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Origin at Spring Creek adapting to COVID-19

“We want to make sure we’re doing everything right. We don’t want anybody sick, we want to keep everyone symptom free. So, that’s the biggest challenge, having that on your shoulders.”
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A man stands outside Origin at Spring Creek on Thursday (April 2). CHELSEA KEMP RMO PHOTO

CANMORE – Striving to keep a group of the Bow Valleys' most vulnerable population safe, Origin at Spring Creek has implemented a new set of protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

General Manager of Origin at Spring Creek Cindy Drury said the facility is home to 112 residents and 90 staff members, including a full nursing team.

“We’re doing our best,” Drury said.

“We’re trying to keep our spirits up.”

She added she is proud of the staff and how they have gone above and beyond and the support residents and their families have provided.

“It’s protecting our residents,” Drury said.

“We want to make sure we’re doing everything right. We don’t want anybody sick, we want to keep everyone symptom free. So, that’s the biggest challenge, having that on your shoulders.”

Residents are currently self-isolating and staff are self-isolating at home when not at the facility.

Origin at Spring Creek was founded on a philosophy centred on the importance of wellbeing, Drury said, and that belief has helped them weather the storm of the virus.

“That’s our mission every day whether we’re enriching the lives of our residents or our own,” Drury said. “We help each other.”

The centre is taking steps to ensure residents are staying physically, socially and spiritually active during the pandemic, Drury said, explaining that even in isolation people are still able to enjoy activities.

“We’ve had some virtual meeting set up with families,” Drury said.

This building was designed to be safe and Drury said she is grateful it remains comfortable for residents during the virus.

The ground floor has been converted into an indoor supervised walking track that allows for exercise while social distancing.

All services have been moved to in-room to help prevent the spread, including dining and fitness.

It has been a challenge adapting to the evolving situation, Drury said, adding that logistic and operational decisions are made day-to-day as the pandemic evolves and new public health orders are put in place to keep people safe.

As of now, COVID-19 tests have not been conducted at the facility because as of Wednesday (April 1) there have been no probable cases.

Drury said she is grateful for the Alberta Health Services resources that have been made available in the interim, the ministry of health and the home care managers have been checking in and keeping Origin at Spring Creek informed to the evolving response to the pandemic.

“There’s been a lot of good resources and a lot of good support from the community and the authorities to change operationally and be able to protect the residents and staff,” Drury said.

She estimates that protocols at the facility began to be put in place around March 5, screening for the virus was introduced on March 9 and only essential visitors were allowed after March 16.

“I just hope everybody stays safe,” Drury said.

These heightened security measures are essential to help flatten the curve of the virus in the province so the health care system is not overwhelmed, said Alberta Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Deena Hinshaw during a press conference Thursday (April 2).

There have been cases of COVID-19 reported in long-term care facilities in the province, including an outbreak at the McKenzie Towne Continuing Care Centre in Calgary where 65 COVID-19 patients have been diagnosed and three residents have died.

Currently, the province has put restrictions in place for long-term care facilities that include only one designated essential visitor per resident, Hinshaw said, adding that further restrictions could be a possibility in the future.

Hinshaw added that outbreak control guidelines are in place that include barring any staff who show symptoms from coming to work, putting any residents with symptoms immediately in self-isolation and testing for COVID-19 protocols have been introduced.

Additional legally enforceable measures were introduced Thursday requiring staff and operators to notify Public Health as soon as a case is suspected or confirmed and if two or more people display COVID-19 like symptoms.

“I want people to know that the reasons we are putting all these additional measures in place is because we are as concerned about the safety of people in these continuing-care facilities as people are about their families,” Hinshaw said.

“This is a very high priority.”


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