Coronavirus Information

Updates from Heron’s Key Leadership Team

March 22, 2021

More than 350 residents and staff throughout Heron’s Key & Penrose Harbor have received both doses of vaccine, accounting for more than 95% of residents who have received this valuable protection!  We extend our thanks to Walgreens, for their partnership in reaching this milestone.  We also extend our thanks to Dr. Kathy Polo and Dr. Judith Rubin of Nouveau Medspa in Gig Harbor who supported Heron’s Key with a smaller vaccination clinic on March 4th for residents and staff unable to participate in earlier clinics, and to St. Anthony’s hospital who has agreed to partner with us to provide vaccinations for residents and staff joining the Heron’s Key community.

We are pleased to report that there are no known active cases of COVID-19 at Heron’s Key and Penrose Harbor.    

Protecting the health and wellbeing of Heron’s Key residents and staff continues to be our highest priority. We are continuing to monitor the COVID-19 situation very closely to ensure we are taking precautions to protect our community. Every decision is guided by our local public health jurisdictions, the CDC, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Washington State Governor.

From the onsite of this COVID-19 pandemic, residents and staff have been urged to follow the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for prevention of any viral respiratory illness, including frequent hand washing, practice of good cough etiquette, advising those exhibiting any symptoms of the virus, or in direct contact with those exhibiting symptoms (sore throat, cough, fever) to remain at home until symptom-free for 72 hours.

Our State has taken significant actions to limit the potential spread of COVID-19, including Governor Inslee’s 2021 “Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery” plan.  We are now in Phase 3 of that “Roadmap to Recovery” plan, which reduces restrictions on in-person visits for residents.  Heron’s Key is also able to re-open its restaurants, amenity spaces and allow small resident gatherings in common areas.  While observing the Governor’s recovery plan and most current mandates, Heron’s Key also continues to follow the guidance of local health jurisdictions, the CDC, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid as we cautiously re-open expanded services on campus.  With the move to Phase 3, indoor visits within individual residences are now allowed!  Visitors must screen in, wear masks in all public spaces and observe physical distancing guidelines. Friends and family are also encouraged to keep in touch using the new “Send a Greeting” page on the Heron’s Key website.

Heron’s Key and Penrose Harbor have also taken specific steps to increase protection for those that we serve against this virus. The precautions listed below remain in effect for Heron’s Key and Penrose Harbor.

  • In-person indoor sponsored activities for residents have resumed and are limited to 50% of room capacity with social distancing guidelines in effect; residents are encouraged to continue to participate in programs and events spanning the 7-elements of Wellness through creative on-line videos, webinars and virtual meetings.
  • Salon services for residents have resumed; the salon is providing service to two residents at a time.
  • Seated dining services, for dinner only, have resumed in Spinnakers restaurant. Seating is currently limited to 25% capacity but will increase to 50% capacity in the coming weeks.  “Grab-n-Go”, take-out and delivery options continue to remain in effect for dining services.
  • Transportation to local grocery stores has also resumed; curbside pick-up for residents that have ordered groceries on-line also continues.
  • As we welcome visitors to Heron’s Key the following requirements remain in effect:
    • All essential employees and visitors to Heron’s Key are screened at the Concierge Desk using Washington Department of Health recommended health questions. All employees and visitors are required to have their temperature taken upon arrival to campus.  Should a fever be exhibited they will not be permitted to enter further into the building.
    • All employees and visitors are required to wear a mask while at Heron’s Key; residents are required to wear a mask when outside of their apartment/cottage home and when staff members are providing service in their home.
  • All deliveries to Heron’s Key are delivered to a single point of entry; Heron’s Key staff or resident volunteers will deliver items to their destination.
  • Housekeeping and maintenance services to Independent Living have resumed following enhanced safety protocols.
  • Although small gatherings are allowed in Phase 3 of the “Healthy Washington” plan, the importance of social distancing cannot be emphasized enough. However, social distancing does not mean social isolation. Phone calls, video chats, e-mail and good old-fashioned letters are encouraged, as are walks out-of-doors on sunny days (just keeping a 6-foot distance from walking partners.)

Specific to Penrose Harbor, in March of 2021, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) released updated guidelines for long-term care facilities such as Penrose Harbor at Heron’s Key. The Safe Start Plan for Long term care is advancing with a reduction in restrictions for Penrose Harbor, and we are delighted that residents in Penrose Harbor are once again able to connect in person with loved ones and friends.  There are requirements and limitations for who is eligible for in-person visit, and limits on the number of visitors allowed for indoor versus outdoor visits.  Those eligible for indoor visits in Penrose Harbor are:

  • All fully vaccinated residents (fully vaccinated is defined as: a person who is 2 or more weeks (≥2) following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series of an approved COVID-19 vaccine, or 2 or more weeks (≥2) following receipt of one dose of a single dose approved COVID0-19 vaccine) are eligible.
  • Penrose Harbor residents that are NOT fully vaccinated- may only have fully vaccinated visitors (meaning those coming in to see the resident must be fully vaccinated as defined as above).
  • In-person visits are also allowed for compassionate care situations- these are visits that are non-routine based on resident-centered care needs, where the resident has experienced a traumatic event or situation that would make an in-person visit of benefit to the resident, including psycho-social needs and end of life situations.

Indoor, in-person visitation may be altered due to an individual’s COVID status or the status of COVID-19 at the community.  However, based on our current status here are the main points of the plan:

Family/friends of eligible residents are encouraged to visit outside whenever possible due to better airflow and reduced risk of COVID transmission, regardless of vaccination status.

For indoor visits:

  • Eligible residents may have up to two visitors at a time (no age restrictions, however ALL visitors need to abide by the core infection control principals
  • Visitors may visit for approximately 60 minutes per visit.
  • Visitors may visit as many days as the schedule allows. We will schedule visits so all residents have the opportunity for a visitor.
  • ALL VISITS MUST BE SCHEDULED. Please call the Penrose Receptionist at 235-313-0800 to schedule.
  • The visitation schedule has times throughout the week and a variety of times throughout the day including evenings and weekends.
  • All visitors MUST be screened, sign- into a visitor’s logbook, provide contact information, abide by all the infection control principals listed below and acknowledge that persons visiting unvaccinated is a violation of the Governor’s Proclamation for non-vaccinated residents.
  • All visitors must visit in designated visiting areas. Once screened-in, signed in, staff will direct you to the appropriate area.
  • Embracing – all vaccinated residents may choose to embrace/hold hands with their visitors if desired AND the visitor is wearing assigned PPE. All unvaccinated residents must maintain social distancing (a six-foot distance from others) during visits.


Outdoor Visits:

All rules for indoor visits apply accept:

Residents scheduling an outdoor visit may have up to four visitors. All Penrose Harbor residents, regardless of vaccination status, may schedule outdoor visits (as long as weather is safe). Both outdoor and “window visits” are available by appointment for all residents in Penrose Harbor.  An outdoor canopy with seating is available for visitation by appointment at the entrance to Penrose Harbor.  In addition, canopies with seating and intercom systems have been placed outside of vacant rooms to allow for window visitation.  Appointments are required to ensure disinfection of all areas between visits.  Please call the Penrose Receptionist at 235-313-0800 to make an appointment.

We continue to follow the Governor’s orders for long-term care visitor restrictions and are monitoring closely for any changes.


  • Weekly COVID-19 testing is being completed for Penrose Harbor and Heron’s Key staff.
  • In accordance with the newly revised Safe Start Plan, Penrose Harbor residents may now participate in small indoor group activities and communal dining. Residents are participating in these activities in established pods per the new requirements.   Our life enrichment team has assisted our residents in identifying “pod mates” that now share meals and activities together.
  • The Penrose Harbor Life enrichment team also continues to work with residents individually for activity programming and support of ongoing communication between residents and their loved ones using video chat, e-mail, social media and phone.
  • All residents, whether they have COVID-19 symptoms or not, are requested to cover their noses and mouths when staff are in their room. Masks are provided to all Penrose Harbor residents.
  • Every resident in Penrose Harbor is assessed for symptoms and has their temperature checked every staff shift change.
  • Residents in Penrose Harbor who receive a diagnosis of COVID-19 will be isolated in their rooms away from other people and staff will follow the most recent Public Health recommendations for care of patients with COVID-19.
  • Penrose Harbor and Herons’ Key staff and volunteers are prohibited from disclosing protected and confidential health information, except as otherwise provided by law or with the resident’s consent.

Questions about the Safe Start Plan for Long Term Care and how it pertains to Penrose Harbor may be directed to Health Services Administrator, Tristan Lester.

Penrose Harbor skilled nursing is accepting direct admissions as there are no current cases of COVID-19 in skilled nursing.  We remain highly focused on infection control best practices training with staff and residents.

Thank you for your support and understanding as we work diligently to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of residents and staff.  For the most current information about COVID-19 and coronaviruses, we recommend visiting the CDC or Department of Health websites.

We hope you’ll be inspired by these additional thoughts on keeping engaged in a time of social distancing.

Please click here to explore virtual activity recommendations.