Numbers rapidly rise at Fairfield Park
By Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative
Chatham-Kent’s three long-term care (LTC) homes currently in outbreak status were not among the first to get vaccinated after CK Public Health received its first shipment of the Moderna vaccine on Monday.
On Jan. 10, Chatham-Kent Public Health declared an outbreak at Fairfield Park LTC home, Wallaceburg. Another 11 individuals were reported to have contracted COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the cumulative total up to 18. Seventeen of the cases are still active after one individual recovered.
Tilbury Manor Nursing Home and Meadow Park Nursing Home, Chatham, were also declared to be in an outbreak over the weekend. To date, they each have one active case.
Jeff Moco, spokesperson for CK Public Health, said as of early afternoon Tuesday, no residents at those three LTC home had received the vaccine. On Monday, around 400 doses went primarily to Riverview Gardens, Chatham, and Copper Terrace, Chatham.
UPDATE: Moco reached out to The Chatham Voice late Tuesday afternoon to say approximately half the residents at Meadow Park received vaccinations Tuesday afternoon.
“Those were two of the largest ones in Chatham-Kent and they’re nearby, and so it’s about how do we maximize getting (the vaccines) out as soon as we can,” Moco said.
Moco said the readiness of LTC homes to receive the vaccine was a factor in who got them first.
CK Public Health only found out about the shipment after it arrived.
“The sudden nature of things (Monday) was really, ‘It’s here; what do we do; let’s go real fast’ kind of thing,” he said. “And I think now that we know that there’s going to be a supply coming hopefully … readiness will be a little bit more apparent.”
Readiness includes having things such as consent forms signed, having staff available and working around daily programming, Moco explained.
There are no definitive plans yet for which LTC homes will receive the second shipment of vaccines expected to arrive next week, Moco said, adding that Public Health is focusing on meeting the provincial government’s goal of getting all LTC residents vaccinated by Feb. 5.
Tracey Maxim, Fairfield Park administrator, did not respond to a request for comment regarding the vaccination of its residents. In a previous, e-mail she stated that the home will only be sending out e-mail updates twice a week and will not take individual media calls.
Thirteen of Fairfield Park’s active cases are from residents and four staff members are also infected, according to Maxim.
“We have taken swift action to halt the spread of the virus and are working in close partnership with Dr. (David) Colby (C-K medical officer of health) and the Chatham-Kent Public Health unit to ensure every possible step is taken to protect our residents and staff,” she said in a statement.
All residents have been isolated and Maxim said they are vigilantly monitoring everyone for symptoms. All infected employees are off work.
“Our dedicated staff are going above and beyond during this difficult time to ensure our residents’ safety and well-being,” she stated.
There are an additional four workplace outbreaks and two congregate living outbreaks that CK Public Health is currently dealing with.
As of Tuesday morning, active COVID-19 cases in Chatham-Kent dipped to 93 after 28 recoveries and 10 new cases were reported.
The cumulative total now sits at 1,121. Three individuals remain hospitalized and the death toll sits at five.