Meadowview employee who provided direct care to residents tests positive for COVID-19

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A staff member at Lambton Meadowview Villa who is involved in direct care of the elderly has tested positive for COVID-19.

Jane Joris, general manager of Long Term Care for Lambton County says the residents and their families were notified today (Wednesday).

Joris says the employee was sent home when managers noticed she was not feeling well and had a fever during a recent shift. Joris wouldn’t say exactly when the woman last worked at the home because it might identify her.

She added the worker had mild symptoms and is feeling better.

Joris says two or three people who worked directly with the employee are self isolating for the next 14 days. “That’s the biggest group of staff working together right now because of physical distancing.” None of the workers are showing any symptoms of COVID-19.

Joris believes all the employees involved only worked at Meadowview Villa.

Residents who received care from the worker will stay in their rooms for 14 days, with meals being brought in on trays. “We don’t have any resident who is symptomatic and unless they get symptoms, there is no point in testing them because we understand the test doesn’t work as well for people who are asymptomatic,” she says.

Residents who might be prone to wander around the home instead of staying in their room will receive one-on-one care.

Joris acknowledges having four staff members out for 14 days will be difficult considering staffing is already tight. The province has also just ordered nursing home employees to choose one facility to work in which could also lead to few workers available to fill shifts in Petrolia.

Joris says Lambton will be able to access staff through a job bank of retired and former health care workers created by the province. She adds they had already been recruiting more staff before this occurred.

Meadowview management and staff are working with Lambton Public Health, says Joris, which has declared an outbreak in the home. An outbreak is declared when only one person has tested positive for the virus.

The Petrolia home – like all other long-term care homes in the province – has been severely restricting visitors to the 125 residents since March 13. No family members are allowed in unless someone is in critical condition or at the end of life.

The home also is screening employees – including monitoring their temperatures – on the way in and out of work.

Joris says everyone of the nearly 200 staff members is concerned about the residents as they wait to see if anyone else develops symptoms of the novel coronavirus.

“I think they’re stepping up,” says Joris of the employees who have worked hard to make sure the residents have as normal of a time as possible under lockdown. “I believe the staff members are pretty committed to the people they provide care to, but this is not easy.”