WINDSOR, ONT. -- There is optimism that the Village of St. Clair has turned the corner after a serious COVID-19 outbreak.

Contributing to the hope and optimism is the arrival of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for residents, team members and some essential caregivers connected to the 256-bed long-term care home.

“The challenge remains before us,” says interim VSC General Manager Bryce McBain. “And our hearts are with the families and loved ones who have faced loss during this difficult time, but there is hope in the fact that 136 team members and 89 of our residents have had their first dose of the vaccine along with 47 Essential Caregivers.”

McBain said they are grateful to the team members and our partners with Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare and the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit for their efforts to make the process as smooth as possible.

Additional efforts and plans are in place to increase the overall numbers of those being vaccinated along with providing the second dose of vaccine for those who led the way by already receiving their initial shot.

In order to maximize team member numbers to support residents, the efforts to “re-home” residents by shifting from eight neighborhoods in the village to seven has been a success, as well, with several residents indicating they will choose to remain in their new location.

“There was some hesitancy at first for some of our neighbours,” said Kaye Brown, president of the Village’s Residents’ Council who is amongst the residents expressing a desire to stay in their new Neighborhood. “But the team here did an excellent job making the transition smooth for all affected and they are all to be commended for this, as well as their ongoing dedication throughout these past months.”

This temporary measure, along with the fact that ever-increasing numbers of resolved team members have been cleared to return to work by public health officials provides additional stability as the HDGH team prepares to scale back their current on-site presence.

Officials say a stable team and successful Public Health PPE education sessions for essential caregivers is another cause for optimism in the village, and ongoing communication with families and loved ones of residents continues to reassure people that while the outbreak has been serious and painful, the team is doing everything possible to manage and support the residents.

Janice Kaffer, the President & CEO of Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare has confirmed that effective Friday, the HDGH senior leadership team will be transitioning off-site from VSC, however the working relationship will continue throughout the pandemic.

“We have been involved in a working relationship with VSC since April 2020. That will not change,” said Kaffer. “I am quite satisfied with the improvements and changes that have been achieved over the past few weeks with a focus on resident care and managing the outbreak. This has been achieved through our joint and voluntary management agreement.”

Kaffer said they have focused on Infection Control practices and training as well as PPE strategies, the weekly swabbing clinics and the roll out of the vaccine on site at VSC.

“These strategies have all contributed towards the improvements,” said Kaffer. “The collaborative effort between ourselves, Schlegel Villages and the WECHU will continue to service the Villages well. I have been impressed and appreciative of the commitment and dedication of the Village’s Team Members and their leadership.”