RE: COVID-19 – Update from Sunnyside

Dear Family & Friends of Sunnyside;

We continue to be well at Sunnyside with no sick residents or staff.

The biggest news of the past month for us was the announcement from the Saskatchewan Health Authority that they are allowing family visits to long term care residents outside.  These visits have been going well and are a positive step forward for our residents and families.  We are expecting further announcements regarding visitation to long term care homes in July.

To arrange an outside visit please contact our Recreation department at 306-653-1267 ext. 140.  If you receive their voice mail leave them a voice mail with your contact details and preferred visiting time.  We are scheduling visits 7 days a week, in the afternoons from 1:00 – 7:00pm on our front patio. We will confirm with you which times we have available.  We appreciate all the great cooperation from our residents and family members this past month.

If you feel that your loved one would not like an outdoor visit, we will continue with window visits, telephone calls and video visits. You can also send us emails to deliver and read to your resident.  Emails can be sent to me at randy.kurtz@saskhealthauthority.ca.

If the weather is bad, all visits for that time frame will be cancelled. We will communicate with you if that is the case.  You can switch to a video visit if your outside visit is cancelled.

We continue to accept items for your loved one through our front door, where we can safely sanitize the items prior to your loved one receiving them. They cannot be handed to your loved one at your visit.  Acceptable items are flowers from a florist, letters, photos, books, wrapped packages and clothing.

Even though “Re-open Saskatchewan” is going well and we are into phase 4, we continue to be careful and look for more ways to be safe as the risk to our residents increases as society starts returning to normal activities so we have to remain on heightened awareness.

We are proactive in testing residents or staff for Covid-19 if they show any flu like symptoms.   We screen our staff at the beginning of each shift and residents are monitored continually for an extended list of new or worsening respiratory symptoms i.e. cough, shortness of breath, runny nose or sneezing, nasal congestion, hoarse voice, sore throat, difficulty swallowing and for the onset of any new atypical symptoms including chills, muscle aches, diarrhea, malaise, fatigue, loss of sense of smell, loss of sense of taste, or headache.

Connecting electronically with our Doctors and Physiotherapist so they can do assessments and consult with us from their offices is going well.  Our doctors continue to review their residents care with our nurses with same frequency as before Covid-19, however, for now it is by telephone and video.  Doctors will come onsite if needed and are on call for us 24 * 7.

It’s important to note that Re-Open Saskatchewan does not apply to health care, it is for the general public.  The Saskatchewan Health Authority has their own Re-open plan for health care.  It’s important to stress that resumption does not apply to all services, and must be done in a slow and careful way so we can monitor the impact and preserve safety measures in place at health facilities. Implementation will vary across the province depending on outbreaks, capacity and ability to adhere to public health orders.

I remind all Saskatchewan residents that measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 must continue:

  • Public and private gatherings are still limited.
  • Continue physical distancing of two metres.  Wear a mask if physical distancing can’t be maintained.
  • People planning an extended household gathering should exercise caution.  The limit on gathering sizes still applies.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • We cannot open windows for you to talk to your loved one. You can come to the window to see your resident and talk via the phone.
  • Encourage the family and friends that you talk with to continuing being safe. We have to stay vigilant if Re-open Saskatchewan is to be successful.  Covid-19 is a virus present throughout our province. We cannot stress enough the importance of every person taking every precaution to protect yourself and your family from transmission.  Following all public health measures and restrictions that are in place are key for your safety and the safety of all Saskatchewan residents.
  • Covid-19 testing is available and recommended if you have unexplained new or worsening symptoms (of any severity) that may include: fever, cough, headache, aches and pains, sore throat, chills, runny nose, loss of sense of taste or smell, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Call 811 if you think you may be getting sick or have any questions.

We remain fully staffed, however, with the vacation season starting we are looking to hire two casual Certified Care Aides.  If you know of any Certified Care Aides or foreign trained nurses that are looking for work please ask them to send me their resume.

Thank you to our family members that responded to our Facebook post requesting donations of left over flowers you may have.  As a result every resident window has a flower pot or a bird feeder.  We have 65 resident windows so that is a lot of flowers!  We also received donated tomato and strawberry plants which are in our courtyard for our residents to enjoy.  If you are coming to Sunnyside check out our community garden along Hilliard street, we expanded it this year as we had over 40 requests for a garden spot.  It is doing very well with all the rain we have received and we look forward to a good harvest.

Please share the info in this memo with all your other family members or let them know they can keep updated with things at Sunnyside on our web page (www.sunnysidecare.ca) and our Facebook page (Sunnyside Adventist Care Centre). You should also keep updated via Saskatchewan’s website at:  www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19.

We appreciate your support, patience and prayers and look forward to seeing you more often as restrictions are lifted.  If there is anything we can do for your loved one or for you, please let us know.  I am available at 306-653-1267 ext 123 or randy.kurtz@saskhealthauthority.ca.  Our nursing staff are available 24 * 7 at ext 124.  All other departments are listed on our phone system when you call.

Take care,

Randy Kurtz

Administrator

 

Demystifying Covid-19 testing: Why to get tested and what the test is like

Friday, June 12, 2020 in Saskatchewan Health Authority

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​We all know the importance of physical distancing and regularly washing our hands, but testing is also an essential component to controlling the spread of COVID-19. Lately, we have been hearing more questions and concerns about getting tested, and the possible stigma attached to a positive diagnosis.

“It’s natural to be concerned about COVID-19,” says Dr. David Torr, Saskatchewan Health Authority’s interim Senior Medical Health Officer. “What we don’t want is to stigmatize those who are getting tested or those who have a positive test result. This only leads to people not getting tested.”

“When I arrived (at the testing site) I was a little nervous and embarrassed as I felt I should have done a better job at protecting myself and shouldn’t have gotten sick in the first place,” is what one patient reported feeling.

No one should feel embarrassed. COVID-19 can spread quite easily and anyone can get it, so we all need to do our part by watching for symptoms and getting tested if we experience one or more symptoms, even if they are mild.

“This is definitely a case where ignorance is not bliss,” Torr noted. “Not knowing you’re carrying this virus means you can be easily spreading it to those around you without knowing, including the people you love the most. It really is a selfless act to get a test. And we should treat it as such.”

Testing is voluntary, quick and safe, so call HeathLine 811 if you have questions about COVID-19 and your health.

The test itself – what to expect
The most common test used in the province is the throat and nares swab, which involves swabbing the back of the throat and around each nostril.

“It just goes to the back of the throat, and is just a tickle in your nose,” explains Darcie Anderson, who is the Operations Lead the testing site in Humboldt. “The test is very quick.”

“The nurse doing the testing…explained the test briefly, and said to put my mask down to my chin and tilt my head back and open my mouth for her to swab the back of my throat and then each nostril and then put my mask back up. Very quickly and efficiently done,” stated one patient.

That can be said for testing visits on the whole.

“From the time our clients arrive at our testing site, are tested, and then on their way is normally five to six minutes,” says Anderson. “Though what every site is able to offer varies, we have the ability here sometimes to conduct testing while patients remain in their vehicle, so people don’t have to even come in.”

Testing sites are designed to have patients in and out efficiently, privately and as safely as possible for all involved, one patient reported.

What is an outbreak?  Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, the Saskatchewan Health Authority has declared a number of outbreaks across the province. This has many people asking what determines a COVID-19 outbreak.  The declaration of a COVID-19 outbreak is primarily used by Public Health to coordinate a response to the infection. It is not necessarily an indicator of risk to the public.

The definition of an outbreak varies by setting. For example, in hospitals, long-term care homes and personal care homes, an outbreak is declared when one person (a patient, resident or healthcare worker) tests positive for COVID-19. In the community, an outbreak is declared when two or more individuals test positive and where transmission likely occurred during an event or from the same exposure in the community during a specified time period.  When an outbreak is declared and there is a risk to the public, a public health advisory is issued.