BASKING RIDGE, NJ – Fellowship Senior Living in Basking Ridge was chosen to be on the forefront of COVID-19 onsite antibody testing by Somerset County in partnership with the Bernards Township Department of Health and Advocare Basking Ridge Pediatrics. Fellowship was given the rare opportunity to test all team members throughout the senior living organization and residents of Fellowship Village in late April and into May. “Given our long excellent relationship with the Bernards Township Department of Health, we were fortunate to be the only site selected by them to begin this easy and simple serologic testing,” said Brian Lawrence, President & CEO, Fellowship Senior Living. Fellowship Village, a Life Plan Community is home to over 400 residents in independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care homes. 

Fellowship Senior Living is an outstanding community partner who consistently has done an exceptional job keeping residents safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fellowship Village is a part of the Bernards Township community of health care facilities and was an excellent choice for antibody testing because of their large staff and resident population living within their community,” said Lucy Forgione, Bernards Township Health Officer.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, COVID-19 antibody testing may indicate that “the person has been exposed to the virus and developed antibodies against it, which may mean that person has at least some immunity to the coronavirus.”

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The benefit therein lies in the knowledge. In partnership with Thomas Porter, MD of Advocare Basking Ridge Pediatrics, Fellowship is now better positioned to reduce the spread within the community. “This is the community coming together, to have a testing strategy that will screen and protect our most vulnerable populations and it’s a good example of coordination between private and public interests,” said Dr. Porter.

This particular antibody test offers exceptional accuracy and shows whether an individual has no antibodies in which case they have not been exposed; positive IgM or early antibodies which could mean active infection without symptoms; positive IgG or late antibodies, meaning they were previously exposed and have some level of immunity to COVID-19. 

“If an individual tests with IgM or early antibodies, a COVID-19 PCR test was then administered. The person would immediately quarantine pending those test results. This allowed Fellowship to identify team members and residents who were asymptomatic yet could infect others. This highly important aspect of the testing process could immediately help reduce the spread of COVID-19 within the community,” said Dr. Porter.

In a statement to Fellowship team members, Lawrence said “We were given a rare opportunity to make a significant impact on all of our lives and to the vulnerable seniors we serve by taking this test.” In total, 242 team members tested negative for antibodies, 84 team members tested positive for late IgG antibodies, 45 team members tested positive for early IgM antibodies and of those four then tested positive for COVID-19.  In turn, 233 residents tested negative for antibodies while 31 tested positive for late IgG antibodies, 38 residents tested positive for early IgM antibodies and of those two tested positive for COVID-19. 

As the novel coronavirus situation in New Jersey continues with known positive cases over 169,000, Fellowship continues to take the precautions as recommended by the CDC, CMS and local and state health officials. With greater access to testing beginning in mid-May, Fellowship started testing all Health Center residents and team members weekly for COVID-19. Currently, Fellowship has one active team member case, contracting the virus from interactions outside of Fellowship, and are recovering at home. 

The senior living leader is excited to share that the Fellowship Village resident population is now COVID-19 free! Lawrence commends each and every one of Fellowship’s team members for their commitment, compassion, and perseverance, especially the healthcare heroes who provide direct resident care in the fight to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

About Fellowship Senior Living: The 72-acre Fellowship Village wooded campus, located in picturesque Basking Ridge, NJ, is home to over 400 residents enjoying lifestyles from single family independent living homes, villas and apartments to assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care homes. The Life Plan Community (also known as CCRC) offers a full complement of lifestyle enhancements, in addition to five-star dining. A new cultural arts center featuring a state-of-the-art-theater, upscale bar & lounge with alfresco dining, expanded medical center and spa and fitness center will ensure Fellowship Village remains a leader in senior living.  Fellowship Senior Living provides a continuum of care for seniors throughout New Jersey to include home-health services, hospice, Fellowship Freedom Plans and physical, occupational and speech therapies both on and off campus. As a nonprofit organization, focus remains steadfast on providing optimal industry best practices for residents, so they may enjoy a vibrant lifestyle. For more information, visit us at www.FellowshipSeniorLiving.org or call 908-428-4238.