News Item 28 of 1498
Miscellaneous: 20 Apr 2020
Staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 at Kitchener's Forest Heights home can work after three days of no symptoms
Forest Heights Revera continues to get ravaged by the coronavirus, and they are now allowing staff to return to work if they are asymptomatic three days after a positive test.
|s of April 18, 2020, Forest Heights Revera has 118 positive cases of the coronavirus among staff and residents. - Mathew McCarthy/Waterloo Region Record |
On Friday, the long-term care home confirmed two more deaths and a total of 79 coronavirus cases among residents. Thirty-nine staff have tested positive for the virus at Forest Heights while a total of seven residents have now died.
Under direction from Ontario's chief medical officer, the home, in a statement, said that "(Staff) may return to work if they remain asymptomatic 72 hours from their test, wear appropriate PPE during their shifts, and remain on work to home in self-isolation."
Essentially, if a person has tested positive for the coronavirus, they are allowed to return to work if they have been self-isolating and are asymptomatic for three straight days.
The statement came from Revera, the owners of several long-term care homes in the province.
Forest Heights has had the most deaths and by far the most cases of the virus in Waterloo Region. Kitchener's Highview Residence has six deaths and 24 cases among staff and residents.
Meanwhile, there are 474 positive cases of COVID-19 in the region and 23 deaths, according to Region of Waterloo public health.
Forest Heights is one of the largest nursing homes in the region, Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, the region's acting medical officer of health, noted in a briefing Wednesday. But size alone doesn't explain the outbreak. Sunnyside Home, owned and operated by the Region of Waterloo, has an identical number of beds but has had just four employees infected, and not a single resident. Sunnyside's outbreak was declared over on Saturday by public health.
New guidelines set by the provincial government say that all staff and residents of long-term care homes where outbreaks were declared will be tested, and that has been the case at Forest Heights, under the direction of public health.
All of the residents who have tested positive for the virus are in isolation, while the home says that almost a third of those who have tested positive have shown no symptoms.
"Knowing which residents have tested positive, even if they donít have symptoms, puts us in a better position to isolate affected residents and provide them with appropriate care and support," the statement says.
All staff providing care to residents in isolation must wear a mask, face shield, gloves, and gown, while all staff in the facility are to wear surgical masks.
Andrew Lackie, a Kitchener resident whose grandfather is a resident of Forest Heights, said the communication has been pretty effective from the home. His family remains worried though as they can't speak to him directly as he doesn't have a cellphone. They have been getting constant updates though from the home, and were notified that he was tested for COVID-19 about a week ago.
"It's pretty worrisome since you can't see him or check on him as much as you would like," Lackie told the Chronicle. "Every time the phone rings, you wonder if this is the call saying he has it."
Lackie's 77-year-old grandfather has been in the home for about five years. He says his grandfather shares a room with two other people, and to his understanding, all the residents who have tested positive have been moved to the other end of the home.
Residents are constantly monitored for COVID-19 symptoms, including fever, twice each day, the statement said. Staff members who have tested positive are in isolation, while incoming daily staff are monitored for symptoms.
Mealtimes for residents have been adjusted to take into account physical distancing, while strict cleaning practices continue at Forest Heights.
With files from the Waterloo Region Record.
by Namish Modi
by Namish Modi Waterloo Chronicle/The Record/Twitter/AA
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