Shalom Village CEO announces arrival of second COVID shot for residents

Jan. 19, 2021
Steve Arnold

Shalom Village residents will get their second shots of the COVID-19 vaccine Feb. 2, bringing the complex a step closer to ending the outbreak that has claimed 20 lives.

Chief executive officer Ken Callaghan told a town hall meeting of residents and family Tuesday the final vaccinations will see almost 90 per cent of residents fully inoculated against the potentially deadly disease.

“We are moving in the right direction and making a lot of effort to maintain that momentum,” he said. “We are going to get past this and we are making real strides to do that.”

Last week residents cheered and applauded when the first vaccines were rolled into the home’s recreation centre, allowing 129 to receive the first dose.

Feb. 2 is also the date for residents to be vaccinated who were unable to be inoculated last week.

As residents look forward to their second shots, efforts continue to get the home’s staff fully vaccinated.

Callaghan said as of Tuesday 70 per cent of workers have received shots, up from 55 per cent last week.

That growth may be slowed, he added, because shipments of the medicine to Canada are being slowed by production delays by Pfizer. The provincial government has said it will deal with that shortage by giving the frailest residents of nursing and long-term care homes first chance at second shots while having healthier people wait.

In their last update, Shalom Village staff reported 112 resident infections, with 81 of those cases resolved. There were also 99 infected staff, with 87 of the cases resolved.

While the vaccinations provide hope for an eventual end to the crisis, Shalom Village still faces challenges from the pandemic that has kept many residents in the 81-unit apartment complex confined to their rooms in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.

The campus is also home to 127 long-term care beds.

The continued lock down of the facility is starting to wear on apartment residents who can’t even leave their units to use the communal showers or stroll around their floors. Callaghan said that is necessary because every time a resident does go out their unit requires deep cleaning.

The lock-down won’t be lifted, he said, until 14 days after the last active case has been identified at the Macklin Street North complex. The final ruling will be up to the city’s public health department.

Shalom Village kept the deadly virus was kept away for nine months by rigid cleaning and screening processes. It isn’t known, yet, how those defenses were breached.

In addition, the home has voluntarily signed a three-month management agreement with St. Joseph’s Healthcare. Staff shortages are being covered by workers from contract agencies recommended by St. Joseph’s. Under that agreement a St. Joseph’s staffer has taken over as interim director of care while a permanent worker is sought.

It will be up to the city’s public health department to decree when those restrictions can be lifted.