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COVID-19 Update

An Important Message from Westminster-Canterbury of the Blue Ridge

We are Committed to Ensuring a Safe Environment for All Who Live and Work in this Community.

In these unprecedented times, our focus here at Westminster-Canterbury of the Blue Ridge (WCBR) remains exactly the same. We are committed to ensuring a safe environment for all who live and work in this community. What is different are the steps we have taken to achieve an environment where residents receive the highest level of protection while still enjoying many of the comforts they deserve and expect.

Through the ways we've adapted, the spirit of this remarkable community has not only remained strong, it has grown and deepened in ways none could have foretold. Staff members have shifted gears and found new ways to bring comfort and safety to residents, and residents, in turn, have reached out to one another with phone calls of reassurance and emails to entertain. Others devote their time and skill to using technology to share vital information. WCBR’s leaders continue to appear weekly on the in-house television network regularly with updates and details of how to navigate the changes upon us.

We all work together to stay safe and strong, and the spirit of caring and compassion, a cornerstone of this community, carries us through each day.

Seated dining is back at WCBR!

More good news at Westminster-Canterbury of the Blue Ridge! The Main Dining Room is opening back up for seated dining, as of March 15. It’s been a year since the pandemic put a big crimp in our dining habits. The food has still been wonderful, but we’ve had to eat it apart from each other. Now, finally, we can break bread together, while still taking sensible precautions. That’s huge, since gourmet dining is a major part of what makes WCBR a special, and delicious, place to live.

Here’s how it will work:
  • First, three venues will be combined into one. The Main Dining Room will spread out to take in both Jefferson’s and the Dome Lounge. That way, we can accommodate close to half the dining room’s usual capacity of 150 while keeping everyone safely spaced apart.
  • For dinner, everyone must make reservations. And everyone is asked to please be on time for reservations, so that as many as possible can be accommodated in the time available. Seated dining will run from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
  • Seated dining will also be available for lunch, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and reservations will not be required.
  • Sunday dinner hours will be longer, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.. Sunday brunch will operate on a similar schedule to lunch other days, with seating available, but with reservations required.
  • Everyone will be expected to wear masks, covering both mouth and nose, except while eating at their tables.

Dr. Petri explains the threat that new COVID variants pose

We're very lucky here in Charlottesville to have Dr. William Petri in our community. We are dealing with the worst pandemic in a century, and he is a leading expert in the field.

Dr. Petri is the Wade Hampton Frost Professor of Epidemiology and vice chair for research at the University of Virginia Department of Medicine. (Learn more about him and his work from his UVA bio, or at his Wikipedia page.)

You may recall that back in July, Dr. Petri spoke to us here at WCBR in a special video presentation, during which he took questions. You can still view that here. He talked to us about the care and treatment of people with COVID-19 and advances in research, including a grant proposal he had submitted on a COVID vaccine that was under development.

Now, he continues to share his expertise to help us all understand this delicate moment – when more and more of us are getting our vaccine, but other threats hang over us. Such as the new variants that have cropped up.

What are these variants, and what do they mean to us as we try to defeat COVID-19? UVAToday recently caught up with Dr. Petri to ask him those and related questions.

You may read the entire article here.

But here, paraphrased, are some of the main points covered:


What are the main new variants?


The U.K. variant, which is estimated to be 30-40 percent more contagious, has now been found in more than 70 countries and 40 states in this one. It’s been found here among the university community, and it’s growing so fast it could soon become the dominant variant in the United States.

The South Africa variant has spread less widely, but it may be better at getting around vaccines than the U.K. version.

The Brazil variant, similar to the South African, has been detected in several countries and two U.S. states.

Another has recently emerged in California, and may be responsible for about half of the COVID cases in the Los Angeles area. Not much is yet known about it.

How did variants develop so fast?


They didn’t, really. Coronaviruses in general mutate at a much lower rate than, say, influenza or HIV. That’s why they’ve shown up relatively late in the pandemic. The high number of infections has given the virus more and more opportunities to mutate, and to become more transmissible.

What’s the good news?


That vaccines produced by Moderna and Pfizer are producing extremely high levels of antibodies. With these vaccines, the new variants are not escaping vaccination – even the South African variant, which has proven a tougher target for vaccines from other companies.

What’s the bad news?


We don’t know exactly when antibodies from the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will wane, because they have only been in circulation a few months. Also, other vaccines – such as the AstraZeneca and Novavax – are not doing as well against some variants.

How can we protect ourselves from the new variants?


The same things as before: wear a mask, wash your hands, keep physical distance, avoid gatherings, especially indoors. And maybe wear two masks rather than one. “I have begun wearing two masks in some public settings,” said Dr. Petri.

There’s much more. Go check it out.

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Messages from Gary Selmeczi, President and CEO

Here’s a series of livestream messages from President and CEO, Gary Selmeczi to our residents. Guest speakers providing additional information appear as well.

To view previous messages you can scroll through the black box in the upper left-hand corner.

Insights from our community and loved ones

Hear directly from our residents and their family members about the care and support they have received during this challenging time.

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A video showcase from our community to yours

To bring you closer during this time of social distancing, we’d like to share a few streaming options that residents are enjoying in their own homes.

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