A Letter to Friends and Families from the Jewish Home of Eastern Pennsylvania

Friends and families,

Thank you for your continued support through the COVID-19 pandemic.  Our guidance from state and federal governing bodies continues to change at a rapid pace.  Many of the recent changes surround testing of our residents/staff and the impact on our reopening plan.  Our main goals remain to provide high-quality care and to keep your loved ones safe.

We are continuing to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Department of Health guidelines with regard to infection control policies and procedures for prevention and mitigation of COVID-19.

On September 3, 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Health installed new nursing home staff testing protocols in response to a recent update from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The state requires a greater frequency of testing based on the amount of virus activity in a given county.

  • Counties with a test positivity rate of less than 5.0% (or with fewer than 10 tests in past 7 days) are in the Green Phase.
    • Routine testing of asymptomatic residents is not recommended.
    • Routine testing of asymptomatic staff is recommended every four weeks.
  • Counties with test positivity rate of 5.0%-10.0% are in the Yellow Phase.
    • Routine testing of asymptomatic residents is encouraged of all residents with outside contact in the last 14 days, if they have not otherwise been tested during that period.
    • Routine testing of asymptomatic staff is recommended once a week.
  • And counties with test positivity rate of greater than 10.0% are considered to be in the Red Phase.
    • Weekly testing is recommended of all asymptomatic residents with outside contact in the last 14-days, if they have not been otherwise tested during the period.
    • Routine testing of all asymptomatic staff twice a week.

Test positivity is rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent before classifying.

In addition, the state has revised recommendations for routine screening for skilled nursing facilities and safe access for Compassionate Caregivers. For more information, please visit the DOH website: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Guidance/SNF-Guidance.aspx

Results for our county – Lackawanna PA for Sept 8, 2020 is 3.7% so we are on routine monthly testing schedule for staff at this time.  Our building has not had a positive staff or resident test since July 13, 2020.   Our staff test is scheduled for testing next week on September 14 and 15, 2020.  We are hopeful that we will continue to remain COVID -19 free.   In the event that we have any staff with positive results from this routine testing, they will be off duty and quarantined.  We would then return our building to stage 1 of our reopening plan in respect to visits, and increased staff and resident testing.   Results of our testing should be back in 48 hours.  Test results are reported on our daily call in line at 570-207-6711.    Specific details on our reopening plan is listed on https://jhep.org

Beauty Shop – Services are scheduled to resume weekly on Monday September 14, 2020.  Please contact your resident’s social worker at 570-34-6177 Amber Ferranti, extension 1152 (units 2, 4 and 5) and Brittany Elko extension 1154 (unit 3) if you have questions regarding an appointment for your loved one.

Life Enrichment.  Please follow our Facebook page or our website https://jhep.org/events/ to keep up with the fun activities of the week.

General Updates:

In staying consistent with our communication commitment to our trusted family members and their loved ones, we sent a letter yesterday via email letting families know of some difficult decisions made due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Because of declining census and admissions we made adjustments to right-size positions within the organization.  Please know that transparency drives our daily actions.

Please know that we encourage staff to maintain social distancing, use caution when attending gatherings, wear a mask and practice hand hygiene while at work and home.  Thank you for entrusting us to care for your loved ones.  If you have any questions we are always available for you.



Mary Rose Applegate, MBA, RD, NHA


Visit us:
1101 Vine St.
Scranton, PA 18510

Call us:
(570) 344-6177