On January 24, Vermilion’s Continuing Care Centre (CCC) was designated with COVID-19 outbreak status.
AHS Central Zone’s Senior Communications Advisor, Yolanda Genu, could not confirm how many cases there were or whether they were staff or residents, saying case numbers for outbreaks change rapidly and often.
On Tuesday, AHS added the Vermilion Health Centre, which Continuing Care operates under, to their list of outbreaks, and the number of active cases they reported within the County of Vermilion River moved from 18 to 19.
Genu said as part of their outbreak response measures, COVID-19 swabbing has been offered to all staff and residents, and public health teams are carrying out contact tracing. They continue to closely monitor the situation and site leadership will continue to make sure the necessary enhanced safety protocols are in place to protect both residents and staff.
During this time residents will be isolated to their rooms, and no visitors will be allowed. The CCC is also not taking new admissions, and postponing patient transfers. Staff are continuously masking and providing enhanced cleaning. They are screening daily and continuing COVID-19 testing for residents and staff.
“We encourage families to keep in touch with their loved one via phone, text or email. Our staff are more than happy to discuss alternative options to connect with your loved ones,” said Genu.
On January 15, Vermilion Continuing Care residents (who consented) received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Genu said adjustments are being made to the vaccine implementation plan in order for AHS to respond to the recently announced reductions of Pfizer vaccine in the coming weeks.
“Vaccine has been reserved to ensure that we are able to provide second doses to all long term care and designated supportive living residents. We will also be using available vaccine to provide second doses to staff and physicians within the allowable window,” said Genu.
Outbreaks in continuing care settings typically aren’t declared over until 28 days after the last person on-site tests positive, but she said you can find updated outbreak information Tuesdays and Fridays of each week here.
In previous years, the CCC’s Valentine’s Day Tea was often a community favourite, and with Family Day following right behind, staff will be tasked with finding new ways to show residents how special they are.
“We know Valentine’s tea is a valued social activity for residents,” said Genu.
“Unfortunately, no group activities are permitted at this time, and visitor restrictions remain in effect, so Valentine’s celebrations may look different this year. Our care teams value the relationships they have with residents, and work hard every day to ensure they received high quality care. We know that this is a difficult and uncertain time. Please be assured that our teams are doing everything they can to protect residents, patients, staff and visitors. We thank everyone for their patience, cooperation and understanding.”
AHS has provided information on the outbreak as well as contact information to family members already, and will continue to keep them informed as they respond to the outbreak.
For additional information on other ways to connect, you can visit https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/assets/info/ppih/if-ppih-connecting-with-tech.pdf