaccinated, individuals may remove their mask and do not need to socially distance. If one resident is present who is unvaccinated, then all residents should wear a mask when not eating and the unvaccinated resident should socially distance from others.

When can I expect to be tested?
Residents should be tested whenever experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, after a high-risk exposure, and whenever in outbreak testing at your community.

Outbreak testing will occur anytime your community has a resident or team member who tests positive for COVID-19 and was present in your community during their infectious period. When this happens, visitation will close pending the results. All residents and team members need to be tested every 3-7 days until 14 days have passed with no new cases. Visitation will re-open as soon as possible depending on the results of the testing.