Coronavirus Update – September 3, 2020

Hello Residents and Families of Savanna House,

I hope everyone is doing as well and looking forward to the beginning of the autumn season. Speaking for myself, I know it is a real challenge to avoid feeling overwhelmed about the continuous COVID-19 situation that we find ourselves in. However, each day I encounter something very positive at Savanna House that shows me a reason to be appreciative for all that we have and for the amazing people that surround us. We are sharing a unique challenge together, and I have no doubt that we will persevere and come out of this stronger than ever before.

I know it has been a while since my last communication with you, however I do have some important items of interest to share with you. It’s hard to believe it has been approximately six months since we made the radical call to close our Community to visitors, even before it was mandated by the State of Arizona.

I’m proud to report we have remained steadfast in our focus on resident safety, and as a result have reported no COVID-19 cases in our Community to date. This is a direct reflection of the caring, responsible actions of our residents, and I am so appreciative of your continued support and understanding of our protocols. I would also like to recognize the outstanding efforts of our staff to sanitize our Community while keeping themselves safe.

It has been great to see the downward trend of COVID-19 cases in Maricopa County, but we must remain vigilant withing our Community. There are certainly those expressing reservations, myself included, with bars, theaters, schools and gyms all opening up at the same time, and we hope this initial step in returning to normalcy will not result in a sudden surge of cases.

I’m sure you have heard by now that the Department of Health Services has provided the senior living industry with guidance on reopening our Communities. While most of the guidelines are seemingly manageable, it is our belief that it will be in our best interest to remained closed to visitors at this time. 

When making this decision, the most complicated factor involved visitors providing us with a negative COVID-19 test less than 48 hours old and scheduling the visit within that time frame.  Some labs are not even able to report results within 48 hours, thus creating a potential situation where our residents and staff are at risk to exposure without their knowledge. Moreover, at this time we do not feel that our current staffing patterns will accommodate the coordination of visits effectively. We will certainly continue to offer the window chats and Facetime as a means to visit with your family members.  

As you know, it has been our top priority to keep the residents and staff at Savanna House safe from COVID-19. I can imagine that this is not the news you’d like to hear from us, but we hope you can understand these tough decisions come from a place of concern for our Community’s collective wellbeing. And while visitations aren’t possible, we’re already at work planning for them to have a wonderful time at upcoming events including this weekend’s Labor Day BBQ as well as our Oktoberfest and Halloween celebrations. 

I’m pleased there has been progress from the Department of Health Services and will look forward to their continued guidance in determining our safety protocols. It is our desire to loosen restrictions regarding visitations by guests and loved ones as soon as possible, and for this reason we will be monitoring our Community’s health and reassessing this decision in two to four weeks.

To view the Department of Health Services’ updated COVID-19 Guidance for Visitation document, CLICK HERE:

Words cannot sufficiently express how eager we are to reopen safely and return to normal operations so that we can welcome families again with open arms. Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly if you would like to discuss this decision or if you have any additional questions regarding our Community’s safety measures.


Dawn M. Grant-Blocker

Executive Director