St. Joseph’s testing all staff and residents

GUELPH – St. Joseph’s Health Centre Guelph (SJHCG) – site of the first positive case of COVID-19 in the region – is participating in an innovative initiative to test all patients, residents and staff at the health centre.

St. Joseph’s tested all asymptomatic patients, residents, and staff for COVID-19 between Friday, April 17 and Monday, April 20. This whole-facility testing is possible thanks to the leadership of Dr. Tom Stewart, CEO of St. Joseph’s Health System and Niagara Health.

On Saturday, a team from Guelph’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre was on site at St. Joseph’s to test all residents and patients, as well as the staff working at the health centre that day. Staff who were not working on Saturday were asked to attend the Guelph COVID-19 Assessment Centre to get tested.

“Testing all patients, residents and staff is a proactive step to help SJHCG protect our community. This weekend has represented an excellent example of St. Joseph’s Health Centre Guelph coming together with our community partners to make tremendous things happen,” said David Wormald, president of St. Joseph’s Health Centre Guelph. “We are fortunate to have strong partnerships amongst Guelph healthcare organizations and we were able to complete the testing thanks to support from Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health, the Guelph Family Health Team, the COVID Assessment Centre, and Guelph General Hospital.”

COVID-19 has had a devastating effect within many facilities caring for vulnerable patients and residents, prompting the Ontario government to call for greater testing in long-term care and retirement homes.

Whole facility testing is the latest in a series of important proactive measures that St. Joseph’s has taken to help ensure the safety of patients, residents and staff.

Preventative measures have also included restricting visitor access, requiring staff to work only at St. Joseph’s, and providing procedural/surgical masks to all staff. At this time, SJHCG does not have any patients or residents with a positive COVID-19 result.

“We have known for a long time that Guelph is a deeply caring and compassionate community. The way partner healthcare organizations have rallied to ensure asymptomatic patients, residents and staff at St. Joseph’s are tested is just one example of how we are coming together to respond to this crisis,” added Wormald.

The response from St. Joseph’s staff, clients and their families has been overwhelmingly positive and supportive of this important proactive step. St. Joseph’s management anticipates that almost 1,000 swabs were collected for testing during the Friday to Monday blitz.