At the request of the Government of Ontario, H.J. McFarland Memorial Home will be testing all residents and staff for COVID-19. The provincial government has directed public health units across the province to develop a plan to test residents and employees of all long-term care facilities.
Broad testing is intended to help officials understand the prevalence of COVID-19 in long-term care homes and inform future planning.
Currently, there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at H.J. McFarland Memorial Home with tests being conducted as per the provincial directives. All results from tests have come back negative.
“We are incredibly grateful for the tremendous effort of our staff in following best practices related to infection control and the measures they have taken to ensure the safety of our residents,” said Kyle Cotton, Executive Director of Long-term Care.
There are already several protocols in place to protect employees and residents at the home. These include:
Only essential visitors are permitted inside; this means only immediate family of ill or dying residents;
Everyone entering the Home will be screened according to Ministry of Health guidelines, which includes taking the temperature of all employees and visitors, as well as answer questions including: Have you come in contact with someone suspected of having COVID-19, do you have a fever, do you have a new or progressive cough.
Masks are required for anyone in the presence of residents. Physical distancing is strictly monitored and enforced.
Residents are monitored twice a shift for symptoms.
Employees must be well in order to work. Anyone experiencing symptoms of any sort are sent home.
Staffing has been restricted to employees whose only job is at the Home.
Apart from these protocols, additional space is being used to ensure proper physical distancing. Staff are also engaging in more one-on-one activities to avoid large group gatherings.
Hastings Prince Edward County Public Health (HPEPH) along with all long-term care homes in the region will work together to prioritize the roll-out of the increased testing. Priority will be given to homes where there are active outbreaks of COVID-19.
The home has also been reported as having an appropriate amount of personal protecting equipment to keep staff and residents safe.
HPEPH declared the COVID-19 outbreak at Hallowell House in Picton over earlier this week. HPEPH originally announced on April 2 that a staff member had been tested and confirmed to have the novel coronavirus. The public health body now says that case has been resolved and no long term care facilities in Prince Edward County are currently listed amongst the LTC care facilities on the HPEPU facility outbreaks page.