Friday , January 15 2021

COVID-19: The hot zone of a partially evacuated geriatric centre

Faced with a major contamination with VIDOC-19 within its “hot zone”, the Maimonides Donald Berman Geriatric Centre in Montreal transferred 18 patients affected by VIDOC-19 to Hôtel-Dieu Hospital on Sunday.

Nursing personnel, including nurses and orderlies, will also be temporarily sent to Hôtel-Dieu.

Two harder hit patients among the 30 or so currently positive beneficiaries were transferred to the Jewish General Hospital on Sunday. Initially, 19 patients were scheduled to go there, but after further examination on Sunday, they were returned to their rooms.

“As a precautionary measure, and after consulting with public health authorities, our infectious disease specialists and health professionals, we concluded that the best way to break the infectious cycle was to temporarily close our hot zone,” said Barbra Gold, Director of the Support for the Independence of the Elderly Program (SAPA) of ICSU’s West Island Centre, in a message sent Saturday to the families of the patients.

The Donald Berman Maimonides Centre was the subject of a report by the “Journal de Montréal“Last Wednesday, when there were about 50 cases among seniors, in addition to about 20 infected employees and four deaths in two weeks.

According to public health authorities and infectious disease experts, one of the reasons for the high transmission of VIDOC-19 in the facility is the high density of highly contagious people on the seventh floor of the centre, which is a relatively small space ill-suited to deal with the pandemic.

“We hope that this decision [de fermer la zone chaude] will allow us to stop the outbreak more quickly as it will reduce the opportunities for exposure to the virus,” explained Ms. Gold in her letter to families, adding that “this strategy has been used successfully in other countries”.

The decision was “difficult”, she said, but “necessary” and executed “out of excess caution”.

The centre announced Thursday that its health care workers should be tested every two weeks.

Last spring, the first wave did a lot of damage to the Donald Berman Maimonides Centre. At least 113 residents and 39 staff members were infected with the virus, which killed dozens of people. Soldiers from the Armed Forces temporarily came in to help.

A virtual town hall meeting with patients’ families is planned for the near future.

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