Almonte staff celebrate as COVID-19 outbreak officially ends and outdoor visits start

Almonte Country Haven staff members start clapping Tuesday morning as they learn from administrator Carolyn Della Foresta that the three-month COVID-19 outbreak at the home has now officially ended.

Administrator Carolyn Della Foresta applauded staff members for their ‘tireless efforts’ during a challenging time. She also thanked the local community for its compassion and support

It has been a challenging three months for Almonte Country Haven residents and staff members, but the COVID-19 outbreak that began in late March has officially ended.

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit made the announcement Monday night.

“We have official word from our public health unit, the outbreak is over,” Almonte Country Haven administrator Carolyn Della Foresta told staff members during a morning huddle on Tuesday.

The announcement was met with a round of applause from staff members.

With the outbreak officially ended, residents and family members can start having supervised outdoor visits scheduled in accordance with the safety and screening protocols recently prescribed by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

The past three months have not been easy at the Lanark County long-term care home. Seventy-two of Almonte Country Haven’s 82 residents contracted COVID-19 between the end of March and mid-June. There were 28 residents who passed away as a result of COVID-19 infection.

The dedication and compassion staff members demonstrated for the residents they serve during such a trying time has been outstanding, Della Foresta told the Almonte Country Haven team.

“We can never thank you all for your tireless efforts, your kindness, your compassion – the individual care that you’ve provided to different residents is absolutely extraordinary, and I remain in awe of each and every one of you, so thank you very much,” she said.

“We couldn’t have done this without you.”

While the COVID-19 outbreak has ended, Almonte Country Haven will remain proactive to keep residents and staff members safe from the virus, Della Foresta said in an e-mail update sent to family members, staff and media on Tuesday.

Infection prevention and control measures will stay heightened, and the home will continue daily COVID-19 screening. Staff members will continue to wear personal protective equipment as needed.

In addition to thanking those working at Almonte Country Haven, Della Foresta paid tribute to people living in the surrounding area for their support.

“Our entire community has been affected by this outbreak and they have rallied behind us every step of the way,” she said.

“The ongoing trust and support they have bestowed on us is truly astounding and we will not forget it. Residents remain at the centre of all that we do here, and we could not have done this without our community’s support.”

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