COVID-19 Update December 17, 2021
December 17, 2021
Several additional safety precautions have been put in place due to increasing community spread and prevalence of the Omicron variant in our communities in Ontario.
While we understand these protocols impact families and loved ones, the continued safety of our residents, as well as team members in the community, is our top priority. We continue to adhere to infection prevention and control measures to ensure activities within the community are safe and within the guidelines provided by our local Public Health Unit and provincial directives.
Effective immediately, we have implemented the following visitation protocols until further notice. These temporary measures meet and, in some cases, exceed direction from the Government of Ontario, and will help reduce the risk of transmission and protect the progress the province has made in stopping the spread of the virus and its variants.
- All general visitors and caregivers into the community are required to be fully vaccinated. (Fully vaccinated children aged 5-11 are permitted into the community). Caregivers designated before December 14, 2021 who have only received one dose must receive their second dose by February 21, 2022. Until then, their visits will be restricted to the room of the resident they care for and they must be rapid tested the day of. Caregivers designated after December 14, 2021 must be fully vaccinated;
- Enhanced rapid testing for general visitors and support workers regardless of vaccination status, where a negative test is required upon entry on the day of arrival at the community;
- Staff, students, volunteers, and caregivers will be regularly tested at least 2x per week. Those with valid medical exemptions will be tested the day of;
- Limiting indoor visits to a maximum of two people per resident at a time – in residents’ rooms only, and outdoor visits, where feasible, to a maximum total of four people per resident at a time (this includes caregivers);
- Communal dining, social activities and exercise classes continue to be permitted. Residents will be cohorted for higher-risk activities, such as singing and dancing, and discouraging large social activities;
- Limiting social day trips to only residents who are fully vaccinated and requiring those residents who leave the community for social reasons to be actively screened upon their return to the community. All residents, regardless of vaccination status, can continue to leave the community for essential reasons, such as medical appointments;
- Residents who wish to leave the community overnight for social purposes – regardless of vaccination status – will be tested the day they leave the community, tested the day they return, the day after as well as on day 5.
In addition to the enhanced measures, we strongly encourage all residents, caregivers, and our team members to receive a booster shot/third dose as they become eligible. The latest available evidence shows that three doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are more effective against the Omicron variant than two doses. Please also continue to remain vigilant and use masks and social distance in the community.
We recognize these changes may create inconveniences or hardship as you prepare to celebrate the holidays. Unfortunately, COVID-19 remains a significant threat in our community. It is important that we do everything in our power to limit the risk of infection to our residents, families, and team members. We appreciate your support and understanding as we work to keep our communities as safe as possible, while also balancing the mental and emotional well-being of residents and their loved ones.
Wishing you and your families a safe and happy holiday season. Please do not hesitate to reach out to a member of the community’s leadership team should you have any questions.