An assisted living complex is continuing to take precautions after a staff member who was in the residence while wearing personal protective equipment tested positive for COVID-19, but it won’t have to implement the same strict measures as a personal care home.
In a notice posted on its website, Concordia Village said any close contacts will be notified by public health and the risk to residents is low.
Julie Turenne-Maynard is executive director of the Manitoba Association of Residential and Community Care Homes for the Elderly (MARCHE), which represents some assisted living centres. She said the case hasn’t prompted an outbreak to be declared or heavy restrictions like it would in supportive housing or a personal care home because the living situation is more independent.
“Because they don’t have the levels of care that you see in supportive housing and personal care homes, they don’t fall under the same standards,” said Turenne-Maynard. “People choose to live there, they pay rent, their apartments are their apartments.”
“In assisted living, it is a bit more of a controlled environment because it’s communal living, they’ll often have the community dining areas.”
Concordia Village’s website states even before the positive case was identified, it was restricting visitors to one person per family per day. The notice said dining rooms had been taken out of service Monday — the same day Winnipeg moved up to the restricted level under the province’s Pandemic Response System.
The Long Term and Continuing Care Association of Manitoba (LTCAM), which represents assisted living centres, said they aren’t governed by the health system. They fall under the Residential Tenancies Act.
“Under COVID right now, the assisted living residences are following restrictions the same as any public place,” said LTCAM executive director Jan Legeros. “Group gatherings less than 10, social distancing, masks in common areas.”
“Certainly, the assisted living residence may ask the tenants to restrict visitation and restrict their comings and goings.”
A provincial spokesperson said operators of assisted living facilities are required to follow public health directions and advice while respecting the rights of tenants.
“Tenant access to essential services and health care/home care is not to be interrupted by the operators,” the spokesperson said in an email to CTV News. “Posting information, screening of visitors, requirement for masks, and social distancing would be all be normal efforts to be expected.”
Legeros said the average age of people in assisted living is 84, but she said so far, the virus hasn’t been transmitting like in personal care homes where there are more shared accommodations.
She adds that in some provinces, assisted living is part of the health system but Legeros explained it’s more comparable to what supportive housing is in Manitoba and so assisted living restrictions might be tighter in other jurisdictions.