Hamilton’s medical officer of health says Grace Villa long-term care home (LTCH) needed “support and assistance” as soon as its COVID-19 outbreak began on Nov. 25.
During an update on Tuesday, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson said public health was concerned about the home “right at the outset” of its declaration and has since implemented a Section 29 to order bringing in support from the hospitals, including staff from Hamilton Health Sciences.
Richardson says the city has been working with the ministry of long-term care who now ultimately is responsible for the home and any other measures need to be taken since it recorded its 18th coronavirus death on Monday.
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“We’ve been providing them with all the information, sharing our concerns as well with them to encourage them to move forward with further measures,” Richardson said.
Cases at Grace Villa grew by 41 on Monday to 173. A total of 115 residents and 58 staff members have tested positive since the outbreak began on Nov. 25.
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Earlier in December, the union that represents Ontario’s frontline workers sent at formal request to the federal government to deploy the Canadian Armed Forces to provide “support and relief” to staff and residents at the home.
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“We are sending this to you at the urging of our members on the frontline who have lost confidence in the operator and the provincial government’s ability to support them in this ongoing crisis,” SEIU Healthcare president Sharleen Stewart said in the letter sent on Friday.
The union also demonstrated outside the home on Upper Gage Avenue on Dec. 5 after learning that staff had allegedly not been issued N95 masks. Operators of the home have since been providing masks for workers.
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Richardson says staffing for Hamilton LTCH’s in outbreaks that require help falls on a collaboration between the home, the hospitals and the province.
“That’s all worked out between the hospitals and the home trying to sort out what it is they need, who do they bring in, what agencies can help support that,” said Richardson.
Hamilton has active outbreaks at eleven long-term care homes as of Dec.14.
The city’s other significant LTCH outbreak is at Chartwell Willowgrove on Old Mohawk Road which has had 95 coronavirus cases since an outbreak began on Oct. 22. The home has also recorded 18 deaths since then.
Other LTCH’s in outbreaks as of Monday in Hamilton include Baywoods Place with 44 cases since starting Nov. 1, Shalom Village Nursing Home with 48 cases since Dec. 9 and St. Joseph’s Villa with 49 total cases since its outbreak began on Nov. 20.
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