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COVID-19 Update Dec 21, 2021: Ontario

December 21, 2021

COVID-19-Blog

Hello everyone,

In follow up to my memo dated December 16, 2021, I wanted to provide you with a link to the Ministry of Health’s amendment to Directive #3 along with the Retirement Home Regulatory Authority (RHRA) Policy to Implement to Directive #3, which outlines the Ontario Government’s new regulations for retirement homes.

Let me clarify that “continuous masking” means a mask must cover your nose and mouth for the duration of your visit at Seasons.  This means no eating or drinking while visiting.  In the last week, I have been alarmed by the number of Seasons homes exposed to COVID-19 by a visitor who admitted to not wearing a mask and subsequently tested positive.  This action is reckless, contrary to Seasons policy and government directive and puts our residents and staff at significant risk.  Exposed residents and their close contacts will have to be isolated after such an incident, which is not desirable at any time, but most especially during the holidays.

While most families continue to support our efforts to keep their loved ones safe, I have learned of several vicious remarks and threats against our team members since we announced the implementation of Government directives regarding vaccinated visitors.  Seasons has a legal obligation to provide a workplace for our team members free from harassment and violence.  While you are entitled to your opinions, mistreatment of our team members is entirely unacceptable and will have no impact on our mandate that visitors be vaccinated.  We are required, by law, to follow Directive #3, and we believe it is our staff and residents’ best interests to do so.   I appreciate that people are scared, frustrated and tired of pandemic safety protocols.  Please, let’s be kind and respectful.  Complaints may be escalated to the General Manager and/or the Retirement Home Regulatory Authority.

For your quick reference, here are the protocols outlined in the above links, including updates to last week’s memo:

Vaccination for Visitors

All visitors must be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination before entry into a Seasons Retirement Residence in Ontario.  Fully vaccinated means 14 days post the 2nd dose.  Our Visitor Management System in Cubigo can note vaccination status, so the proof will only be required once.  Please speak to the General Manager if you have a valid medical exception.

We are committed to working in partnership with those visitors who are not vaccinated as best as possible.

Rapid Testing

All visitors, team members, students, volunteers and contractors, regardless of vaccination status, must participate in rapid testing before entering a Seasons Retirement Residence.  Testing will be required a minimum of 2x per week.

Please note that visitors who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 30 days will not be required to participate in rapid testing.  In this instance, the visitor is asked to provide proof of a positive COVID-19 result in the past 30 days. Once the 30-day period has passed, the individual will be required to complete a regular rapid test 2x per week.

Visitor Management System

All visits must be scheduled in advance.  This guarantees the safeguard testing requirements while ensuring physical distancing and equity regarding access and care needs.  Visits will be limited to 2 guests per resident at a time.

Short Term Absences (updated)

Residents exposed to a known COVID-19 case during their absence must be tested for COVID-19 with a PCR test on return to the home and quarantined. A second negative COVID-19 PCR test result collected on Day 7 is required to discontinue quarantine on Droplet and Contact Precautions.

Overnight Absences (updated)

Regardless of vaccination status, residents who choose to leave the home overnight will be required to have a PCR test upon return, isolate for one week and get another PCR test on Day 7.  Residents must continue to isolate until the 7-day results are returned.

Admissions & Transfers (updated)

All admissions and transfers regardless of vaccination status will require:

  • PCR test before admission or on arrival
  • Screened 2x daily for ten days following their arrival in the retirement residence

Admissions from another healthcare facility not in outbreak will be isolated until their negative PCR test result is received.

Admissions from the community will be isolated and require a second PCR test on Day 7 of arrival.    They will remain isolated until their Day 7 negative PCR test result is received.

Activities

Small group activities continue to be supported, while large group activities are not encouraged.

Masking (updated)

A reminder that visitors MUST continuously mask throughout their visit.  Please do not remove your mask behind closed doors.  Residents are strongly encouraged to wear their masks when outside of their suite.

While you as an individual have the right to self-assess for risk, Seasons must consider the greater threat to our retirement communities, including staff and residents.   We need everyone to help us keep COVID-19 out of our homes so that all who live and work with us remain healthy as we enter 2022.

Thank you all for your ongoing patience and cooperation.

Sincerely,

LeighAnne Voll
Chief Operating Officer,
Seasons Retirement Communities

For additional online resources for COVID-19 you can visit the following sites:

Canada Health
Alberta Health
Alberta Health Services
Public Health Ontario
Retirement Home Regulatory Authority

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