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John Knox Village Residents Say Staff, Facility Make Them 'Feel Safe' During Pandemic

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CBS4's Hank Tester reports on the measures in place at the Pompano Beach continuing care facility for seniors. Read more: https://cbsloc.al/3cJKMdL

Video Transcript

- And now to more on the pandemic, one year later. It has presented major challenges for retirement communities. Many have been locked down since COVID-19 took hold. CBS 4's Hank Tester reports that John Knox Village in Pompano Beach shut down quickly and was able to secure shots early for their most vulnerable residents.

HANK TESTER: John Knoxville Village, described as an all-inclusive, resort-living, continuing-care facility for seniors. Hefty entrance fee but residents say well worth it in a time of COVID.

NANCY LEE MATTHEWS: A Sense of feeling safe, of being protected from something that could be just terrible to suffer the physical aspects of the virus.

HANK TESTER: With the resources and the pre-planning staffers met the pandemic head on. For example, meals delivered to those living independently. Decision made, it was a scramble.

MONICA MCAFEE: We made sure that there were prepared meals for delivery. We literally turned, in 30 minutes, our serving about 1,000 people food and dining, in 30 minutes, to being able to do home delivery.

HANK TESTER: And the staff set up to handle possible COVID cases.

MARK RAYNER: We have an identified COVID area which essentially has been only two rooms. We haven't needed it. We've taken in a few rehab guests that had recovered from COVID. We were selected as the first community in the nation to receive the vaccine December 16.

HANK TESTER: Not everyone got the early shots, but 600 skilled nursing staff and residents in assisted living did. Many independent living residents now have been vaccinated.

JANET ANDINZ: The day that I got my vaccine I went home and called Holland America and booked a three month trip. On the spot.

HANK TESTER: The constant issue with all retirement homes, ALFs, well, loneliness, lack of contact with loved ones. An issue at John Knox Village just like anywhere else.

MARK RAYNER: It's been a challenge to not have the families, and the visitors, and the volunteers. That's a big piece of our model is that complete involvement. But we've gotten through it.

HANK TESTER: Now, visits allowed. Strict ground rules and appointments must be scheduled. All involved in personal protection equipment, meeting outside, a lot better than FaceTime, Zoom meetings, and the telephone.

JANET ANDINZ: I was scheduled for eight and 1/2 months of cruise traveling, not counting land trips, in 2020. So all of that was by the wayside.

HANK TESTER: So what to do Landlocked at John Knox Village?

JANET ANDINZ: I started writing a book, which was amazing for me. That was not in my cards ever. I started exercising more and more. I read like crazy, I always have, but this year I know I've read over 150 books in a year.

HANK TESTER: John Knox village had minimal issues with COVID. Staffers who did test positive, they quarantined at home. One case in the skilled nursing area and otherwise a couple of cases among residents in private quarters. I'm Hank Tester, CBS4 news.