Winnipeg care home residents currently COVID-free as third wave looms

There are currently no active COVID-19 cases among residents at Winnipeg’s long-term care homes, but a looming third wave in Manitoba is keeping some from celebrating the milestone.

“This period marks the first time in more than six months — since Sept. 18, 2020 — that there have been no active COVID cases among Winnipeg LTC residents,” the WRHA said in an update on Wednesday.

“Our success in reaching this milestone is a result of our vaccination efforts, combined with the dedication of the staff, managers, and facility operators in Winnipeg’s long-term-care sector to the health and safety of residents.”

Read more: Manitoba personal care homes won’t see big visitation changes after vaccinations: top doc

While there are still a handful of staff cases, Connie Newman, executive director of the Manitoba Association of Senior Centres, said she is cautiously optimistic.

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“It’s a sigh of relief,” Newman said.

With the new variants circulating in Manitoba, Newman said care homes across the province must continue to follow strict protocols.

“From the top to the front-line staff, everybody has to be cautious for a minimum of the next year,” she said.

Jan Legeros, the executive director of the Long Term & Continuing Care Association of Manitoba, said care homes are currently preparing for a third wave .

“We know the third wave is coming,” Legeros said. “We’ve heard from the experts that it’s about three weeks out.”

Read more: Managing mental and physical wellbeing during 3rd wave of COVID-19

She said care homes are reviewing pandemic plans and staff training is ongoing.

Nearly 4,900 Winnipeg care home residents have now received two doses of coronavirus vaccine, according to the WRHA.

Clinics for the first two rounds of vaccinations were completed by the end of February, which inoculated 92.2 per cent of care home residents in the region with two doses.

The WRHA said the majority of Winnipeg long-term facilities have now held their third vaccination clinics, in cooperation with the long-term for new residents who require their first or second dose, and to complete vaccinations for residents who were ill or hospitalized during earlier vaccination clinics.

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“We’re much better prepared then we were for the second wave and especially because we have had all of the vaccinations take place,” Legeros said. “But, ‘caution’ is the word of the day.”

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