Wales Home transparency opens window into Covid complexity

By Geoff Agombar Local Journalism Initiative
Wales Home transparency opens window into Covid complexity

Speaking to the Record on Dec. 28, Wales Home executive director Brendalee Piironen was proud of their perfect record of zero COVID cases among residents to date, but worried that recent positive cases among staff meant the omicron variant was knocking at the gate.

As Piironen wrote in her 80th Wales COVID-19 Update to staff, residents and the community on Wednesday Dec. 29, “It’s hard to comprehend that two Christmases have come and gone, and we are still prisoners to the Covid-beast! … I hope my next letter shares positive news of negative results and the lifting of preventive isolation measures.”

But Thursday, update 81 came with unfortunate news. Three asymptomatic residents of the Central unit tested positive. Covid had finally found its way in.

Tracing Piironen’s updates through the following days opens a window into a story which has unfolded repeatedly across the globe over the past two years: the complexity that ensues when Covid breaks through.

The messages serve multiple purposes, often striking a balance between clarity and detail with occasional recognition of the challenging emotions flowing through the staff, residents and broader community. They are published through multiple channels, including Facebook and the Wales Home website. Earlier in the pandemic, Piironen signed off with a work email address and office phone number, but late in December her cell number found its way into the footer too.
“Effective this evening, Central is considered a hot zone,” update 81 continues. Central is one of six units at the Wales Home. Central is home to a dozen intermediate care residents with conditions such as dementia.

Now that Central is “hot,” protocols are immediately upgraded. Residents are now restricted to their rooms, even during mealtimes. Bathing and hygiene are restricted to individual rooms also. Garbage and laundry are double-bagged. Personal laundry should be minimized.
Subscribe to The Record for the full story and more

Share this article