UPDATED: COVID not cause of death for Fairfield resident

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A resident at Fairfield Park died in the midst of a rampant COVID-19 outbreak at the Wallaceburg long-term care home.

“It is with a heavy heart that we share the passing of a resident at Fairfield Park who had tested positive for COVID-19. The leadership team at Fairfield Park shares our deepest condolences with the family, friends and team members carrying the weight of this loss today,” Fairfield Park stated on their website.

However, according to CK Public Health the death is not considered a COVID-19 death as this person died of other unrelated causes.

“As per our reporting practices, people with COVID-19 who have died from non-COVID related causes are captured in the ‘resolved’ category of our status report and the outcome reflected as ‘deceased-other,’” explained Jeff Moco of CK Public Health.

The news comes just a day after the Fairfield Park union, Unifor Local 2458, accused the home of not providing workers with adequate personal protective equipment.

“Fairfield Park is in a terrible outbreak, and this owner put their own workers at risk while the virus spread through the building infecting residents and staff,” said Tullio DiPonti, president of Unifor Local 2458, in a press release. “Premier Ford should pull their license for contributing to the spread of this terrible virus.”

 Tracey Maxim, Fairfield Park administrator, claimed that the surgical masks were delivered in a mislabelled box from a  long-standing supplier. 

“Despite assurances from the supplier that these masks were the appropriate masks for use in long-term care homes, as soon as this was brought to our attention this week, these masks were immediately pulled from use in our home,” she stated. 

Maxim said a report was provided to the Fairfield Park team that the masks were safe for medical use and meet all requirements set out by Health Canada and the province. She added that the report was shared with Unifor and called it “unfortunate” that the union did not include that information in their Thursday press release.

“In an effort to be extra cautious, we continue to suspend use of these masks while we conduct an internal investigation about the efficacy and safety of these materials. We have been in discussions with Public Health and Chatham Kent Health Alliance regarding the safety of these masks,” Maxim said.

Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health, told reporters on Thursday that “any impervious material that provides the proper coverage” will suffice for the kind of work in long-term care homes and added that equipment doesn’t need to be government approved.

Lori Marshall, CEO and president of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance noted that the long-term care home uses the same kind of masks that hospital staff has been using throughout the pandemic.

Fairfield Park has seen a cumulative total of 88 positive cases since a COVID-19 outbreak was declared on Jan. 10.

Chatham-Kent’s death toll will sits at six individuals. On Friday morning CK Public Health reported 13 new recoveries and seven new cases, bringing the active total down to 136.

The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance continues to handle two active COVID outbreaks. Medicine Unit A/B has seen 18 cases, up from one since the previous day. The COVID Unit continues to see only two cases which spread within the ward.

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