KITCHENER -- Long-term care homes in Waterloo Region have been on the front lines of the pandemic since it began in the fall and now they're getting ready for a second wave.

Highview Residences in Kitchener was one of the first long-term care facilities in the region to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak. They said moving forward strict protocols remain in place.

“We have learned a lot since March 31, and I think everyone has learned a lot. It’s a non-negotiable requirement to ensure that we have everything our staff are going to need with regard to PPE,” said Joy Birch, COO of Highview Residences in Kitchener and London.

One of the biggest challenges moving forward will be staffing, especially if and when staff are waiting for tests or test positive for the disease.

“It is absolutely a critical situation in the province, in Kitchener-Waterloo and even in London around continuing to try and make sure we have the right staffing levels and the right people in the right jobs to meet the resident needs, said Birch.

“We’re really trying to boost our hiring of our staff so that we make sure that we have adequate staffing levels,” said Jennifer Miller, administrator with John Noble Home in Brantford.

An outbreak was recently declared over at John Noble Home where a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. They said the goal is to be open with staff, residents and families.

“We’re really trying to be as transparent as possible, let everyone know what's happening and keep communication open and I think that's been so valuable and we will continue to always do that,” said Miller.