West Haven boasts successful COVID containment measures
GRANT… we had only had one contraction and the one contraction was nevercontracted here

LETHE, Hanover - Strategic management of the staff at the West Haven Children's Home has in part been attributed to just one case of the novel coronavirus among the children with disability at the facility.

According to Sydney Grant, manager of the home, only one of the 98 children residing at the facility has so far contracted the respiratory disease.

In fact, Grant explained that the child only became infected with COVID-19 following a visit to a hospital.

“We were able to reduce the impact of the COVID on West Haven of over 98 children... which we had only had one contraction and the one contraction was never contracted here. We sent a child to the hospital and he was admitted and then he came back, he had the virus,” Grant explained.

Confronted with the challenge of exposure to COVID by employees travelling on public transportation, as well as fear of being in violation of curfew hours, the management of the facility ventured on a strategic rotation of its 17-member staff.

This resulted in the altering of the three shifts to “one shift work for the week”.

“So, for example, the chef who came on Monday will stay until Monday morning [the next week], they change and they go home for the next three weeks and they can do anything that they want to do. They don't have the police to contend with, they don't have the taxis to worry about, they don't have the curfews to worry about...and it works,” Grant argued.

“When the pandemic came on last year we had a problem because you have a three-shift staff. Three shifts and they had to go out and then they had to contend with the police ...what you're doing on the road this time? So we came up with a plan and we divided our staff, 17 in total, including myself.”

He noted that initially the workers were not in favour of the new system, but they now fully endorse it.

“We had a challenge then but by now people are saying it is no longer a challenge we want it to stay because they can go for three weeks out there and even go to America and come back, and quarantine themselves before they come back to work,” Grant quipped.

He also noted that most of the wards and staff members are fully vaccinated.

“See our children here, we have 97 now, and it's only 11 who are not vaccinated fully, reason being they fall below the age of 12. So almost all our children are fully vaccinated and the staff, I would say about 95 per cent, vaccinated. Some of us are looking forward now to receiving the booster,” he argued.

Grant lauded the special education school teachers, nurses and other staff members for the improvement in various areas now seen among the children.

“To tell you also, a few years ago, we had children here who could not draw and who could not feed themselves, but with their (staff members) input we have children who have learned how to feed themselves and have also learned how to feed other children,” he cited.

He was speaking at the recent handing over of 100 gallons of paint made through a partnership by realtor associate Keller Williams Jamaica and Berger Paints Jamaica Limited.

The West Haven Children's Home is a privately operated facility catering for wards with various types of physical and mental disabilities. The facility, which opened in 1986, is partially funded by the Government.

BY HORACE HINES Observer West reporter

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