An outbreak of the COVID-19 virus at the Grotto Home for the Homeless has forced management at the facility to implement a no visitation policy, says the president of the home, Ainsworth Irish.
Thirty of the more than 40 residents, as well as six employees, have tested positive for the virus, and all are receiving treatment at the COVID-19 facility in Portsmouth, Dominica News Online (DNO) has been informed.
“As to how that happened, we’re not sure.. we have always observed the COVID protocol in terms of having people wash and sanitize their hands, wear their masks, and advise of our no visitation policy,” Irish stated to DNO, “But of course, with an institution like ours, sometimes there is always the cross-fertilization of, where people come sometimes off [to] drop good(s) and what have you, but we’re really not sure how this happened.”
The president of the 45-year-old institution which is now located in Bellevue Rawle, said contact tracing is presently being being done at the facility and plans are in place to ensure that testing of staffers and residents continues more frequently.
Another approach that will be taken to safeguard the lives of these individuals, who Irish says are all vaccinated, is by ensuring that the public adheres to the no visitation policy which has been mandated by the cabinet.
“We know they [family members] would like to see their loved ones. But of course, at this time, we cannot have anybody coming in to visit and we will ensure that there is a control mechanism, “ he said. “Yes, indeed, it is the responsibility of the family members to bring food and other stuff for their people, but it is also our job at the Grotto home to control the level of persons that can come in and visit, and we hope that the public can not only understand that but respect our decision.”
In light of the sharp increase in reported COVID-19 cases for the past three months, Irish is urging the public to adhere to measures put in place by the ministry of health which includes social distancing, use of face coverings, washing and sanitizing of hands and other safety measures, to help stop the spread of the virus.