By Jenn Watt
All long-term care residents and staff have been tested for COVID-19 at Haliburton Highlands Health Services facilities as part of a directive of the Ontario government.
In an update to the community dated May 1 CEO Carolyn Plummer said the move would identify any asymptomatic cases of the coronavirus if there are any and would contribute to the bigger picture for the province as it seeks to better understand the spread in long-term care homes.
“We are looking at this testing as strictly one ‘snapshot in time’ and even if all tests are negative we will not relax our diligent work to protect all residents including through physical distancing and handwashing twice-daily screening of staff and residents and the wearing of masks in our facilities” Plummer said in her letter.
HHHS has two long-term care facilities: Hyland Crest in Minden and Highland Wood in Haliburton.
Last week Plummer announced the corporation had moved to seal its long-term care units from the adjoining hospital facilities in both towns creating additional protection for the residents and staff.
Temporary walls separate entrances break rooms and change rooms were added and work flows changed so staff and essential visitors are not moving between the distinct sections of the building.
Plummer also urged those who need medical attention whether COVID-19 related or not to continue to come to HHHS. Those who suspect they may have COVID-19 are asked to call ahead to alert HHHS or other health service providers of their symptoms.
To access the online self-assessment go to Ontario.ca/coronavirus or call 1-866-767-0000. If prompted to go to an assessment centre you must first make an appointment at the Haliburton Family Medical Centre at 705-457-1212 and press 6.