COVID-19 UPDATES

Fairhaven COVID-19 Family Communication – December, 24 2021

Three employees of Fairhaven have tested positive for COVID-19 while a fourth person, who is not an employee of Fairhaven, has also tested positive.  Because of the extremely high rate of transmission within the community, all of these positive cases were linked to exposure outside of our Home, so an outbreak has not been declared yet.  Close contacts of each of these three individuals are being PCR tested today and will be isolated.  While in isolation, Residents will be able to receive one essential caregiver (EC) per day, that is fully vaccinated to help in the provision of care, and feeding, with their loved ones.  These caregivers must wear full PPE and cannot take any protective items while they are in our facility (eating and drinking will not be allowed in our building).

Our environment is changing rapidly so our restrictions have had to be modified as well.

Due to the level of COVID cases in the community, and the near vertical increase in new cases each day, Fairhaven Residents will not be able to receive any general visitors, regardless of their vaccination status, until at least January 31st.  During the remainder of December and through January, all Residents can have one essential caregiver, per day, into our Home to help provide care and feed.  We cannot accommodate changes to the existing essential caregivers (maximum of 2) as we need to limit the number of different people who enter our facility in the near term.  For those of you how have expressed your view to me that all visitors should be refused entry to long term care homes right now, it should be noted that the Ministry of Long-Term Care is adamant that Homes allow, for now, at least one caregiver per day for Residents.

The Ministry has also emphasized that any Residents out for a social leave, or returning from hospital, will be isolated while Residents that are going for a doctor’s appointment will not be isolated when they return.

Near the end of January, we will revisit this policy change in light of updated COVID case statistics in the Peterborough region, and in Ontario as a whole.  The transmissibility of the Omicron variant is clearly higher than any other VOC and we need to be proactive in doing what we can to decrease the possibility of it gaining a foothold in our Home.  Recreation and Nursing staff will do everything they can to keep Residents connected with their loved ones via visual communication software, phone calls, etc.  Hopefully, this will be a short-term measure to ensure everyone’s continued health.

Please keep in mind that our COVID situation is evolving rapidly/continuously so there may be more updates/changes today, and there could be several in the next week or two

Fairhaven COVID-19 Family Communication – December 17, 2021

As with all major guidance changes from the Ministry, we need to clarify some points regarding the new restrictions and inform everyone of any changes in Fairhaven policy.

  • With respect to day absences for fully vaccinated Residents, they will be rapid tested upon their return, and will receive a rapid test and PCR test on day 3.  Until a negative rapid test result is received, the returned Resident will be isolated
  • All visitors to Fairhaven, including essential caregivers, will be rapid tested each time they visit and will be required to receive a negative test result before they exit the Great Room.

Fairhaven COVID-19 Family Communication – December 14, 2021

We have all hoped that the pandemic would have been under control by now but that has clearly not been the case. 

We are experiencing a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in Ontario. This trend is expected to continue over the coming weeks as a result of the highly transmissible Omicron variant. Based on recommendations from the Chief Medical Officer of Health, increased restrictions are being placed in long-term care homes in Ontario right away to reduce the risk of the virus entering the home.  These temporary enhanced and responsive measures are necessary to provide optimal safety and support to residents, while balancing the mental and emotional well-being of residents and their families, and to safeguard the staff who are critical to the care of residents.

Changes coming into effect on December 15th,  at 7:00pm, include:

  • General visitors must be fully vaccinated to come into homes, unless they are visiting a resident receiving end of life care. In this case, full PPE (gown, face shield and surgical mask) must be worn and not taken off at any point during the visit
  • Infants under 1 year of age are not considered visitors and may enter the home without being subject to surveillance testing.
  • As children under 5 years old are unable to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, they will be unable to come into a home at this time.  There are no medical exemptions allowable for this rule.
  • fully vaccinated caregivers may continue to join residents for communal dining / family-style meals, while remaining masked at all times.
  • Rapid Antigen testing is required for all indoor AND outdoor visitors; NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS CAN BE ALLOWED, REGARDLESS OF TIME CONTRAINTS ON A VISITOR

Effective December 17 (unless otherwise noted):

  • All staff, students, volunteers, and caregivers must be surveillance tested at least 2 times per week. Homes may wish to go beyond this province-wide requirement based on local factors.
  • All general visitors and support workers must be tested each time they attend at a home, regardless of the fact that they must be vaccinated.
  • All currently designated caregivers must provide proof of a first dose of vaccine (or a valid medical exemption) by December 20 to enter a home, unless they are visiting a resident receiving end of life care. These caregivers will then have until February 21 to be fully vaccinated. Until fully vaccinated, these caregivers will be limited to visiting their loved one in their room.
  • A maximum of 2 caregivers can be designated by a resident and any newly designated caregivers must be fully vaccinated to enter the home.  These changes are effective immediately.
  • A maximum of 2 people (caregivers and visitors) per resident at a time for indoor visits, and 4 people (caregivers and visitors) per resident at a time for outdoor visits.  Visitors cannot remain in cars to avoid being tested and, if they do so, they will be asked to leave Fairhaven grounds.

Leaving the Home:

  • Residents who are fully vaccinated may continue to leave the home for day absences and must be reminded of public health safety measures to follow when they are outside of the home.
  • Residents who are not fully vaccinated may not leave the home for social/day absences.
  • Social overnight absences are being suspended at this time due to the increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant.
  • All residents may continue to leave the home for essential medical absences.

Requirements upon return/admission/transfer to home:

Day absences

  • Residents will be actively screened upon return;
  • Rapid test and PCR test will be administered on day 3 following absence, followed by a PCR test on day 7. No isolation is required unless positive result is received.
  • If there is a known exposure to a case, there will be a PCR test on day 1 and at day 7 as well as the need to isolate until a negative result is confirmed from day 7.
  • For all return/admissions/transfers from another healthcare facility that is not in an outbreak:
    • If asymptomatic and fully vaccinated and no known exposure to a case, do PCR test prior to admission or on arrival at the LTCH, with isolation until a negative test result is received.
    • Do enhanced symptom screening on admission and twice daily for 10 days following the return/admission/transfer.
  • For all other return/admissions/transfers to the home (not including day absences):
    • A PCR test is required prior to admission or on day 1, and on day 7.
    • Isolation is required until a negative result is confirmed from day 7 (the test prior to admission is only valid the day of, or from the previous day).
    • Do enhanced symptom screening on admission and twice daily for 10 days following the return/admission/transfer

We understand how difficult these measures will be for Residents and their loved ones.  Staff will do everything they can to support Residents. I know it’s not the same as family, but Residents are very much like family to staff. As these measures are mandatory for all long term care facilities in the Province, please also understand that our staff do not have control over the virus or over the measures put in place by Ontario to keep our health system from being overwhelmed.  Staff are certainly frustrated and disappointed as well and are continuing to do everything they can to keep everyone that lives here healthy.

Fairhaven COVID-19 Family Communication – December 10, 2021

Fairhaven will be hosting Pop-up Sale with

Lounge Around by Fashion Plus Ladieswear

Fri Dec 17th 2-4pm in the Worship Center

**located on the 3rd floor

PJ’s and Nightgowns Size S-3XL

Fairhaven COVID-19 Family Communication #2 – December 10, 2021

Today’s communications from Ontario’s Medical Officer of Health, Kieran Moore, and our Premier, are painting a challenging picture for our fight against COVID-19 in the coming months.  While vaccines have allowed our communities to return to a semblance of “normal” lives, it is becoming clear that this virus will not be stopped as easily as we had all hoped.  I have been hearing that the province will be announcing the reintroduction of some restrictions in Homes to proactively blunt the threat of COVID, especially the Omicron variant of concern.  I have absolutely no information on what these restrictions might include, but I wanted to make sure that everyone knew that the Ministry is taking recent case numbers very seriously and that the safety of our Residents is the prime concern of all of us at Fairhaven.  As soon as I have additional information next week, I will pass it on to all of you.

Thank you for your continued support; it has been invaluable in supporting our staff in caring for your loved ones.

Fairhaven COVID-19 Family Communication – October 1, 2021

The following announcement was just relayed to long term care Homes by the Ministry of Long Term Care:

“Effective today (October 1), the Minister of Long-Term Care has issued a revised Minister’s Directive: Long-Term Care Home COVID-19 Immunization Policy. Per the revised Directive, every licensee must ensure that all staff, support workers, students, and volunteers provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or a valid medical exemption. Existing staff, students and volunteers, as well as support workers who currently attend the home, must provide this proof by November 15, 2021. Effective immediately, any new staff, support workers, students or volunteers must provide it before they begin working, undertaking their placement or volunteering in the home.

Moving to a province-wide mandatory vaccination policy is a progressive step that many in the sector have called for, and we know you are well-poised to communicate this rapidly to your teams, residents and families, and ensure that staff are supported to get their first dose as soon as possible in order to meet the November 15th deadline for two doses. Staff, support workers, students or volunteers who choose not to provide proof of vaccination, or proof of a valid medical exemption, by the required date will not be able to attend a long-term care home to work, undertake a student placement or volunteer. This directive has also been updated to support public posting of home level data. Following on the advance notice provided via LTCHomes.net in September, we will start to post this data today in combination with the updated immunization policy. Our goal is to support transparency and build confidence that collectively, long-term care sector partners have made significant progress in promoting the benefits of vaccination.”

Fairhaven’s vaccination policy will be revised accordingly; proof of full vaccination status must be submitted by November 15th, 2021.

The revised Directive can be accessed through this link:

https://www.ltchomes.net/LTCHPORTAL/Content/Snippets/001.%20Minister’s%20Directive%20LTCH%20COVID-19%20Immunization%20policy%202021-10-01%20Highlighted.pdf

The Letter from the Associate Deputy Minister can be accessed through this link:

https://www.ltchomes.net/LTCHPORTAL/Content/Snippets/001.%20AsDM%20Memo_Updated%20Immunization%20Policy%202021-10-01_final.pdf

Fairhaven Staff COVID Bulletin #133 – Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccinations

Mandatory Vaccinations

New modelling released by the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, on September 1st, predicts a substantial fourth wave, which has the potential to be significantly worse than the third wave, in our province.  The Advisory Table also expects, among the unvaccinated, a rapid increase in the number of seriously ill people needing hospital care as workplaces and education re-open in September.  All age groups are expected to be affected, with the potential for cases to exceed ICU capacity.  It also stressed that, due to the more contagious Delta variant, and in order to avoid another lockdown, the number of people aged 12-plus in Ontario who are fully vaccinated needs to accelerate substantially to more than 85 per cent.  Individuals’ contacts need to be reduced to about 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels until vaccination rates reach a level where the population is protected.  No vaccine can provide 100% effectiveness against contracting an illness, but COVID vaccination offers substantial protection against severe health outcomes. The Advisory Table does not expect to see near the same proportion of severely ill cases in the vaccinated.  Limiting large gatherings, reducing indoor density, maintaining indoor mask mandates, working from home (when possible), and implementing vaccine certificates and mandates will all assist in curbing the fourth wave.

Municipal and Peterborough Public Health Response

On September 22, 2021, the City of Peterborough Council, sitting as Committee of the Whole, approved Report CLSHR21-007 (City of Peterborough – Workplace Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policy) which recommended the approval of a Workplace COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination Policy.  This policy, set out as Appendix A to Report CLSHR21-007, included the following policy statements:

“4.1 Mandatory Vaccinations and Proof of Vaccination:

a) The City requires that all Individuals and Contractors covered by this policy be Fully Vaccinated against COVID-19. This is consistent with Public Health’s guidance to help prevent the infection and spread of COVID-19, and as an integral part of its public health and safety measures.

b) The City requires that all Individuals covered by this policy provide Proof of Vaccination, unless an Exemption has been granted. Proof of Vaccination will be collected in accordance with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the City’s Health Information Procedure.

c) For the initial implementation of this policy, Proof of Vaccination must be provided by October 15, 2021, for first dose vaccinations and by November 12, 2021, for second dose vaccinations. Deadlines for subsequent vaccinations or boosters will be established by the employer at that time to allow individuals a grace period to become Fully Vaccinated.”

The County of Peterborough received Report CAO 2021-027 on September 22, 2021, as well.  This report included the following recommendations:

“That Report CAO 2021-27 Corporate COVID-19 Prevention and Mandatory Vaccination Program Policy be received;

That Policy No. CORP-18, COVID-19 Prevention & Mandatory Vaccination be approved; and

That Council directs the Chief Administrative Officer (and delegates) to ensure the implementation and administration of all aspects of the Corporate COVID-19 Prevention and Mandatory Vaccination Program Policy.”

On September 9, 2021, Peterborough Public Health (PPH), issued a media release that recommended mandatory vaccination policies be adopted by employers in the County and City of Peterborough.

Long Term Care Sector Response

A group of major Canadian long-term care operators have announced that they will require all staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 this Fall.  Chartwell Retirement Residences, Extendicare, Responsive Group Inc., Revera Inc. and Sienna Senior Living issued a joint statement on August 26, 2021, about their plan.  Employees who are not fully vaccinated by Oct. 12th will be placed on an unpaid leave of absence.  Under their policies, vaccination will also be required for new hires, students and other personnel working with the companies.

On September 15th, 2021, a group of fifteen Ontario not-for-profit and municipal long-term care and retirement homes criticized the province “for failing to introduce mandatory vaccinations and announced they will instead do it themselves.”  In their statement, they noted that Ontario has begun to see breakthrough infections which have impacted long-term care homes, including deaths of some vaccinated Residents. The group also remarked that scientists and public health officials recommend higher rates of vaccination within the population as the best way to prevent infection and death.  Members of the not-for-profit and municipal coalition have made mandatory vaccinations a condition of employment, both for existing and new staff. The policies will go into effect over the next number of weeks.

Fairhaven’s Environment

Given the fact that they live in a group setting, and may have underlying medical conditions, Residents are at increased risk for contracting COVID-19 and experiencing serious outcomes.  A high rate of vaccination in our Home is important to protect all the people who live in, work at, and visit Fairhaven, and to help reduce the risk of outbreaks which require Residents to be isolated. Isolation means Residents lose in-person social interaction and the ability to engage in activities; the effects of isolation may be greater for Residents who have dementia and/or a cognitive impairment.

Per the Minister’s Directive:  LONG-TERM CARE HOME COVID-19 IMMUNIZATION POLICY, effective September 2, 2020, a licensee [Home] may decide to remove the option set out in subsection 2.2(c) [COVID-19 Vaccination education] and require all staff, student placements and volunteers to either provide the proof required in subsection 2.2 (a) [proof of full vaccination status] or 2.2 (b) [medical exemption].  There are only two valid/recognized grounds for medical exemptions from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine:

  1. an allergic reaction to a component of the vaccine within an individual, which must be confirmed by an allergist or immunologist.
  2. if an individual suffered myocarditis or pericarditis after the first dose of a vaccine.

Fairhaven’s owners (the County and City of Peterborough) have both implemented policies which make vaccines mandatory for all of their staff, whether they work remotely or at municipal service locations.

Fairhaven is committed to providing a safe workplace.  In accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, COVID-19 is classified as an infectious disease which, by definition, presents a clear occupational health and safety hazard.  Employers are obligated to take every reasonable precaution to protect workers against infectious diseases.  Given recent Provincial announcements regarding case projections, and proof of vaccination requirements for man indoor settings, and the PPH’s recommendations, Fairhaven has established a Mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy.  Employees that do not disclose their vaccination status would be deemed to not be vaccinated and the attached policy would apply to them with that assumption.

All staff and volunteers of Fairhaven must receive their first and second vaccine shots by November 5, 2021.  If this condition is not met by November 5th, or evidence for one of the two recognized medical exemptions for not receiving the vaccine (confirmed by a doctor) has not been provided, the employee will be placed on an unapproved unpaid leave of absence, for an indefinite period of time, pending further changes in provincial legislation and/or changes in Fairhaven’s immunization policy.  For those choosing to receive their first and second vaccines, they can book appointments at pharmacies or any clinics in the area that are offering the shots.