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First cases of COVID-19 confirmed in City-run long-term care home
Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen at LifeLabs after being logged upon receipt at the company’s lab, in Surrey, B.C., March 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
OTTAWA -- The City of Ottawa says two residents and a second employee at the City-run Peter D. Clark long-term care home have tested positive for COVID-19.
In a memo sent Friday morning, General Manager of Community and Social Services Donna Gray said these are the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 in residents of the four long-term care homes operated by the City of Ottawa.
Gray says the affected residents are stable and have been isolated from other residents. The employee is self-isolating at home.
"We are working directly with Ottawa Public Health (OPH) to identify next steps for testing any residents or staff in the Home. OPH is following up with family and friends who may have been in close contact with the individuals," Gray said.
Gray said new measures have been put in place to limit further spread, including assigning consistent staff to each unit wherever possible, limiting staff movement around the home during their shift, and encouraging residents to remain in their units.
"We have been planning for this eventuality and have closely followed OPH recommendations," Gray said. "Our residents and employees’ health and safety are our top priority and we will continue to follow the advice of our colleagues at OPH to ensure our people are protected while providing care and delivering essential services to our residents."
Other measures being taken include:
- Testing contacts of the confirmed individual, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic;
- Providing additional training and support for all staff specific to outbreaks;
- Disinfecting all work areas to ensure the health and safety of staff and residents and implementing additional environment services supports to disinfect the entire home area;
- Ensuring all staff working in the home are wearing masks and appropriate personal protective equipment when providing direct care;
- Permitting only essential visitors in the home;
- Requiring isolation leave for staff who do not pass screening processes;
- Implementing enhanced cleaning of common areas and high-touch surfaces; and
- Maintaining physical distance between colleagues
This news follows a reversal of course at City Hall regarding families visiting loved ones at the windows of long-term care homes run by the City. Staff had asked family members not to visit at the windows anymore, claiming some people were coming into close contact with other residents and staff, risking viral spread.
Following intense backlash, Mayor Jim Watson ordered staff to develop a new framework for window visits, to be implemented by May 7.
It remains unclear whether these latest infections are connected with the issues that prompted the initial window visit directive.