Masonicare CEO Invited to Speak about COVID-19; Challenges, Successes and Preparedness

Group of people sitting indoors having a legislature meeting

Posted on Sep 16, 2020

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Masonicare CEO Invited to Speak about COVID-19; Challenges, Successes and Preparedness

September 16, 2020 (Wallingford, CT) - On Friday, Masonicare’s President and CEO, Jon-Paul Venoit (JP) was asked to meet with a panel of legislators and town officials including Senator Chris Murphy, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, Wallingford Mayor Bill Dickinson, Wallingford Superintendent Sal Menzo, Wallingford Health Director Stephen Civitelli, State Representative Vincent Candelora, State Representative Liz Linehan, State Representative Mary Mishinsky. With concerns over a potential ‘second wave’ of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and a future vaccination weighing heavy on the minds of legislators and healthcare providers, Venoit was asked to speak regarding Masonicare’s pandemic safety record and steps taken by the organization to avoid a direct hit.

“We got ahead of it early” states Venoit. “While information and misinformation began trickling in, we had already closed our doors to visitors, sent all non-essential employees home to work, created a task force that met daily by conference call, stood up an isolation area in the event any resident tested positive, and initiated a strict employee screening protocol and mask policy. I believe our decision to act fast on what we instinctively knew was the right thing to do was a major contributor to avoiding a catastrophic outbreak. We decided that erring on the side of caution was our best defense against this unknown enemy and were willing to take the backlash if we were wrong”, stated Venoit. Unfortunately, Venoit and team were accurate in their projections and the COVID-19 virus went on to wreak havoc on local nursing homes and assisted living facilities state-wide, sparing Masonicare a major backlash. While area nursing homes witnessed COVID-19 infecting anywhere from 47% -81% of their patient population, Masonicare emerged from the height of the pandemic with only 2% of their patient population impacted. “One is too many” states Venoit. “But we are extremely grateful that our early interventions made a difference.” 

Legislators and town officials, eager to understand the challenges faced by frontline healthcare workers and their organizations, spoke with Venoit about the issues that compound the challenge of delivering care during a global pandemic. “The fact that state and local bodies are meeting to understand the impact this virus has had and continues to have on the healthcare industry is encouraging”, states Venoit. Masonicare, like many healthcare providers across Connecticut and the country, worked tirelessly to source an adequate supply of gloves, masks, and gowns, collectively referred to as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for their staff. “We are fortunate to have had the support of the Town of Wallingford, the state of Connecticut, our valued suppliers, donors, and friends who ensured we had the supplies we needed.”

While the positivity rate remains low in the state, Venoit and his team remain vigilant. “We spent the summer sourcing PPE, monitoring hot spots, educating employees and preparing for what we hope we never see – a second wave. Venoit added, “We are hopeful that our state has seen the worst of it, but whatever comes our way, we will be ready“.