COVID-19 cases in Medicine Hat continue to rise, with 533 active, and a 782.5 active rate per 100,000 people, second only to the town of Banff.
There are now 12 confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks in the South zone listed on the Government of Alberta website, the majority of which are in Medicine Hat and immediate area.
Outbreaks are confirmed at three acute-care facilities: Cardston Health Centre, Crownsnest Pass Health Centre in Blairmore and the Medicine Hat Regional Hospital. South Country Village in Medicine Hat, a long-term care facility, is also listed, as are four local supportive living facilities: Chinook Village, Masterpiece Southland Meadows, Meadow Ridge Seniors Village and River Ridge Seniors Village.
Ralph’s Texas Bar & Steakhouse in Medicine Hat and Roy’s Wood Shop in Redcliff are also listed.
Representatives from South Country Village declined to comment on the outbreak specifically, but said they are keeping family updated on the situation and working directly with AHS through outbreak procedures.
Linda Hygard, managing director for Chinook Village, which has been in outbreak for a couple weeks now, updated the News.
“We had one fully vaccinated staff (member) test positive last week and just tested all residents again – we are awaiting results,” she said. “It is not thought to be onsite transmission, but outbreak procedures are extended accordingly. The people that live here are aware as they were notified immediately.”
Darlene Gallant is the vice president of care services at Masterpiece Southland Meadows.
“We’re doing really well,” said Gallant. “On August 14 we had a staff member, who is not vaccinated, who wasn’t working over the weekend, become sick. They called us right away to report this and got tested with AHS and was positive.
“That put us into a outbreak situation; with the COVID-19 outbreak procedures, all you need is one positive staff member or resident and then you’re in outbreak.”
Gallant said they advised staff, residents and families of the positive test right away and then tested everyone with in-house rapid testing. Staff and residents in the outbreak area were also tested through AHS.
“One resident tested positive on Aug. 18. She has no symptoms,” said Gallant. “This resident is fully vaccinated and our vaccination rate is 98% among residents.”
The outbreak is in a unit with 50 residents. Staff members who work there do not go into other parts of the building.
“Right away I communicated with our staff, residents and families, and they can email me, text me, call me if they have questions,” said Gallant. “Our staff and leaders here are well versed in the outbreak procedures, so we’re on top of things right away.”
Gallant says she is grateful for her team and the support they are receiving from Alberta Health Services.
“There are amazing people here doing an amazing job,” she said. “Our team is here, supporting each other, doing everything they need to do and working side by side in partnership with AHS to keep our community safe at all times.
“And may I add that our residents are just as amazing; they are the reason we come to work each day. They do have to put up with the many restrictions that are placed upon them during these outbreaks, which they do so very gracefully. We just go day to day.
“Our goal is to break the chain of transmission and not have any further positives, which we’re very lucky that it’s only one staff member and one resident.”
LAUREN THOMSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News