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October 25, 2020



The results from the Friday resident testing are in with one resident has tested positive for COVID-19 with ABSOLUTELY no symptoms. ALL other residents were negative.

The family has been notified and we have the resident quarantined in a part of the building where there are no other residents as we work on the required process of finding a what the state calls a COVID-19 HUB to have the resident transferred to a facility that specializes in the treatment of COVID-19 residents.  Right now all the HUBS are full, just like some of the hospital.  We are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of our residents and staff members.

We will be testing all residents and staff again Monday, with the results expected back by Wednesday and then again on Thursday.

I will continue to attempt to keep you updated as the results come back or we have any more information.

Thank you for your support and prayers as walk this path.  It is a blessing to know that God is in control of all things.  I ask for your continued prayers for our residents and staff, those that are going through the process of getting better from COVID-19 and those that are taking care of the residents on a daily basis.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

October 24, 2020


We just received notification of another staff member who tested positive for COVID-19. The staff member did not have any signs or symptoms when they were working.

The test results for the residents are not back yet. NO residents are showing any signs or symptoms at this time. We will let you know as soon as we have all the results back. We are asking you not to call for results. The staff do not have them. But please know that NO NEWS is GOOD NEWS. I know this is troubling information but I know the staff is working hard to keep everyone safe.

Please be careful as you are out and about. This is hitting staff members who have tried to do everything right.

Please continue to pray for God’s protection for those who we care about, both residents and staff.

I will continue to keep you informed as I get the information.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

October 23, 2020


It is with a broken heart I am notifying you that we just received notification that one of our staff members has tested positive of COVID-19.   She has no symptoms but unfortunately it requires us to test all the residents and staff until we have 14 days of no positive testing and because she was throughout the building, all residents are being quarantined.  What this entitles is that all staff will be required to be in full Personal Protective Equipment when in the resident areas.    The Nursing Center Nurses are testing residents as I am writing this post.  We hope to have the tests back by Monday and will notify families as appropriate.  Should we have the results back quicker we will notify you as quickly as possible.   Residents and staff will be tested again on Monday and again on Thursday of next week.  IF we have no more positive cases we will go back to our regular weekly testing of Wednesdays for residents and staff until there is the 14 days of no positive tests, then we will go  back to only staff testing.  I ask for your continued prayers for our residents and staff.  The staff are weary and the residents want to see their families.  It is a no win situation all the way around.

SO VISITATIONS ARE CANCELLED.  I know there has been a lot of discussions about the newest opportunities for inside visits.  Inside visiting is based on the COVID-19 percentage for each county.  Right now St. Joseph County (as well as Berrien, Cass, and Branch) are classified as an “E”-which means the community spread of COVID-19 is too high to allow for visitations at this time.  SO THE INSIDE VISITATIONS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED UNTIL WE SEE A REDUCTION IN THE POSIVITY RATES IN OUR COUNTY.


We are getting the requirements in place,  which are many, including:

1) no outbreaks within the facility—so our positive staff member made inside visits delayed for at least 14 days;

2)the county has be at a level of A, B, C, or D—again restricted because of our county it as an “E” level—the highest outbreak of COVID-19;

3)the local health department has to approve the visitations;

4) must be by appointment only—which is the same as outside visits with the same information requirements

5)the limit of two (2) visitors at a time per visit

6)VISITOR TESTING—you, as a visitor, must be TESTED!  This is one of the things we are trying to get into place so that we have the ability to do testing on our campus.  The federal government was to get this equipment to all facilities in different phases but for some reason we were not in the loop to receive the equipment.  Joella has been working on getting this accomplished this week.  But, with all things government related, it takes time.

7)we are REQUIRED to exclude any visitor refusing to wear a face covering for the entire duration of the visit;

8)limit where the visitors can enter—to allow for proper screening questionnaire

9)Physical distancing must be maintained with NO physical contact and NO shared food

10)FACILITIES MUST: 1) make hand sanitizer or hand washing facilities available for each visitor; 2)ensure availability of staff to assist with the transition of residents, monitoring the visitation, and for cleaning to disinfect the surfaces in the visitation area after each visit; 3)educate and provide personal protective equipment, and provide PPE, should it be required for the visit; restrict visitor movement within the facility to reduce the risk of infection; limit the number of visitors in the building at any one time; monitor for food sharing and physical distancing and cancel visitation privileges for those visitors who do not comply to restrictions; prohibit visit to residents who are in isolation or are otherwise under observation for COVID-19 symptoms.

And unfortunately, this is the same for the VILLA.  While the Villa does not have a positive COVID-19 staff member—it is due to the county POSITIVITY rate that is stopping visits, as well as the testing requirements.

So, you can see, it is not just a matter of opening our doors and allowing families and friends to visit.  However, it is our hope to have all the processes in place in the next couple of weeks, and if the community contact rates go down, we will be ready to have indoor visits.

As you are aware:  Sue Gray and the residents have been working hard to provide a drive through Trick or Treat night for the community.  Since this will be done outdoors—we will still have that take place.

Again thank you to the Sturgis Hospital Guild who continue to supply magazines for the residents; to Sally Ann Taylor’s sister-in-law, Betty Taylor  and Beth Wiley, St. Clair Shores, Mi for the facemasks they continue to provide.  We continue to blessed by your kindness.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

October 16, 2020


We continue to be blessed with testing results of ALL staff testing negative again this week.  Not only is good news for the staff but it also means it is not necessary to test our residents.  You may have heard that there continues to be an increase in positive tests in the community and across the state.  Some are saying it is the “second wave”, others are saying it is because of colleges, others says its nursing homes, others say it is from the bars and parties or even churches and then there is the grade, middle or high schools.   Well, there are increases in all areas so we must still be diligent and do whatever it takes to protect our residents and staff.  Our staff continues to do an amazing job to do things right, every day in and out of the facility.

I know several of you are wondering what is going to happen when the cold weather hits.  Right now I can only tell you that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is working on creating the rules and processes to allow for very restrictive in-door visits.   It appears the visits will be tied to what is happening in each “zone”.  We are hoping it will be changed to county specific data so that if St. Joe county numbers are lower than say Kalamazoo county, we would have a better opportunity to allow in-door visits.   I had thought it might be available this week, but there are still too many what if’s that need to be addressed before we move forward.   That said, if I believe it would cause even one resident to be exposed, then I would hesitate to allow visitations.  We continue to monitor what is happening in the community, county and state.  And right now our county positivity rate is 4.6%. That means for all the tests done, 4.6% is positive.  It was 3.8% on Saturday.  Three weeks ago it was holding around 2%.  Clearly we are going in the wrong direction to think this virus has run its course.

The “hugging station” is being used in the Villa area and we are expecting the nursing center one to be done by the first of next week.  We will attempt to let everyone know when we get it done.  The challenge is that the majority of the nursing center residents use wheelchairs.   Mike Eagan from our Maintenance department, had a brilliant idea and is working out all the “kinks” to make sure the residents can reach their loved one.

Although we will not have all the little ghosts and goblins in the hallways this year, we will be hosting a drive through treat night.  If you would like to donate for this, please drop it off at the front door or contact Sue Gray for more details.

Again, thank you for all of you who continue to support us in a variety of ways—from cakes and goodies, to cleaning supplies, to supplying masks.  We appreciate all you do.  Please continue to pray for our resident an staff safety.


Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

October 9, 2020


I am pleased to report that ALL staff have tested negative for the last six tests!  We continue to be grateful for very diligent staff who want to protect our residents at all costs.  We currently have two staff members off, because they have been in contact with family members who have tested positive.  So what happens?  The staff has called in to report the positive results, they are immediately removed from their schedule  and then we make arrangements to have that staff member test for the next three days (what is called a rapid test).  What that does is it determines if there has been any possible facility exposure—so far no exposure.  Remember—they tested negative the week or days before.  Then they are required to quarantine for a minimum of 14 days from the time the family does not present symptoms for at least 24 hours.  Joella will continue to reach out to the staff who are off to ensure they are symptom free because should they come down with ANY symptoms the quarantine is extended.

Ok—now about the Supreme Court decision.  As always there are ways around any system.  For us, our Governor has had the Michigan Department of Public Health and Human Service as well as the Michigan Department Licensing and Regulations have issued the same restrictions that were under the Executive Orders.  NOTHING has changed, just the method in which the orders are received.  This is how it should be.  Whether we like it or not, there are people who are still getting sick and could be exposing our friends and families.  I am personally aware of two facilities struggling with outbreaks that has residents at risk.  Consequently we will follow those regulations until the State says it is safe.

We did have our test “Hugging Station” visit for the Villa .  So when you are scheduling your visit, if you would like that opportunity, please let us know and we will make it happen.

Thank you for all of you who have dropped off candy for our Drive by and treat program.   Sue tells us, the residents have watched and helped when able, that 450 bags are ready for those coming for the bags of treats.    And to the Burr Oak 4-H group for the decorated pumpkins spread throughout the building!   They continue to bring joy and sunshine with their creative skills.

Thank you again for all your prayers and support.  We could not be

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer


October 2, 2020


We continue to be amazed by the dedication of our staff, willing to do whatever they can to ensure the residents safety. In addition to this notification, we reached another milestone, in that ALL staff and our one resident, is considered “recovered”!

We still do not know what is going to happen with the “visitation” practices as the fall weather becomes colder and our residents are more reluctant to go outside. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services indicated today they have still not received the clarification they needed for the “in-house” visitation. There is still a lot of politics with every decision made. The Governor issued another Executive Order on Wednesday regarding how residents with COVID-19 will be treated in long term care facilities. You may remember there was a mandate at the beginning of the pandemic that required nursing homes to take COVID-19 into their buildings, thus what some believe caused a lot of the nursing home deaths with the exposure to COVID-19 from outside residents being admitted. Then there was what Michigan Department of Health and Human Services called COVID Hubs, where they contracted with facilities to develop COVID units. Well, now the Governor, along with Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, through her Executive Order, has deemed the creation of what is now being called Care and Recovery Center—in which one facility in each region will be named. There were over 20 facilities contracted with the state for the COVID Hubs, and now it looks like those numbers will be reduced to eight. We, do not feel we are equipped to handle additional COVID-19 residents, and at this time will not be applying to be considered to be a designated Care and Recovery Center.

What is happening, is Centers of Medicare and Medicaid is saying we can do more group activities—of course with social distancing, so Sue will be looking at doing some more small group activities—if she can get them to come out—they sort of like the one on one activities her staff have been doing—EXCEPT of course bingo! And the residents can be what is called communal dining-but we have been doing that right along as we spaced out our diners to ensure a six foot distance but allow them to get out of their rooms for dining.

In case you have not heard, we will NOT be having Halloween trick or treating in the buildings, but will be doing a “drive through” so the kids will be able to get their goodies. We are still accepting candy donations for the goody bags. Just drop it off at the front entrance and we will get it to Sue in Activities who has taken on this project of over 1000 bags planned. Our 31st Auction and Bazaar has been canceled for this year—hopefully it will be back bigger and better next year. But the cancellation that really breaks my heart is the necessary cancellation of our Annual Family Christmas Dinner. We had to make that decision based on the fact that as of right now, there is no end in sight for our lockdown.

As of right now we cannot even begin to guess when “things will be back to normal”. What we will continue to do is provide the residents with the best possible care and know our staff is doing all they can do to make sure our loved one is taken care of properly. There isn’t a day goes by that I am reminded as to just how special our team is—they do things that make me smile, whether it is going to get the resident a special treat—usually paying for it themselves, to sitting and holding their hand as they talk about something that happened years ago but to them it happened yesterday, to see them talk to them while they are eating—so many things. It is a reminder of the special blessing we are given by having the responsibility of taking care of these gifted, talented, seniors—or almost seniors!

Thank you for your continued support and prayers. I believe God has His arms around our facility because of so many prayers going up every day.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer


September 25, 2020


ALL results are in for this week’s testing with all Negatives!  We are blessed to have such an amazing staff, who are being so diligent in taking care of themselves, even when they are out in the community.  I just read another directive from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services that the requirement for weekly testing will continue, even with the current CMS recommendation to test based on the community rates and not mandatory testing for everyone.  So, we will continue to test.

About visitation.   The major fight going on with the State of Michigan and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid regarding visitation continues into the second week.   We, as facilities, are stuck in the middle, with past history being that the survey teams expectations are to survey with the most restrictive regulation.  Right now, that is outside visits only.     We will be testing our Villa Hugging Station this week, and if the results are positive we will be opening that up for those families and friends who just want to touch their family member.  The Hugging Station will have to be scheduled in advance.  If this works, our team will develop something for the Nursing Center.  Unfortunately we are struggling with where to put it and it still be accessible—but we will find a way.

Last week we had an focused Infection Control Survey.  After mountains of paperwork, hundreds of questions to staff, we are always looking for things for improvement.  What those surveyors found was, although we were asking staff about whether they had the additional COVID-19  symptoms, there was not place on our form to verify it and we were not asking those questions at the main entrance—so a new form was created; and there is now “approved” products for disinfecting on was is called the CMS N List—our policies and the product said for disinfecting some equipment of a two minute time and the N List said five minutes—and it didn’t matter that we were leaving it for much longer—and then another product on the list said one minute and we were actually saying three minutes—leaving the product on longer than what the N List says but according to the product literature.   The frustrating thing about this is NONE of this has anything to do with the positive resident test result.  It is paper compliance and not practice—BUT we will fix it.

On a personal note:  Thank you for the many well wishes expressed on my retirement.  I will promise you this, I will be working until the very last day to ensure your family and friends are provided with the best possible care, in the safest practical way by the most wonderful staff in healthcare.     There will be a part of my heart I will be leaving here as Bob and I look forward to the next phase of what God has planned for us.

We continue to ask for your prayers that God will surround Thurston Woods Village with His protection.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer


September 18, 2020


Although we still do not have all the “official” results in, we do have the majority in and a verbal confirmation that all staff in the Nursing Center tested negative for this week’s testing.  The testing site is having computer issues that is preventing us from getting  all the results.  They have committed to rectifying the situation as quickly as possible.   We did not test the residents this week after having 14 days without a positive result.  If any staff member or resident tests positive, then we will be required to test all residents again until there is another 14 days of negative results.   It seems like it is a never ending situation, but we are willing to do whatever it takes to keep our residents and staff safe.   We are now required to track the COVID-19 positive rate for our county—which is currently at 1.1%.  What that means, is for every 100 tests, there are 1.1% of the results being positive.

So, there has been some legislative discussion revolving around whether there can be “monitored” in house visits.  This may hit the major news feeds this weekend. The latest instructions are contradicting and frustrating because although there are some states ready to allow visits, Michigan has through their Executive Directives from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is restricting in house visits.  That is the same division of the State government who just allowed the outdoor visits this week.  It is believed this is a trial to make sure there are not any negative outcomes from these visits before they allow in house visits. Those results are weeks away as it takes that long for the tracking to be conducted.    I can tell you that when the in house visits are allowed, there will be many hoops to jump through, such as monitoring for symptoms, and facilities being required to have a ”visit room” with cleaning protocols between each visit as well as the number of visitors allowed at any one time.  Some there isn’t an end in sight.

We continue to ask for your prayers to surround the residents and staff with God’s protection.    I am so grateful for the confidence you have placed on us to care for these precious wonderful, delightful (most of them) residents.  We have the best staff in the world!  I am constantly amazed at the way they care for those who they are in contact with each and every day.

If you haven’t checked out the latest fundraiser please feel free to contact Jessie Leathers or Carol Holmes and they will get you the link to The Naked Shirt.

Also, we will be doing some sort of trick or treating for the community—it will be a drive-through treat station—and we are expecting a big crowd.  Consequently, we are accepting wrapped candy donations.  Call Sue Gray for more details.


Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

September 11, 2020


The resident who tested positive has returned to the facility (and is now in the new admission quarantine) after spending the required days in the COVID-19 hub.  The resident returned WITHOUT EVER SHOWING SYMPTOMS, and is delighted to be home.  That was an answer to prayer—Joella and I were on pins and needles until we got the resident back.    Both staff members who recently tested positive have returned to work, ALSO WITHOUT HAVING ANY SYMPTOMS DURING THEIR QUARANTINE.  The facility wide tests done the Friday before Labor Day took until Thursday (yesterday) before we got all of those results—showing all negative.   And while we do not have all the results in from our testing from Wednesday of this week (yes as crazy as it is, we tested again before we had all the results from the last testing) we started getting tests back yesterday afternoon. We do have all the residents back and all staff except about 15 members with everyone coming back negative so far.  Consequently we will not have to test the residents again until we have another positive staff test.

We have opened up Dogwood Hall this morning and will open up Maple Hall again by Tuesday of next week.  We have to wait for Maple Hall for the two weeks to expire from our positive (no symptom) staff member.

You may have heard the federal government is providing all nursing facilities with what is called “rapid tests”.  However, there is a real hiccup.  They are providing the facilities (we have not gotten one yet) with the equipment, but not the test kits and there is a problem with getting the test kits.  Nothing is ever easy.   There was also an announcement that the Assisted Living facilities would be getting a supply of the Abbott tests.  Again, we have not seen any of those.   Hopefully there will be a possibility for us to purchase those tests.  They are easier  (they are supposed to be as easy as a home pregnancy test) and are cheaper.  There are no delivery dates for anything at this point.

Now on to visitation.   Did you hear it on the news that we were going to be allowed to do visits?  Well it is the outside visits we have been doing for awhile.   As you know, I am a resident advocate.  It made sense for us to do what we did.  And, evidently we were doing it right because much of what we were doing was adopted by the State.  However, not everything.    So, here are the new rules:

We will be able to have outside visits as long as there are no new COVID-19 cases, including residents and staff within 14 days.
Visits will be by appointment only—but NEW is that logs of arrivals and departures, and visitors must provide contact information and attest in writing to notify the facility if you have any signs or symptoms.

NEW—LIMIT the number of visitors to TWO persons or fewer per scheduled visit.   That means whole family visits will not be allowed.
IF you are UNWILLING or UNABLE to wear a face covering or adhere to hand hygiene who WILL NOT be able to visit and will have to do remote visits.
The facility MUST screen all visitors, have hand hygiene signs available as well as provide hand sanitizer for family use, and assist with the visits.

There will probably be some minor changes as we digests these changes.   Visits will begin again in the nursing center on Wednesday.   Please call Sue after Monday afternoon, as we have paperwork and instructions to staff to perform before we can open up again.  Also, please know if we have ANY positive results, either resident or staff we will have to shut down visits until there is another two weeks period with no positive tests.

VILLA residents—while you have the same limits of TWO visitors, we, at this time, are not required to do weekly testing and so unless we have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 in either resident or staff member, we will not be testing.  Consequently the possibility of positive testing is less likely.

But at this point, there are no plans for INSIDE visits.   I believe this will be a test to see how facilities respond, and if by allowing outside visits will increase positive test results.   We know we cannot do this during the winter months, so does the state.    Time will tell.  All in God’s timing.

I am very disappointed to tell you that right now we cannot allow the HUGGING STATION.  Although we have it set up for the Villa, the new regulations explicatively states NO physical contact.   We are hoping to get further clarification from the State within the next week or so—stay tuned.  I promise as soon as it is feasible, I will let you know.

We continue to be blessed by the community in providing us with their time and talent.  Thanks go to:

Burr Oak 4-H Club—again for crafts made for our residents
Beth Wiley from St. Clair Shores—who provided us with some awesome cloth facemasks.  I love the Mickey Mouse one!

We continue to be asked what the community can do or what we need:  the biggest need right now is disinfecting wipes, if you see them, please buy them and we will reimburse you for them.

Also—we have amazing, talented team members who we call our HEALTHCARE HEROES!  There is now a fundraiser established by a couple of our team members and done in conjunction of a local shop called The NAKED SHIRT.  You can purchase long and short sleeved shirts as well as hoodies in a variety of colors.  You can get all the information on our website and Facebook post.

Thank you for your continued support and your many prayers.


Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer


September 4, 2020


As you know we had a resident and staff member test positive last week with no symptoms.  The resident was discharged to what is called a COVID-19 hub facility and is doing great and will return next week.  As part of our plan was to test everyone on Monday, those test are starting to come back as we had to get regular tests and not the rapid result tests.   We received notification by the lab of another positive staff test with no symptoms yesterday.   Consequently, we have another hall in total lockdown.  As of this writing we have NO additional resident positive tests.  Even though we do not have all the results back, we tested all residents and staff again today as we are required to test within a time parameter according to state regulations.  Those results should start coming back sometime Monday.

On Wednesday we will test again, using a new lab out of Kalamazoo.  They guarantee results within 72 hours but other facilities are reporting much faster turnaround times.  Time will tell.  Unfortunately the tests are more intense, with swaps on both nostrils for a longer period of time.

Now for the good news.  Our hugging stations should be available by the end of next week.  While there are positive tests in the nursing center, we will be looking at when we can allow for the station to be active there but the Villa’s station will be available.  You will need to make an appointment, just like with the visitations stations because there will be processes put in place for disinfection after each visit.

It is my prayer that as you reflect on this upcoming holiday, that you will remember to say a special prayer for our awesome, amazing, talented, dedicated—need I go on—staff who labor in love for our residents.  This holiday is in their honor.


Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

August 28, 2020


As hard as we tried we now have an asymptotic positive resident and another asymptomatic staff member. The resident was located on Dogwood Hall and was sent to the hospital for evaluation. With HIPPA regulations we are not going to reveal the residents name, just as we would not reveal your family members name. BUT the family member involved was notified within minutes of our notification and has been involved in every step of this process. Due to having no symptoms the resident could not be admitted for treatment. However the resident has been referred to what is called a COVID-Hub.  While we have paperwork requirements to get this admission completed, we will be placing the resident in isolation in the wing called Willowbrook—with staff and family volunteers to be in that closed wing to ensure the residents personal safety should it take longer than today to have the resident admitted into the COVID-Hub. We did do a rapid results test of the resident’s roommate this morning and that test came back negative, as did the weekly test result.


The staff member was not at work at the time of finding out about the positive test and was called immediately when the results were delivered. They will remain off work as required by the CDC guidelines. All staff with positive results are contacted by the Infection Control Nurse on a routine basis during their quarantine to track the progress should symptoms develop.

What happens now? We are working on getting all residents and staff tested again on MONDAY. Dogwood Hall has been closed, just as we did with Cottonwood and Maple for the staff’s positive tests. Joella and I began work this week on changing labs to a lab in Kalamazoo who can produce results within 48 hours. Again paperwork is required which means we will be going to the Kalamazoo lab the week of September 7th.

To add insult to injury, Governor Whitmer signed another Executive Order that continues the lockdown with no visitations until September 30, 2020.

And yes, we are devastated, with many tears shed due to these positive results. But we know God is in control. We know we have done everything possible to keep COVID-19 out of our buildings and we absolutely know we have AWESOME staff members who care deeply for each and every one of our residents and your family member.

We will keep you updated as we fight this battle in which we see no end in sight. But we also know we have prayer warriors who will continue to pray for the residents and staff of Thurston Woods Village for which we will be forever grateful. We appreciate the continued support from family and friends like: Betty Taylor for the fun cloth masks; the Burr Oak 4-H Club for another donation of crafts, the Thurston Woods Board of Directors for their weekly snacks for staff; the Employee Focus Group who provided lunches for all staff on Friday; and to Modern Woodmen and Dianna Elkins for 12 boxes of Girl Scout cookies. Thank you for your continued support.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer


August 22, 2020


We received 12 results back from Wednesday’s testing of over 225 residents and staff with one coming back as positive.  Again with no symptoms.

Since we do not have the results back we are taking the additional precautions of all staff who have contact with the residents for at least 15 minutes will wear face shields in addition to their masks.  This will  provide another barrier between the residents and staff members but also will add to the ongoing frustration of personal contact.

I will update my post should there be any additional positive results.

As we are now just over 5 months into this ever changing process we continue to be grateful for God’s protection of our residents and our ability to provide our staff with the resources to help them when this virus hits home.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer


August 17, 2020


It took longer than expected to get the tests results back from last weeks testing but we are pleased that God continues to answer the many prayers for the safety of the residents and staff members of Thurston Woods Village, with all results being negative.

As you know we continue to have Maple Hall closed from the results of a week ago, and will test everyone again on Wednesday. It is our prayer that we will have the same results as from last weeks tests. If the residents and staff on Maple Hall test negative we will be able to open up the hall to allow the residents to move more freely in the building.

You may have heard the State of Michigan had over 1100 positive cases last Thursday. What you might not have heard was we also had a record amount of tests done–over 40,000 with a infection rate of 3.1 percent. This rate is lower than has been the average of 3.4 percent. I tell you this in an attempt to put this in perspective. Yes, there were more positive tests but over 13,000 more tests results that day.

We know the Governor has restricted visitors until at least September 4th. I look for her to extend that time. Consequently we are working on two different things to hopefully make a difference. First, we are in the process of making a hugging station where you may be able to have greater access to your loved one. And second, we cannot bring our contractors back including our hairdressers so we are attempting to hire one as our employee!

We fully understand your frustrations and disappointments. Please know we are just as frustrated and disappointed. We at TWV, whether it be our awesome team members, the department head team, or the Board of Directors, care deeply about doing everything possible to ensure the residents and staffs safety.
Again we ask for your continued prayers.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

August 10, 2020


First, kudos for Aaron Gates, IT Director for the post.  There was some confusion in my request as I asked him to notify staff via our link, and he interpreted that to mean the public posting.   HOWEVER the details are correct.  We did have another staff member who tested positive as the result of our weekly testing.  The staff member has tested negative every time for the last six weeks of testing, but came back as a asymptotic positive.  The staff members assignment is on Maple Hall at Station 2 — thus our closing of that hall on Friday.

We had to wait until all the test results were back and showed no other positive results to OPEN Cottonwood Hall at Station 1.   That was done on Saturday.  If it seems like we are opening and closing wings every two weeks—that is what has happened.  First the Villa for two weeks, opened on Friday and we closed Cottonwood Hall for two weeks and now we had to close Maple Hall and open Cottonwood  Hall.  The absolutely most positive result is that there continues to be NO RESIDENT positive results.   I believe this is the result of our staff continuing to follow Infection Control protocols, the decision by Joella Martin, DON, to have all staff with resident contact to wear medical masks, and the constant prayers from our prayer warriors, among other reasons.

Under CDC guidelines, we will continue to test the residents until there are NO POSITIVE RESULTS for both residents and staff.  We will continue to test all nursing center staff weekly under a state mandate from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

There appears to be some movement with visits.  Keep your fingers crossed and keep praying.  The Governor has assigned a task force to look at options for face to face visits.  The task force is to make their recommendations to the Governor by August 31st.   That’s within the next three weeks.  In the meantime, I have asked Mike Eagan (he built the visitation stations) from the maintenance department to investigate the ability to add “sleeves” for hugs or physical contact.  We realize and agonize over the residents lack of family touch.   I cannot tell you the amount of time and effort expended as we attempt to tell those in control of the decision making, the impact of being on this “lockdown”.

I ask for your continued prayers as we are now in day 152 of this lockdown.   If you remember, back in March, we were telling you that the Governor has said it would be for “just a couple of weeks” in order to get the hospital capacity under control.  Now, it is for other reasons, with honestly, no clear end in sight.

The one thing I know—God is in control of all things and things will get better in His timing, not mine, not Governor Whitmer, not Dr. Facci or even President Trump.  That knowledge gives me great comfort as we strive to do our best to keep our residents and staff safe.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer


August 7, 2020

Due to a positive asymptomatic COVID-19 test result from an employee, we are locking down Maple Hall at Station 2. Please stay tuned for more details and thank you for your continued prayers as we work to keep our residents safe.

July 31, 2020


Yes the results are in!  We just received the test results back from Wednesday’s tests of all of the nursing center residents and staff, with them ALL NEGATIVE.  We are so thankful for God’s protection.   As you may remember I reported last week of a staff member who tested positive but was asymptotic at the time they were working on Cottonwood Hall.  We immediately locked down that hall, had all staff who care for the residents in Cottonwood be in full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and a half dozen other things.  As hard as this is for both the residents and staff, it appears our immediate actions have had positive results.    Cottonwood will remain in quarantine until we have the test results from next Wednesday and  IF those results are again negative.

We continue to thank the awesome group at the Sturgis Hospital lab for their hard work in providing us with testing supplies and working to get us the test results as quickly as possible.  These results are the fastest results ever, coming back in less than 48 hours!  Kudos to the TWV nursing team who was able to get the tests done quickly, to the staff who came in to get the tests on their time off, and again, the Sturgis Hospital team who got them shipped to the appropriate lab and then relayed the results some timely.

We did get notified via another of the Governor’s Executive Orders that we are still required to be “locked down” until August 31st.   Please contact Sue Gray, Activity Director, to schedule a face-time visit with your family member or friend.  We have put Ipads in Cottonwood for staff to assist the residents in those visits, so everyone has the opportunity to reach their loved ones—whether they are in quarantined or not.

We also want to thank those in the community who continue to think of ways to support our residents and staff.

To the Sturgis Dairy Queen, whose manager is Jessica Angelo, for donating ice cream cups to make Root Beer Floats for the Villa residents.

To the VanSike family who provides a special “treat” EVERY week for the staff at Station One.

To the Board of Directors for their weekly employee treats—the staff look forward to finding out what the “treat of the week” will be.

To the Activity staff for the Life of a butterfly day—what a special event for the residents!

To the Burr Oak 4-H Sunshine Craft and Lilliput Learning Center in Constantine for the butterfly magnets—-yes it was a butterfly week!

And I am sure I have forgotten someone—but thank you!

We ask for your continued prayers.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer


July 25, 2020


We go from being done a 14 day lockdown in the Villa to having to have a 14 day lockdown of Cottonwood Hall in the Nursing Center. While we are still waiting for one staff results of the 226 tests done on Wednesday, July 22nd, we received notification of a positive test result for a staff member. The staff member is a part-time, casual employee, who has been tested in all of the five weeks of testing. The staff member tested negative last week. The staff member was working on Cottonwood Hall when we were notified of the test results, after going through the normal requirements of having her temperature taken, and answering a series of questions before coming into the building. The staff member has NO symptoms and was shocked to learn of the positive test. Upon learning of this test result, the Infection Control team immediately met to begin putting processes in place, including contacting several resources to ensure we had done a thorough assessment of the situation.

The following steps have been taken to attempt to prevent the spread: 1)Cottonwood Hall will remain closed for the required 14 days; 2) staff working on Cottonwood Hall will be in full Personal Protective Equipment; 3)residents will have their meals in their rooms; 4)additional monitoring of signs and symptoms has been implemented; 5)per regulations we will continue to test all residents and staff weekly until there is 14 days of no additional positive results: 6)as we have always done, should a resident or staff member have any signs or symptoms we will test immediately—however we have made arrangements for those tests to be what is called a “rapid” test with results back within a couple of hours: 7)visits will be discontinued for a minimum of 14 days; 8)additional Ipads have been made available to allow for families to do “face-time” visits.

And, as has been our practice since this began, we will do everything possible to keep you informed of what is going on at TWV as our main goal is to keep our residents and staff safe.

We rest assured that God is bigger than anything, including this virus and ask for your continued prayers.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer


July 24, 2020


What better news to be able to share on a bright Friday morning, then to report t the tests are back and all of the residents and staff have tested negative.    Due to the two tests coming back negative, it is the CDC recommendation not to test again.  We will continue to do the daily monitoring for signs and symptoms and test accordingly on an individual basis.  And, of course, should there be any exposure, we will begin the testing process all over again.   We will continue to have new or returning residents be confined in their rooms for 14 days per CDC recommendations.

The residents are out and about in the hallways, and visiting with their neighbors.  We are going to continue to serve meals in their rooms through the weekend. Activities and outside visit will return at the first of next week.  Yes, the residents are really looking forward to BINGO!

Thank you for those of you who continue to shower us with your prayers.  We believe that God is in control and He hears our prayers.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer


July 22, 2020


What a difference a few hours make!  Earlier today I posted that all staff in the Nursing Center had tested negative during last week’s testing.  That is true.   Earlier this week we were notified by one of our staff members of a spouse’s co-worker had tested positive last week, and the spouse was showing signs and was going to get tested.  As per our procedures, we instructed the staff member to remain at home until the spouse’s results were back.  Unfortunately, this morning the employee called to say they were also showing symptoms.   The staff member was instructed to go to a facility that performs a “rapid test”.  We just got those results back and they are positive.  The good thing is there is very limited exposure to the residents.

However, per regulations we are now required to test the residents, and will have to continue to perform weekly testing until there are two weeks of no positive results of both residents and staff.  The residents will be tested today along with the staff testing.

While it is easy to give God the praise when everything is going well, it is with great comfort to know we can rely on Him when things are not what we want.

Please know we will continue to do everything possible to keep the residents and staff safe.  Unfortunately, it is the unknowns that are always the issue.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer




Two weeks ago I wrote that one of our Villa residents returned from a two week hospitalization and tested positive with COVID-19.   There has been some confusion that the resident was at a local hospital.  The resident was not.  The resident was actually at a hospital out of state.  Consequently, if anyone has indicated an unwillingness to go to any of the local hospitals, physician offices or clinics because of your fear of “catching”  COVID-19 from a local hospital, it is my sincere hope with this further clarification the fear will be eased.

For the FOURTH week, the staff in the Nursing Center, ALL TESTED NEGATIVE.  I am actually reporting last week’s results as the staff are being tested for the fifth time today.  As you are aware, more people are being tested and this has created a “backlog” in getting test results—adding additional days.  Due to the continued delay in results in all states, the National Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C., announced last week that nursing homes would received the ability to provide “rapid tests” in the near future.  According to the press release, the plan is to immediately equip the facilities where major outbreaks have occurred, which is around 2000 facilities nationwide.  So, time will tell when we need to get the ability to test with automatic results, it may be weeks but more than likely months.   However, we do appreciate all the efforts from the Sturgis Hospital lab department in assisting us with the hundreds of weekly testing, and getting the results to us as quickly as possible.  They have done an outstanding job.

We tested the Villa residents and staff yesterday.  If we receive the same results as we received last Friday, we will be able to allow the residents the ability to more around the facility more freely.  We feel fortunate, both for the infected resident and everyone else involved that the resident still is not showing any signs or symptoms of the virus.

We will continue to test all residents showing any signs of symptoms, as well as any staff that shows signs or has been exposed from an outside community source.  We will continue to follow the constantly changing CDC, local, state and federal guidelines as we attempt to keep the residents and staff safe and informed of the latest information.  I think we are on the 19th change to our COVID-19 policy.

We continue to praise God for His mercy and protection and ask for your continued prayers.  We feel blessed by those in the community who continue to find ways to encourage our residents and staff:

Alieen Morrison who continues to provide staff with cloth masks
Bob Cary who dropped off Gladiolus for the residents and staff to enjoy throughout the Villa and Nursing Center
The Board of Directors for their weekly “treats” to the staff
The Department Head team who provides weekly “sack lunches” to the staff
The Prayer Warriors who stop me wherever I go to say “we are prayer for Thurston Woods”
The different clubs who share their talents and skills to make the residents feel loved and remembered


Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer


July 17, 2020


God hears the prayers of His children.  Thank you for everyone who prayed for the residents and staff of the Villa.    As you are well aware, we notified you of a asymptotic positive COVID-19 result for one of our Villa resident who returned to us after a two week hospital stay.  We told you we would be testing all the residents and staff that day.   We did.  We  are pleased to announce the baseline tests all came back negative.

Next steps will be to test everyone again next Tuesday, and then again the following Tuesday.  According to CDC guidelines, should both those tests have the same results, we will not have to test the residents again.  As a safety precaution, we will continue to test the staff on a weekly basis.   Again, according to CDC guidelines, residents will be asked to remain in their rooms for the next week.  If next week’s results are the same for the residents (no positive results) we will be able to allow the resident to move more freely throughout the Villa.

We are still asking for your patience and understanding as we struggle to maintain this campus with all the challenges of this ever changing Pandemic.  Should you want to have a face-time visit with your loved one, please contact Virginia to set up a convenient time.  We do have several Ipads available that can be taken to the resident rooms and Aaron Gates, IT Director can work with the resident and you to make the connection.

As we are now on day 128 days, and long past the time Noah was in the Ark, (40 days and 40 nights)  we appreciate all you do to support our residents and staff.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer


July 14, 2020


Due to the recent quarantine in the Villa, it is necessary to change the hours of delivery drop off to from 8 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday and from 9 am to 3 pm on the weekend.  If you would like to drop off items after those hours you may do so by leaving the items in the foyer with the resident’s name on the items, and they will be delivered the next day.  Please understand the foyer is not secured and so we would recommend that you do not leave expensive items (or something someone else would want) in the foyer.  We cannot be responsible for items left in the foyer.

We anticipate this to last until we no longer have a quarantine issue in the Villa.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer



It is with a heavy heart I have to announce we have our first positive resident  COVID-19 test.  The circumstances are this.  A Villa resident returned after an extended stay in the hospital (almost two weeks).  As has been our practice, upon admission or re-admissions, we test residents for COVID-19 as a precautionary measure, the resident was tested on Friday.  This precautionary measure was taken even though the resident had absolutely NO SIGNS OR SYMPTOMS.  The resident continued to show no signs of any symptoms throughout the weekend and continues to show no signs today.    We received the results back this morning indicating a positive result, what has been termed an asymptomatic positive.

This is what we have put into place to hopefully prevent the spread:  1)   Every effort will be to confine the residents into their rooms;  2)  All Villa residents and staff will be tested today and for the next two weeks;  3)  Meals will be served in the resident rooms;  4) Additional monitoring for signs and symptoms will be done;   5) Outdoor visits will be discontinued until there are at least two weeks of no new COVID-19 cases (both residents and staff); 6) Activities will be provided in resident rooms.

We will keep you informed as we work through these processes and notify you of any additional preventative measures.

As always, I ask for your continued prayers.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer


July 13, 2020


It is with great pleasure I can report that for the third week in as many testing dates, the staff of Thurston Woods Village have ALL tested negative for COVID-19.  As stated to the staff when I made the announcement this morning, these results are the continued efforts of the staff who are doing everything in the power to ensure the residents are safe.  I am very proud of their efforts.    We will continue to test all the nursing home staff on a weekly basis as is required by the State of Michigan.  I have been asked repeatedly when the testing will stop.   The answer is always the same, when the State Department of Public Health tells us we are no longer required to do the weekly testing.  What hasn’t changed and will not change after the mandate, is our practice of testing anyone with any symptoms.   This is true with both residents and staff.  To date we have had three staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19.  All three staff did not have any opportunity for resident exposure, mainly due to the requirement for staff to stay home, report symptoms and get tested before returning to work.

In other news, we have just past our FOUR MONTH – that’s 122 DAYS of lockdown.  I wish I had a magic ball to tell you when this will end.  What I can tell you is there is more and more discussion at the state and federal level regarding the negative effects of a prolonged period of lack of contact.  Just as there is a lot of questions revolving around what the school year will look like, with the worst case scenarios being the most talked about, so is the discussion regarding healthcare.  We will continue to do all we can to help the residents have contact with their families.  One of those ways is through the newly purchased IPads.   Kudos to Aaron Gates, our IT Director and Derek Betts, CFO, who filled out the application to receive a $3000 grant from the State of Michigan for five new iPads.  Please contact Sue Gray, Activity Director in the Nursing Center, or Virginia Jordan, Residential Services Director, to schedule the face time visit with the residents.

As you are well aware, the Governor ordered through Executive Order, 2020-144 the requirement for all people to wear masks when in a public setting.  AGAIN, please know that the wearing of masks has been a requirement for staff  for months.  All staff are required to wear them when they are in the building, regardless of whether they are providing direct resident care or not. Consequently this Executive Order will not have any impact on Thurston Woods but will be another precaution for our staff when they are in the community.

We continue to be blessed with community support.   The Thurston Woods Board of Directors continues to supply staff with weekly snacks, and the Department Head team has had the privilege of providing weekly lunches.

Special thanks to Aileen Morrison who dropped off 75 cloth face masks last week.
We also had two anonymous donations of face masks and disinfectant wipes.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer


July 7, 2020


It took longer to get the results this week—I think because of the holiday—but the results are the same as last week!  NO positive results for both residents and staff testing.  We are so extremely proud of our staff who are committed to do the “right” things when they are away from the facility to do everything possible to prevent COVID-19 from coming into the building.

Next steps:   The residents are done with testing, unless we have a positive resident test from our on-going symptomatic  testing program.   For staff, we are required to do weekly testing on all staff until notified by the state to stop.  There is a concern that asymptomatic staff may bring the virus into the building unknowingly.

So, as we celebrate the results, we are mindful there is an increase in COVID-19 positive cases in St. Joseph County and the Sturgis Community.  Please know we will continue to do everything in our power to keep the residents and staff safe in this ever-changing environment.

NOTE:  We have had to remind family visitors during the outside visits to PUT ON THEIR MASKS.  If this continues, we will be forced to discontinue these visits as we will NOT put our residents in jeopardy for any reason.  It is not too much to ask for you to protect the resident you are visiting.  Also, PLEASE come at your scheduled time.  We are having families showing up late, and then expecting to visit with their loved one for the full half hour.  How is that fair to families waiting?  AND…….one more thing, we have asked that you bring food and gifts to the front entrance.  If you want to celebrate an occasion, do it the right way.  There is NO WAY you can keep the social distancing requirements and give mom or dad, grandpa or grandma, friend or foe, gifts or even birthday cake!  We will do everything possible to assist you in your celebration, but you must follow the rules.    PLEASE DO NOT MAKE ME CANCEL THIS OPPORTUNITY—BUT I WILL IF YOU CANNOT OR WILL NOT FOLLOW THE RULES.    I fully understand this is not the best way, but right now, it is our only way.  In fact, I am stretching the guidelines to allow these visits.

We ask for your continued prayers as we going into another round of testing staff tomorrow.


Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer


June 29, 2020


We are one test down—with the results we were hoping and praying for.  According to the regulations we must do another round of testing for both residents and staff on Wednesday of this week.  If the test results are the same for the residents, we will not be required to test.  As has been our practice since March, should a resident show signs or symptoms of any respiratory illness, we automatically test.  If, for any reason, we have a positive resident COVID-19 test, then we would be required to test all residents again.    For staff, we are required to do weekly testing until they notify us differently.

So today, we celebrate the great care and infection control that has been established under the direction of Joella Martin, DON, Infection Control.    The programs we have mandated for staff, and the daily shift monitoring for residents is making a difference.

We continue to ask for your prayers as we walk this uncertain, ever-changing path.


Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer


June 26, 2020


We just received word that Governor Whitmer just signed Executive Order 2020-136, effective until JULY 24th, that states we cannot allow visitors into the facilities.  I expected she would do something to this effect, but am surprised it is this long.  The concern continues to be the “Second Wave”.

Please know we are doing the best we can to comply with all the regulations, whether they make sense or not.  It is my sincere hope that the Task Force she also established via Executive Order, 2020-135 will do something to make her understand the need for families to be able to see their loved ones.



We now have our third COVID-19 positive staff member. She works in the nursing center and notified us of a family member being positive. As is our protocol we took her off the schedule and requested she get tested during the 14 day automatic quarantine. She called and reported her tests came back positive as well. We are grateful that she is getting better and should make a good recovery.

WAITING FOR TEST RESULTS: On Wednesday, June 24th, we tested all of our residents and staff, with the exception of two staff members who refused to be tested. While residents have the right to refuse—with the understanding they would immediately go into a 14 day quarantine, staff refusal had stiffer implications. According to regulations, anyone who refuses to get tested, cannot be in the nursing center. One of those refusals was a nurse aide, who was taken off the schedule and cannot return until the state mandated testing is done, or the staff member chooses to be tested next week, the other staff member does not work primarily in the nursing center, but covers from time to time. They have been removed from the nursing center schedule as well. We are expecting to get the majority of the test results on Monday, June 29th. PLEASE DO NOT CALL FOR THE RESULTS. We have informed our staff that if we do not call, it means your tests are negative. We will attempt to get in touch with the nursing center families the same way.

We will be testing all residents and staff again next week. We have to have 14 days of no new positive COVID-19 residents before we can stop weekly testing of residents. There are not time limits right now for the weekly testing of staff to stop. And, of course, these requirements are not paid for by anyone at this time. There is a bill that has passed both the Michigan House and Senate that is sitting of the Governor’s desk that will provide some funding for testing. But, even if she signs it, we must wait for the processes to be put into place to apply for the money.

As of today, there is not any discussions that will mandate testing in the Villa. That can change. The one thing we have come to understand, is that nothing remains the same for very long.

WAITING FOR THE GOVERNOR TO DECIDE: Today is the final day of the Executive Order 2020-103 that mandated we remain closed for visitors. We expect her to issue another Executive Order sometime today. As I am writing this, we have not heard anything. We have an Executive Order 2020-123 that talks about the creation of special facilities called HUBS, that will care for COVID-19 residents. That Executive Order expires on July 12th. While we cannot even begin to guess what our Governor will do, we do know that today she will announce the creation of a Nursing Home Task Force. We don’t have a lot of details as to what their tasks will be and how long it will be utilized. It is my hope that it will be tasked with the challenges of opening our doors to visitors.

MONDAY IS GOING TO BE A VERY BUSY, HECTIC DAY—Hopefully giving us some positive results!

We continue to be grateful to the many ways the community continues to support Thurston Woods:

Our Board of Directors and Department Head team continues to provide weekly snacks and meals respectively.
The Burr Oak 4-H Club provided craft window decorations and “bugs” for the residents.
Betty Taylor, daughter of a resident, provided some pretty awesome cloth masks.

Thank you for your continued support. We ask for your continued prayers to keep our residents and staff safe.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

June 18, 2020



As you may have seen in the news, the State of Michigan, along with our regulatory agencies, has stated we must do COVID-19 testing for all NURSING HOME residents and staff.  This mandatory testing does not include the VILLA or any other area on our campus.  The regulations state that we MUST test all residents and staff.  There are consequences for not testing—for the residents we are required to “assume” they are positive and have to go into immediate quarantine into their rooms, and for staff they cannot work—again state and CDC guidelines and NOT our rules.  And because it is their refusal, they cannot receive COVID-19 pay.    We look for additional requirements in the VILLA to come out soon.

We made the decision to do the testing using Sturgis Hospital and the South Bend lab.  Their turnaround time is less than 72 hours.  If we let the state do the testing, using the National Guard, the tests are taking as much as 10 days coming back.   According to a webinar I attended yesterday, some facilities who were tested in May are still waiting for the results.   This is unacceptable for the purposes of timely turnaround especially when we have to test weekly.

PLEASE do not attempt to call us for the results.  We will notify you as they come back.  With doing approximately 250 tests in one day, they may not all come back the same day.  We will notify you of YOUR results and if there are any positives, we cannot and will not give you the names of the residents involved.  And REMEMBER IF THERE ARE POSITIVE TESTS, THEY ARE ASYMPTOMATIC RESULTS because we have been doing symptom testing since day one.

So what happens when we get the tests back?   FOR RESIDENTS: We will have to test all negative residents weekly if we have any positive results until we do not have any positive results for 14 days.   FOR STAFF:  We are mandated to test staff weekly until further notice.   The Executive Order is scheduled to expire on July 12th, but we all know the Governor and State regulatory agencies have signed extensions after extensions.

The purposes of these mandatory testing are many:  1) is there is a belief there are many asymptomatic residents and staff in the facilities and because the World Health Organization cannot decide if those residents can transmit the virus, it may be an issue; 2) the CDC has stated that there could be up to 50,000 of the recorded deaths coming from long term care facilities, with Michigan’s latest statistics being almost 2,000 (or 23%) of the deaths were long term care related;  3)  President Trump instructed states to do mandatory testing in every nursing home in the country in May; 4) political fallout from the states that required nursing homes to admit residents with COVID-19 even if there were no COVID-19 positive residents in the facility at the time; and while I am sure I haven’t listed all the other reasons the MOST important reason for me is this MUST be done before we can open our doors for visitors.

As you are aware we have been testing residents and staff with symptoms.  UNFORTUNATELY we were notified today of  what we called PRN (works when they want and once a month) staff member in the nursing center has tested POSITIVE.    She did not work with any symptoms and did the testing by herself after she wasn’t feeling well over the weekend.   Her first test came back negative, but her symptoms showed a fever so she went yesterday and was tested positive.    She has reported to us that again—she did not have ANY SYMPTOMS WHEN SHE WAS WORKING.   According to the Health Department, who Joella Martin, DON and Infection Control Director, spoke to this morning, the testing next week will be adequate for testing and more important than ever to ensure resident safety.

Please know we will continue to do everything in our power to keep the residents and staff safe.  It is my firm belief we need to get these tests behind us, showing the State and Federal regulators that TWV should be allowed to open their doors to visitors.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

June 12, 2020


Shhhh!  It has been a very quiet week as for as new mandates and requirements from the federal and state governments.  As you are aware, we are still being restricted as far as visitations are concerned until at least the 26th of June.  The good news is that according to two webinars I listened to this week, the State of Michigan as a whole has continued to see a drop in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.  Time will tell how much the recent unrest will cause a rise in those numbers as there was not any social distancing being practiced during those times.   This MAY have an impact if the numbers increase dramatically, causing additional concern of the spread, which could mean an additional time in lockdown for us.  Time will tell.  The one thing I know,  is that God has a plan.

Kudos to those of you who participated in the family Parade on Thursday!  We had 58 vehicles including the fire department and a military vehicle.  It was an absolutely beautiful day for this event.  It was so heart-warming to see the excitement on the faces of the residents as they recognized their loved one and the yelling and waving of all the residents regardless of who it was.   One of our staff said it was the best event she has ever attended with the residents, she said she cried as she watched the residents.  It truly was an amazing event.    Residents asked if this was going to be a weekly event!

Several people has asked that if we would be opening our beauty shops soon.  The short answer is no, we can’t.  Because of the visitor restrictions, we cannot open.  The beauticians are not our employees, but contractors.   If this continues for very long, it may be worth jumping the hurdles it would require for be able to have the beauticians for the residents.  It will all depend on whether the June 26th deadline for the lockdown continues.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the sunshine—its suppose to be a great week in Michigan.

Blessing to each of you, as we ask for your continued prayers to keep our residents safe.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

June 6, 2020


As I said on Tuesday we are creating “Visitation Stations” for our residents and families.  We created a total of four areas, two in the nursing center and two in the Villa.  You can start calling tomorrow.

There are three very important items we need to put right out in the beginning.  For this to work and continue the following MUST be understood.  You CANNOT CROSS THE BARRIER, NO PERMANENT RESERVATIONS  and the most important is RESIDENT RIGHTS.  We will not force a resident to come out and visit.  If a resident refuses to come, we will inform you of their decision.    We have already had family members calling and saying “ I want to be scheduled for every day at 2 pm”.  That is not going to happen, at least not in the beginning.  If we find there are not any other requests for that time frame, that’s a different story.  If you cross the barrier—even to give mom a hug or the resident asks you to, you will lose your privilege of visiting, but more importantly you will have caused that resident (your mom or dad, grandpa or grandma or aunt or uncle—whatever relationship) to go into a 14 day isolation as a possible COVID-19 resident.  No one wants to see that happen.  If the resident is currently in isolation they would not be allowed for visits until isolation ends.

The nursing center and the Villa have two different requirements—these are:

FROH COMMUNITY HOME:  1) Schedule the visits through the Activity Department—269-651-7841 ext. 326;  2) Visits can be scheduled during the following times:  Monday through Friday 9-11 and 1-4:30  Weekends: 9-11 and 1-3; Visit are limited to 30 MINUTES;  4) Please arrive on time for your visit—if running late call  and if it is too late you may have to reschedule for another day; 5) Visitors must remain behind the area marked off; 6)Visitors must wear masks and maintain the 6 ft. social distancing at all times; 7) Visitors must manage your children—that includes not climbing on the railings and around the pond area; 8) We will try to accommodate every family equally—we ask large families to gather together to visit at one time—you cannot have three siblings requesting three different times; 9) NO physical interaction.  Please continue to drop off items for the resident at the receptionist desk.

THE VILLA:  1) Schedule the visits from Virginia Jordan—269-651-7841, ext 312; 2) Visits can be scheduled during the follow times:  Monday through Friday 9-11 and 1-4:30.  Visits are limited to 30 MINUTES; 4) Please arrive on time for your visit—if running late call and if it is too late you have to reschedule for another day; 5) Visitors must remain behind the areas marked off—if you do not comply with this request we will ask you to leave and you will forfeit future visits during the quarantine; 6) Visitors must wear masks and maintain the 6 ft social distancing at all times—a “X” has been placed on both sides of the barrier that will allow for maintaining that distance; 7) We will try to accommodate every family equally—we ask large families to gather together for visit at one time, allowing time for other residents to be scheduled.

We are not trying to be difficult we are attempting to allow for residents to see their families—their greatest request—while maintaining compliance with the regulations.  While these are the “first set of rules” they may change as regulations change, hopefully for the better, soon.     Right now, we know we are totally restricted until June 26th.  You may have heard the Governor has loosen up restrictions for hospital and doctor office visits in recent days.  This does NOT pertain to  the long term care facilities.  That was clear in her newest Executive Order.

We continue to be blessed by gifts from families of beautiful floral arrangements, and to the BETTS FAMILY providing Little Caesars Pizza for our staff.
A special thank you to Tami Hedden for some pretty awesome face masks—from Star Wars, to U of M, to Avengers to peppers and butterflies!  She made over 50 masks!
AND—the Burr Oak 4-H club dropped off some more pictures for the Villa residents.

Once again, I ask for your continued prayers that God will continue to put His arms around this organization.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer


June 2, 2020


While many of us received the news with gladness at the lifting of the “Stay at home” Order by Governor Whitmer from yesterday’s press conference, it is not the same for our facilities.  What was lost in the press conference was Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-108 which she did on SATURDAY, May 30th,  extending the no visitors for all senior service providers until June 26th.

Take Heart.   As I am writing this I have our maintenance staff working on creating what I call “Visitation Stations”.  What we are creating is Plexiglas barriers in which you will be able to see your loved one, will be able to talk to them and still have the barrier to protect the resident and you as well.  We hope to have these done by the end of the week and are working out the details of how to schedule the time for your visit, where they will be located, the limits to the amount of visitors, the requirement of the six feet social distancing, the wearing of masks—both for you and your family members and unfortunately the requirement that should these areas be violated the lost of privileges.   The resident’s safety and well being is always our primary obligation and we will not tolerate anyone putting ANY resident at risk.

I believe with all my heart  these “Visitation Stations”  will be the best option as we continue to deal with complying with the state and federal mandates.  Watch for details to follow.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer



May 29, 2020


This was a quiet week.  It was only necessary to have two residents and one staff tested for COVID-19.  All test came back negative.  The Governor continues to mandate we are not to receive visitors, even though we are now through week 10.  There has been some discussion coming from the state regarding how we can use the outdoors to visit, using social distancing.  They are promising additional information as to how we will be able to comply with the lockdown requirements and still allow for visits within the next couple of weeks.

The State of Michigan is still attempting to test all nursing home residents and staff.  We are still waiting for our turn, but as of this week St. Joseph, Cass, and Branch counties are not on the list so we know we are at least a couple of weeks away.   Some of the hardest hit facilities are being tested multiple times as they attempt to get the virus under control in those facilities.  Continue to pray for God’s grace on our facilities as we attempt to do everything we can to keep the virus from entering the doors of Thurston Woods.

You may be aware that the Sturgis High School Seniors are planning a car parade on Sunday at 2 pm in honor of the time they would have been walking across the stage to obtain their diplomas.    They contacted me today to request they drive through the front parking lot.  I have asked the staff to have as many residents as possible to watch the parade either from their windows or from the sidewalks with staff attending.

The State of Michigan has reached out to ask that we continue to request the families and friends of our residents fill out the Census 2020 forms.   We have actually counted the residents here for the nursing center, as we were contacted by the Census department before we went into lockdown.  They set us the forms instead of the planned face to face meeting but our residents were counted.  What they wanted us to remind families and friends to do is fill out YOUR forms.  If you did not get a Census 2020 form, please contact the State of Michigan at and submit on line.   Now I have done my public service announcement!

Again we have people in the community that support our residents and staff in very special ways.

A GREAT BIG THANK YOU—TO LYN NASH FROM STATE FARM who provided Subway sandwiches and cookies to our staff for lunch today.
AND—to the Thurston Woods Village Board of Directors for another week of great snacks.
AND—to the Department Head team for their weekly meals.
AND—to the families and friends of our residents who continue to send in cakes, cookies, fruit and just about anything you can think of, as encouragements to the staff.
AND—Betty Taylor—who continues to make awesome masks for the residents and staff.
AND—to you for your continued support.
AND—TO OUR AWESOME STAFF—for their continued care and love they give each and every day!


Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer


May 22, 2020


As I reported last week, we are still blessed with the news of no positive tested residents anywhere on our campus.  We continue to test as signs and symptoms warrant the testing.  This week we tested two residents and three staff members-all came back negative.  So when is the state going to get around to test?  That is a very good question.  I sat in on another webinar this morning in which they identified the next group of testing, Kalamazoo, Calhoun and Berrien counties were included with this group.  The interesting thing is this group of counties are not connected but are all over the state.  It appears the state is looking at data where the most cases of COVID-19 are at and are testing in those counties first.  So, what we do know is our county will not be tested for at least another couple of weeks.

The CDC and the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) has now set guidelines for the “opening” of Nursing Homes.  It is going to be a long complicated process, with the requirement of weekly testing, (and some of us have not been given the base-line test yet) as well as strict requirements for visitors and limits to how long visits may last, where visitors are allowed to go, and just about everything else they can think of.  In order to open up completely a facility has to have four weeks of no positive COVID-19 cases of residents or staff.  As I said in the last paragraph, we are not even scheduled for the first week of testing.  However, what is being debated right now is, who is going to pay for all this required testing?  If the federal or state government are requiring it, are they responsible for the expense?  It always comes now to the money.  So, time will tell when we will be able to give you a ‘grand opening” date.  When we know, you will know.    You may be able to hear the shouts of joy!

Again, we have had another week of community support:

Special thanks to the Burr Oak 4-H Club for making crafts to brighten the resident’s days and to Aileen Morrison for donating 80 cloth masks.  Both gifts were received and enjoyed by the residents.   AND Mary Beth Yoder donated awesome lap robes and blankets for the residents in honor of her mother, Alice Yoder.

And again, the Thurston Woods Village Board of Directors provided snacks, and the Department Heads provided a brown bag lunch with grilled hot dogs for the staff this week.

As we go into this holiday weekend, may you enjoy time with family and friends—keeping the social distancing and the 10 person limit in place of course.

We continue to ask for your prayers as we walk this ever changing path.


Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

May 15, 2020



While the headline state no resident COVID-19, as I stated last Saturday we do have one staff member who tested positive.  She continues to do well and remains off work without symptoms per our policy.   We did test another resident with respiratory symptoms this week, with negative results.    A resident from the independent housing was hospitalized and also tested negative.  That particular resident was tested at two hospitals using two different methods with the same result.  This is encouraging since if you heard the headlines today there is some concern about the accuracy of the quick test.  All testing that has been done has not been the quick test due to the lack of availability of those types of tests in our area.  We had  three additional staff members get tested, with all coming back negative.

As I stated on Monday, there continues to be discussion regarding the testing of all nursing home facilities and staff.  I attended a webinar today where the State of Michigan has now outlined what counties will be tested during the next couple of weeks.  St. Joseph, Berrien, Branch, Cass, Calhoun, and Kalamazoo counties are NOT on that list.  As you can imagine, the first testing will be done where the virus has been identified.   I will attempt to let you know when we will be scheduled because it is now the state’s stated policy that all nursing facilities will be tested.  We just don’t know when.   BUT, rest assured, we will continue to test as it is appropriate.

We did get notified that FEMA is planning on shipping Personal Protective Equipment to all nursing homes in the State of Michigan the week of May 18th.  We are not sure what day our equipment will arrive but we are scheduled to receive eye protection, masks, gloves and gowns.  At one time we were told we would receive two shipments, two weeks apart.  Now we are not sure if that is still the plan.  Time will tell, but whatever it is it will be greatly appreciated and will ease a lot of anxiety regarding our PPE.

As Spring turns into Summer, along with warmer temperatures, we are planning a “Resident Parade” for families and friends!   Understanding we must maintain social distancing, we are thinking it would be great to have the residents outside at various areas along the sidewalks and grassy areas and have families and friends do a drive by parade.   Details to follow!

We continue to be blessed by the community support.  Special thanks to LITTLE CEASAR’S  of Sturgis, who in recognition of NURSE’S WEEK AND NATIONAL NURSING HOME WEEK, provided pizzas for our staff on ALL THREE SHIFTS!    WALMART – just donated several hundred masks for our staff.
We also had Riverside Church provide roses, and Lindsay Johnson provided daisies for Mother’s Day for our Villa Residents.
Betty Taylor, a family member from one of our nursing center residents, provided cloth masks for our staff.

We continue to ask for your prayers and support as we continue to move through this unprecedented path with the faith that God is in control.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer



May 11, 2020


The Health Department has recommended we continue to follow the CDC guidelines and did not recommend we test all residents and staff at this time. That said, I was listening to Governor Whitmer this afternoon in which she stated there has been testing completed in the UP of both prisons and nursing homes and the next step is to engage in finishing the prison testing and begin testing in “ nursing homes and other care facilities”. Consequently if the state requires testing then we will do what is required. The White House has also made the same recommendation and has committed to increasing test availability. However, if the Health Department recommends the testing of all residents and staff we will do it prior to the state or federal mandate. Bottom line: we must follow the recommendations.

This positive test has given us the opportunity to review what we were doing and we have made a couple of updates to our practices. They are: all nursing staff in the nursing center went from wearing the cloth face masks to surgical masks and the Villa residents, who have been eating using the 6 ft distancing will now eat in their rooms and temperature and symptom monitoring will be twice a day instead of once a day for the Villa; it has been twice a day for the nursing center. And encouraged our staff to take the necessary precautions to wear masks in public and adhere to the same criteria at home as at Thurston Woods Village.

Please know we have been doing the following since March 12, the day we started the lockdown (ahead of the requirement): 1) All entries into the building was closed and visitors were limited to end of life visits. 2) ALL staff must enter in the building via one entrance and must take their temperature, and answer a series of health questions prior to entering the resident areas and must use hand sanitizer after taking their temperature and clean thermometer and pen with disinfecting wipes: 3) All staff are to practice social distancing at all times in break areas and whenever possible when providing care; 4) Staff are being in-serviced on a continual basis regarding the CDC requirements and encouraged to practice the same social distancing and hand washing practices at home; 4) Residents are monitored twice daily with temperatures taken and symptom monitoring and documented accordingly; 5) Group activities have been cancelled and residents are provided with limited 6 ft distancing activities or one on one activities; 6) Residents have been utilizing the 6 ft distancing rule when eating in the nursing center; 6) the increased requirement of cleaning/sanitizing equipment; 7) any resident being admitted must be quarantined for 14 days prior to being allowed into the general population and finally but certainly not the least important is the constant recommendation of hand washing and the use of sanitizers for all staff and residents.

Again, if you missed the post of two weeks ago, please know the State of Michigan Survey team was at Froh Community Home on April 29th for an Infection Control Surveillance Survey. The result of that three person team was they found NO citations of infection control. Since Infection Control is a major issue in making sure the resident’s are safe, this survey results is just another indication of our commitment to do what is necessary to protect the residents.

As I stated on Saturday evening, there were co-workers who were tested. ALL those results have came back negative. And again, as hard as it is right now, the requirement is that in order to be tested, there has to be signs and symptoms or a presumed contact exposure. I expect that requirement may be relaxed some as more test kits become available.

I understand your concern and appreciate the out-pouring of support and the constructive criticisms as we strive to ensure our residents and staff are protected.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer


May 9, 2020


As I have always said when there is COVID-19 information I would do my best to keep you informed.

On Thursday, May 7th we were notified of a staff members husband testing positive as part of his employer’s plan to test all employees. We informed her that she needed to get tested and could not work until the results came back. We recommended that her entire family be tested as well. We have been notified that her husband’s factory has closed after the testing results were released.

Late this afternoon we were notified that she has tested positive as well. She currently has no symptoms but will have to remain off work until 14 days on showing no symptoms.

While HIPPA laws prevent us from giving any personal information please know she has been diligent in making sure she has worn her mask while at work and washing her hands.

While this news is not what anyone wants to hear and will cause some anxiety please know we are continuing to monitor staff on a daily basis and will keep you informed.

We ask for your prayers as we walk this path.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

May 8, 2020


Although there isn’t much more to report since my post earlier this week, I wanted to let you know that after eight weeks – yes eight weeks – of being on “lockdown” we are still getting information almost on a daily basis from state and federal governments, the CDC and CMS, sometimes frustratingly contradicting each other.  Now we get to add  FEMA to the list.  We were notified by them that we will be the recipient of gloves, masks, gowns, and shields – sometime in the future!   We just don’t know when.   If we get what they have said we would, be will be set for Personal Protective Equipment for quite awhile.    The major point is:  IF.  Time will tell.  There is some discussion about mandating testing for all facilities and staff for COVID-19 whether they have symptoms or not.  I will attempt to notify you of that mandate if it happens.

This week has been a week of honoring our Nurses.  A video was done by Wellspring Lutheran Services from the Frankenmuth area.  They are a non-profit continuing care retirement community but also deal with children services as another branch of their operation.  I posted the video earlier this week.  If you haven’t had a chance to look at it, please do.  It honors those in long-term care for the work they do.    This is also the week that many of you will honor your mother, sister, aunt, grandma, or friend.  We thank you for allowing us to care for these women.  It is a privilege and a blessing (for the most part) to hear their stories,  and to see their love for you in their eyes when they talk about you.

In honor of our Nurses and with next week being National Nursing Home Week—LITTLE CEASAR’S STURGIS– will be providing lunch for our staff on Monday.  So if you go to Little Caesar’s, thank them.  This is a awesome gesture and the staff have been delighted with the announcement.    Also, TACO BELL worked with the Department Head team by providing tacos and burritos at 1/2 price for our staff meal today!

Special thank you go out to:
Kendra Lipscomb—who dropped off mask extenders-TWICE this week
Susan Carter and Jim Rojeski for masks and providing pizza to our Villa staff
Leslie from BOFA for providing us with a care package of gloves, bleach, paper towels and Kleenex

And to the Thurston Woods Village Board of Directors for their weekly snacks

Happy Mother’s Day for those of you who are celebrating this weekend.  Stay safe and continue to pray for God’s hedge around our buildings as we fight COVID-19.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer


May 4, 2020


Last night around 9 pm our Governor issued Executive Order 2020-72.  What the order states that “Temporary restrictions on entry into health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities and juvenile justice facilities” must remain closed to all visitors; must perform a health care evaluation for all individuals, and staff must wear face masks along with social distancing through May 31st, at 11:59pm.  What does that mean:  it means we are still required to do what we have been doing since March 12th for the lockdown and performing health screenings for all people (staff) entering our facilities and continue to wear the face masks were have worn for the last month or so.     If you remember when they first began talking about “opening up Michigan” I stated we would be the last to open.   So this Executive Order didn’t surprise me.

Please remember you can still contact you loved one by:  calling them either on their cell phone or by calling 651-7841 and asking to speak to them; by contacting the activities department or Villa desk to schedule a face-time visit; letters are great and delivered daily; and of course going to the windows to see them.  Just remember even with the better weather, the resident cannot open the window at this time.

We will continue to try to keep you updated as situations change constantly.  If you have any questions, please contact us.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer


May 1, 2020


We continue to feel blessed to say that statement.  That said, we continue to screen for not only the Influenza but we tested three residents and one staff members this week—ALL came back negative!  We are taking every new regulation seriously. Between Joella Martin, DON and our Infection Control Specialist and I we are continually scouring all the resources we can find from the CDC, state and federal governments, and the most important resource of LeadingAge Mi, our not-for-profit State Healthcare Association.

We had the privilege of having three state surveyors in our building for what is called an “Infection Control Surveillance Survey”.  You may have seen articles on these surveys with the latest from the Grand Rapids Press last weekend.  They talked to staff, they looked at our policies and procedures, they looked at our equipment, our cleaning processes, whether we were wearing our masks properly—yes there is a proper way to wear a mask—ask them, and then left stating they had to do some work on their end.  That statement created another round of emails of requests for more documentation.  Bottom line:  THEY FOUND NOTHING OUT OF COMPLIANCE.  I cannot tell you how very proud I am of the Thurston Woods Village staff.   They know their stuff and they proved it by demonstrating to these surveyors what proper techniques are about.  They do it every day regardless of whether any one is looking or not.

Also we have the most giving and supportive community.  Special thanks to the following:

To our Board of Directors who week after week are providing snacks for our staff.

For masks:
Nancy Ross-missed you a couple of weeks ago
Susan Warner from Holland, Mi
Debora Carr-crocheted expanders

Julie Kennard-thanks again for the disinfecting wipes
Emerald Peterson for pictures for the residents
Faith and Jamie Wilson—flowers for the tables in the Villa
Claire Propst, Mackenzie Kelly and Everlee Kelly for May Day flowers.  Special Note:   Mackenzie is a daughter of Rochelle Kelly, a staff member in the Villa.

Haylett Consulting Group for their continued monetary support
Modern Woodmen for the $1000 gift for PPE

AND A VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU TO HANNAH WOODS- a 10th grade student from Sturgis High School who named Thurston Woods Village as her recipient of her choice for winning an student contest on how the current health crisis has impacted them.

We continue to ask for your prayers and support as we travel these uncharted days.   Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

April 29, 2020


While we have enjoyed the fruits of our labors with our staff having access to the wonderfully different designs of both elastic behind the ear and the tie masks.    We have now made the decision to offer masks to our nursing center residents to wear when they are outside of their rooms.  The majority residents have decided that was a good idea.  We will be offering the same to the Villa today.  So, some of the residents prefer the elastic behind the ear but others with oxygen, glasses and hearing aids like the tie.  However, if you are thinking about the residents, some of our ladies are very petite and so the masks are too large.   Consequently, if we could get some smaller masks we would appreciate those as well.   Due to the generosity of so many, we do have enough to start the resident mask project, we don’t have enough to give each of the residents multiple masks.

And yes, we do have medical grade masks to wear should we need to but want to keep those for emergencies.

Thank you for all your efforts.  The staff and residents are enjoying the different designs and all your many talents!

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer


April 28, 2020

The following letter was mailed to the responsible parties of our residents.  We wanted to share it with other family members and friends as well.

Dear families:

I wanted to thank you again for your trust in Thurston Woods Village as we continue to be on this journey called COVID-19.  We continue to get daily (sometimes hourly) updates from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) as well as the federal and state governments.    We strive to comply as quickly as possible, fully understanding the requirements are put in place to help prevent the spread of the virus.

As you are aware, Governor Whitmer and President Trump are working to safely open the state and country, with each having opinions on how and when that may happen.  What is obvious to everyone is the senior population is the most vulnerable and consequently it is being suggested to continue to restrict access to that population until the last—commonly called Phase Three.

With the expectation that hospital, assisted living and nursing facilities will be the last to open up for visitations, I wanted to reach out to you to remind you of the alternatives we have put in place for you to have access to your loved one.  They are:  1) we have always had the ability to allow for private conversations by calling the facility and request us to transfer the call to the private phone room in the nursing center and at the desk in the Villa; 2) we provide you the ability to “face time” with the resident by calling Sue or Peri in the nursing center and the desk at the Villa to schedule a time that is convenient for you; 3) come to the windows—you are always welcome to come see the resident  at the resident’s window.  HOWEVER please do not ask the resident to open the window; 4) write letters—the residents love hearing from you, if you don’t want to mail them, drop them off at the front entrance and we will get them to the resident;  and last but not least, call and check with the staff—they know what you are feeling because many of us have the same situation with our families.

Look for more information as we attempt to schedule a “parade” for you and your family member.  While we are still in the planning phases, it is our hope that as weather gets warmer we will be able to have residents outside (with the 6 ft distance ruled applied) and you are able to do a drive by parade for them.  We will keep you posted as to the date (with a rain date scheduled) by putting the information on our website and Face book page.

Again, thank you for your continued trust in us as we care for your family, friend and loved one in these trying times understanding as always God is in control.


Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

April 24, 2020


As facilities across the country remain in the news it is with gratitude to our awesome staff we can say today we are a COVID-19 free facility.  There has been systems put into place throughout the state as the most impacted by the virus need placement into long term care rehab facilities.  The State of Michigan has been working with facilities where COVID-19 is the most prevalent to develop Regional “Hubs” for those residents.  Every facility in the state has been mandated to make arrangements for a isolated “wing” or floor for COVID-19 positive residents.  We have complied with those mandates and are attempting to get the necessary supplies in place should the need arise.  It is fortunate to had made the decision years ago to stock more emergency supplies than required which has allowed us to be better equipped than some.

Some have been asking if we have done any testing.  The answer is yes.  We have tested one resident with respiratory symptoms and two staff members.  All have came back negative.  The resident was put in isolation and staff were not able to return to work until the test results came back.    Again, the State and Federal governments have stated multiple times their desire to have more people tested.  We have been told that at some point the requirement may be to test everyone.  If that is the requirement, please know we will comply.  Right now, we will continue to test as symptoms warrant.

Again we have been blessed with the outpouring of support:
Pastor Sue Babb from the United Methodist Church—Bible verse pictures for the residents

Crystal Updyke from Wyoming (family member)-cowboy masks
JoAnne Pantale and the Sew You Care group—masks
Candy Harris—three weeks in a row—masks
John Dresser and Mike and Debbie Doe—donuts for the staff
The Thurston Woods Board of Directors –weekly snacks for staff
The Department Head team—weekly meals for staff

So what do we need?  I get that question often.   We continue to need disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizers and gloves.   KUDOS to all the mask makers.  While we have a limited supply of masks, as time goes by we may need more.  Especially as the Governor announced the requirement for everyone to wear a mask in box spaces.

Again, we ask for your continued prayers as we thrive to care for the residents we love.


Theo Omo

Chief Executive Officer


April 17, 2020


What is now our five week of “shut-down” we feel blessed to be one of the facilities in the country without the COVID-19 virus in the building.  I know you are hearing a lot of information on the news about the cases in nursing homes across the country.  The latest numbers are over 6000 COVID-19 cases being identified in nursing homes, with several facilities experiencing multiple deaths.  One of the most telling comments I saw was “we are overrun with it”.  It appears once the virus is in the building it spreads very rapidly throughout the unit.  Some facilities has multiple floors and have been able to contain it to one floor while others are experiencing it throughout their campus, even independent housing residents.  EVERY report I have received, EVERY conversation I have had with facilities with the virus and EVERY national leader who is dealing with it in their state has said the same thing:  NO one wanted the COVID-19 virus to hit their building and are looking for solutions to prevent the spread.   That said, there are facilities who have embraced the virus and have trained staff and are admitting residents into COVID-19 Units across the state.

You may have seen the newest Executive Order from our Governor.  This deals with “Enhanced protections for residents and staff of long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic”.  What the bottom line of this executive order does, it says that should a resident with COVID-19 being treated for the virus, is able to be treated at the facilities from which they came from AND the facility has the appropriate and adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), then the facility is required to admit them.  But if they cannot be treated at the facility, then when they are virus free and can be discharged back to their usual facility, the facility must take them back.   It is protecting the residents from being sent to other facilities without the ability of returning.  This will mainly impact the people in the Detroit area, where they are estimating 90% of all the long-term care residents will need placement.  This is important because families are still not being allowed to visit the resident in any facility.

Again, I want to say a great big THANK YOU to the many different groups who have reached out to our residents this week.  The cards and notes of encouragement continue to arrive, and the residents LOVE them.  In addition to the cards, we have had goodies delivered by staff and resident families, and the masks have kept coming in!    It is so encouraging to not only the residents but to our staff to see such an outpouring of support.  Again, the list is long and I sincerely hope I did not forget someone and if I did I would ask forgiveness from my senior moment.

Deb Adamski
Centreville Seventh Day Adventist Church
Miley and Mckenna Holden-4-H project
Radiant Life Church
Constantine Wolf Scouts pack 410

St. Joseph County COVID-19 Mask Crafters
Cathie McKenzie
Joyce Weber
Deb Capman
Karen Wegner
Candy Harris
Lindsay Lipscomb
Kendra Lipscomb

Betty Troyer—Lularoe gifts for the Villa staff
Sue Jensen and Angelic Edgerton and the families for staff goodies
Pam Keeslar and Eastwood School for the disinfectant wipes and sanitizers
Bob Weitting for the cash gift to offset the costs of the take out containers

And last but certainly not least the Thurston Woods Village Board of Directors and the Department Head team who have provided weekly goodies for our staff—your support is appreciated.

We continue to ask for your prayers as we strive to care for the residents and staff at Thurston Woods Village.

Theo Omo

Chief Executive Officer


April 9, 2020


First as we are in the midst of the holy week of Easter, may we never forget to give God the glory for His wonderful gift as we go into this weekend of celebrating Christ’s death on the cross for our sins, which we celebrate on Good Friday and then His glorious resurrection on Easter Sunday, proving that we have nothing to fear because Christ conquered death by raising again on the third day!  May you have time to celebrate this season with family and friends in a confines of this stay at home order.  Phones and face time are really our only option but thankfully they haven’t restricted those options.  It is my understanding that the Easter Bunny is an essential business and will not be stopped on his rounds.

As you may remember I shared with you last Saturday of the RECOMMENDED usage of face masks and asked for community support.  Those of you with the sewing talents went to work—and we are overwhelmed with your generosity.  Some of you took of us up on the offer and stopped by for fabric, but many did not.  The face masks started coming in first thing Monday morning and are still arriving.    I have made a conscience effort to make sure I wrote down everyone, but IF I forgot someone in this recognition, I apologize.  It isn’t that we did not appreciate it but in the midst of everything I forgot to write down your name (or you elected not to give us it).


Lori Gray
Bonnie Carpenter
Cindy Horvath
Pam Keeslar
Gerri Schwartz
Connie Gochenaur
COVID-19 Mask Crafters of St. Joseph County
Deb Capman
Kathy McKenzie
Martha David
Sheryl Smith
Candy Harris
Christine Stutzman
Joann Browning
Riverside Church

Special thank you to the STAFF of THURSTON WOODS VILLAGE, you continue to show just how amazing you are as I watch you take care of our residents and each other; the Thurston Woods Village Board of Directors for your continued show of support, for the donuts delivered this week, and for the words of encouragement with the cards and notes; to the families and friends of our residents who continue to shower their love with visits—windows have never been more important, and their willingness to drop off goodies and supplies; and last but certainly not least, Pam Keeslar and the Sturgis Schools, with their donation of the disinfecting wipes from the classrooms and other supplies.

As we continue to look for ways to combat the COVID-19 virus, we have been holding mail for 24-hours and spraying packages that come in and holding them for the same time.  If you are able to do the same thing prior to dropping something off for the residents, it would be appreciated.  Just take the items and spray with Lysol or something similar and let it set for at least 6 hours prior to bringing it in.  If you can let it sit for 24 hours, it would be best.  However, if the resident has requested something from you and they “NEED IT NOW” do not worry, we will get it to them immediately.  We are just trying to be as proactive as possible, always looking at recommendations with an open mind.

May you be blessed as you have blessed us.

Theo Omo

Chief Executive Officer



April 4, 2020


The CDC just announced a RECOMMENDATION for all staff working in health care to wear masks when caring for residents. We are NOT required to use the specialized equipment they use in the hospital. We anticipated this earlier this week which is why I asked for assistance in making cloth masks.

Our staff will be using masks starting this morning and throughout the weekend with supplies we have on site. However we still need the cloth masks, which is the CDC recommended masks for non-COVID-19 contact.

For those of you who have reached out to me to let me know you are making masks-thank you. We hope to be able to distribute those as quickly as they arrive.

We have staff in the building attempting to notify and calm any anxiety this may cause our residents. Should your family member or friend contact you with this new development, I would ask that you tell them it’s a precaution and not to because we have the virus.

Please know that the staff is being educated about the mask usage and that this precaution does not replace the single most important preventative measure which is hand washing!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the facility or myself. The staff has my cell phone number and I can be reached anytime.

I continue to ask for your prayers as we navigate through this ever changing process.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

April 2, 2020


As we go into week three of our “lockdown” I wanted to let you know that it appears to be working as we have not had any cases of COVID-19 on our campus, nor have we had anyone with the symptoms that warranted us to test them.  We are very grateful to each of you who continue to bathe us with your prayers; who are reaching out to their families with face time options and bringing in supplies almost daily; and the continued outpouring of support with goodies for the residents and staff.  The staff of Thurston Woods are grateful to the Board of Directors who are willing to help in any way possible, including providing our staff with weekly treats.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?  As we continue to have a statewide shortage of supplies, and it is important to save those supplies for the residents and staff should be need them to care for a COVID-19 resident.  To date we do not have clear guidance from the CDC as when it is appropriate to wear masks for everyday use.  However we want to be prepared for when that recommendation does take place.  We are now looking for the community to help in making cloth masks for our staff.   We currently have about 210 staff working, some full time and we are very thankful for those part time staff willing to continue to come to work when called or scheduled.  Right now there is not any discussion about having our residents wear masks at the state or federal level.  Time will tell if that changes.

I know it is a lot to ask, but those gifted with sewing talents (leaves me completely helpless) we would like to give our staff at least two masks—one they can wear and one they can wash.  We do have some fabric available here, we will just need to get it out of storage.  Consequently please call either Theo Omo or Brenda Blucker if you would like some supplies.


Theo Omo

Chief Executive Officer

March 30, 2020


In the midst of all the uncertainty and frustration of life changes—we are blessed.  We have families who trust us, staff working tirelessly to ensure the residents are not just being cared for but making sure they are loved and comforted as they struggle with understanding why the visits have stopped, and a community that has not forgotten the needs of the residents.  Our staff continues to “shine” as beacons of hope for each resident and fellow staff member , and hopefully to the families as well.

A special thank you to those in the community who continue to think of our staff from homemade cookies, to the TWV Board of Directors for the continual weekly goodies and from Christine Eckleberry (resident family) for pizza.  Your thoughtfulness during this difficult times are encouraging and very much appreciated.

Additional  community thank you acknowledgements are:

Julie Kennard—disinfecting wipes

Tracy Pittenger–disinfecting wipes

Kendra Lipscomb—disinfecting wipes

Dianne Warnement—disinfecting wipes

Dr. Fernando Castro—disinfecting wipes

Brittany Gold, her mom and nephew–colored cards encouragement

Pastor Sue Babb—colored Easter pictures

Cindy Bradshaw and Courtney Mercer—snacks pop, and candy—YES we are still doing BINGO—just creatively!

Riverside Church, Three Rivers—50 Activity Bags—assorted games, puzzles and coloring pages for the residents

Cathie Thomasma—craft kits for the residents

Anyone else I might have missed—thank you!

Also, THANK YOU, for you many thoughts and prayers.  Please continue as we are now told it may be another month before we can open our doors again.

FAMILY AND FRIENDS:   If you would like to sign up for a face to face time with your family or friend please contact Sue Gray, Activity Director for the Nursing Center or Virginia Jordan in the Villa.  They are taking the lead on this project.   Contact Sue at and provide the CODE WORD, or Virginia at and provide the CODE WORD.  If you do not know what the code word is for the resident, please contact the family member in charge as we cannot give it to you.    This protects the residents and families from outside influencers having access to the resident without family knowledge.

Again, thank you for all you do.  You are making a difference.


Theo Omo

Chief Executive Officer



March 25, 2020

Dear Families and Friends of our Residents:

I cannot count the number of times I have heard the phrase “we are in unprecedented times”.  We are.  Things are changing so fast that just about the time we think we are well versed, something else happens.  What hasn’t changed is there are still no COVID-19 at Thurston Woods Village.

The most recent information we have is we have not reached the tipping point yet.  There appears to be a gradual movement of the virus from the Detroit and thumb area into the lower counties.  St. Joseph County still is COVID-19 free.  There are not timelines in place in which we can tell you when our Visitor Restrictions will be lifted.

Consequently, I wanted to remind you of how you can continue to communicate with your family member or friend.

  • First, by phone, many of the residents have personal phones, but should they not, we have a designated room in which we can transfer the call to allow for private conversations—just call the main number at 269-651-7841 and we will get you to the right wing of the nursing center or to the Villa.
  • Second, by the old fashion way of written letters—some of the residents are sharing with staff the importance of waiting for those letters to arrive.
  • Third, we have several iPads and other devices in which we can schedule “face time” with your family.  Contact the desk where your family member is located and we should be able to set that up.  (Kudos to Sturgis Schools who has graciously allowed us to use some of their Ipads)  Some staff has also expressed their willingness to have the residents use their personal phones to communicate with you.
  • Fourth, continue to check out the different posts on the Thurston Woods Village Facebook page.  Resident activities are continuing and we are attempting to capture as many events as possible.
  • Fifth, call US.  We will make every effort to keep you informed on what is happening.

What you CANNOT do is ask your loved one to open the window to talk to you!  This defeats the purpose of attempting to prevent the virus from entering into the building.  While some of you want a face to face meeting and that is understandable, please do NOT ask the resident to open the window and remind the resident should they open it to close it immediately.  If your family member does not have a phone and you want to communicate with them via phone at the window, please call and we will make the arrangements for that request to happen.

We are all in this together and together we will survive with God’s grace and adhering to the restrictions put into place by the state and federal governments.

With great regard,

Theo Omo

Chief Executive Officer


Thank you!

A special thank you to those of you in the community who are thinking of our residents:

Ron Sprowl from Burr Oak Tool—for masks and sanitizers

Michael Slone from Infinity Ink—for gloves, sanitizers, masks and wipes

Hollywood Nails –for several cases of gloves

Dianne Warnement—Disinfecting Wipes

Kendra Lipscomb–Disinfecting Wipes

Jessica Rutenbar from Wall School—Disinfecting Wipes

Kim Hamlin from Wenzel School—Disinfecting Wipes

Julie Kennard—Disinfecting Wipes

Christina Persing—Disinfecting Wipes


God bless your thoughtfulness!



March 20, 2020


Please be assured there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 anywhere on the Thurston Woods Village campus.  In fact no one has been tested for the virus.  There has been confusion with some staff misinterpreting the Influenza virus for the COVID-19 virus.  They are two very different strains of infection, have different symptoms and treatments.  We currently have two cases of Influenza A on our campus.  Both are being treated with antiviral medication.  Additional precautions have been put into place including asking the residents to remain in their rooms and staff are adhering to the CDC guidelines.  Activities and meal options are being provided.

Our staff continues to carry out our mission—living it every day in every way possible.   “Teaming together—residents, families, associates and community, Working to provide responsible healthcare and services, Valuing every individual in the spirit of Christian love.”  The staff are committed to our residents and our families.  They are amazing.

Should you have any concern please contact Virginia Jordan,  Residential Services Director,  Joella Martin, Nursing Center Director of Nursing and head of the Infection Control-COVID-19 response team, or Theo Omo, Chief Executive Officer.

March 19, 2020


Due to the federal mandate limiting group meetings to 10, we are postponing our Annual Employee Meeting scheduled for March 26th.  We will post the meeting date once we have confirmation of the lifting of those restrictions.

The highlight event of our annual meeting for the past several years has been the recognition of employees and the distribution of our “Stay-On” Bonuses.  Those employees who have reached specific milestone anniversaries will be given their check (or check stub if you have direct deposit) by their department head after 2 pm on March 26th.   We will also recognize these milestones when we actually have the Annual Meeting.  We just didn’t want you to wait for your bonus!  A list of the eligible employees will be available at the time clock by March 20th.

Please keep checking  for the posting of the Annual Employee Meeting, we will have all the longevity, Employee Focus Group, the Employee of the Year, and Suggestion of the Year awards at that meeting.

Please know every employee is making a difference in the lives of our residents and we appreciate your efforts.  Thank you for all you do!

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer


March 16, 2020

A letter from our CEO:

Dear residents, families, visitors and staff:

We are coping with an unprecedented situation of attempting to avoid the COVID-19 from entering onto the Thurston Woods Village campus. We continue to ask for your patience and understanding as we  limit our visitors, we require those entering our campus, including vendors and staff, to show no signs of infection via temperature monitoring and are constantly monitoring websites for additional updates.

Please rest assured we have an amazing staff that has already shown in too many ways to count their commitment to ensuring our resident’s safety remains our top priority.  Some have already volunteered to remain on-site should the need arise. Yes, they are AMAZING.

We have an emergency plan in place; are in constant contact with vendors for supplies-yes, we too, have to deal with toilet paper issues; and are meeting on a regular basis to update policies and procedures to ensure we are following the constantly changing state and federal guidelines/mandates.

Please feel free to drop off any items in the MAIN office for any resident on our campus and we will get those items to your loved one.

If I could ask one thing from the community it would be not to forget those are being quarantined in their areas, assuredly for their own protection but sometimes difficult for them to understand. Now, they are not being allowed to even eat together or play bingo together (today’s mandate). A simple phone call or a card goes a long way to ease their potential isolation.

We will attempt to keep you updated as information is provided.  If you have any questions,or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Theo Omo
Chief Executive Officer

**Homes and Gables Residents:  Effective Wednesday, March 18th, we will no longer have dining room services.  Please call by 10 am each day you would like to pick up a “to-go” meal.  IF you have questions, please call Jessie Leathers, Independent Living Director.   We will notify you when regular dining room services will resume.  ALL activities have been cancelled until further notice.


**EASTER EGG HUNT CANCELLED.  Due to the new mandate of no more than 50 person group contact, we have decided to cancel this year’s Easter Egg Hunt.  Please look for information of other events when the COVID-19 crisis is over.  Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to seeing you next year.



March 12, 2020

To Our Residents and Family Members:

We know many of you are concerned about the spread of COVID-19 (the new coronavirus) and how it may impact us here at Thurston Woods Village. Ensuring residents are cared for in a safe and healthy environment is our first priority. At this time, we do NOT have any cases in our center. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended a variety of steps that we are implementing to help reduce the potential for the virus to enter our building. However, we need your help in battling COVID-19. Below are some examples of how you can help protect the residents, as well as prevent the spread throughout the community.

At this time, we request that family and friends do not visit the center. Out of an abundance of caution, we are limiting all visitors to our facility unless absolutely necessary. According to the CDC, older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease are at a higher risk of serious illness if they contract the COVID-19 virus. This means that most people in our center are at a higher risk. We are posting signs on our entryway doors to notify visitors of this policy and actively screening individuals, including staff, who need to come into the building.

We understand that connecting with your loved ones is incredibly important, and there are a variety of other ways you might consider communicating with them. These may include telephone, email, text, video chat or social media. If you believe a visit to the center is necessary, we request that you contact us by phone prior to your arrival.

Please make sure we have your most current, emergency contact information. We want to make sure we efficiently communicate with you should there be any new developments. Please reach out to us with your updated contact information. Additionally, we will be updating our Facebook page and digital newsletters. You can sign up to receive these on our website.

Residents, please help prevent the spread of infection by exercising proper hand washing hygiene as well as coughing and sneezing etiquette. We offer hand washing and alcohol-based hand sanitizer stations throughout the building, which you are welcome to use. Please also avoid shaking hands and hugs with any individual. If you are experiencing a cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, and/or shortness of breath, please let a staff member know immediately.

Our center is following the recommendations of the CDC on prevention steps, including following strict handwashing procedures, and in many circumstances, wearing gowns and gloves when interacting with residents who present symptoms. We also are staying up to date with the CDC recommendations as they may continue to change. In addition, our center is in close contact with the local and state health department, and we are following their guidance.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact our center at: 269-651-7841

For the latest developments, please visit the CDC’s coronavirus disease:

Thurston Woods Village