In less that two weeks, one resident has died, along with 11 residents and two staff have been infected with COVID-19 at Hope Street Terrace Long Term Care residence in Port Hope.
Dr. Michelle Albert who is a family physician in Clarington and also the Medical Director of Hope Street Terrace Long Term Care said the first case of COVID was detected in a staff member on January 1 and a day or two after a resident was infected.
Ten days later, 11 residents and two staff members have been infected along with a 103-year-old who died on Sunday, January 10.
The long-term care facility currently has 79 residents and Dr. Albert would like to the province to be more flexible in determining the areas that receive the vaccine..
Speaking with Today’s Northumberland on Monday, January 11, Dr. Albert said the residents are “relatively stable” with a few receiving intensive care.
“The staff are very stressed. The staff feel very vulnerable, very worried about both their residents and their own health.”
“That’s why I think it’s very important we offer these residents and staff every tool at their disposal to try and protect them from the devastating outbreak that has happened at other homes.”
Dr. Albert said the COVID-19 vaccine should be prioritized, not just by whether they are in a red zone, but also in areas where there is long-term care homes in the initial stages of an outbreak.
“Unfortunately whether you’re a long-term care facility in a red zone or not, once it gets in the effect is the same.”
Even with the vaccine taking time to kick-in, having it for staff and residents it may offer “partial immunity.”
“At least get the ball rolling because these people are at very, very high risk.”
“I just think it should be given a higher priority then homes that don’t have any cases right now.”
With Northumberland County not being in a red-zone there is no definitive date when the vaccine will arrive in this area.
“It might be that the horse has left the barn and maybe it’s to late, but at least we can try and offer what we can.”
The residents that have been infected at Hope Street Terrace are confined to a small area, and Dr. Albert said there are there areas that currently have no cases.
Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini said there are “multiple issues at play.”
The provincial government is receiving multiple vaccines from the federal government with all of them stored and transported differently.
“So the logistical challenges took time.”
Piccini said, “we’re at the mercy of what we get from the federal government.”
At this point the provincial government is targeting the priority regions where the spread is coming from like the great Toronto areas.
“We’re moving around the clock – we just don’t have the vaccines.”
Piccini said what Dr. Albert is asking for is a “logistical tweak” that raises a number of questions.
“Do we prioritize (Hope Street Terrace) before an area (in the red zone)?”
“And if we shift vaccines who is going to communicate to the doctors, the nurses, the psw’s in a priority red zone why you haven’t got your vaccine today because we’ve reallocated it elsewhere.”
After speaking with Dr. Albert, Piccini notified officials in government to express concerns.
“I’m part of a government that makes that call. That relies on the expert advice of physicians ”
“So it’s quite as cut and dry.”
For staff at Hope Street Terrace, including Dr. Albert, they will go on and hope for the best.
“I will go do the best doctoring I can do in the home and pray that things go in the right direction and we don’t get further spread.”