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Military-Style Response at One Retirement Community Stymies COVID-19

Along with much of the country, Knollwood Life Plan Community in the District of Columbia went into lockdown in mid-March to try to protect residents and staff from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The retirement community includes sections for independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing. The leadership team stopped allowing visitors to the facility, which is typically home to 280 people – all of whom are retired military service members, former high-level federal government officials and family members. Residents range from those living independently to those needing a high level of care. They are served by 250 staffers, who all began wearing personal protective equipment, including masks, disposable gloves and full gowns, when the pandemic began.

The first weeks of lockdown seemed fine.

Everything changed six days before Easter, on April 6. That day, the District of Columbia Medical Examiner’s office called to notify community

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