• Lorna Hamilton

COVID Outbreak At Vermilion Continuing Care Center


Picture of one of the entrances warning of the current COVID-19 outbreak at the facility. Photo Lorna Hamilton

After a year of dealing with COVID-19 in Alberta, the Vermilion Continuing Care Center (VCCC) remained outbreak free. Unfortunately, on January 24 the center was listed by AHS as having a COVID-19 outbreak.

”Currently (as of Jan 30) Alberta Health has been notified of 20 cases linked to this outbreak. Of these, 19 are active and, sadly, there has been one death,” said Tom McMillan, Assistant Director, Communications Alberta Health.

In relation to the outbreak response measures in place Melissa Ballantyne Manager, Central Zone AHS Communications & Community Engagement said that COVID-19 swabbing has been offered to all staff and residents.

“Public health teams are carrying out contact tracing. We continue to closely monitor the situation and site leadership will continue to make sure the necessary enhanced safety protocols are in place to protect residents and staff,” commented Ballantyne.

Also, as part of the response there are regular follow-up meetings as well as enhanced protocols- including continuous masking by staff, enhanced cleaning and daily screening and COVID-19 testing of staff and residents.

“Additionally, some temporary measures have been enacted to help limit the spread of infection. These measures include isolating all residents to their rooms, temporarily closing the site to new admissions, postponing patient transfers and restricting visitors. No visitors are allowed at this time,” Ballantyne explained.

For AHS to declare the outbreak in a continuing care setting is over, Ballantyne states it must be 28 days after the last person onsite tests positive for COVID-19. Outbreak information is updated every Tuesday and Friday at http://www.alberta.ca/covid-19-alberta-data.aspx#p25721s5.

Residents who consented to receive the vaccine were administered their first dose on January 15.

“In order for AHS to respond to the recently announced reductions in Pfizer vaccine in the upcoming weeks, adjustments are being made to the COVID-19 vaccine implementation plan. Vaccines has been reserved to ensure that we are able to provide second doses to all long term care and designated supportive living residents with the allowable window,” explained Ballantyne.

While these important and necessary precautions are in place in the Continuing Care Center families are encouraged to keep in touch with their loved ones.

“Families can use phone calls, text or email and please be assured that our teams are doing everything they can to protect residents, patients, staff and visitors. We thank everyone for their patience, cooperation and understanding,” said Ballantyne.

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