WINDSOR, ONT. -- The Village at St. Clair is making progress in the fight against COVID-19, according to a statement from the long-term care home.

The home is working with several partners, including Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, after being hit hard by the virus over the past month.

The Windsor Essex County Health Unit website reports 147 residents and 106 staff members tested positive at the Village at St. Clair.

“The latest mass testing of residents in the 256-bed long-term care home have so far returned 68 negative results and the Village is happy to be welcoming approximately 20 team members back to work this week after self-isolation following positive test results,” said a news release from Schlegel Villages.

The company said ongoing infection prevention and control assessments and Personal Protective Equipment audits in consultation with HDGH and WECHU instills confidence that the facility’s team has the equipment and the skill required to continue to manage the outbreak to its full resolution.

“The relationship we have nurtured with the team at HDGH and our other partners has certainly been a hopeful outcome in what has been a devastating time for our Village community and the region as a whole,” says Joanne Potts, vice president of operations with Schlegel Villages. “The confidence they have in our team and the overall commitment of our entire organization will help us get through this great challenge, and we know the expertise of the HDGH team is needed to support the wider community.”

HDGH expects to begin scaling back its physical presence in the home over the next two weeks in order to be fully committed to the needs of the region, where new case numbers continue to climb.

“As the HDGH team comes to the end of our second week working on site at VSC, I can confidently say we have turned the corner here in controlling this tragic outbreak” said Janice Kaffer, President and CEO of HDGH.

Kaffer goes on to state that “COVID has taken the lives of residents and it has temporarily taken the health of team members but it has not taken the resolve of the teams at HDGH and VSC to take control of this outbreak and bring it to an end. With the hope of vaccinations to happen in the next few days, we are optimistic that better days for our residents, families and staff are ahead.”

In consultation with HDGH and the health unit, the facility will be reducing its collective neighbourhoods by one, meaning some residents will be moving to another neighbourhood on a temporary basis.

“This will allow us to address the on-going staffing challenges and enable us to have our team members in the neighbourhoods with the most residents, rather than spread out over all eight neighbourhoods,” said Potts. “Our goal is to be overstaffed at this point, and this measure will address a key aspect of our strategy to manage and address the COVID-19 outbreak and provide safe and consistent care for all of our residents.”

The Village is also expecting to receive its first shipment of the Moderna vaccine on Jan. 10 and, based on public health criteria and the clinical assessment of the medical director, eligible residents will begin vaccinations soon after.