COVID outbreaks continue to pop up in West Nipissing as healthcare workers try and adjust to the “new normal.”
The West Nipissing General Hospital announced an outbreak in its long-term care (LTC) unit on March 27. Four residents have tested positive, though three of them are currently symptom-free. All are fully vaccinated.
CEO Cynthia Desormiers says it’s nearly impossible to determine how the outbreak started with COVID restrictions being loosened, but she reminds visitors that masking mandates are still in place in healthcare settings.
“We continually have to remind people of that,” she says. “They hear that out in public you don’t need them anymore, but when you come in here, you do. We’re monitoring and encouraging all those good public health measures.”
The long-term care unit will be closed to visitors until the outbreak is declared over. Only essential caregivers will be permitted until the unit can go 10 days without a new positive case.
“Everybody here is just as excited as everybody in the community for COVID to be over someday soon. I think we’ve all had enough,” says Desormiers. “But our team here has been really strong and they’re working hard and very diligently in making sure they’re still providing quality and safe patient care, even though we’re in an outbreak. Throughout this whole pandemic they’ve been doing an amazing job.”
Another outbreak was also declared at Au Chateau Home for the Aged on March 15, almost a week after a major outbreak that started in January was declared over. Sixteen residents have tested positive in Section A and the first floor, but none that caught the virus as part of the prior outbreak.
Director Jacques Dupuis says this outbreak coincided with the province relaxing restrictions on visitors at LTCs.
“About all we can do at this time is say ‘Now that we have it back, how do we tackle it? How do we try to contain it to the two sections?’ and so far we have done so,” he notes.