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Mar. 9, 2021 | Tuesday
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Pleasant Manor CEO says one staff member has tested positive for COVID-19
Radiant Care Pleasant Manor CEO Tim Siemens says one staff member has tested positive. (File photo)

After months of dodging COVID-19, two of Niagara-on-the-Lake's long-term care homes are now in the midst of outbreaks.

The Niagara Long Term Care Residence on Wellington Street (formerly Chartwell) declared an outbreak on Saturday after one staff member tested positive during a regular weekly test, executive director Chris Poos told The Lake Report. 

"Since then, we have received two resident positive cases and one additional staff member. Both staff members are asymptomatic and self-isolating at home," Poos said.

On Tuesday evening, Niagara Public Health reported an outbreak at Radiant Care Pleasant Manor in Virgil.

As of Wednesday, Niagara-on-the-Lake had 15 active cases of COVID-19, with a total of 111 cases since the pandemic began, according to public health statistics.

Radiant Care CEO Tim Siemens said one staff member has tested positive for COVID and is isolating at home. No residents have had positive tests, he said Wednesday.

At Niagara Long Term Care, "We are conducting regular weekly testing for COVID-19. All residents were tested on Jan. 5, and all staff today and tomorrow, Jan. 6 and 7," Poos said. 

"We remain vigilant in all our infection prevention and control measures, including twice daily screening of residents and staff for any signs of the COVID-19 virus, and regular testing," he said.

"Residents are isolated to their rooms, receiving in-room meal service and are being cared for by staff on contact droplet precautions. Staff are wearing full personal protective equipment at all times, which is well-stocked in the home."

Poos said the home is in daily contact with public health officials "to assist us in managing the outbreak and hope for the good news to come soon that the Pfizer-BioNTech and/or Moderna vaccines become available to all residents and staff in the Niagara area."

In nursing homes, under provincial rules even one case constitutes an outbreak.

Until now, Niagara-on-the-Lake's long-term care homes had managed to avoid COVID-19 outbreaks, despite the virus being a major problem for similar facilities across the country.

Niagara Region's acting chief medical officer, Dr. Mustafa Hirji, said luck and fewer community cases were among the reasons NOTL care homes avoided outbreaks in the past.

It helped that NOTL has "fewer (care) homes than other municipalities, which reduced their probability of having cases get into a home," he told The Lake Report.

As well, "NOTL’s cases per population were relatively lower for much of the year than other parts of Niagara, which reduced their risk of outbreaks."

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 situation in the region is serious, Hirji warned. 

"To that end, public health urges everyone to forgo non-essential trips outside the household. This includes any international travel, or even travel outside of our home community. Stopping the spread of infection is critical to saving lives."

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