We are pleased to be receiving COVID-19 vaccines for residents and team members. Read more for updates.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) News
Westminster Communities of Florida is actively monitoring the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and taking a variety of preventive, precautionary steps to ensure the safety of our communities. The health and wellbeing of our residents and team members is our top priority. We will be updating this page with additional information and communication to residents and their families here, as well as on MyWLife and via mail, e-mail and posting in the communities.
COVID-19 Letter to Independent Living Residents
January 26, 2021
Today, we published a letter to Independent Living residents from Chief Operating Officer Garry Hennis, regarding our COVID-19 vaccine progress and new safety measures.
It is with a sense of relief and a view to better times ahead that today we can celebrate the COVID-19 vaccines that have been scheduled for residents at all of our Life Plan Communities and many of our Rental Retirement Communities. Nearly 3,700 residents throughout the state have already received at least their first dose.
We are now re-evaluating how our practices and safety measures will be altered as each community approaches what epidemiologists refer to as “herd immunity.” Our goal is to achieve herd immunity at each community for added safety, while the greater population slowly moves toward it for the United States as a whole.
We continue to urge our team members to “Say Yes to The Vaccine,” through education on its importance, safety and its benefits to them and to you. To date we have more than 1,000 team members who have received the vaccine. We will encourage them to keep receiving it, knowing the impact that this has on all of our safety.
Westminster is well aware of the spread of new variants of COVID-19 and we are monitoring for what affect it may have on our communities and any necessary safety measures that may be required. We are committed to ongoing communication with you, and will ensure that we keep you up-to-date on any new developments.
In the meantime, it is important to continue practicing social distancing and taking safety precautions, regardless of vaccine status. The COVID-19 vaccines currently in use do not confer full immunity until several weeks after the second dose.
Thank you for your support, understanding and patience throughout the last year. This has been a truly unprecedented time in our history, and we are all in this together.
Please join me in hoping for better days ahead.
Garry D. Hennis
Chief Operating Officer
COVID-19 Letter to Independent Living Residents
January 8, 2021
Today, we published a letter to Independent Living residents from Chief Operating Officer Garry Hennis, regarding our COVID-19 vaccine progress.
Today, we are writing to you with an update on the COVID-19 vaccine program. Westminster Communities of Florida continues to advocate, along with LeadingAge Florida and FLiCRA, for the Governor to provide for Independent Living residents at CCRCs to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the same phase as Assisted Living residents.
It is important for all of us to keep in mind that circumstances are very fluid, and we are doing our best. We are working with our local Departments of Health and pharmacy providers to make the vaccines available once released, and important to understand that ultimately they are making decisions regarding vaccine distribution.
Here are a few facts about how quickly this has developed:
- More than 1,500 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have already been administered to Westminster residents and team members, mostly in the Health Center, all throughout
- Nine of our communities have held the first vaccine clinic for Health Center residents and team members. Three communities have had vaccines for Assisted Living as determined by their local health departments.
- This week, Westminster Manor in Bradenton was the first community to receive the vaccine for residents in all levels of care.
As more information becomes available about these vaccine clinics, your Executive Director will be in touch. We encourage you to consider now whether you wish to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to you.
While this news gives us more reasons to be optimistic about brighter days ahead, we urge you to continue to use caution in your daily life. Remember that even once you have received the vaccine, full immunity may not take effect until after the second dose.
Thank you for your continued trust in us throughout the last year. Join us in looking forward to a better 2021!
Garry D. Hennis
Chief Operating Officer
You can find a downloadable version of the Letter here:
COVID-19 Vaccine Update
December 30, 2020
Today we are pleased to inform residents, team members and their families that in the near future, all residents and team members at our active living communities, including for Independent Living, Assisted Living and the Health Center, will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, as part of the next phase of the state’s rollout.
Because our communities serve residents with multiple levels of care, Governor DeSantis and the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA) have included all residents and team members as part of the next phase.
The safety of our team members and residents is our top priority, as it has been throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Westminster Communities of Florida is preparing for and actively receiving the COVID-19 vaccine for residents and team members in our Health Centers, as provided by the State of Florida.
So far, six communities have already received COVID-19 vaccines. Please join us in sharing our thanks to the many Health Center residents and team members at Westminster Palms, Westminster St. Augustine, Westminster Suncoast, Westminster Towers and Westminster Woods on Julington Creek who received the vaccine. In addition, residents and team members at Westminster Village, in Pensacola, were given their first vaccines yesterday. In total, more than 400 vaccine doses have been given.
Today we are publishing a letter to all residents from Chief Operating Officer Garry Hennis. To read the full letter, click the link below:
Westminster Towers Team Members Say Yes to The Vaccine
December 29, 2020
Westminster Towers’ Health Center was pleased to be among the first skilled nursing facilities selected to receive the COVID-19 vaccine recently. They were administered for the residents and team members in our Health Center. Our team members made a video sharing their stories and encouraging others to “Say Yes to The Vaccine.” We especially thank the team members who received the vaccine for their heroic efforts in serving throughout this pandemic, as well as the Department of Health for their support in protecting our most vulnerable residents.
We hope you enjoy this encouraging video from the Westminster Towers team about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Letters to Residents
December 21, 2020
Today, we are publishing letters to our residents from Chief Operating Officer Garry Hennis. In it, Hennis writes, "We can see that brighter days are ahead of us. The long-awaited day has arrived, and COVID-19 vaccines are being administered in Florida. It finally appears that, someday soon, the COVID-19 pandemic will be behind us."
To read these letters, please click on the link below:
Westminster Suncoast Health Center Residents And Employees Receive COVID-19 Vaccine
December 17, 2020
Community Is 1st to Receive Vaccine In Westminster; Brighter Days Ahead Amid Pandemic
Today, Westminster Suncoast was honored to be selected by the Florida Department of Health - Pinellas County to be among the first communities to receive the new COVID-19 vaccine, for the residents and team members in our Health Center.
Tom Sutton, Westminster Suncoast Executive Director, said that the entire team was pleased to be providing additional safety for those most vulnerable older adults. “The residents who live in the Health Center and our team members who care for them have been on the front lines of this pandemic since the beginning,” Sutton said. “We especially thank the team members who received the vaccine for their heroic efforts in serving throughout this pandemic.”
The first shot was given to Carmille Walker, a CNA with more than 16 years of experience. Carmille was our first team member to say yes to having the COVID-19 vaccine.
Westminster Suncoast was the first community in the family of Westminster Communities of Florida to receive the COVID-19 vaccine — but the organization is already looking ahead to visits in the coming weeks to provide the vaccine, which will be coordinated by the state and federal government, for residents of skilled nursing facilities throughout the United States.
Westminster Communities of Florida strongly encourages our team members to have the vaccine and help enhance the safety of the residents we serve. To learn more about the steps Westminster has taken to limit the spread of COVID-19, visit our COVID-19 resources page on our website.