The CIUSSS de l’Estrie – CHUS addressed several urgent situations arising in CHSLDs in its network during a press conference Wednesday morning.
The Eastern Townships local health authority referred to major outbreaks at the CHSLD Villa-Bonheur in Granby, as well as Résidence Brooks and Vigi Shermont in Sherbrooke. Everything is under control, though, according to Sylvie Moreault.
Moreault, the director of the support program for the autonomy of the elderly, said there is intense pressure on nursing teams in each of these seniors’ facilities. Villa Bonheur had 48 residents and 25 employees test positive for COVID-19. They also recorded one death.
While Villa Bonheur witnessed the largest surge in coronavirus cases, the situation is just as strenuous in the other facilities. The CHSLD Vigi Shermont saw 36 residents and 23 employees test positive. Brooks recorded 10 and six, respectively, and one death.
The CHUS is closely monitoring the situation at Villa Bonheur. They sent support teams over to help contain the outbreak. Vigi Shermont is fairing well throughout all of this, however, it’s a highly collaborative effort, Moreault explained.
The first wave of positive employees are slowly making their way back to work.
Residents are also on the mend and by Thursday all transferred residents will have returned to the facility, she continued. The Résidence Brooks outbreak is a more difficult situation to handle.
Moreault said residents at the facility are mobile and autonomous, but there are more risk factors to consider. The space isn’t conducive to the physical distancing measures established by Quebec’s public health authority.
Brooks needs all hands on deck going forward, Moreault added, which means more security guards and staff. Caregivers are also allowed in the building, but it is at their own risk, she said. However, visitors are not permitted at the moment.
CHUS Communications Director Josée Paquette also addressed the current situation, as cases continue to climb in province. The region’s local health authority is consistently at a disadvantage, she explained, due to a lack of human resources.
According to the director, there are 25 absent employees at the Villa Bonheur. The CIUSSS de l’Estrie – CHUS is also dealing with a significant nursing shortage. They are roughly 300 nurses short across the board, Paquette said, making it a daily headache to fill specialized roles.
Other notable outbreaks include the Centre de santé et de services sociaux (CSSS) de la MRC-de-Coaticook with10 new cases — three employees and seven residents. Bishop’s University also added a new case for a total of 25. And Cégep de Sherbrooke is now at 10.
According tothe Santé Estrie website, the Eastern Townships recorded 89 positive Covid cases since the last update for a total of 4,835 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic. There were 1,514 new cases in Quebec Wednesday, bringing the total to 145,062.
The Quebec government’s Covid updates website also reported 43 new deaths, nine occurring in the last 24 hours, for a total of 7,125. The number of hospitalizations increased by 21 for a total of 740. Intensive care unit patients increased by one for a total of 99.
With the holiday season ramping up, Health Minister Christian Dubé is doubling down on security and enforcing health and safety rules. The provincial government is encouraging stores to tighten their Covid measures as of Dec. 4.
This is in anticipation of a busy holiday shopping season. Owners of commercial establishments are asked to reduce the number of customers allowed inside at the same time. The maximum capacity must be visibly displayed to customers.
Shoppers need to be made aware of floor markings, one-way traffic lanes and comply to the two-metre distance rule, as well as the longstanding indoor mask regulation. CNESST employees and police forces will be more present starting this Friday.