September 4, 2020
Good afternoon families,
We know that with the rising number of cases of Covid-19 in Manitoba and especially with cases in a few personal care homes, everyone is feeling more nervous and anxious about the potential spread of illness. I want to take this opportunity to share the highlights of our comprehensive plan to mitigate risk and to manage illness, should it occur. Our plans are lengthy and will continue to evolve and be updated based on the latest information from Public Health and Shared Health. Please know that we are focused and ready to respond quickly in the event of a positive case of COVID-19 in either a staff member or person supported.
Our response plan is multi-faceted and highlights include:
- Family communication is a priority: families that have a loved one supported on an affected unit will be contacted directly by phone, all St.Amant families within an affected program will be notified by email (if we have an email address) and we will also post information on our website. The family of an individual testing positive for COVID-19 will be notified first.
- We have plans in place to immediately isolate, test, and use enhanced Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) use for any person supported showing symptoms of illness (even very mild symptoms). You will be notified directly if your loved one requires a COVID-19 test, and we will also share the results with you when they come in.
- Our building has been set up with designated “cohort” areas for anyone who tests positive. These areas are isolated from non-positive individuals (there are a few areas identified for this in order to ensure we are meeting the individual and unique needs of the people we support).
- We have a plan to ensure staff are not moving back and forth between positive and non-positive individuals.
- We will enhance our cleaning and disinfection (even more than what we are doing now) should there be a positive case.
- Our Occupational Health team is available to work with Public Health to ensure quick and accurate contact tracing and notification.
- Staff are being supported to stay home and get tested if they are experiencing even mild symptoms (even a simple runny nose)
- Health & Transition Services has a program wide staffing contingency plan to ensure we can continue to provide high quality care in the face of multiple absences.
- Our teams will have daily huddles with unit staff, unit manager, and Infection Prevention & Control in affected areas to reinforce practices, answer questions, and support staff.
- We are prepared to adjust of our COVID-19 Facility Response Level to “Red” with associated changes to visitation if needed.
- We have prepared a streamlined communication plan to share information with our Executive Team, Board, and media.
Additionally, we continue to focus on prevention:
- Staff must pre-screen for symptoms / exposure before reporting to work.
- Masks are worn in our facility by all staff at all times (this is above and beyond the PPE that staff must wear in the care areas)
- We share daily reminders and huddle with our teams to discuss and reinforce the importance of physical distancing, hand hygiene, and correct PPE use, including in non-care moments such as when on meal or coffee breaks
- Mandatory PPE refresher training for all staff (monthly at a minimum).
- We conduct daily PPE audits and on the spot education to ensure staff are protecting your loved ones and themselves to the best of their ability.
- We have been running daily “tabletop” or mock runs of our response plan to ensure staff are familiar and comfortable with the processes.
We are doing everything we can to prevent COVID-19 from entering our facility, and we are ready to respond to a positive case if we need to. As you can see there are multiple pieces involved and many will be happening at the same time, so please know that this isn’t a “step by step” list. Additionally, we will continue to work closely with the WRHA and Manitoba Shared Health in planning our prevention and response and will contact them for additional support if we receive a positive result in either staff or a person supported.
I want to extend a huge thank you to all of you, who have been following all of the necessary procedures when visiting and being extra cautious at 440 River Road. Thank you for your continued support and encouragement. I hope you have a good long weekend!
Director of Health & Transition Services