The recent success of Chatham-Kent’s Long Term Care Home COVID-19 swabbing initiative has proven that enhanced public health measures established in response to the pandemic are working.
On April 21, 2020, Ontario issued a new testing directive as part of the province’s COVID-19 Action Plan for Protecting Long-Term Care Homes. Chatham-Kent Public Health, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA), Chatham-Kent EMS and the Municipality of Chatham-Kent responded to this call by immediately forming a partnership to systemically carry out testing of all staff and residents in Chatham-Kent’s Long Term Care Homes (LTCH).
Testing commenced on April 24, 2020 and was completed on May 13. Results of this testing produced 100 per cent negative results amongst 926 staff members and 765 residents from Chatham-Kent’s seven LTCHs. Approximately 85% of staff and 95% of residents were tested as part of active surveillance; staff and residents not tested were due to reasons related to resident consent or behaviour, and staff scheduling difficulties and leaves of absence.
Each home was contacted individually to establish testing timelines and logistics. CKHA’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre assisted CK Public Health and the Chatham-Kent EMS Community Paramedic Program with testing in these homes. In some cases, the homes chose to do the swabbing themselves. The new directive ensured that all residents and staff of LTCHs were offered testing even without symptoms.
“I’d like to thank our Community Paramedics who answered the call to help our partners carry out proactive testing for our most vulnerable populations. It’s been a team effort since the beginning to ensure our community remains healthy during this pandemic,” said Donald MacLellan, General Manager, Chatham-Kent EMS.
Congratulations to everyone at CK Public Health, CKHA and Chatham-Kent EMS – these positive results are a major accomplishment for your community!