Fairfield Park owners say staff’s facemasks met health requirements
Fairfield Park long-term care home in Wallaceburg, Ont., on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021. (Bob Bellacicco / CTV Windsor)
WINDSOR, ONT. -- Owners of a Wallaceburg long-term care home accused of providing unsafe masks to its workers said they now have proof showing otherwise.
According to the management of Fairfield Village, the facemasks given to staff at the home met health requirements following independent laboratory testing.
Unifor alleged on Feb. 4 Fairfield Park purchased non-medical grade masks for its employees and only removed them after the union did their own research to disprove the employer’s claims that the masks were government approved.
At the time President of Unifor Local 2458, Tullio DiPonti blamed an outbreak at the home on the owners.
It prompted a Ministry of Labour investigation, which found the home to be in good standing on infection prevention and control measures including screening practices, hand hygiene, surveillance testing, environmental cleaning, cohorting efforts, use of personal protective equipment including access to N95 masks and physical distancing measures.
However, provincial investigators also discovered mislabeled masks and ordered testing.
In a news release Wednesday, the administrator of the home said the masks have been confirmed to be safe for use in long-term care settings following lab tests.
Tracey Maxim went on to state that the masks,“..have met all requirements for Level 1 Medical Face Masks as set out by Health Canada and the province.”
According to Maxim, the home has shared this information with the ministries of labour and of long-term care, Chatham Kent Public Health, Chatham Kent Health Alliance, the home’s internal Health and Safety Committee, along with staff and the union.
“We are pleased to put this unfortunate incident behind us, and we remain committed to providing a safe and rewarding workplace for our staff and a safe and comforting home for our residents,” said Maxim.
When reached, Unifor Local 2458 says they are working on a comment.
The Ministry of Labour says its investigation is still ongoing and could not release details at this time.
Fairfield remains in outbreak but has only two active cases, involving a single patient and staff member.
One resident who tested positive for COVID died on Feb. 4 and at that height of the outbreak the home reported a total 88 confirmed cases.