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President & CEO Dr. Michael Guerriere, MD Message on COVID-19

May 5, 2020

To Our Valued Community:

As Canada continues to navigate the fast-evolving challenge of COVID-19, the tragic impact to vulnerable populations seen around the world has also been realized here at home.

While it has been a difficult time for residents, clients, patients, team members and families, our focus remains steadfast on providing the care and service our community expects of us and our resolve remains strong.

While many of the homes in our network have been successful in keeping the virus out, some have not been so fortunate. Consequently, our community has experienced great loss in recent weeks. Our sincere condolences are with all of the families and friends — both in our community and outside of it — who have lost a loved one to this aggressive virus. Our hearts are with you in this exceptionally difficult time.

Extendicare, Extendicare Assist and Esprit have acted fast to protect those in our care. We have had to make tough decisions including limiting non-essential visitors to our homes. All of our homes have a universal masking policy in place. We are increasing random testing of our staff and residents to look for asymptomatic cases of COVID-19. We are using the strength of our network to procure the essential personal protective equipment we need to keep our staff and residents safe. We continue twice-daily symptom screening of all residents and staff and our team members are working in only one location. We have mandated isolation measures for residents, with our teams providing care using full infection protection protocols.

ParaMed is working hard to support clients in their homes and to protect them from exposure to COVID-19. We are revamping schedules to reduce the number of caregivers working with each client, particularly in retirement settings. And a growing number of ParaMed professionals are stepping up to work in homes that are struggling with staffing shortages. We are deeply grateful for their commitment and dedication to helping their colleagues in long-term care.

We have always been strong advocates for the needs of our care team. It is good to see recognition for our people on the front lines in the form of premium pay announced in some provinces. We continue to advocate that front-line workers in every province deserve increased financial recognition for their commitment to our residents, clients and patients.

Our Incident Management System team continues to meet daily to direct a strategic response to manage the threat of COVID-19 and our team of infection prevention experts has been instrumental in limiting the number and extent of outbreaks in Extendicare homes.

At this time of great uncertainty, it is gratifying to see the assistance our team is receiving from hospital staff and volunteers who are coming into our homes to lend a hand. They have stepped up in a difficult time and we are deeply appreciative of their support.

This situation is day-to-day, sometimes hour-to hour. We continue to work closely with Public Health authorities in all of our jurisdictions to ensure our response is informed with the most recent advice, evidence and best practices to keep our people safe, to keep the virus out of our homes and to move those homes that are in outbreak into recovery.

If you have any questions or advice, please reach out to a member of your management team or to contact communications@extendicare.com.

My heartfelt thanks for your continued support and dedication. I will continue to keep you updated as the situation evolves.

Dr. Michael Guerriere

President & CEO, Extendicare