Letter to Residents, Families and Caregivers from the Jewish Home of Eastern Pennsylvania

Dear Residents, Families and Caregivers,

The Jewish Home of Eastern Pennsylvania is keeping our residents safe as we continue the transition to the new normal. We at the Jewish Home of Eastern Pennsylvania thank you for entrusting us with caring for your loved ones. Please know that we strive daily to provide the very best in care.

COVID-19 Testing: In addition to routine screening of all residents and staff for symptoms of COVID-19, on August 26, 2020, new guidance has been provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) related to structuring routine testing for staff.  The testing guidance we are following is:

  1. Residents and staff who show symptoms of COVID-19 are tested.
  2. In the event that there is an outbreak in a facility (any new cases arise in facility), residents and staff who have previously tested negative will continue to be tested until no new positives are found. Our building has come out of that period and has not had a positive staff or resident test since July 13, 2020.
  3. The new guidance for routine testing of staff is based on the extent of the virus in the community, therefore facilities will use their county positivity rate in the prior week as the trigger for staff testing frequency. Lackawanna County rates are low (1.4% posted on the CMS data website for the week ending August 28, 2020), therefore routine testing for all staff who have not previously tested positive will be monthly. We have arrangements with a lab to provide 48 hour testing turn around and expect to conduct our routine monthly test for our staff during the week of September 12, 2020. Test results are reported on our daily call in line at 570-207-6711.

In accordance with CMS guidance we will monitor our community rate for Lackawanna County as posted on the CMS website every other week and adjust our routine testing for all staff who have not previously tested posted in accordance with the CMS guide listed below.

Routine Testing Intervals Vary by Community COVID-19 Activity Level

Community COVID-19


County Positivity Rate in the past


Minimum Testing


Low <5% Once a month
Medium 5% – 10% Once a week*
High >10% Twice a week*


*This frequency presumes availability of Point of Care testing on-site at the nursing home or where off-site testing turnaround time is less than 48 hours.

CMS does not recommend routine testing for residents unless he or she leaves the facility routinely. We currently test and isolate residents who admitted or readmitted from the hospital.   If you are interested, specific details on this CMS guidance can be found at https://www.cms.gov/files/document/qso-20-38-nh.pdf.

Patio Visits: The date for third floor patio visits next week has been changed to Friday, September 11, 2020, due to the Labor Day holiday. Lee Rutkowski will be reminding those who call to schedule appointments.  For more information, visit our website: https://jhep.org/patio-visits/

Beauty Shop/Barber Visits.  Good news! Our beauty and barber services will start again on September 14, 2020! Services by the beautician will only be provided in the 1st floor beauty salon – one resident at a time or in resident rooms in green zones on our nursing units.  Residents must wear a mask during salon services and all supplies and equipment will be disinfected by the beautician after use with each resident. Residents in yellow or red zones will not be eligible for services provided by the beautician/barber until they transition to the green zone. The beautician will be available on Mondays each week to provide scheduled services.  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).

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 news

Our air-conditioning unit that services floors one through three which required some unexpected repairs on August 27 was back on line by the afternoon of August 28. Thank you to our maintenance staff for the quick turnaround and to residents and staff for their patience during this period.

Renovations to our rehab therapy gym on the first floor are nearing completion. We have some sneak previews on our Facebook page. In addition to a general sprucing up treatment spaces, traffic flow, and therapy workstations have been redesigned to assure social distancing guidelines. Once this is complete residents who in our green zones will be able to attend rehab therapy treatments in our first floor gym. Watch for more to come.

Thank you again for your ongoing support, and stay safe. 


Mary Rose Applegate, MBA, RD, NHA


Visit us:
1101 Vine St.
Scranton, PA 18510

Call us:
(570) 344-6177