Ayre Manor Seniors’ Housing in Sooke has closed its doors to all visitors in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff at the facility are taking extra precautions to keep the 60 residents safe. (Dan Ebenal/News Staff)

Sooke seniors home steps up precautions in light of pandemic

All activities placed on hold at Ayre Manor with staff temperatures taken on daily basis

Sooke’s most vulnerable residents are especially at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the globe.

With the number of coronavirus cases continuing to grow at an alarming rate, Sooke’s Ayre Manor is taking all possible precautions to keep the 60 residents of the seniors housing complex safe.

ALSO READ: Sooke’s Ayre Manor takes unique approach to recruiting nurses

“No one is allowed to enter the building for visits unless it’s absolutely essential,” said executive director Kerry Williams. “We are taking the temperature of our staff every day, both in assisted living and complex care.”

With the seniors care facility essentially on lockdown, monitoring staff is a priority to ensure the virus doesn’t enter the facility.

“We’re so fortunate being in such a small town, we know everybody. They almost all live in Sooke,” said Williams, adding that a couple of staff members who worked at other facilities were forced to choose one or the other.

ALSO READ: B.C. care homes well equipped to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks: seniors advocate

Ayre Manor employs 96 staff including the casual pool, and Williams said they are starting to encounter some staffing issues. And normal deliveries have been halted, with vendors asked to leave all supplies outside the building.

“We’re starting to notice we’re running short of some supplies like masks but we’re in close contact with Island Health. We’re in touch on a daily basis.”

The pandemic is also taking a toll on the normal routines of the 27 residents in assisted living. The regular day room meals have been suspended, with tray service now taken to each room. Residents have all been asked to self-isolate, and only to go out for groceries or medical appointments.

“We have two volunteers who are taking [assisted living residents’] shopping lists by phone and then leaving the groceries outside. They’re just fantastic,” said Williams.

With normal activities put on hold, staff are finding ways to bring a little sunshine into lives, with things like musical performances and Zumba lessons now taking place over Skype. One married couple at Ayre Manor has been separated by the lockdown, with one living in assisted living and the other in complex care. But staff are doing their best to keep the pair in contact, setting up FaceTime sessions and passing messages back and forth.

“The residents are faring well,” said Williams. “They understand what is going on and know that these measures are necessary.”

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