N.S. seniors residences isolate cases, try to curb spread of COVID-19
'Staff are there, they're stepping up. They're still providing the care that we need to provide'
COVID-19 has spread to at least eight seniors residences in Nova Scotia as facilities isolate patients to try to curb the spread.
The list changes quickly as results come back and families are informed. The positive tests as of Tuesday morning include:
- Admiral Long Term Care Centre, Dartmouth - 8 employees, 2 residents.
- Ocean View Manor, Eastern Passage - 1 resident.
- Northwood Halifax - 2 employees, 2 residents.
- Northwood Home Care - 2 employees.
- Magnolia Continuing Care, Enfield - 3 employees, 2 residents.
- Lewis Hall, Dartmouth - 1 employee.
- Arborstone Enhanced Care, Halifax - 1 employee.
- Harris Hall, Dartmouth - 1 employee.
- R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home, Antigonish - 1 employee.
In Dartmouth, the Admiral Long Term Care Centre has the most diagnosed cases so far, with eight staff and two residents testing positive.
"It has been challenging," James Balcom, the CEO of the GEM Health Care Group, which operates the facility, said in a statement. "We are grateful for the support we have received."
Balcom declined to be interviewed, but the statement says additional staff are in self-isolation because they have come in contact with the positive cases.
"At this time, we are well-staffed at Admiral Long Term Care Centre because of additional hires, the support from the NS Health Authority and the Department of Health and Wellness, and our dedicated team at Admiral."
The facility has placed the two residents in an isolated room, where they're being helped by staff wearing full personal protective equipment. All other staff are wearing surgical masks, Balcom said.
"We understand that these are challenging times, especially for those who have a loved one in long-term care."
Ocean View Manor learned of its first case Monday morning.
"We quickly acted and Emergency Health Services came in to swab 31 residents," said Dion Mouland, president and CEO.
He said those residents live in the same area, which are called neighbourhoods at Ocean View, and they may have come in contact with the resident.
He said 27 staff have also been isolated and tested. Mouland expects to have the results by Wednesday morning.
Mouland said Ocean View is now working with public health to try to determine how the resident became sick.
"For the most part, folks are assigned to a particular neighbourhood, but that's not always the case for every employee," he said. "So you would definitely have people who work in different neighbourhoods and people who sometimes work in different facilities."
Mouland said Ocean View implemented its pandemic planning three weeks ago.
Staff were asked to change into their work clothes and shoes at work. They also created an isolation unit that can only be accessed by staff through an exterior door.
"We have certainly been robustly planning this for weeks," Mouland said. "Staff are there, they're stepping up. They're still providing the care that we need to provide."
Mouland is encouraging families to stay connected to the residents as much as possible through window visits or phone calls. He said the family of the diagnosed patient has been notified, and so far their symptoms are mild.
"We're thankful for that."
To contact Carolyn Ray about nursing homes and COVID-19, e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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