Covid-19 Updates & Policies

July 2nd Update


From all of us, we wish everyone an enjoyable and safe 4th of July!  Below are some general updates from our facilities in our efforts to keep you informed.

We continue to have the scheduled visitation at each of our locations and we have had great comments and input from this.  We encourage you to contact the facility in which your loved one resides to schedule this if you’re interested.

Covid-19 testing continues of both residents and staff members in a surveillance, or random testing, capacity, as directed by the South Dakota Department of Health at each licensed facility – Westhills Village Health Care, Clarkson Health Care and The Courtyard Assisted Living; to date, we continue to be Covid-19 FREE at each location that we are aware of.

We are still working on the availability of beautician services for Westhills Village Health Care, Clarkson Health Care and anticipate that we will be beginning services within the next week.  Beautician services just opened again at The Courtyard, and it has been a welcomed service to have at our facility again!  We are working very closely with residents, family contacts, and the Beauticians to coordinate all of these services.

One of the requirements, as directed by the Department of Health, that will allow our facilities to move from one phase to another, is having ZERO active cases in the specific community or county.  As we’re sure you’re well aware, currently there are approximately 130 active cases of Covid-19 in Pennington County.  That gives us all some indication as to what will need to occur before we start making additional changes within the operation. 

Again, we wish everyone a happy 4th of July!  We are hoping the Rapid City community continues to work on being safe for everyone in it. 

As always, we appreciate your patience, cooperation, understanding and support as ALL of us work together to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in our facilities.

June 19th Update

We wanted to give everyone a brief update on recent Covid-19 happenings.

We currently have all of the same steps, practices, protocols as well as restrictions in place regarding the Covid-19 pandemic; this continues to be the recommendation of the South Dakota Department of Health, the CDC, local health care providers and our Medical Director, Dr. Ken Diamond.

As you are well aware, new cases continue to appear in Pennington County and of late, there have been several facilities that have residents as well as staff members who are infected with coronavirus.  At this time, all of our facilities and campuses have NO known Covid-19 cases within our resident or staff member population.  We are very proud of this and we know it has been accomplished thus far due to everyone’s cooperation and efforts, there is still no guarantee as to what could or may occur in the future, which is why we need to stay the course with our current program.

With the benefits and privilege of living in a facility comes a shared community responsibility for all of us to protect each other.  That will continue until such time we have better information and direction regarding changing our steps, practices and protocols in the near future.

We do have methods for visitation at all locations for residents and family members/friends to utilize, so again, please contact the location in which your loved one resides and refer to information we have previously sent.  This is being utilized extensively at most of our locations. 

We have been part of the review with the South Dakota Department of Health’s phasing plan for the future.  This plan is a step by step protocol that would allow facilities to begin to allow more flexibility, visitation and address a wide variety of other items as we approach the time that we can begin to re-open.  More information will become available to all of us regarding this in the near future, but we have had the opportunity to review the many pages of details that would be involved in doing so.  We will address these steps at the appropriate time, but one of the big conditions for re-opening is this:

  • Does the facility have any Covid-19 cases – we do NOT at this time, of course


  • Do positive cases continue to appear in the county and/or community – which of course we DO.

As more time goes by, we will have a better understanding of where Pennington County, the Rapid City community as well as maintaining safety within our facilities that would allow us to make changes.  We are hopeful that we can have more information and possibly more positive steps we can take at our facilities in short order.

Additionally, we want to wish all the Fathers a Happy Father’s Day this weekend.

As an organization, we have tried to anticipate and fill the need for residents, families and coworkers as we address the many details associated with this Covid-19 pandemic and want to thank EVERYONE for their understanding, cooperation, patience, support and tremendous teamwork ALL of us have had to show as we navigate through these uncertain times.

We are in hopes that in the near future we will have new positive steps, practices and protocols in place that all of us may look forward to.

Visitation Protocol

Westhills Village is excited to announce we have established visitation stations for families and friends to come and visit with their loved ones at all our facilities outdoors, weather permitting.  We are strictly following CDC guidelines during these visits.  The following protocols have been established to ensure social distancing and health guidelines are kept during your visit:

  • All visits must be scheduled in advanced and are allowed Monday – Friday  
  • Screening prior to the visit will take place to ensure no one has any COVID-19 symptoms
  • Both visitor(s) and resident must wear a face mask
  • No contact or exchange of items between each other will be allowed
  • Visits will be limited to 20 minutes at a time
  • No more than 2 visitors at a time
  • No one under the age of 16 may visit

Please do NOT arrive early to your scheduled visit as we want to have time to properly clean the visitation area between appointments.

Please contact the following employees to schedule your upcoming visit:

Clarkson Healthcare contact Teresa Wardle at 605-343-5882 Monday – Friday 8AM – 3:30PM.

Westhills Healthcare contact Debbie Westfall at 605-342-0255 Monday – Friday 8AM – 3:30PM.

Westhills Courtyard contact Brandon Petrotto at 605-342-0255 Monday – Friday 8AM – 3PM.

Westhills Villa Apartments contact Nedra Harrod at 605-342-0255 Monday – Friday 8AM – 3:30PM.

Testing Results

The results are in!

We have been anxiously awaiting the results of our 400+ COVID-19 samples that were collected and sent for testing last week. As of today all of our residents' results have been received! A vast majority of our staff results have also been received with the exception of a few that we anticipate to receive next week!

We are so happy to know that all of our preventive measures have resulted in a favorable test result for all of our residents in assisted living and health care facilities! Which means our residents are COVID-19 free!

Of our more than 250 employees, we did have a positive COVID-19 result for one employee. This employee did not have any symptoms of COVID-19 or known exposure to someone with COVID-19. Due to the processes we have in place for all of our employees when they interact with each other, as well as with our residents, we do not believe any of our other employees or residents are at risk of exposure to COVID-19. Additional testing was done as a precautionary measure for employees that had the most contact with the positive employee. Those test results were also returned as negative for COVID-19. Again, we do have a handful of employees' results from our mass testing last week that we anticipate receiving next week.

Although our testing had a very good outcome, we continue to be guided by the South Dakota Department of Health on the restrictions in place in our assisted living and skilled nursing facilities. At this time the SD Dept. of Health continues to require we maintain our no visitation restriction. We are continuing the no visitation restriction in our independent living living as well, as visitors continue to be at high risk of unknowingly bringing COVID-19 into the facility, and our residents remain as vulnerable as ever.

At this time, the SD Dept. of Health is exploring the option of continuing mass testing of our facilities. This requirement is still not in place and we will remain as attentive as ever to the ever-changing requirements to ensure compliance with their directives.

As always, thank you to our residents, staff, family members, and loved ones that continue to support us during this time!

May 29th Reminders

  • All steps and practices at Clarkson Health Care, Westhills Village Health Care and The Courtyard Assisted Living facility are set forth by the South Dakota Department of Health.  No changes will be made to any of our practices or processes until such time we are advised by the Department of Health that we are able to do so. 
  • As the number of positive Covid-19 cases increases in Pennington County, we are all hearing from others in the community – somebody knows someone that has the virus or was exposed to it, which again, tells us that this is the time we ALL really need to be as careful as possible. 
  • We appreciate everyone’s cooperation and support as the Salon continues to operate and we wish to thank the beauticians for their cooperation as well! 
  • Dr. Diamond, our Medical Director, is actively involved daily with us regarding necessary updates and guidance.  We have a very strong team, very focused on correct and appropriate ways in which to work through these challenging times. 
  • We all want to know, “What is the timeline?”  and “What does the future hold?”  This week, we certainly cannot predict what the timeline might be, but can tell you that there is work going on behind the scenes regarding how we phase out of the current steps and practices.  Those have not yet been defined, however we will rely heavily upon the South Dakota Department of Health and the CDC to alert us as to when and how that can occur. 
  • As always, we wish to thank our amazing team of coworkers, all of the wonderful residents who reside in our facilities and their families for the support, dedication, understanding, encouragement and TEAMWORK during this time as we strive to make each of our locations as safe as possible for those of us who work within our organization and those who choose to reside here.  THANK YOU!!

May 26th Update

May 18th Update


Date: Monday, May 18, 2020

Since the Covid-19 outbreak that began in our region, Clarkson Health Care Facility has been very proactive in its steps to protect both residents and our employees.

Early on, we had closed all of our locations to visitors, initiated daily screening of employees and incorporated, as we continue to do, numerous other measures recommended by the South Dakota Department of Health, the CDC and our own medical community.

Today, Monday, May 18, an employee has tested positive for Covid-19.  As part of our protocols in place, we are informing all employees, residents and responsible party/family member and of course, we are working closely with the South Dakota Department of Health and our Medical Director on the follow up.   We are not aware of any other employee member or any resident that has the COVID-19 virus. 

As we were updated last week, and as scheduled, all employees and all residents will be tested this week for COVID-19 and will have more information as it becomes available.

We continue to take all necessary precautions to stop the spread of this virus and our top priority is to keep everyone safe and healthy.

The employee was in the facility for a short period of time and we have retraced any contact and all appropriate follow up steps are being taken.

We have prepared our staff and our operations for this day, if it were to come, as we move forward.

May 14th Update

The South Dakota Department of Health is requiring that ALL residents of skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, as well as staff who work in those facilities be tested for Covid-19.

We plan to begin testing as early as next week, May 18-22; again, ALL residents in our licensed facilities will be tested. Our Medical Director, Dr. Ken Diamond, will order the test for each resident and tests will be performed on-site. The specimen is collected via a nasal swab, and is then submitted to the lab for processing. The testing that we will be completing is for the active virus.

This is a significant positive step in protecting our residents and staff members from Covid-19 and we applaud the Department of Health’s support and efforts in accomplishing this.

Once the test is sent to the lab, it takes approximately up to 3 days to obtain the results and of course, if we had ANY positive cases, the immediate and appropriate follow up would occur.

As we proceed with this mass testing process, please also be aware that all residents in skilled and assisted living are screened on a daily basis for fever and other COVID-19 symptoms. If a resident develops any symptoms at any time, we follow the public health guidance to isolate them and notify their provider, and complete any further assessment or testing that is indicated at that time. We will continue this process, and would communicate any changes in condition to the resident representative.

At this time, there is nothing that we would need from you and plan to proceed as soon as possible beginning next week. Thank you, once again, for your continued patience, cooperation, understanding and support while we navigate through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Daryl's Update - May 14

May 8th Update

First, again, thank everyone for your understanding, cooperation and patience as we continue to work together in providing a safe and secure place for you to reside and staff members to work.  Also, from all of us, we’d like to wish all the mothers a Happy Mother’s Day and know it will be unique for all of us – whether you’re at Westhills Village or somewhere else.  We ALL miss the socializing and human contact that normally occurs during Mother’s Day, yet maybe the biggest gift we can give our mothers is safety this year.
Below are some updates on a variety of topics related to Covid-19.

  • In all of our licensed facilities (The Courtyard, Westhills Village Health Care, Clarkson Health Care), the South Dakota Department of Health continues to have the same requirements and our processes will not change at any of those locations until the Department of Health allows them to be changed and we have evaluated on our own, as well, what is occurring in the Rapid City community and our own community here at Westhills Village.
  • The Rapid City community has done an excellent job of “flattening the curve,” which we’ve all heard and read about.  Now, with the slow reopening of the community, it IS expected that we WILL see an increase in positive Covid-19 cases; so we are now approaching that time during which hanging in there for the long haul with our processes and protocols could potentially pay HUGE dividends for us.  While we have some similarities to the Rapid City community, we also have some unique differences.  Our ENTIRE Westhills Village community - Independent Living, The Courtyard Assisted Living, Westhills Village Health Care Facility is considered to be a vulnerable population and we do know what has happened in other communities in the state.  At this time, we are NOT making significant or drastic changes to our protocols and processes, but we are making SOME that you will read about below.
  • We do have some good news to report – with the beauticians cooperating with self-isolation – we are going to be slowly opening up the Village Salon in Independent Living ONLY.  The beauticians will be required to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for your safety as well as theirs.  We appreciate our beauticians who have been so cooperative and I know we’re ALL looking forward to some of them getting back to business! 

Guidelines for both YOU and the Beautician will be posted and services will begin Monday, May 11th.  You will be able to call 721.3601 OR ext. 3601 to schedule an appointment.

  • On Tuesday, May 19th at approximately 2:30pm, we will be having a Mother’s Day Drive-Thru Parade for those residents at Clarkson Health Care, Courtyard Assisted Living and Westhills Village Health Care – WEATHER PERMITTING.  It will be an event for those residents who are interested and able to be outside with appropriate social distancing as people drive through the parking lots to wave & greet – you will see some increased activity with this event.
  • We continue to monitor any Independent Living resident(s) who need to quarantine themselves as well as returning residents and track that within the office and make them aware when this is completed.
  • Additionally, we are working on plan to put in place – we will provide you more details as they become available – that will allow you to visit with your family/friends while complying with the appropriate social distancing protocols in place.  This is something that will need to be scheduled and again, we will provide more details – we are hoping by next week – on how we can accomplish this for you and your family and friends.  This will certainly be a significant positive step we can take.
  • The important message we have for you from a number of us, including the medical community is this:  We need you to hang tough with us for at least the next two to three weeks until we know what the Rapid City community will experience as far as increases in cases of Covid-19.  We are NOT “risk free” by any means at any of our locations.  By continuing to minimize the risk of exposure and holding tight is extremely important right now.  The more time that goes by, the more information we will have to make better informed decisions.  In light of that, there are still things that you CAN do.
  • If you are able to drive yourself, it is perfectly fine to take a drive in the hills as long as you do not come into contact with others.  You cannot include family members or other residents, unless it’s your spouse.
  • You may take walks around the campus and practice 6 ft. social distancing.
  • You may enjoy the putting green and social distancing can easily be accomplished and allow up to 4 people at a time. 
  • Erin Smith may assist you in setting up a video call/chat with family or friends if you wish.
  • Our in-house Pastors have offered their support in any way that they can be of help.
  • You may participate in some of the events and activities that are designed to work around social distancing.
  • If you need any questions answered or if you need assistance, please let the Receptionist know so it may be relayed to the appropriate personnel for follow up on any unique or special circumstances.  It is hard to address everything in a letter; however, if you give us some advanced notice, we can certainly respond to most anything you or your family may need.

The cooperation has been tremendous – not only from each of you, your families/friends, our staff and their families as well.  Life is different for EVERY one of us currently and we all have more in common than differences in how it is affecting us.  We are ALL on our own honor system – a social contract, if you will – of doing the best job possible and respecting one another’s safety and security.  It is certainly recognized and greatly appreciated.
Again, we all need to take a deep breath, hang in there and the SCIENCE shows that potentially in the next two to three weeks, we will know a lot more than we do today about what next steps we might or might not be able to take regarding our protocols and processes.

I have been asked so many times – what is it like – as many of us are managing the facilities.  It reminds me of when I grew up watching the Ed Sullivan Show and a performer would come out and start spinning plates to see how many plates he could have spinning at once.  Our day to day seems a little bit like that right now; behind the scenes, everything else is continuing – we are still building the Cottages, we are still mowing the grounds, we are still taking care of people, we are still serving meals, cleaning, doing laundry, on and on…none of that has changed and we too are experiencing a lot of disruption to our routine, new steps and processes and bumps in the road.  Amazingly enough, we still have a positive work environment thanks to great employees and great people like yourself who bring many well-wishes to everyone, so…THANK YOU!!

Daryl Reinicke, CEO

Daryl's Update - May 1st

April 21st Updates!

There's been a lot going on in the past week or so. Click the buttons below to read a letter from our CEO and Medical Director!

April 9th Update

Although we are still on restrictions on our facility to try to prevent the introduction of COVID-19 into our facility, that doesn’t stop us from having some fun and keeping busy!

  • Work continues on the Cottages and just this week they are working on the installation of flooring & countertops, taping & texturing, and painting the interior of some of the units.
  • We will be working with Jolly Lane Greenhouse to do the plantings in all the flower pots and planters outside.
  • As soon as weather permits, we will be tilling the gardens so our gardeners may begin to enjoy their passion of gardening.
  • We have helped a number of residents with telehealth appointments with their providers.
  • You will notice that our staff members are wearing face masks – thanks to the amazing seamstress help from the “Rosies”. Many thanks!
  • We thank our staff and residents who are helping do more in the Pantry, cleaning around the facility and a number of items as well – too many to mention!
  • We are actively working on new activities in light of all the restrictions.
  • Facebook Behind the Mask campaign – fun photos of staff members with masks and without masks can be accessed on our website as well as on our Facebook Page.
  • Generosity of our residents and people in the community have brought lots of good things around our facilities – treats for residents and staff, colored hearts in the windows of our facilities, sidewalk chalk of uplifting messages, donations of hand lotion, banners at our facilities recognizing and thanking our amazing coworkers.

Wishing everyone a very Happy Easter. Times like this also teach us what we can appreciate, which many times are the simple things in life – friendships and safety.  All of us as part of the Westhills Team of residents, staff members and families will continue to work together and get through this challenging and interesting time.

Additional Info for Covid-19

With COVID-19 now identified in our area of South Dakota, Westhills Village and Clarkson Health Care continue our safeguards to try to keep COVID-19 out of our facilities.  These safeguards include:

  • Maintaining a NO VISITORS policy in any of our facilities.
  • We have created a communication form that allows family to write a quick note and submit a photo to a loved one in any of our facilities.
  • We ask all of our independent living residents to practice social distancing and to self-isolate if they are leaving the campus.
  • We are encouraging residents to utilize delivery services for groceries and other items as well as keeping our on-site general store (“The Village Pantry”) stocked as much as we can.  Residents may also utilized our Home Health Services to run errands and shopping.
  • We have facilitated many video calls and phone calls with family members.
  • Events and dining spaces have limited attendance at a time to ensure appropriate social distancing.
  • We are utilizing various methods of technology and other means to provide activities throughout our facilities.
  • Various vendors and family members may drop off items at the Main Entrance for independent living residents to pick-up.
  • We have been working with area medical providers to assist with telehealth services in all of our facilities and independent living.
  • Staff continue to complete CDC recommended screening when they arrive for work to minimize the likelihood of COVID-19 entering our facility.

Covid-19 Policies at Westhills Village & Facilities

First and foremost, thank you to everyone for your cooperation and the support we have received in so many ways as we address recent developments regarding COVID-19 virus.  As you can imagine, our utmost concern is for the health and safety of our residents, patients and coworkers.

Below is some information about what we are doing at Westhills Village and we will continue to update you as new information becomes available.

  • Our first priority is providing a safe environment for anyone and everyone at all of our Westhills Village locations.  Westhills Village has a NO VISITATION POLICY at this time.
  • We have a TEAM at our facilities that meets daily to discuss any new developments or unique situations that need addressing.
  • We will continue to use our website to keep you updated.
  • We will continue to take admissions into Westhills Village Health Care, Clarkson Health Care, The Courtyard Assisted Living as well as new move-ins to our Apartments and Villas.  We will use the same screening process that we currently have in place.
  • Tours of our facilities will be limited to an “as needed” basis only and we have our steps and processes in place for this.
  • We have eliminated outside events/groups coming into the facilities for obvious reasons and we will continue this practice until advised differently.
  • Our Independence Plus/Home Health Agency is available to provide your necessary transportation and support with shopping if needed, as well as other services or support you may need.  This is a service we have always offered and can easily expand to you if and when needed.  Please contact Home Health at 342.3594.
  • Overall, it’s “business as usual” in terms of providing care and services at each of our locations and we will work diligently to continue ensure no change in this area.
  • Please contact our facilities to arrange a video call with your loved one, if desired.
  • As we have stated, currently, we do not have anyone at any of our facilities that has Influenza A or COVID-19.  We are going to continue to work diligently to hopefully maintain this outcome.
  • Timeline – we have probably the same information as you do on how long this could last – which is, nobody really knows, as of today.  As there are new developments and new information, we will be sure to share with you.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us and we thank you for your continued cooperation, patience and support.

Independence Plus Services

  • Homemaker Services
  • Personal Grooming Assistance
  • Health Management Services
  • Medication Reminders & Setup
  • Transportation
  • Secretarial Services
  • Companionship
  • Medical Appointment Companion
  • Assisted Home Exercise
  • Shopping
  • Laundry/Ironing
  • Meal Preparation
  • Linen Changes