February 10, 2021|February 10
re: Gradual reopening
Dear Ongwanada family members,
As I am sure many of you are aware, the Premier announced the gradual reopening of the Province on Monday. Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox, and Addington (KFL&A) Public health is one of three regions that has been placed into Green-Prevent level. Leeds Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit remains under a stay-at-home order.
We realize you are likely wondering what this means for programs and services at Ongwanada. We are aiming for the hydrotherapy pool at the Ongwanada Resource Centre reopen for individuals supported in our community residences on Tuesday, February 16. The day program at Crescent Centre will reopen to identified community supported individuals on Monday, February 22.
We want to assure you that the safety and health of your loved ones and other supported individuals, along with staff and the community remains a top priority. We will continue to work closely with KFL&A Public Health during this gradual reopening to monitor the situation closely. We will keep various precautions and guidelines in place to ensure everyone’s safety.
Must I wear a mask, gown, and face shield/goggles to visit my loved one?
The short answer is yes. Masks and gowns are worn to protect your loved one and the other individuals residing in the home. These protect against the visitor spreading the virus through droplets from the mouth and nose or carried on their clothing. Face shields and goggles protect the visitor being exposed to the virus from someone living or working in the home.
Ongwanada takes its responsibility to protect the individuals in its care very seriously; therefore, wearing masks and gowns to protect those living in our homes is non-negotiable. However, family members who do not wish to wear a face shield or goggles can be exempted from doing so as long as they sign a waiver that they accept not doing so represents a health risk to themselves. We also ask that visitors refrain from using the washrooms in the home, if at all possible.
What about outings/activities?
We encourage families to be mindful of where they take their loved ones on outings and consider low-risk activities. Low-risk activities reduce the likelihood of exposure to the virus for their loved ones and other residents in the same home. While your family member may not be considered high-risk if they contract the virus, others in the same household who are medically frail or aged may be high-risk. We all need to think about the impact of exposure to the virus on ourselves and our loved ones and on others with whom we live or come into close contact.
Activities deemed by public health to be higher risk include:
- indoor events with more than 10 people with decreased capacity for physical distance events where food will be shared
- outdoor gatherings with more than 10 people where food will be shared
Instead of these higher-risk activities, we recommend low-risk activities such as:
- outdoor events where physical distancing is possible
- Visiting with your loved one at your home with no other persons present
- Scheduling a visit with your loved ones in one of the designated visitor rooms at Ongwanada Resource Centre or Treatment Home
We ask that outings occur in the local KFL&A region, where active cases of COVID-19 are low at this time. Along similar lines, we discourage visits from anyone outside the KFL&A or other green-level regions. Visitors from a COVID-19 hotspot who choose to visit are strongly encouraged to have a negative COVID-19 test before visiting.
Please note that this situation is continually evolving. The Province did include an “emergency brake” in their plan to allow a public health region that is experiencing high levels of COVID-19 transmission to quickly contain the community spread by moving the region back into Grey-Lockdown to interrupt the transmission of the virus. This is why it is so essential that we remain vigilant.
I realize that COVID-19 has been a difficult time for everyone, and I look forward to further easing of restrictions once it is deemed safe to do so. In the meantime, thank you for your patience and understanding, and please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.