Huron Perth Public Health update, Jan. 11: Caressant Care Listowel in outbreak with 11 positive COVID cases

·3 min read

HURON-PERTH – The community spread of COVID-19 continues despite the lockdown measures being implemented across Ontario.

During the Huron-Perth Public Health media briefing on Jan. 11, Dr. Miriam Klassen, Huron-Perth medical officer of health, announced that the cumulative total of confirmed COVID-19 across the region has reached 888 since the beginning of the pandemic, with 41 new cases added over the weekend.

Currently, there are 106 active cases, five people are in hospital due to COVID-19 and the number of related deaths has reached 25.

“There are many outbreaks in our long-term care and retirement homes,” she said.

At Caressant Care in Listowel 10 residents and one staff have tested positive; at Livingstone Manor in Listowel two residents and two staff have tested positive; at Braemar Nursing Home in North Huron two staff have tested positive; at Exeter Villa in South Huron 37 residents and nine staff in the long-term care area have tested positive; at Greenwood Court in Stratford one staff member has tested positive; at Knollcrest Lodge in Milverton two staff members have tested positive; at Seaforth Manor in Huron East one staff member has tested positive; and at Wildwood Care Centre in St. Marys one staff member has tested positive.

Although there has not been any COVID-19 vaccines delivered to Huron-Perth yet, Klassen announced that a limited shipment would be arriving soon, possibly within a week.

“In keeping with phase one of the vaccination distribution plan, these vaccinations are earmarked for residents and staff of long-term care homes,” she said. “So we’re very excited about that.”

Over the next month, Klassen said she estimates there should be almost 3,000 doses delivered which should allow for vaccination of most of the long-term care home residents, staff and associated caregivers in the region. The next priority populations will be retirement home residents.

“Right now we have five people in hospital due to COVID, so certainly locally it’s not that our hospital capacity is being exceeded by the number of COVID patients but I think the bigger picture here is that across the province more and more patients are being admitted to hospital ICUs and there is a limited capacity,” she said.

“We are part of a bigger system and we certainly would be expected to take ICU patients if called upon,” said Andrew Williams, president & chief executive officer of Huron-Perth Healthcare Alliance. “There is a provincial critical care network that is looking at all the ICU cases currently and they are looking at where they may need to move (patients) from a hot zone, basically defined as the ICUs there are full, so we fully expect that to happen over the coming weeks… it’s an ongoing conversation. We have daily meetings with all the hospitals across this region talking about patient flow and capacities… in the context of COVID there are no individual hospitals, we are very much part of a system.”

Klassen mentioned that one of her frustrations is people focusing on where new cases are being announced.

“They reflect transmission that happened two weeks earlier,” she said. “So if you only base your precautions on where you are seeing the cases being identified you are two weeks late so we all have to… treat everybody in every place as a place of possible transmission… It’s everywhere now.”

Klassen said it’s tough to deal with limiting travel because essential workers need to get to their jobs and people need essential services, food and pharmacies.

“The best way to do this would be to do it voluntarily but if that isn’t successful I think that’s when governments have to step in and take… these lockdown measures to ensure the number of interactions is decreasing so we can get the pandemic under control,” she said.

Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner