Seventy-nine year-old Robert Jesse—known as Bob to most—lives at Oliver Lodge Special Care Home in Saskatoon. Staff and residents there are in high spirits after overcoming more than 40 days of lock-down protocols.
In fact, Jesse was the first person at Oliver Lodge to test positive for COVID-19 and spent the most time in quarantine: a total of 41 days.
Luckily, he experienced very minor symptoms and is now in good health.
“I didn’t even know I had it. I felt a little dizzy,” said Jesse.
He said the hardest part was being in quarantine.
“I was in my room by myself, eating by myself.... Hoping for the day we can move around freely. We still can’t go to each other’s rooms yet, but it’s much better now.”
As a man of faith, he joked he would often pray, “Lord grant me patience, but please hurry.”
“Bob has a wonderful sense of humour,” says Laura Pela, a Licensed Practical Nurse at Oliver Lodge.
Pela, along with Gayle Penner, director of Oliver Lodge, explained that any time a resident or staff tests positive, outbreak precautions are extended and in total, they had 41 days of quarantine for residents on Jesse’s unit.
But through it all, Penner said residents were understanding.
“We have an amazing team at Oliver. We love our staff and residents,” said Penner. “It’s a lot to sit in your room for 41 days and they did it. They did it with a smile. Our residents are the real heroes. It is their positivity and love that keeps us coming to work every day. COVID-19 has brought us all even closer.”
Residents and most staff were eligible to be vaccinated last week as part of a pilot project that rolled out vaccinations to certain long-term care homes in Regina and Saskatoon.
Other long-term care homes and seniors over 70 living alone will also be prioritized over the coming weeks in Saskatchewan’s vaccine roll-out.
It seemed fitting that Jesse be the first resident to be vaccinated. He and others received their first dose on January 13.
“What a day that was. Bob is our super star. He just did so well. He is such a strong, beautiful man,” said Penner.
“There were lots of congratulations,” said Pela, who administered his vaccine. “We clapped for him. It was a great moment. It was a lot of relief that this process was finally happening. It didn’t seem real.”
“I’m thankful to God for giving me the opportunity to be here at this time,” said Jesse.
For more information on the Vaccine Delivery Plan visit Saskatchewan.ca/COVID19-vaccine.
Robert (Bob) Jesse (centre) and caregivers Tanya Pacik (left) and Maureen Niechziol (right) give a thumbs-up after he received his COVID-19 vaccine.