A year ago, a UPS truck escorted by the Sureté du Quebec arrived at the Maimonides Geriatric Center with some of the first COVID-19 vaccines that arrived in Canada.
For staff and residents, it marked a significant turning point in the pandemic.
“It gave us some assurance that we could restore a safe environment for residents,” says Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg. “Bringing your loved ones back and beginning to open up the building in a way that makes it livable once again is amazing,” added the West-Central Health Authority President and CEO.
They celebrated the anniversary in a small room that was deserted for much of 2020 but is now filled with staff and residents once again.
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“It’s been a roller coaster ride,” says Jennifer Clarke, associate director of long-term care at Maimonides. “The things we went through during the pandemic, the run-up to vaccines and now where we are today, which is more than just a normal long-term care setting, is wonderful,” he adds.
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It was a very special day for resident Gloria Lallouz. On December 14, 2020, he became the first person in Montreal to receive the first COVID-19 vaccine. She says the vaccine gave her hope and remembers how lonely the confinement was.
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“Nobody knew how much freedom we were going to have,” he says. “But at least the first part was getting out of the room and having the freedom to walk the hallways.”
And he has enjoyed that freedom, adding that he will do whatever it takes to maintain it.
“I am driven here! And if they need a reinforcement for another variant, my arm is always there. “
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There have been almost no new cases of COVID-19 in Maimonides in the last year, but staff say they know they are not out of the woods just yet, especially with the rise of variants like Omicron.
Reinforcements have been given to most of the residents, while the staff will receive them soon.
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