COVID-19 outbreak declared at Pembroke, Ont., dental office

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A Pembroke, Ont., dental office has been declared the site of a COVID-19 outbreak after three staff tested positive.

The "travel-related" outbreak was caused by a visitor from one of the province's areas currently in lockdown, said Dr. Robert Cushman, top doctor for the Renfrew County and District Health Unit (RCDHU), in a Sunday afternoon press release.

There are currently five health units in grey, or lockdown, on Ontario's COVID-19 alert scale. The nearest, the York Regional Health Unit, covers an area roughly 350 kilometres away from Pembroke.

"I am reminding everyone that this year it is imperative that the holidays be spent at home with members of your immediate household," wrote Cushman.

According to the local health unit, the fact there were two confirmed cases linked to the dental office means it meets the provincial standard for a workplace outbreak.

Close contacts of the cases have been directed to self-isolate and get tested. Patients considered low risk will be contacted by the dental office with directions to self-monitor.

The clinic has closed until further notice.

As of Sunday, the RCDHU — the only eastern Ontario health unit still in green on the pandemic scale — has had 218 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 202 resolved cases and one death.