COVID-19 outbreak amongst handful of McFarland home workers traced to community transmission

H.J. McFarland Memorial Home. (Gazette file photo)

The County of Prince Edward announced Wednesday that although five members of the staff at H.J. McFarland Memorial Home have tested positive for COVID-19, the transmission has been traced to the community and the workers have not been in the Long Term Care home in several days.

The positive cases have been lab-confirmed and the tally was  as of Tuesday, January 4.

“The staff members who have received positive tests have not been inside H.J. McFarland Memorial Home for several days. H.J. McFarland Memorial Home continues to work with Hastings Prince Edward Public Health to identify possible contact and follow provincial guidance for responding to COVID-19 in long-term care homes,” the statement said.

The County assured that residents are receiving the same level of quality care at this time and with the confirmation that infected staff with COVID-19 did not bring it into the Home, residents are no longer required to isolate themselves in their rooms.

Small group programing and communal dining have resumed in designated dining rooms, with residents remaining in cohorts by unit.

While health-care staff shortages are a constant reality, H.J. McFarland team members have filled in for colleagues who are required to isolate. In addition, the municipality has redirected staff resources where appropriate to the Home from municipal buildings that are closed due to provincial directives.

Under provincial regulations, only essential visitors and caregivers are permitted to visit the Home at this time. Essential visitors are people who meet an essential need of residents that could not be adequately met if the person does not visit the Home. A caregiver is a type of essential visitor who provides direct care to meet the essential needs of a resident. Visit the Government of Ontario website for more information about essential visitors and caregivers.

Essential visitors and caregivers must register with H.J. McFarland Memorial Home in advance of a visit. If you are not registered, call 613.476.2138. Any essential visitor or designated caregiver experiencing symptoms of a cold or fever should avoid visiting. Essential visitors and caregivers must also meet the following requirements:

  • Provide a negative COVID-19 test upon entry to the Home, unless they had a negative test the day before.
  • Provide proof of COVID-19 fully vaccinated status, unless they have a valid medical exemption or are attending to a resident in a palliative end-of-life situation. Caregivers were required to have a first dose by December 20, 2021 and all required doses to be considered fully vaccinated by February 21, 2022. In the interim, designated caregivers who are not fully vaccinated would need to restrict their visit to the resident’s room.

The health and safety of all staff and resident is the top priority for H.J. McFarland Memorial Home. Enhanced screening and testing procedures already in place will continue. Staff will update any family members directly should there be any concerns about their loved one’s care.