Edmonton

Measures taken to contain COVID-19 outbreak at Shepherd's Care Kensington, CEO says

Effective measures have been taken to contain an outbreak of COVID-19 at Shepherd's Care Kensington Village since a confirmed case of the illness was reported at the Edmonton facility, says the group's president.

'We likely prevented a much wider outbreak thanks to the decisive action'

Four patients at Shepherd's Care Kensington Village in Edmonton have tested positive for COVID-19. (Craig Ryan/CBC)

Effective measures have been taken to contain an outbreak of COVID-19 at Shepherd's Care Kensington Village since a confirmed case of the illness was reported at the Edmonton facility, says the group's president.

Kensington Village, which reported its first case of the illness nine days ago, is set up as a seniors campus, spread out across 17 acres. It includes condos, rental apartments and a long-term care facility.

The long-term centre has banned visitors and limited access to essential staff, with the exception of caregivers who assist with end-of-life support. Staff and residents of the buildings undergo temperature checks before entering.

No movement is allowed between buildings and all external visitors are banned. The company's rental buildings have security to screen anyone entering.

Visitor access to Shepherd's Care Kensington Village is restricted after four residents tested positive for COVID-19. (Larry Allsen/Shepherd's Care )

Staff wear protective equipment, and disinfecting products are being used in high-traffic areas of the long-term care facility.

"We likely prevented a much wider outbreak thanks to the decisive action isolating individuals by our staff," said Shawn Terlson, president and CEO of Shepherd's Care Foundation.

In total, four people have tested positive for COVID-19 at Kensington Village. Two are receiving care in hospital while two others are isolated in their units.

On March 13, a resident of one of the condo buildings experienced symptoms of the virus after a relative visited. Three days later, after realizing the point of contact, nine people in the facility had been isolated. The other cases are suspected to related to that.

Nine outbreaks have been reported at seniors facilities in Alberta, and the chief medical officer of health announced new standards for the companies that run them. Staff and operators are required to notify public health as soon as a case is suspected, or if two or more residents experience symptoms.

Shepherd's Care notified public health officials as soon as the first suspected case was found, a spokesperson said.

Social needs of residents

Many seniors at the facility are lonely without visitors. Pastoral and recreational therapy teams have increased their visits. A TV system is used for worship services and other activities.

The foundation said it has invested in Zoom licences and iPads to allow residents to stay in contact with friends and family. It is also helping renters who need grocery or essential shopping done.

Shepherd's Care Foundation is a faith-based, not-for-profit organization that operates eight facilities in Alberta.

Terlson said staff are prepared to battle the virus for months. The foundation is looking to hire an additional 15 to 20 health-care aids for its facilities, he said.

"To meet our senior's care needs now and in the future, because I don't think we've seen the peak of the COVID virus yet," he said.

About the Author

Travis McEwan

Videojournalist

Travis McEwan is a video journalist who has not won any awards. Originally from Churchill, Manitoba, he's spent the last decade working at CBC Edmonton. Email story ideas to travis.mcewan@cbc.ca