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More York County senior homes limiting visits due to coronavirus concerns

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch

State officials and senior living facilities are doing their part to protecting one of the most vulnerable populations from exposure to coronavirus.

The state Department of Aging released guidelines for senior centers Sunday outlining how to protect these elderly populations.

These guidelines highlight how senior centers can provide flexibility in meal services, including offering meals as a take-out option that can be picked up, packaging and delivering meals to homes, offering shelf-stable, frozen and grab-and-go meals and enrolling people in the state Options program for in-home meal service and other in-home care.

Several senior living facilities are also doing their part to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Providence Place Senior Living, which operates a Dover Township home, will now accept only "essential visits" in its facilities statewide due to coronavirus concerns.

The company made the announcement in a Friday news release. By Sunday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania had reached 63, and older individuals and those with compromised immune systems are particularly at risk. 

"We understand the negative impact of potential social isolation to our residents, and we are encouraging family to visit using FaceTime, Skype, or telephone," said company COO Rick Barley.

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If someone feels a visit is essential, the company asks that only one person visit per day between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m, the release states.

The company has also prohibited residents from taking any sort of trips, canceled large gatherings and begun tracking respiratory symptoms for all individuals in its facilities.

Providence Place's Dover location is the company's only facility in York County. Its sister company, Country Meadows, has two locations in the county and is also adopting the same visitation policies.

Country Meadow's two facilities are located in York Township and West Manchester Township. 

On Tuesday, HCR ManorCare, which operates four nursing homes and one hospice center in York County, also ramped up patient screening of patients, visitors and staff.

Administrative Assistant Emily Anderson, left, screens employee Tanner Wallace by taking his temperature upon his arrival for his work shift at Providence Place Senior Living of Dover in Dover Township, Friday, March 13, 2020. The senior living facility announced that it will be limiting visitors in the facility in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The company has since updated its policy, allowing only one visitor per patient each day unless they're an "end-of-life patient," said spokeswoman Julie Beckert.

There have been no confirmed coronavirus cases in York County as of Sunday.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.