COVID-19 has made its first confirmed appearance in a Vancouver Island seniors building.
Berwick Retirement Communities has confirmed a case at Berwick by the Sea, a retirement community in downtown Campbell River.
Berwick says it is working with Island Health to take the necessary steps to protect the health and well-being of all residents and staff, as well as those in the broader community.
“While we understand that this may be distressing to hear, the good news is all of the precautions we have implemented to date will assist us to mitigate the spread further and protect both staff and resident safety,” Berwick director of operations, Kelly Lazaro says in a letter to building residents.
“We have been diligently preparing for this situation and we are ready to execute our pandemic plan. We also want to emphasize that our entire Berwick leadership team will remain fully committed to your health and safety as we proceed forward with this situation.”
Island Health has also confirmed that close contacts of the individual who tested positive have been notified, a public statement from Lesley Sikorski, Berwick’s director of sales and marketing, says. If you have not been contacted by Public Health, you are not considered at risk of exposure.
“Outbreak protocols have been in place since last week out of an abundance of caution to ensure the health and safety of our residents and staff,” the statement says. “We are taking every step possible to ensure the virus is contained.”
Measures include around-the-clock contact with Island Health to control and contain the virus and daily commnunications with the Communicable Disease Nurse.
The letter to residents outlines the protocols being taken, which include (among others):
- All residents remain quarantined in their suites for the next 14-days.
- Communication to residents, families and staff deployed via hand-delivered letters and emails
- A deep clean of the entire building commencing immediately, including disinfection of “high-touch areas”
- An “Isolation Team” will be responsible for delivering food and as responders exclusively to the symptomatic resident and will not deliver meals or respond to calls for any other suites.
- Food delivery to other residents will be done in a manner consistent with distancing protocols and appropriate protection.
- Temporary cancellation of most in-suite housekeeping services.
This also serves as a reminder that COVID-19 is a concern that is not isolated to one region or city on Vancouver Island and it is imperative for everyone to follow the Provincial Health Officer’s directives around physical distancing, hygiene and self-isolating if you have symptoms, the statement says.
Lazaro says the situation is being taken seriously and asked for everyone to remain calm.
“We want you to know that your safety is paramount and that we take this situation very seriously. It is very important that we all remain calm as Berwick transitions into its outbreak protocol. We all have very important roles to play in this scenario and now more than ever, we must unite together and do whatever we can to contain this virus and prevent the further spread within our community.”
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