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Update to Health & Transition Services Families – April 24

April 24, 2020

Your family members are continuing to do well. The test results that we were waiting for have come back negative for COVID, influenza, and RSV. We have an additional three tests out and are awaiting those results. Remember that we are testing any individuals we support and staff who have ANY respiratory symptoms, in an abundance of caution. All of our test results throughout the organization continue to come back negative.  
We are working hard to ensure that we all stay healthy, but we are planning for the just in case scenario if we were to have a positive COVID-19 result.  We have the benefit of learning from other jurisdictions across the country as well as following directives and guidelines provided by Public Health and Shared Health.  We have created a COVID Unit, on Unit 3, the first section of Adult Services East on the first floor.  The unit is completely stocked and ready for staff to provide the care required but we hope that our planning and preparation for a positive result are not required. 
We have completed the planning and all of the processes required to move Primary Care Provider rounds to a virtual format.  You will be receiving information in the mail for your acknowledgment and consent, shortly. This is following directives to ensure that we minimize the number of physicians and primary care providers in the building to lower the transmission risk.  Your support and understanding is greatly appreciated. 
There have been further updates announced regarding the use and conservation of personal protective equipment (PPE) in Manitoba. I want to take this opportunity to highlight some of the key messages:
Ensuring the health & safety of front-line workers is a fundamental priority in Manitoba’s response to COVID-19, and our healthcare workers MUST be protected

  • Manitoba is taking every available and appropriate step to protect our workforce and the people we support:
    • Screening residents and staff for symptoms
    • Restricting visitors and reducing access points
    • Educating the staff and community about the importance of proper handwashing and physical distancing
    • Reducing non-essential services where it is safe to do so, and changing the way service is delivered wherever possible
  • PPE is a supplement to these efforts and we need to take every step to ensure appropriate protection is available for those staff in high-risk settings
  • Manitoba is weeks behind other jurisdictions and is early in their response. We currently have lower community spread than is being experienced elsewhere.

There are some changes in the way staff wear PPE. Additionally what has  changed is the introduction of “Zones” to flag the risk of and/or presence of COVID-19 within our facility (and again, at this time, we have none):
RED ZONE: Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have not been deemed as “recovered” by Public Health or Infection Prevention & Control (IP&C)
ORANGE ZONE: Individuals who are suspect for COVID-19, meet the criteria for COVID-19 testing and are awaiting test results AND who have been swabbed AND the test result is pending
GREEN ZONE: Individuals who are non-suspect, do NOT meet the criteria for testing AND/OR those who have been tested and their results are negative AND/OR those who have been tested and their results are positive but they have been deemed “recovered” by Public Health or IP&C
Finally, the Province has suggested the use of non-medical PPE (e.g.: cloth masks) to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Staff who wish to wear a non-medical mask at work outside of direct support interactions are free to do so while continuing to practice proper donning & doffing (putting on and taking off of PPE), hand hygiene, and physical distancing. Additionally, any people we support who need to leave the building should be wearing a non-medical mask during transportation. We have received one donation of cloth masks and we are working with our seamstress and volunteers to start sewing more cloth masks.  
We should be proud that we have not had a single case of COVID-19 in our facility. This is truly something to celebrate and speaks to staffs’ dedication to good hand hygiene, physical distancing, and proper PPE use. We thank the staff for their diligence!  And we thank you for staying away, as hard as that is, in your concerted effort to keep your family members safe and healthy.
And one more exciting development! We are set to offer a new program, we’re calling, “Window Wishes”. Now that the nicer weather is here, we are creating an opportunity for those of you who are interested, to visit, face to face, through the glass. We will be utilizing one of our recreation programming rooms, will bring your family member down to visit with you, while you are on the other side of the glass door, on the deck. You will be receiving a call from the Recreation staff assigned to your family member’s unit, asking if you are interested in this opportunity, and best times to visit. The recreation staff is meeting on Tuesday to set up the schedule for the Window Wishes visits to occur. We know it’s not quite like being here, but it is the next best thing. Thank goodness for spring weather! 
We will be in touch again soon.
Be well,
Joanne van Dyck
Senior Manager, Health & Transition Services

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