Dear Families & Friends of Birch Bay Retirement Village,

I hope you are all feeling well and healthy. The team at Birch Bay Village considers maintaining the health, wellness and safety of your loved one as our number one priority. We continue to monitor information and guidance from the Maine Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and are working with state and local public health and emergency preparedness officials to prevent the illness and strengthen our preparation for and response to outbreak.

We continue to be focused on infection control best practices with our staff and residents. We are screening all staff and residents every day. Staff have been trained on the symptoms of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), CDC recommended infection prevention techniques, and have clear protocols for staff to stay home and not come to work if they are ill or symptomatic. Our staff is updated daily by our Health & Residents Services Director, Michael Smith, as well as Mount Desert Island Hospital’s Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Christina Maguire.

We currently have no cases of COVID-19 among our staff and residents. We have policies and procedures in place for when or if the first case is identified.

As a reminder, Birch Bay continues to restrict visitation on our campus as required by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS). Based on federal guidance, no visitor will be permitted into our community except for certain compassionate care situations such as an end-of-life situation. Our Straus Center Adult Day Program continues to remain closed.

As you may have heard in the news, Governor Janet Mills has issued a stay at home order for all Maine residents until May 1, 2020. We are expecting that this may be extended. Independent Residents have agreed to continue to shelter in place. We have shared a community resource directory with our Cottage Residents and check in with them regularly.

We understand that communication with your loved ones is incredibly important during this difficult time and encourage you to communicate with them by telephone, video chat, e-mail, or social media. Our Activities Coordinator, Jackie Calabrese, has been successful in setting up virtual visits with residents and their families. If you are interested in a virtual visit, please contact her at:  or 288-8014 x 5210

The CDC has issued guidance for long-term care environments to minimize deliveries of groceries, food and supplies to Long Term Care facilities by families and public. The concern is the potential for the virus to remain on items you may bring to your loved one if you are ill but do not have symptoms. This can be bypassed by a mail/shipping process so the items are untouched for a time believed to be sufficient for any virus to be killed. By shipping, the outer packaging can be removed safely by our staff and discarded. The contents can then be delivered to your loved one with less risk of transmission. We understand your desire to support your loved one and provide for their needs; however, we ask that you begin to make other arrangements to provide for these essentials other than personal delivery. Some families have had success shipping supplies using Amazon, FedEx, and the USPS.

Another option, if it is more convenient is to use one of the programs and services offered at Birch Bay. Residents living in Pleasant Cove and Safe Harbor already receive their meals and medications from our staff. Residents in our Independent Apartments are a part of the Personal Care Services Program so these residents can benefit from purchasing additional services such as our Care Free Meal Packages and the free Medication Delivery service through Omnicare. Please contact Susanne Hopkins for more information about this. or 288-8014 x 5211. We ask families to consider these options to minimize the deliveries and drop offs to our community.

We are grateful to the support of residents and their families during this difficult time. Please continue to visit our website and Facebook Page for regular updates and do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have.


Peter Sullivan, MBA, RN-BC, LRCA, CDP

Executive Director, Birch Bay Retirement Village