Fairview Home Endures COVID Outbreak
Fairview Home was one of the first seniors’ care facilities to go into code red during this pandemic and subsequently endure an outbreak. The main takeaway of this story is when proper protocol is followed, the staff is diligent with following the rules, and regular deep cleaning with powerful disinfectants is done, a COVID outbreak can be overcome. However, this outbreak did not come without its casualties.
While numbers fluctuated from November 16 until January 7th, at it’s worst, the COVID outbreak at Fairview Home in Brandon was dealing with approximately 48 positive cases. That was mid-November and that alarming stat came with the heartbreaking news that as many as 10 residents had succumbed due to health complications caused by the virus. In total, 17 deaths were documented out of the 68 positive cases among residents. 51 residents recovered throughout the outbreak which lasted just under two months.
As of Friday, January 8th Fairview Home was deemed covid free. Fortunately, the 248-bed long-term care facility which provides quality care for its residents at 1351 – 13th Street in Brandon, has withstood the worst of the scourge this virus is capable of. But the experience was like that of a fierce battle with an invisible enemy. Thanks to a diligent and tireless staff, who at times required help from personnel of workers in other emergency-related fields, this round of the battle is behind them.
To help prevent future COVID outbreaks, there are strict protocols in place for staff and visitors. To this date, residents are only allowed one person per visit and that person must be one of the two designated caregivers from each family. There is a thorough screening process prior to those visitors being allowed inside the building. These are two of the main rules put in place since the pandemic was officially announced.
The staff of this facility have endured what is hopefully the worst of a dire situation and have taken a major step in the right direction. Spark News spoke with Cynthia Chartrand RNBN and Care Team Manager at Fairview Home to get a first-hand look at how they managed to get through to the other side of a very serious and oft times, tense situation.
Spark News: When did you experience the first case of COVID at Fairview and was it a staff member or resident?
CC: We had our first case back on August 30th which was in relation to a staff member. Fortunately, at that time, we did not have any positive cases among our residents. Then of course the most recent outbreak was declared on November 16th which included some of our residents.
Spark News: When did you experience the peak numbers of COVID during the outbreak at Fairview Home?
CC: The peak for this current outbreak we had here was the first week. Within days we had a peak. As we were able to secure that additional staff was provided through PMH. Physicians were here daily to ultimately reduce that speed of transmission.
Spark News: We had heard reports of more than 100 COVID positive cases were documented from the Fairview Home outbreak. What was the number of infections between staff and residents? How many of each were infected and subsequently recovered?
CC: Out of our 300+ staff we had 43 who were infected, all 43 recovered. Of our 244 residents a total of 68 were infected and 51 recovered. Sadly, we did lose 17 residents during this outbreak, unfortunately.
Spark News: When did Fairview officially announce the outbreak and subsequently deem it necessary to put stricter COVID protocols in place?
CC: We announced the outbreak on November 16th and then on the 17th we did have some residents who were COVID positive, on the 18th we got communication out to families that we were going to suspend visitation on the 19th. It’s a process that involves emailing and calling those who don’t have access to computers or the internet. On December 1st visitation resumed on the first three floors but at that time there were still some residents deemed COVID positive on the 4th and 5th floors. The fourth floor was opened up to visitation again on January 9th and the fifth floor will resume visitation for main family caregivers this weekend.
Spark News: When will vaccines be available to residents and what protocol will Fairview follow when administering the vaccines?
CC: As the province had announced on January 11th vaccinations had begun in personal care homes throughout the province with their focused immunization teams. So all the residents at Fairview have been offered the vaccine and we are working to attain those consents with each of the residents or their alternate decision-maker. Vaccinations for our facility have been scheduled for January 18th and 19th.
Spark News: Is there anything you’d like to add at this point?
CC: We are grateful for the extra help we received from the redeployed staff from other areas in the health care and emergency fields. We were supported so well by those people and couldn’t have done it as well without them.
Spark News: Other than ultimately eliminating the outbreak, what is another positive take away from all of this that stands out to you?
CC: One thing that was very heartwarming just occurred yesterday (Tuesday, January 12, 2021). One of our redeploy staff has a sister that teaches in Poland. She had gotten wind through her sister of our situation and her students actually sent our residents on the fourth floor (the hardest hit floor by the outbreak) letters and a large sign that they wrote on giving them wishes of love and support and hope and it was just heartwarming. I felt as much as the community really came together and certainly our community here at Fairview, it was so heartwarming to see this come from the other side of the world. To see that love and support to our nurses, our staff, and the residents. You know, of course, they lit up when they saw the drawings and what not was posted on the walls for them.
Spark News: Anything else you’d like to add?
CC: This whole ordeal has been very difficult for the staff. You know, you go into nursing wanting to help but you don’t ever expect to ever have to take on something like a pandemic of this magnitude. So to have someone wanting to put a positive spin on it and support our staff means… we can’t thank you enough so thank you.
Spark News: You’re very welcome, not only our community but the whole world needs to see the positive side of something like this. We’re all going through it and it’s time for a positive message.
CC: Absolutely! You know one of the things I told staff just the other day is, as difficult as it has been and how sad as it has been, watching the other day some of these residents who have been isolated in their rooms for 7 weeks, come out and see their friends and see their family, the glow from them. I said, don’t forget that! As much as we’re sad, look at those people and look at them glow and smile at each other and remember that you helped create that. They saved a lot of lives, we sadly lost 17 but we also saved not only those residents on 4th and 5th but those residents on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd who never had the virus come down there and it’s the staff that did that. They followed the protocol and they did what they needed to do to contain it and I couldn’t be more proud of them.