Family Update April 22
Thank you for your patience waiting for this update! We would like to start by acknowledging what a difficult and stressful time the past 5-6 weeks has been for you as we implemented various measures to help protect your loved ones from coming into contact with COVID-19. We know how emotionally painful it has been not to be able to visit and for this we are truly sorry. We hope you are all keeping well. Please know we miss seeing you and look forward to when we will be able to welcome you back to St. Michael’s Long Term Care home.
As you may be aware, for over a month now we have had a mandatory screening process every time staff enter the facility and no one is permitted to enter if he/she has a fever (verified by temperature), is experiencing any of the COVID-19 symptoms, or if they provide “Yes” responses regarding the potential risk of their close contact with others who may have COVID-19.
We also wish to let you know about additional changes ordered by Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, which we are now implementing. The two important additional changes are that: a surgical/procedure mask is worn at all times by any staff member who comes within two meters of a Resident; and, we now actively screen every resident twice a day to help with early detection of any COVID-19 symptoms developing. What we are watching for includes: presence of fever (verified by measuring Resident temperature); a new or worsening respiratory symptom (such as cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, runny nose or sneezing, nasal congestion, hoarse voice, sore throat, or difficulty swallowing); or any new onset of atypical symptoms (such as chills, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, feeling unwell, fatigued, malaise, or headaches).
Staff have been alerted to report any such changes so the Resident involved can be immediately isolated and a swab obtained for COVID-19 testing. When a Resident is put on isolation, he/she is unable to leave their room so their meals are brought to their bedside. No other Residents are isolated unless it is evident that a second resident may also have one of the possible COVID symptoms mentioned above.
We are pleased to inform you that to date no residents or staff at St. Michael’s have tested positive for COVID-19
As we outlined in our update on April 6, Dr. Hinshaw created three new categories of COVID Outbreak: SUSPECTED COVID OUTBREAK (one Resident or one staff member is experiencing one of the COVID symptoms); PROBABLE COVID OUTBREAK (two persons [could be Residents and/or Staff] who have some type of linkage are experiencing a COVID symptom); and CONFIRMED COVID OUTBREAK (either a staff member or a Resident tests positive for COVID-19).
On April 13, we contacted you to confirm that SMLTCC had been placed on PROBABLE COVID OUTBREAK status. While the swabs for the residents and staff who had symptoms at that time came back negative, we remain on PROBABLE COVID OUTBREAK status as we are now awaiting swab results on other Residents and/or staff who have developed a symptom. Given the long list of symptoms we are monitoring it is likely with our number of residents and staff that someone will be swabbed every couple of days for COVID testing. When Public Health notifies St. Michael’s of a change in our COVID OUTBREAK status we will definitely notify you.
If you would like to regularly monitor the outbreak status at St. Michael’s Long Term Care Centre, as of April 22 you can call 780-472-4514 where we will provide an updated recording daily. You will not be able to leave a voice mail message at this number but you can receive details of our status at any time.
As well, to reduce the risk of transmission from the community during the pandemic only one physician will be visiting the SMLTCC residents, assessing changes in their health, ordering tests, treatments and adjusting the medical plan of care. This one physician is Dr. Janice Fletcher, our Medical Director (photo of Dr. Fletcher). Beginning this week, rather than your loved ones’ current SMLTCC physician calling it will now be Dr. Fletcher who may phone you.
Finally, we want to acknowledge Kay Willekes, Director of Human Resources who has done excellent work helping us implement Dr. Hinshaw’s order that all LTC staff work at only one site during the remainder of the pandemic. We support this change which is expected to begin to take effect on Thursday, April 23, 2020.
Thank you for your on-going support for everyone at St. Michael’s as we work to keep your loved ones safe and cared for.