As the province moves into phase three of reopening, the County is excited to have received further details and directives from the Province and our regional Chief Medical Officer, that enable us to safely expand family visitation at our four Long-term Care Homes and Seniors Services facilities.
Back in March the provincial government announced measures to restrict visitation to Long-term Care and Seniors Services facilities to protect seniors – the population most vulnerable and susceptible to the COVID-19 virus. The County has worked closely with the provincial government and the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit to comply with these orders, as well as additional mandated public health protocols to protect our residents, our staff, and our local communities.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the County has experienced just one positive case among more than 1,300 seniors we serve. This case was successfully contained through rigorous infection control measures and the individual has fully recovered and is doing well.
Our enhanced infection control precautions have been difficult for many residents and their families and we appreciate everyone's continued patience and understanding during this pandemic. We have had to make hard decisions regarding visitation, and we know the separation from loved ones continues to take a toll on families and residents. We’ve tried our best to provide opportunities to connect virtually, keep families updated on our status through town halls and communications and, most importantly fill the social engagement void by providing more one-on-one interaction between staff and residents as much as possible.
Our enhanced staff screening and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) measures will remain in effect for the foreseeable future to continue to limit transmission and reduce the risk to residents and staff. In keeping with the Ministry of Long-term Care announcement, the County is gradually increasing visitation at Georgian Manor in Penetanguishene, Simcoe Manor in Beeton, Sunset Manor in Collingwood, and Trillium Manor in Orillia:
- Outdoor Patio Visits – Effective immediately, up to two (2) people at a time may visit one of our residents at a pre-arranged outdoor meeting. Confirmation of a negative COVID-19 test is no longer required
- Indoor Visits – Starting July 22, indoor visits for up to two (2) people at a time can be arranged, providing the necessary negative COVID-19 test is obtained within 14 days of the visit
Given the detailed requirements for indoor visits, we ask that families do not contact our staff to schedule a time until Monday of next week. We will provide additional details of this new process as soon as our team has had an opportunity to complete a comprehensive review of all requirements.
Though we are cautiously optimistic that this is a very significant step in the right direction, the County must also echo the statement by Minister of Long-term Care Merrilee Fullerton, and request that visitors to our facilities remain vigilant for the health and safety of residents and staff. Regular handwashing and sanitizing remain crucial. Please do not visit any of our facilities if you, or anyone you have been in contact with, has had or is suspected of having COVID-19. Though we are making great strides towards a new normal, the pandemic is not over, and we must continue to exercise caution, particularly when it comes to the health and wellbeing of our beloved seniors.
We are very happy to be able to deliver this positive update, and on behalf of all our staff, we thank you for doing your part during this difficult time to keep our homes safe.