Residents and staff at Upper Canada Lodge, Niagara-on-the-Lake’s long-term care home run by Niagara Region, have become victims of COVID-19’s seventh wave.
National news outlets are reporting long-term care homes across Canada are seeing infection spikes, and in Ontario long-term care home outbreaks more than doubled this month.
This is the first outbreak at UCL since the pandemic began more than two years ago.
Upper Canada Lodge has had proactive measures in place to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission since the beginning of the pandemic, says Denise Murphy, director of resident care. “The protocols put in place have effectively worked to prevent a COVID outbreak in our home through the first six waves of the pandemic. Despite our best efforts to keep COVID-19 out of the home, we are experiencing first hand the challenge of this virus.”
UCL has had five people in the home impacted by COVID, including both staff and residents, says Murphy. “Each person impacted experienced mild symptoms for a few days and is now making a good recovery.”
The home took immediate steps to respond when the first COVID case was identified, including daily screening and testing of everyone coming into the building, following proper personal protective equipment (PPE) practices, ensuring enhanced cleaning and disinfecting, and cohorting of staff in the home. General visiting has been suspended as per Ministry and Public Health direction; however, essential caregivers are permitted to continue to come into the home, says Murphy.
“When the outbreak was confirmed staffing was enhanced immediately to ensure sufficient resources to implement enhanced infection prevention and control measures and to continue to provide excellent care and services for the residents.”
All staff at the home are vaccinated, Murphy says. “We offer vaccinations to residents in-house and all residents who are eligible and have consented have had their fourth dose booster vaccination.”
“Increased community spread increases the risk for outbreaks in long-term care,” she continues, “and we are seeing the impact through this seventh wave of the pandemic.”
“We would like to thank all of the families and friends of Upper Canada Lodge for their support and heartwarming correspondence. The efforts of our wonderful staff do not go unnoticed.”