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Taylorsville Journal

Summit Vista seniors report zero virus cases; facility construction continues on schedule

Jun 01, 2020 12:44PM ● By Carl Fauver

About two dozen members of the Summit Vista quilting club recently teamed up to make some 200 protective masks. (Courtesy Summit Vista)

By Carl Fauver | [email protected]

Despite all the devastating coronavirus news we’ve heard regarding nursing homes and senior living facilities, Summit Vista in Taylorsville (3390 West 6200 South) is making its way through the pandemic virtually unscathed.

“As of mid-May we have had no residents test positive for coronavirus, and only one employee [has tested positive],” said Summit Vista Executive Director and CEO Mark Erickson. “And that one employee who tested positive (on April 25) has recovered and did not have to be hospitalized.”

The 200 people who call Summit Vista home (occupying 140 apartments) have enjoyed this health success, despite not being under the same restrictions as many similar senior living communities.

“I know residents at some other facilities have been completely locked down, basically restricted to their apartments at nearly all times,” Erickson added. “We haven’t done that. Our residents come down to gather their mail. Our small store has remained open, and we have added items for sale. We were ready to impose more restrictions if a resident tested positive for the virus. But, so far, that has not happened.”

Summit Vista residents are also not required to wear face masks as they walk through common areas, though it is “highly recommended.” Erickson estimates about 70% of his residents are doing so.

Early on in the pandemic lockdown, members of the Summit Vista quilting club got busy, making masks. 

“We had about 24 residents make 200 masks in just five days,” Erickson said. “Each resident had access to a free mask, and a few that were left over were put on sale in the store.”

Prior to the pandemic, Summit Vista residents used to be invited to monthly residents’ meetings to get updated on community events and activities. Now, Erickson records important information and posts it on YouTube.

“At the beginning, I was recording three of these a week, then it went to two, and now one,” he said. “We also tried doing Zoom meetings early on, but pre-recording them seems to be the most efficient.”

Three large buildings remain under construction with almost no slowdown due to the virus. A third, 130,000-square-foot, 95-unit apartment building is scheduled to open in October. Meanwhile, work began on a 150,000-square-foot “continuum care” building last December. And ground was broken on a fourth residential building five months ago.

“The care building will feature 75 skilled nursing beds for long-term and rehabilitation,” Erickson said. “There will also be a rehab gym, restaurants, 20 memory care apartments and another 66 assisted living beds in about 50 apartments. It’s scheduled to open next May.”

After closing the swimming pool several weeks ago, center officials have reopened that amenity as well. However, only two residents are allowed in at a time. They can be in the pool for 45 minutes. When they leave, staff take 15 minutes disinfecting hand railings and anything else that was touched before the next pair enters.

As of mid-May, Summit Vista’s Zions Bank branch also reopened with limited hours along with the clubhouse salon, available by appointment.

Family, friends and other non-essential visitors were still being restricted from the site at the end of May, although health, safety and protocol decisions were continuing to be made on a daily basis.

Finally, Erickson also said sales of Summit Vista apartments have not slumped during the pandemic either.

“We may be down slightly from our projections, but not by more than three or four apartments,” he said. “We have 10 more move-ins scheduled for June.” 

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