April 22, 2020 | Memo to Families [PDF]

Dear Ongwanada family members,

It has now been several weeks since we first implemented measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the Ongwanada community; measures that, to date, have been successful. We also realize that many of you have questions about what we’ve been doing since then and when you might expect operations to return to normal.

Ongwanada has been proactive in managing this situation, keeping pace with the evolving information around the pandemic and responding accordingly to the advice and recommendations from health authorities. We have implemented an Incident Command Team of senior leadership which meets daily to address issues as they arise and to plan ahead for the “what ifs”. To ensure that everyone in the organization remains on the same page, we have worked closely with our union representatives and issued daily communications to staff.

In addition to our initial measures of suspending day programs and respite, not permitting visitors into the community residences and restricting community outings, we implemented a number of additional measures aimed at preventing the spread of the virus from the community into our homes.

These have included:

  • limiting staff work schedules to specific homes,
  • conducting screening questions of staff before starting their shift,
  • conducting twice-daily thermal scanning of supported individuals and staff at the beginning and end of
    their shift,
  • institute a requirement for staff to wear procedure/surgical masks for the duration of their shift,
  • increasing our supply of Personal Protective Equipment, despite significant challenges with the supply
  • establishing contingency plans in the event that Ongwanada experiences a positive COVID-19 case in either a supported individual or staff member.

Adjusting to these changes has not been easy for our supported individuals, their families or our staff; we realize that they have had a significant impact on all concerned, however the good news is that through everyone’s efforts Ongwanada to date has not had a positive case of COVID-19.

While we are all anxious for a return to normal, Ongwanada will continue to follow the advice of our local and provincial health authorities and will only start easing restrictions once advised to do so. At this point, we will continue the suspension of our programs and services, including respite and day programs, until May 31, 2020, unless advised otherwise. We will review these measures as more information becomes available from government and health authorities. The safety and wellbeing of the people we support and our staff continues to be our primary concern. We thank you for your patience and understanding.


Stay well and please accept my best wishes,

Alastair Lamb

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