Vision Nursing Home leader disheartened as more residents, staff test positive for COVID-19

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Vision Nursing Home in Sarnia is one of more than 190 long term care homes which have a COVID-19 outbreak.

Heather Martin says it is disheartening to see COVID-19 continue to infect residents of Vision Nursing Home.

Martin is the CEO of the Sarnia home where now 13 residents and six staff members have now tested positive for the respiratory virus which has killed over 1,320 people in long term care homes, including three at Vision.

COVID-19 was first detected in Vision April 23, the day before the home was scheduled to be part of a mass testing of all nursing home residents in the province.

Ten people have tested positive in the last two days.

Lambton’s Medical Officer of Health says the residents who are now sick didn’t show signs of the virus at that time of the mass testing, saying they were retested after they had signs of the illness.

Martin says the outbreak has been contained to one wing of one unit at the home. Officials have closed it off to the rest of the home, staffing it separately, making sure workers don’t move through the home but stay only in the are where there is infection.

The nursing home has taken advantage of help from organizations in the community including Bluewater Health. “I have a good relationship with the staff there, and when they put the first call out to see how they could help. I said, ‘how about some of our staff, who went to work at the hospital; send them back, we need them.'”

Those workers, who in April had to chose one workplace to work in to avoid spreading the virus, have now returned to help with the outbreak.

Martin is also hoping to have school board employees come in to help. The province and some of the unions have agreed to send laid off workers into nursing homes to help out.

“Why wouldn’t we call over and ask to send over educational assistants and social workers? Our residents are lonely, they could use some comforting.”

Martin says of those residents still showing symptoms, the home is monitoring one resident closely; but the others she says there is “no doubt about it, the grace of God is looking down on these people; right now, they are rallying.”

Still, watching the number of people develop COVID-19 has been “disheartening.

“Being in this business as long as we have, we do experience residents deaths… but this isn’t natural. This isn’t right.”