Immanuel Lutheran Communities COVID 19 Update

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

We have instituted an Immanuel Lutheran COVID-19 Task Force consisting of key staff members to discuss protocols daily. Click here to visit our Foundation website and donate to our COVID-19 Response Fund. 
Immanuel Lutheran Communities COVID-19 Dashboard


September 12, 2020-

For Immediate Release: Contact: John MacDonald 406-465-3558 or

Immanuel Lutheran Reports Fatality of COVID-19 Positive Resident

KALISPELL, MT – One of the 3 residents in the Skilled Care Center and Retreat of Immanuel Lutheran Communities who had previously tested positive for the Coronavirus and was in isolation, has died. She was preparing to be transferred back to her original residence when her health declined significantly. This resident, an 87 year old woman who was previously asymptomatic, was transported from Immanuel’s COVID-19 Quarantine Wing to Kalispell Regional Medical Center (KRMC) where she passed away shortly after being admitted on Thursday evening, while in the company of her loved ones. This death has been classified by KRMC as COVID-19-related, with other complications also playing a role.

“Although this resident passed away outside of our facility, we feel it’s very important to continue educating the public on the harsh reality that COVID-19 can transform in a matter of hours.” Cronk said. “This resident was in general good health – eating well, resting and comfortable, – when suddenly she took a turn for the worst. Her family is in our thoughts and prayers, as we mourn her loss.”

Immanuel continues to practice extensive Infection Prevention and Control measures to protect residents and educate staff to prevent COVID-19 from being introduced into our environment. The community continues to monitor and test both residents and staff each week. In addition to the testing and screening, ILC has taken extensive infection preventions measures.


August 24, 2020-

For Immediate Release: Contact: John MacDonald 406-465-3558 or

Immanuel Lutheran Updates Resident COVID-19 Testing Results

KALISPELL, MT – One of 92 residents in the Skilled Care Center and Retreat of Immanuel Lutheran Communities who underwent nasal-swab testing for the Coronavirus last Friday has tested positive, but continues to show no symptoms. However, a second resident, whose Friday test came back negative, was hospitalized Sunday night for unrelated health issues and a test administered at the hospital came back positive.

“What we are seeing at Immanuel Lutheran Communities right now serves as a reminder and a caution about the serious nature and uncertainty of this virus,” Cronk said. “I am so proud of our staff for the measures they have taken to try to keep this out of our community – all the protocols, precautions, screenings and testing. But we still have had positive cases. It shows how unpredictable this virus is and the need for all of us to remain vigilant.”

Friday’s nasal-swab tests of residents were prompted by identical, mandatory staff tests earlier last week that confirmed three ILC employees tested positive for COVID-19. All of these staff members are in isolation at home while they recover. Two of those employees, a housekeeper and a maintenance worker, continue to be asymptomatic as of Monday. The third employee, a nurse, experienced some minor symptoms but is recovering well.

Cronk said no additional employees have shown any signs of the virus as of Monday. No other residents are showing symptoms, and all are in general good-health.

All 300 full- and part-time employees are screened at the beginning of each shift and receive nasal-swab testing weekly. The screening includes a temperature check and a series of questions to determine if they have symptoms or may have been exposed to the virus while outside of work.

All residents living in Immanuel Lutheran Communities are being screened every 8 hours, and monitored daily for symptoms of COVID-19.

Cronk said all residents residing in the Immanuel Skilled Care Center and The Retreat at Buffalo Hill will remain in quarantine until ILC receives all negative results for 14 days, per the Health Department’s requirement.



August 21, 2020-

For Immediate Release:
Contact: John MacDonald at 406-465-3558 or


Immanuel Lutheran Reports Three Staff Tested Positive for the Coronavirus

KALISPELL, MT – Three employees at Immanuel Lutheran Communities tested positive for the Coronavirus this week during the required nasal swab testing put in place to protect residents.

Jason Cronk, President and CEO of Immanuel Lutheran, said the three employees were notified immediately upon receipt of the initial positive tests results Wednesday, and ordered not to come to work. The test results were confirmed late Thursday evening. The Flathead County Health Department was immediately notified, as were the families of all ILC residents upon confirmation of the positive tests. At the time the tests were administered Monday, none of the employees showed any symptoms, Cronk said.

“It is obviously a concern that we had positive tests among any of our employees especially when they did not show any symptoms, but due to the nature of this virus, it is something we anticipated could happen and we have prepared to deal with this possibility,” Cronk said.

Due to preventative measures already in place at ILC, Cronk said he is optimistic the employees would not have spread the virus to any residents. The employees who tested positive included a nurse, a housekeeper and a maintenance worker.

All 300 full- and part-time staff are required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), including face masks and face shields or goggles. Additionally, staff are required to social-distance, and when possible, limit their time around fellow staff members to under 15 minutes. When serving residents, staff members wear required PPE, and the resident is asked to wear a cloth face covering to eliminate possible spread.

Additionally, every ILC employee is screened at the beginning of each shift. The screening includes a temperature check and a series of questions to determine if they have any symptoms or may have been exposed to the virus outside of work. All residents living in assisted living, the Lodge, the Immanuel Skilled Care Center and The Retreat are also screened every eight hours and monitored for symptoms.  Residents living in independent living are asked to self-monitor.  As of Friday, no employees or residents across the ILC campus showed any symptoms.

Following guidance from the Flathead County Health Department, residents of the Immanuel Skilled Care Center and Retreat will be undergoing nasal swab testing on Friday.  Results of those tests are expected within 48-72 hours and will determine next actions.

As an additional precaution to protect our residents, Cronk said ILC implemented a policy which began on Monday, August 17th, that requires all employees to have the nasal swab test each week.

“Our priority is to protect our residents and staff from the virus, while also continuing to maintain a great quality of life for those who call our community home.” Cronk said. “Although there are many restrictions on our “normal” procedures due to the pandemic, we continue to find new creative ways to support and serve our residents.”

Immanuel continues to screen staff before each shift and to nasal swab test each employee weekly and will proceed with following very strict infection prevention measures to ensure to safety of both residents and staff. All ILC staff receive daily updates and educational pieces on COVID-19, as to help them make safe choices while outside of work.



August 12, 2020-

For Immediate Release:
Contact: John MacDonald, 406-465-3558 or

Immanuel Lutheran Confirms All Residents and Staff have Tested Negative for COVID-19 following Recent Positive

KALISPELL, MT – Following a positive test of COVID-19 for a resident at Buffalo Hill Terrace on July 29th, Immanuel Lutheran Communities followed the state’s recommendations to test all staff and residents in the Assisted Living facility. All residents were required to quarantine until our community received 14 days of negative tests since the positive was reported. After two rounds of weekly testing, we received word on August 12th that all of these results are negative for COVID-19.

This is great news, and our community continues to be diligent in protecting our residents against this pandemic. Our visitation restrictions on campus will continue as recommended by both CMS and the CDC, and our staff is continually working on new engagement activities and opportunities to prioritize human connection for residents, while performing extensive disinfecting, and proper social distancing.

Additionally, we are relieved to report that the resident who originally tested positive is doing well, and her test this week also came back negative. She was deemed “not contagious” by the state on August 7th, was relieved from the state’s isolation then, but remained in quarantine until today when we received word of all negative tests.

Jason Cronk, CEO of Immanuel Lutheran Communities said, “Our community is extremely appreciative of the support we have received after the unfortunate news a few weeks ago, and we are very blessed to have such amazing staff who acted quickly to prevent the spread of this positive throughout our community.”



July 29, 2020-

For Immediate Release:
Contact: John MacDonald, 406-465-3558 or

Immanuel Lutheran Assisted Living Resident Tests Positive for COVID-19

KALISPELL, MT – Immanuel Lutheran Communities received confirmation on Wednesday, July 29 that a female resident in assisted living at Buffalo Hill Terrace has tested positive for COVID-19 and is in isolation. She is stable and resting comfortably.

Jason Cronk, CEO of Immanuel Lutheran Communities, said the organization immediately initiated prepared response plans when the test was suspected positive on Tuesday, and has been working with the Flathead County Health Department on “contact tracing” to determine who the affected resident may have been in contact with. Any persons who were exposed to this resident have been informed by the Flathead County Health Department.

Immanuel Lutheran Communities also immediately informed residents and their families of the positive test and suspended activities at Buffalo Hill Terrace.

Cronk said the organization is cooperating fully with state and federal health officials to trace the source of the exposure, analyze potential contact to other residents and staff within our community, and prevent any potential spread. The community has been busy since March, implementing new procedures to prevent the spread of illness, and to respond in the event it did arise. These precautions include:

  • monitoring resident travel
  • asking residents who recently traveled to self-quarantine
  • cancelling Community activities and programs
  • closing dining venues and delivering meals
  • restricting visitors
  • quarantining any newly admitted health care residents
  • requiring staff to self-monitor for symptoms up to 14-days upon return from travel
  • screening all team members and essential vendors including daily temperature checks and COVID-19 testing
  • encouraging only medically necessary resident travel off-campus
  • developing and practicing response contingency plans

While it was hoped these actions hinder the virus, Immanuel Lutheran leadership has continued conscientiously planning and preparing to respond effectively for a time such as this.

“Our priorities are to provide aid and comfort to our resident and the resident’s family at this time, and to ensure that every possible measure has been taken to isolate this case to prevent further exposure.” Cronk said. “Since it is seemingly impossible to defend against this virus until we have timely and accurate testing and a vaccine, our COVID-19 Response Team has been in constant preparation. The past few months have equipped us for this very moment, and I am confident that our extensive training combined with our strong clinical team that will do all that we can to eliminate this virus from our Community.”

As Flathead County sees and escalation in cases of COVID-19, Immanuel Lutheran Communities continues to promote the importance of personal action to protect seniors and other vulnerable populations. Daily communications to the Immanuel Lutheran Community encourage all to follow CDC guidelines of practicing proper hand hygiene and social distancing to prevent the further spread of COVID.19.




June 26, 2020- 

Yesterday, the Governor lifted the order directing “no visitation” in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Please click here to view a copy of his new directive on this subject which relies heavily on the guidance that has been issued by CMS and CDC. It also includes a general guidance document that was produced by the work group on this subject.

This order and guidance applies to both nursing homes and assisted living facilities. From the standpoint of this state executive order, all of the guidance is just that – guidance.

Each senior living community is asked to develop its own plan for allowing (or not) visitation, in consultation with our local public health authority, and considering the status of covid-19 in our community and our ability as a senior living community to meet applicable guidelines.

Protecting the wellbeing of all in our Community has always been our top priority, and thus far we have been successful in keeping the virus out. Upon Montana’s phased reopening which began in May, we have seen another spike in cases. In response to our current situation and the governor’s most recent directive, Immanuel will remain closed to visitors at this time.

In addition to the patio visits at Buffalo Hill Terrace, we are working with our local health department to allow scheduled visits outside with a protective barrier for Immanuel Skilled Care Center. Once finalized, we will share with you the policy and procedures to reserve your visitation.

In closing, we would like to thank you all for your patience, understanding and support as we navigate this pandemic. Our mission continues to be about putting the safety and well-being of our residents first. If there are further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to:

Carla Wilton

Chief Operating Officer

(406) 309-5592

Dwight Shaffer

Clinical Administrator

(406) 250-5578


April 27, 2020-

Immanuel Foundation is participating in the Whitefish Community Foundation’s Day of Giving and Unity on May 5 – 6 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.  Donations will help fund technology that will allow Immanuel residents to stay connected to their loved ones while keeping them safe as they socially isolate.  Learn more at If you would like to give, go to between 8am on May 5 and 12pm on May 6.  Thank you!

April 15, 2020-

Click the play button below to hear our CEO, Jason R. Cronk, featured on KGEZ Radio talking about Immanuel Lutheran’s preparedness for COVID-19!


March 25, 2020-

Click here to hear our CEO, Jason R. Cronk, featured on LeadingAge talking about Immanuel Lutheran’s preparedness for COVID-19!


March 25, 2020-

Protecting the well-being of all in our Community has always been our top priority. From the first COVID-19 Response Team meeting, we set out to take a proactive approach, and our efforts will continue until the last case of COVID-19 in the world has recovered. Our team has spent much time over these past weeks actively planning for resource needs, increasing infection control measures, implement travel and illness surveillance, screening team members, and communicating thoroughly and regularly. We continue our laser focus on preventing the introduction of coronavirus into our facility, and we are using every source of guidance from federal and state agencies and the senior living/long term care fields. As we increase our vigilance, we will do all we can to minimize the impact on day to day life while continuing our proactive approach.

Immanuel Lutheran Communities appreciates your incredible dedication to this cause. As we are now in a new phase of prevention, since having multiple reported cases of the coronavirus in the Flathead Valley, it’s time to implement new and more intensified measures.

  • Since March 13th, all visitors, groups and volunteers have been restricted from access to the building.
  • Any staff entering the building is being screened per Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services’ (DPHHS) suggestions.
  • All groups are restricted from meeting across campus, and any residents should practice appropriate social-distancing.
  • Any vendors with deliveries are also being screened if they need to enter the building, and any deliveries are being met at a designated location outdoors.
  • All staff have been asked not to travel out of the county, and if they do, are restricted from entering campus for 14-days following their return.
  • Dining services have been tailored to avoid group gatherings, and also accommodate any residents who are self-quarantining.
  • Any new admissions are being placed in a 14-day quarantine while also being monitored multiple times a day for signs of COVID-19.

We will see this through and emerge stronger. Again, we are appreciative of the understanding and efforts made by you all, and would like to encourage you to continue practicing hand washing measures as well as social distancing from others. We all need to do what we can to protect the well-being of the residents at most risk in our Community.

Additional Resources:
State of Montana COVID-19 Information
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 Information


March 19, 2020-

At Immanuel Lutheran Communities we are committed to providing a safe environment for our residents, their families, and our staff. It is natural to be concerned about the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and in an effort to keep you all updated with the ever changing environment, we have developed this webpage where current updates will be posted.

This website will be updated daily with the most recent information from our Immanuel Lutheran COVID-19 Response Team, and features a form which allows you to ask questions, and receive a response from a qualified member of our clinical team.

At this time, we do not have any cases of coronavirus, and we are ever vigilant and remain on high alert to stay educated on this disease, and the precautions we need to take should it present itself. We will continue to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local and state health departments, and by our highly qualified and experienced Immanuel Lutheran Communities Clinical Team. 

Although faced with a challenging and ever-changing environment, we will continue to do what we feel is best for our residents and staff, to avoid the spread of this pandemic to our campus. It is our mission and ministry to provide an environment of support and loving care, and we intend to do just that, no matter the circumstances. We appreciate your ongoing support during this time, and look forward to a future, free of this pandemic.



If you have any questions regarding COVID-19 and Immanuel’s preparedness plan, please complete the below form and a member of staff will touch base with you shortly.



Immanuel Lutheran Communities' COVID-19 Preparedness Plan

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