Supplies Still Needed at Kensington Senior Living Center

Two N95-type face masks, or respirators, in the foreground. (Photo: CDC/ Debora Cartagena)

The Kensington assisted living center in the City of Falls Church is still in need of supplies, including respirators and other face masks, after two residents tested positive for the coronavirus disease in the past week.

“Our biggest issue on the horizon is keeping a robust supply of personal protective equipment,” The Kensington said in a statement to the News-Press Wednesday. The senior center is looking for supplies including N95 respirators and other surgical-like masks, latex gloves and medical gowns. “If you have, or have access to [them], please let us know immediately,” the statement read.

Kitty Janney, outreach coordinator at The Kensington, told the News-Press they’re also in need of Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer.

Those able to donate are asked to bring the supplies to the main entrance of the community at 700 W. Broad St. and press the concierge button. Someone will then come down and pick up the supplies.

Masks, including the N95, which works as an air-purifying respirator, and other items like protective gloves are in short supply in the area as a result of the pandemic. “Many people have them or something similar in wood shops and hobby rooms,” The Kensington said. “We are looking for these items to make sure that our inventories are ready to meet the need in coming weeks.”

For those who don’t live close to the Falls Church center and have supplies they’d like to donate, the Kensington asks individuals to drop them off at the nearest assisted living or memory care facility.

The first positive case of Covid-19 at the City’s senior living center was confirmed by the Fairfax County Health Department last Thursday, and the second was reported on Sunday. The cases are also the first, and only thus far, positive coronavirus cases reported in the City.

“The virus has now hit home for our community as it has for so many communities around our country and around the world,” said City of Falls Church Mayor David Tarter in a statement last Thursday. “It underscores just how serious this pandemic is, and the importance of following the recommendations and mandates of our health care professionals.”

At least seven other individuals at The Kensington who were also symptomatic have been tested for the virus and all were negative, according to City officials.

A statement from The Kensington, issued after the second positive test Sunday, says the facility has been providing written updates at least once a day to the families of residents, along with phone calls, photos and Facetime. “Our regular communications give them the latest information we have and provide news of our ongoing protective measures,” the statement read.

Janney said they’ve already received several donations at the center and F.C. Vice Mayor Marybeth Connelly, who also serves as community outreach director for Falls Church City Public Schools, told the News-Press that the City school system has donated 15-20 commercial-grade containers of wipes to the facility.

Connelly said that Seve Padilla, director of the school system’s facilities and security services, had stocked up on wipes when news of the coronavirus first started to break. “We don’t typically order those types of supplies,” she explained.

The coronavirus disease, Covid-19, is especially dangerous to the elderly and with 108 residents and 181 staff members, The Kensington’s population is particularly at risk.

As of last Friday, at least 55 people in elder care centers in the United States have died from the coronavirus, according to a report in The Washington Post. In one Washington state nursing home, 35 people died after the virus ran rampant through the facility.

According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, data shows a fatality rate of 3 – 11 percent for ages 65-84 and between 10 – 27 percent for patients aged 85 and up who have been diagnosed with Covid-19 in the U.S.

Per guidance from the CDC for health care communities, The Kensington had already been limiting visitors and canceled all events and outings prior to the positive results.

“We had asked families not to visit or take residents out into the community,” said Amy Feather, executive director of The Kensington Falls Church. “We had canceled all but critical doctor’s appointments for residents. Our teams are creative and have set up virtual ways for residents and family members to connect in lieu of in-person visits.”

Fairfax County Health Director Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu said “When Covid-19 occurs in a setting where there are many older people with underlying health conditions, we are concerned. We’ll be working very closely with the facility over the coming days to protect other residents and staff and prevent further spread.”

There have been 391 reported cases of Covid-19 in the state of Virginia and nearly 20 percent of the total has come from the Fairfax Health District, which includes the City of Falls Church, City of Fairfax, Fairfax County and its towns. In neighboring Arlington Co., there have been 46 cases reported.

Last Saturday, health officials in Fairfax reported the district’s first death when a man in his 60s, who contracted the virus through a previously-reported case, died due to respiratory failure as a result of Covid-19. As of Wednesday afternoon, there have been 12 reported deaths in Virginia.