14 staff members test positive at COVID-stricken care home

14 staff members at the Hemelrijck care home in Mol (Antwerp Province) have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. On Saturday we reported that 59 residents at the home had become infected with the virus after a man dressed as Saint-Nicholas that had visited the home last weekend turned out to be a COVID-19 super-spreader. Since then a further 2 residents have tested positive. The 14 staff members that have tested positive brings the total number of people infected at the home to 75. 

The municipal authorities in Mol are currently assisting the care home in its efforts to bring the situation under control. The Mayor of Mol Wim Caeyers (Christian democrat) told VRT News that council workers have been sent to the home and the Red Cross and the Governor of Antwerp Province are also providing help and support. “It will be all hands on deck during the coming week”, Mayor Caeyers said.

Mr Caeyers added that the visit of Saint Nicholas to the care home was an error of judgement. “It was made with the best intent, but it went wrong. It has been a very black day for the care home. It is a very great mental strain to bear for the man that played Saint Nicholas, as well as for the organisers and the staff”.

The Mayor believes that the management of the care home would have done better to communicate openly about the issue.  

“Initially they said that the rules had been followed, but then straight away you receive photos from the families of residents where you can see that this wasn’t the case”. 

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