We understand that the news earlier this week of an agency staff person testing positive on September 11th 2020 has caused some anxiety, stress and concern. Our staff responded quickly and implemented all precautionary measures out of abundance of caution. Although the facility remains “critical-red” under the provincial pandemic response protocol, we want to inform residents, families and staff that we remain at low risk.
At this time, we have completed all our contact tracing, including staff, residents and essential care givers who would have visited the unit on September 10th. All staff are self-monitoring for symptoms and we continue to monitor residents. We have imposed strict limits on residents and staff circulation throughout the building as well as increased our infection controls and housekeeping procedures. We know the restrictions are difficult for residents, families and staff, but we remain determined to do our best to reduce the risk and prevent any potential spread of the virus.
Essential Care Giver Visitation / Outdoor Visitation
We will to continue to suspend essential visitor and outdoor / indoor visitation program until we have not had any new suspected or confirmed COVID cases for 14 days. As we have no new cases at this time, and assuming there will be none over the next 6 days, we would allow essential visitors back into our facility on September 25th 2020 for ALL units with the exception of 5ABC. The unit currently on outbreak protocol, our Special Needs Behavioural Unit (5C) and our Special Needs Unit (5AB) will remain closed to all visits until we have passed two infection periods (28 days) without any positive cases. We will communicate with families when visitation on 5ABC can resume. It is important to note that exceptions may be made for end of life circumstances. These are determined on a case by case basis.
Window / Virtual Visits
The requests for window visits have surpassed our ability to schedule them this week, as our resources were focused on containing the outbreak. We are going to start scheduling window visits early next week. This is dependent on staff resources available to schedule, transport and support these visits. Window visits are not available to residents on 5ABC, as they remain confined to their units. If possible, virtual visits remain alternatives for some residents and families.
We appreciate the support of residents, families and staff in our efforts to keep everyone safe. The number of active cases in Winnipeg is increasing with the cold and flu season only just beginning. We will continue to support residents and staff in ensuring we do all that we can to keep everyone safe; all while understanding that this is demanding and frustrating for many.
The following is a summary of the steps taken in addition to those outlined in our communication of September 14th 2020:
- We have implemented all guidelines and protocols provided by Provincial Public Health Officials, Shared Health and the WRHA. All staff on 5ABC are following universal PPE (Protective Personal Equipment) guidelines. We have the supplies to maintain this practice. The WRHA and Actionmarguerite have reviewed all infection control practices; we can confirm precautions are in place. Education and surveillance continues. We invite you to visit the Shared Health web site for more information – https://sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19/.
- We identified all residents who would have had direct contact with the affected person. We communicated directly with the residents as well as their families. Nursing staff continue to contact families when there is any change in resident condition as per usual.
- We have identified all staff who may have had close contact; appropriate action has been taken as per the regional Occupational and Environmental Safety & Health (OESH) protocols in place. This includes screening, self-monitoring of symptoms, isolation and testing as per directions given by OESH and our Infection Control professionals.
- All residents showing signs of influenza-like illnesses and related symptoms are tested for both influenza and COVID-19. To date, all results for COVID-19 have come back negative.
- Our staffing remains stable and we continue to support, train and reassure staff, as they are also concerned for the safety of the residents, their families and themselves.
We have received a number of enquiries from families; many have questions. We continue to respond to individual questions and concerns to the best of our abilities. We thank you for your words of support, encouragement and recognition.
Please call do not hesitate to send me an email at email@example.com if you have questions.
Charles Gagné, CEO