On Monday (March 30, 2020), the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario, Dr. David C. Williams, (the “CMOH“) issued a Directive* mandating that St. Jacobs Place Limited (“SJP“) as the licensed operator of St. Jacobs Place Retirement Residence (the “Residence“) must take all reasonable steps to comply with the following protocols:
- all persons entering or leaving the Residence, except emergency first responders, will be screened for symptoms of the coronavirus (screening includes checking for fever, elevated temperature, cough, difficulty breathing and other mild respiratory symptoms) – deliveries will be made to the kitchen delivery door only and all delivery personnel entering the Residence must be symptom-screened;
- all staff and residents of the Residence will be actively screened for the coronavirus at least twice daily, once at the beginning and once at the end of each day.The front entry door will be the only entrance by which SJP’s staff may enter and exit the Residence until further notice;
- residents exhibiting symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of the coronavirus will be isolated and undergo testing for the coronavirus (swab of the back of the nose and throat sent for laboratory testing). Staff exhibiting symptoms will be directed to return home and self-isolate in accordance with applicable guidance from the CMOH and other public health bodies. Any other person exhibiting symptoms will not be permitted to enter the Residence;
- for the effective control of the coronavirus and mitigation of its impact on SJP’s staff, essential support workers and other occupants of the Residence, residents must remain within the perimeter of the Residence (i.e. inside the building) at all times pending further direction from the CMOH.All residents must maintain social distancing (a two (2) metre physical gap between individuals) during this time.
- effective immediately, any resident who leaves the Residence will not be allowed to re-enter until the state of emergency declared in the Province of Ontario is lifted. Admissions of new or returning residents have been put on hold until further notice;
- likewise, the Residence will be closed to visitors, except for essential visitors (being staff, those providing essential support services or persons visiting a very ill or palliative residents) for the duration of this provincial state of emergency. Restrictions will apply to persons visiting very ill or palliative residents, including a requirement to submit to screening for the coronavirus and to avoid interaction with other residents. These will be discussed with those concerned on a case-by-case basis;
- personal protective equipment (e.g. gloves, gowns, face-shields) will be provided for staff and support workers interacting with any person exhibiting symptoms consistent with the coronavirus;
- staff and resident cohorting will be implemented at the discretion of SJP, meaning that certain staff members may be allocated to work solely with unwell residents and residents may be relocated within the Residence to ensure minimal spread of infection;
- frequently-touched surfaces will be subject to increased sanitization; and
- in the event of an outbreak or suspecting outbreak of the coronavirus, outbreak control measures will be implemented (including discontinuance of all non-essential activities, further restrictions on those entering and leaving the Residence, and use of personal protective equipment by all staff) and the health authorities will be notified.
In addition to these officially-mandated protocols, all staff and residents are asked to be regularly self-monitoring for symptoms of the coronavirus (including fever, cough and difficulty breathing and, less commonly, chest pain, sore throat, fatigue, muscle and joint pain and chills) to ensure that we are in the best possible position to keep all SJP residents and personnel safe and healthy.
Thank you in advance for your compliance with these directives. By working together during this challenging time, we can all remain safe and healthy.
The Management of St. Jacobs Place Retirement Residence
April 2, 2020
* Directive #3 for Long-Term Care Homes under the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007, S.O. 2007, c. 8, issued under section 77.7 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act, R.S.0. 1990, c. H.7 and applied to retirement homes pursuant to subsection 27(5) of Ontario Regulation 166/11 under the Retirement Homes Act, 2010, S.O. 2010, c. 11 as amended by Ontario Regulation 68/20 under that same Act. Full text available here: https://www.oha.com/Bulletins/CMOH%20Directive%203%20-%20Long-Term%20Care%20Homes.pdf.