Dear Residents and Team Members,
It has been more than four months since coronavirus and COVID-19 became part of our every-day conversations. For many, the initial adrenaline, fear and excitement have given way to anxiety and fatigue. In these challenging times we continue to experience hope through inspiring moments.
My purpose in writing today is to bring you up to date on how ECS continues to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and how that response is shaped by what we have learned and continue to learn about the virus.
When the virus first landed on the West Coast in Washington State, we did not understand how serious it was and how challenging it would become. Today, mitigating the spread of COVID-19 is our organizing principle. Our whole team begins work every day knowing that keeping everyone safe is Job #1.
In early March, ECS was not fully stocked with a pandemic level of personal protective equipment or food supplies. Our orders for food and protective equipment were not filled or were diverted to the military and hospitals. Through sharing of supplies and concentrated purchasing efforts, today all of our communities are reliably supplied with a margin of safety.
In the beginning, we didn’t know what all the symptoms of COVID-19 were. The CDC had provided a very short list. To obtain a coronavirus test required a doctor’s order based on symptoms. Today, we test all staff members on a regular basis, as well as offer and encourage resident testing. Most test results are now received within 24 to 48 hours.
Common sense has dictated for over a hundred years that we wear masks as part of our defense against infectious diseases. It is no surprise that we are reminded of the positive benefits of simple precautions such as wearing masks, washing our hands and maintaining appropriate physical distance. By adhering rigorously to these precautions, we can look forward to more interaction and connection with neighbors, friends and family.
We once thought that a coronavirus diagnosis meant hospitalization, but we find that by having an effective COVID-19 isolation plan we can safely accommodate most residents without requiring a dangerous trip to a hospital.
We work daily to make life more palatable for residents by taking steps like creating outdoor spaces for visits with friends and family, implementing communication tools enabling audio-visual connection, and supporting neighborhood organizational efforts/campaigns. We bring this up in every staff meeting.
However, there is no substitute for our wonderful communities and the caring expressed by and to each other. During this time of isolation and separation, residents and staff are reaching out on a regular basis, looking out for each other. This is the value of living in community.
Each of you has done your part, either by creating or participating in fun exercises like the Memorial Day paper airplane contests or the wonderful ukulele orchestra that accompanies residents singing from balconies. Some of the fun innovations will probably become part of routine life in our communities.
It seems, though, that we take two steps forward and then one step back as with the governor’s message yesterday closing a number of public areas. One thing is for certain - this invisible enemy uses our love, kindness and resulting need for physical closeness against us. So now, we have to slow down our plans to safely open beauty salons and gyms; however, we are prepared to quickly reinstate those plans when possible.
What we all have done together has worked and likely saved lives, but we cannot become complacent.
This summer and fall will have their own sets of challenges and complications, and I want to thank all residents and team members in advance. You have worked tirelessly and diligently, often under very trying circumstances, to keep everyone safe. None of you volunteered for this. And yet you have made all our lives more tolerable by your patience, your understanding, and your continued positive attitudes.
One day we will look back on this time, and we will see heroes and role models, friends and colleagues who stood together in the face of uncertainty and hardship.
Stay safe, stay strong and may God continue to bless us all.
James S. Rothrock
President & CEO
CEO Archived Letters