Nearly all Wellington Terrace residents have received their first dose of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

WELLINGTON COUNTY – Nearly all residents of Wellington Terrace Long-Term Care facility have received a first dose of vaccine against COVID-19 with the second dose slated to be administered by mid-February.

Terrace administrator Sue Dronick provided Wellington County council members with an update on pandemic measures at the facility during their Jan. 28 meeting.

“At this time 97 per cent of our residents in the home consented to be vaccinated and the first dose was given, of Moderna, on January 17. Public health has communicated to us that we are on track for the residents to receive their second dose very close to, or on, February 14, so were very pleased with that and we look forward to February 14 for sure.

Dronick said staff at the facility are also in the midst of the vaccination process.

“Many have received d their first dose, but due to lack of supply of Pfizer (vaccine) some are still awaiting their first dose,” she explained.

Commenting on an “extended timeline” for the lag between vaccination doses due to the current shortage, Dronick said, “the latest information that we’ve received is that long term care staff will not go beyond, 35 days for their second dose, even though it’s bee stretched to 42. So we should hear in a very short timeline that we will be able to start booking those first, and then 35-day second, appointments through public health.”

Dronick told council staff were recently updated on plans to implement rapid testing at the facility for staff, students, volunteers, caregivers or general visitors.

While noting that in its current lockdown status, only staff or essential caregivers are permitted to enter Wellington Terrace, Dronick said “We’re being asked to move forward with our rapid testing in the home.

Dronick said some rapid testing kits have been received and the facility is continuing to obtain more as “by Feb. 22 we need to be in full swing with the rapid testing as our primary source.

She noted, “the only caveat to that is if we are in outbreak status we need to continue with the traditional testing.

The rapid testing kits will provide a result within 15 minutes, said Dronick.

“Staff do have an expectation of increased testing, so it will be a minimum of twice a week that each staff member will be tested with the rapid kit,” she explained.

Dronik pointed out the rapid tests can only be used on asymptomatic staff, “so if anybody does have a symptom it would go back to the traditional testing.”

Oversight requirements

Dronick said the facility was also recently advised that each long term care home in Ontario is expected to hire third party oversight  to oversee screening protocols.

“They are to be in the home 24/7, on every door that you would have people enter the building,” said Dronick, noting in the case of Wellington Terrace two entrances would require oversight monitors..

“They’re just looking to make sure that we’re adhering to the screening protocols … that no home would be kind of lenient on, ‘Oh your test result is a day out? We’ll let you in this time,’ that kind of rule stretching.”

Dronick said it is anticipated the province will provide funding for each screener required.

“They haven’t indicated that our current containment funding is where that should come from,” she noted, adding the home is currently working on a plan to put a service agreement in place with an oversight provider.

Councillor Mary Lloyd asked Dronick to address questions raised at the January information, heritage and seniors committee meeting on the number of vacancies, currently 14, at the facility.

“At this time we’ve been in outbreak since December the 12th and we are not able to bring in new residents to the home,” Dronick explained. “We did have some vacancies coming into that time frame and then, again, we’ve continued to be able to not admit to those beds.

“Right now, our outbreak status remains until Feb. 4 unless we do have a positive resident or staff (then) it will be extended beyond that.”

Lloyd expressed council’s appreciation for the efforts made by Terrace staff through the pandemic.

“We just want to also express our gratitude for the hard work that the staff at the Terrace are doing, at probably the most stressful spot in our county with direct contact with the most vulnerable,” said Lloyd.