The McKenzie Towne Continuing Care Centre reported two new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, adding to the three cases reported at the facility Tuesday.
A resident in her 80s died after testing positive for the virus. The loss is hitting uncomfortably close to home for families.
Jenny Miller is visiting her 95-year-old mother Muriel, communicating in written messages through the window.
“I just really needed to see her,” Miller said.
“It’s got to be short words. I just wrote: ‘We love you,’ and I asked how she was feeling and she’s doing hand signals,” Miller said. “She’s not alarmed, she knows that something bad is going on and they’re doing everything right.”
The management company, Revera, said those who tested positive and others in the same part of the continuing care home are in isolation.
The nearby retirement residence isn’t directly impacted by the outbreak, but families aren’t taking any chances, doing everything they can to protect their loved ones.
Johanna Wilkie and her husband, Barry, are visiting her mom. They visited her from the sidewalk, exchanging conversations up to their balcony.
“It’s disturbing but it’s going to start happening and it’s inevitable.
“My mom is a retired nurse herself so they are being very careful in this building,” Johanna said.
“The feeling and the intensity goes up a couple of notches. We heard the news and it’s like: ‘Oh that’s the McKenzie Towne facility!’ So yeah it ratchets it up a notch for sure,” Barry said.
The seniors living in the complex next door to the care home said the news of the loss resonated deeply with them. Paul Rainbow and his wife live in the retirement residence.
“It brings the whole situation close to home,” Rainbow said.
“It was far out there and it was serious — we were worried, but it really wasn’t going to happen here — but it’s happened here.”
Lesley Lewis also lives at the retirement residence and is a retired nurse. She said the news is unnerving.
“We all are on high alert here,” Lewis said.
“I haven’t seen the speed of the virus quite as fast as this… She was sick one day and boom — gone the next,” Lewis said.
The management company officials said they are being extra vigilant and have enacted strict outbreak protocol to protect staff and visitors, including restricting access to essential visitors only.
“Strict contact droplet precautions are in place at the home as part of our outbreak protocol,” Revera said in a Tuesday statement.
“Residents in the affected areas of the home are isolated in their rooms. Staff are wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) to serve those areas,” Revera’s statement reads.