OTTAWA -- A pilot project that tests every essential caregiver for COVID-19 before they visit a loved one is having promising results and is protecting residents at Maxville Manor, about an hour from Ottawa.  

"We only have two residents that have tested positive for COVID and I truly believe that’s in large part because of the rapid tests," said CEO Amy Porteous.  

More than 450 rapid tests have been administered since mid-December. In one case, it identified a caregiver was positive, even though they had tested negative just days before.  

Porteous says the results are available within 15 minutes and allows the home to identify any outbreaks early. Only those who test negative are allowed to enter the home.  

Already undergoing weekly testing, Porteous says staff are also using rapid tests.  

"More and more staff are deciding that they want to get it done because of how quick it is in order to get your results and the accuracy has proven to be really good for us," she said.  

"It also gives us a little bit of relief knowing that any visitors that would be coming into the manor to see their family are COVID-free before they enter the building…. It’s almost given us guarantee in some way shape and form of reducing the footprint of what COVID can have in the building," said registered nurse Bryson Renwick.  

Maxville Manor, which offers long-term care, apartments for seniors and outreach, is also looking to hire several personal support workers as soon as possible.  

It is hosting an online job fair on Thursday. As incentive for recent graduates, the home is offering a $5,000 bonus and temporary free accommodations to recent graduates.  

"Our staff have been working tirelessly since the beginning of this pandemic," said Porteous. "I want to be able to get to that point where we have full staff that we’re able to provide the absolute best care for residents and that we have a really supportive environment for our staff."