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Hamilton public health issued compliance order to Heritage Green care home prior to closing outbreak

The notice issued by associate medical officer of health Dr. Ninh Tran last Wednesday and was the second for the Heritage Green nursing home over the last two months.
The notice issued by associate medical officer of health Dr. Ninh Tran last Wednesday and was the second for the Heritage Green nursing home over the last two months. Ken Mann / 900 CHML

Just days prior to the closure of a COVID-19 outbreak on Saturday, a Hamilton care home was handed another Section 22 order last week for breaches of infection prevention and control practices (IPAC), according to public health.

The notice issued by associate medical officer of health Dr. Ninh Tran last Wednesday and was the second for the Heritage Green nursing home over the last two months.

The response required staff from St. Joseph’s Hamilton Healthcare (SJHH) to be dispatched to mitigate ongoing issues at the facility.

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“The actions specified in this order are necessary for the purposes of monitoring, investigating and responding to an outbreak of communicable disease at your institution,” Tran’s report said.

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The MOH specifically pointed to continued transmission of the coronavirus and “practices not in keeping with” IPAC measures as the reason for the notice.

The failures surrounded personal protective equipment (PPE) availability, physical distancing in common spaces, including break rooms, and problems around the dilution and dispensing of liquid disinfectants.

The facility on Isaac Brock Drive was required to beef up COVID-19 control measures, allow St. Joe’s staff to access patient records and requisition supplies to control potential spread of the coronavirus.

Failing to comply with a Section 22 order comes with fines of $5,000 a day for a person liable under Ontario’s Health Protection and Promotion Act and $25,000 a day for a corporation not in compliance.

The order remains in effect until July 14 despite the closure of the facility’s latest outbreak, which involved eight cases over 17 days.

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The Stoney Creek facility was the focus of a similar order on April 21, which insinuated staff had inadequate PPE training, poor signage, a lack of screenings, and insufficient disinfectant in common areas.

Another inspection took place a week later and determined that the facility still wasn’t properly screening people going in and out of the building, and staff in the break room were not physically distancing.

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Heritage Green’s administrator Scott Kozachenko told Global News in an e-mail on Monday that “all non-compliance issues have been resolved and meet all standards.”

“Our goal has always been to provide an environment where our residents, their loved ones and our staff can safely live, visit and work. I’m pleased we all have the same objective in mind,” Kozachenko said.

Heritage Green was the site of Hamilton’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care home and also reported the city’s first deaths related to the virus in March 2020.

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