South Essex Community Council building at 215 Talbot Street East. The building houses a foiiot clinic that has been shut down by the health unit.
Nick Brancaccio / Windsor Star
Two additional foot care clinics in Windsor-Essex have been ordered to temporarily suspend their practices following investigations of improper sterilization procedures by the local health unit.Foot clinics at South Essex Community Council and Sun Parlour Long Term Care Home in Leamington, which are both run by the same provider, are no longer operating after infection prevention and control breaches were identified on July 24, said Phil Wong, an environmental health manager at the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit. Improper cleaning and handling of tools and a lack of standard operating sterilization procedures at these locations place clients at risk for issues ranging from skin and tissue irritation to blood-borne illnesses like hepatitis B, C or HIV.The services at these locations are now part of five total suspensions made by the health unit since June 28, while a number of others remain under investigation.“If you are a client at one of these places, don’t be alarmed,” Wong said. “But I would recommend seeking a health care provider and discussing some of the specific risks, depending on whatever services you had there.”The number of people affected and the timeframe of mis-practice cannot be identified, Wong said, as the health unit is uncertain about when the violations began.
South Essex Community Council building at 215 Talbot Street East. The building houses a foot clinic that has been shut down by the health unit.
Nick Brancaccio /
Though the risk of infection is quite low, invasive foot procedures that involve puncturing the skin place individuals at a higher risk of acquiring one, Wong said. But, no blood-borne infections have been confirmed or linked to the locations as of Tuesday, according to a press release issued by the health unit.If you are a client at one of these places, don’t be alarmedInvestigations began at foot care clinics across the county after the health unit received a “number of complaints” on June 12 regarding a lack of sterilization, Wong said.By June 28, three foot care clinics — Essex Community Services, Harrow Arena Community Room, and McGregor Community Centre — which are run by the same provider, were suspended due to “multiple” infection prevention and control violations.These suspensions were resolved on July 19, which is when Essex Community Services reopened. But, services at Harrow Arena and McGregor were permanently closed.“It’s the same services…but we’re using one time use tools now,” said Carolyn Zivanov, program manager at Essex Community Services.For the most recently suspended clinics in Leamington, next steps are underway.“Our inspectors are working with them to make sure that they are complying with the best practices for disinfection and sterilization before we can allow them to reopen,” Wong said, adding that this is the first suspension South Essex and Sun Parlour have received from the health unit.The locations service clients from Leamington, Kingsville and Wheatley — a majority of which from South Essex are diabetes patients, said Carolyn Warkentin, executive director of the organization.“At South Essex Community Council, we’ve always taken client safety seriously regardless of the program,” Warkentin said. “In terms of the foot care clinic, we’ve never had a complaint or incident involving infection of any kind.”South Essex has provided foot care to patients for 33 years and schedules an average of 12 appointments per day, Warkentin said. At Sun Parlour, staff provide services for 12 clients once a week.The organization offers “basic foot care maintenance” through “non-invasive procedures” that involve foot washing, nail trimming and a visual assessment, Warkentin said. Should a client require further treatment, they are referred to a doctor or specialist.Related
The local health unit expects the clinics to reopen in a few weeks, though other services offered at each location are still available.“We’re always open for suggestions to make sure that our services are the best they can possibly be for the people that we serve,” Warkentin said. “We believe in continuous improvement.”email@example.com
Essex Community Services offices on Victoria Ave. in Essex will continue to operate their foot clinic.
Nick Brancaccio /