'We're serving the most vulnerable,' says CEO of long-term care home in calling for mandatory masks for staff
SYDNEY, N.S. -- The CEO of a long-term care home in Sydney says all medical professionals should be required to wear masks to protect the most vulnerable.
It's already a requirement for nurses and doctors working in Nova Scotia hospitals, but some nursing home workers are still going without.
Staff at The Cove Guest Home in Sydney have been stepping up their surveillance over the last month, making changes to combat COVID-19, says the home's CEO, Cheryl Deveaux.
"We've been doing staff temperatures before it was even authorized for us to do them," Deveaux said."So, at the beginning of their shift, residents are being checked twice a day for any signs of COVID."
Since Tuesday, Deveaux says additional measures have been put in place, including that all staff are now required to wear a mask while in the building.
Workers are given a surgical mask when they arrive every day for their shift.
"The masks are to protect our residents," Deveaux said. "Our residents are not going in and out, it's our staff that's going in and out. So this is further protection we feel for our residents."
Deveaux says masks should be mandatory for all staff working in long-term care homes across Canada.
Nearly half of COVID-related deaths are residents in long-term care homes.
On Thursday, a staff member at Oceanview Nursing Home tested positive, which now means there is one staff member and resident affected by COVID at the Eastern Passage facility.
The province says they're working on providing long-term care homes with masks, but are not there yet.
Deveaux says she continues to order surgical masks for her staff, but is concerned about supply and demand and feels nursing homes should be a priority.
"We're serving the most vulnerable in our population, so we really need to be consistent with what the health authority is also doing," Deveaux said.