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Rally thanks frontline heroes at Chartwell Aurora

June 25, 2020   ·   0 Comments

As numbers related to the COVID-19 pandemic continue to show encouraging signs, people are now setting their sights on how to adequately say thanks to the frontline heroes that helped keep communities safe and healthy at the peak of the outbreak.

One such show of thanks-giving took place on Saturday afternoon outside Chartwell Aurora (formerly Resthaven), the downtown Aurora long-term care (LTC) residence that experienced a nearly 50-day outbreak of the virus.

With COVID-19 now eradicated within its walls, families of loved ones who call Chartwell Aurora home were finally able to reunite – albeit at a distance – on Thursday as the Province eased restrictions of such visits.

Family members joined the rally in a show of solidarity.

“We wanted to take a few minutes and thank the workers – all of the workers, not just the Personal Support Workers, the cleaning staff, the food services staff, the admin staff, everyone who has been through a very, very difficult time,” said Michèle Bussières, who co-organized the rally in conjunction with the Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill Federal Liberal Association. “This was the long-term care home that was hardest hit in the riding.

“This is a way of saying thank you, and we just really want to connect with the residents to say that we have all been isolating to some varying degrees but they have been particularly hard-hit. We really wanted to have an opportunity to let them know their community cares about them, that we haven’t forgotten about them. The outbreak, using the term the Government uses, is technically over there, but we haven’t forgotten about them.”

Messages of solidarity have also come out from Chartwell Staff.

Over the course of the outbreak, 42 of 235 residents tested positive for COVID-19, according to Chartwell Aurora administrator Greg Boudreau. Out of 300 employees, 14 also tested positive.

Twelve residents lost the battle.

“Each of those deaths is a great loss and we extend our sympathy to all families impacted,” said Mr. Boudreau.

“Our outbreak lasted 47 days and at the time our outbreak was declared resolved we had no active cases and haven’t had any since,” he continued. “Due to the quick response from the frontline staff, management and our Head Office we were able to contain the outbreak to only one of our five resident Home Areas. Unfortunately, the outbreak was in the part of our building with four-bed ward rooms. This included providing full PPE prior to our first case.

“Thankfully we did not experience the same staffing shortages that other LTC homes encountered. I attribute this solely to the phenomenal commitment of our frontline staff. There were dozens of daily examples of the heroic nature of all departments in caring for our residents.

“Two events have been indelibly ingrained in my memory. The first is Deon, a PSW who works on the resident home area that went into outbreak. She arrived for her first shift of our outbreak very early in order to be prepared to do what was needed to care for our residents. Not only did she willingly arrive knowing she was putting herself in harm’s way, she packed her car with all of the belongings she may need for the coming weeks as she was prepared to stay as long as needed, away from her own family, sleeping in her car, if she had to in order to ensure our residents were cared for. 

“The second is Stacey our infection control nurse who worked 49 days straight, up to 16 hours a day, keeping her from her new husband of six months and their five children, in order to ensure residents, families, staff and all of the various governing bodies were kept up to date so we could provide the best care possible.

“My words can not express the pride and gratitude I have for every single person who put our residents’ interests and wellbeing above their own.”

At press time, there were a total of 11 active cases within Aurora and 85 cases deemed resolved and recovered for a total of 111 confirmed cases. Of the 11 active cases, nine are self-isolating, one is hospitalized (non-ICU), and one case remains under investigation.

15 Aurora residents have lost the battle against the virus.

Of the 111 total cases, 55 are attributed to institutional outbreak, 25 to close contact, 19 to local transmission, 10 to travel, and two related to a workplace cluster.

Region-wide, as of Tuesday evening, there are 333 active cases, 238 deaths, and 2,323 recoveries, for a total of 2,894.

By Brock Weir



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