One Hamilton LTC home among bottom 15 in Ontario for staff’s COVID-19 vaccine uptake

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Published October 1, 2021 at 6:54 pm

Grace Villa, the for-profit Hamilton long-term care home where 44 residents died of COVID-19 during the pandemic’s second wave, is dead last among local LTCs when it comes to vaccination rates among its staff.

It also has some company when it comes to local LTCs where at least 1 in 5 workers are not fully vaccinated against the virus. Four of the seven facilities where 80 per cent or fewer staff members are fully vaccinated are in Stoney Creek.

The most recent provincial statistics say COVID-19 is responsible for 3,817 deaths of LTC residents across Ontario during the pandemic. On Friday, the Ontario government announced that staff at long-term care homes must be vaccinated against COVID-19, reversing a previous vaccine-or-test policy it defended as recently as a few weeks ago.

Long-term care associations and opposition parties have been calling for the move, saying it was needed to protect vulnerable residents of the homes.

In announcing the policy change, Long-Term Care Minister Rod Phillips said that while 90 per cent of staff overall have received at least one dose, there were dozens of homes with vaccination rates below 80 per cent. Five homes in Hamilton were at 78 per cent at last report, and another two were sitting right at 80.

Those 44 deaths at Grace Villa were between late November 2020 and mid-January. They comprised nearly one-third of COVID-19-related deaths in Hamilton LTCs during the pandemic.

The filings to the Ontario Ministry of Long-Term Care are submitted monthly, which means they could be out of date. The ministry says long-term care homes should be contacted directly for “current information.”

Many for-profit long-term care facilities rely heavily on part-time staff, who often juggle multiple jobs outside of a 9 a.m.-to-5 p.m. schedule. It is believed that having what labour experts call an ‘inconsistent workforce’ has affected vaccine uptake in the field, and it could also set back the facilities’ reporting.

Notwithstanding those caveats, the dataset shows that only 67 per cent of staff, students on placement and volunteers at Grace Villa are fully vaccinated. That is in the bottom 15 provincewide, and four percentage points below any of its Hamilton counterparts.

The for-profit facility, which is operated by London, Ont.-based APANS Health Services, was in the news recently. Provincial inspections this summer uncovered allegations of resident abuse and supply shortly.

The other six long-term care homes at 80 per cent or fewer for fully vaccinated staff are:

  • Heritage Green, Stoney Creek: 71 per cent. The facility was twice issued Section 22 compliance orders from Hamilton Public Health in the spring.
  • St. Joseph’s Villa, Dundas: 73 per cent. St. Joseph’s is in outbreak for the fifth time after one was declared on Sept. 21.
  • Orchard Terrace Care Centre, Stoney Creek: 77. Its last outbreak was between March 29 and April 7.
  • Hamilton Continuing Care, central Hamilton: 78. It had a six-week outbreak during the second wave last fall.
  • Clarion Nursing Home, Stoney Creek: 80. The facility was in an outbreak from Aug. 22 to Sept. 5.
  • Pine Villa Nursing Home, Stoney Creek: 80. Also in an outbreak that was declared on Sept. 19.

Five facilities have stated that at least 90 cent of their workers have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine. The top five are:

  • Chartwell Willowgrove Long Term Care Residence, Ancaster: 92 per cent. Its last outbreak ended on Feb. 11, during the second wave..
  • Idlewyld Manor, Hamilton: 91 per cent. It has also been outbreak-free since the second wave (last one ended Jan. 26).
  • Wentworth Lodge, Dundas: 90. It was one of the first to have an outbreak in 2020, but does not appear to have had one so far in 2021.
  • The Wellington Nursing Home, Hamilton: 90. It recently had an outbreak that was contained after 12 days, lasting from Sept. 9 to 20.
  • The Meadows, Ancaster: 90. City of Hamilton records state that The Meadows has not been in outbreak since April 2.

—with files from The Canadian Press

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