Senior centres and long-term care homes aren’t taking any chances these days when it comes to protecting their members and residents amid the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
Both can be busy places. The Kingston Seniors Centre on Francis Street sees anywhere from 500 to 800 people a day and deep cleaning measures are underway.
“At the beginning of their shift with our volunteers they come in and they wipe down the high-traffic areas for reception and the cafe behind me,” says executive director Don Amos.
Local long-term care facilities like Carveth Care Centre in Gananoque have also increased their housekeeping and stocked their shelves with extra cleaning supplies and protective gear due to COVID-19.
“The main thing right now is the masks, the hand sanitizer — that’s what you’re looking to bring into the home,” says Brett Gibson, administrator for Carveth Care Centre.
Long-term care residents are among the most vulnerable to the infectious illness, and the Ontario government is responding.
The Ministry of Health is advising all long-term care homes in the province to begin screening staff, volunteers, visitors and residents for the novel coronavirus. The process includes signing in and answering a series of yes or no questions.
Those questions include:
- Do you have a fever or cough?
- Have you travelled to mainland China in the past 14 days?
- Have you been in close contact with a person who has a confirmed case of the virus?
- Have you been in contact with a person with acute respiratory illness who has been to China?
They are questions that Gibson says will protect the facility’s residents.
“We want to prevent our loved ones and residents and in order to do that, it’s all about protecting them and putting these measurements in place. It’s not about fear but doing the right things.”
The protocol comes after four recent cases of the virus surfaced at a seniors’ home in North Vancouver. One of them resulted in Canada’s first death related to the outbreak.
Gibson says this isn’t the first time long-term care homes have had to prepare themselves for virus outbreaks. In 2002-3, SARS prompted the facilities to take similar measures.
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