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May. 25, 2022 | Wednesday
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NOTL COVID cases surge, one long-term care resident dies from virus
Niagara Long Term Care Residence on Wellington Street.. (Richard Harley)

25 positive cases at one nursing home as infections in town quadruple in a week


A resident of the Niagara Long Term Care Residence has died after contracting COVID-19 and cases in NOTL have surged to their highest level since the pandemic began, quadrupling since last week.

The death is the first known COVID-linked fatality in a Niagara-on-the-Lake care facility.

Another 21 residents and four staff members at the Niagara Long Term Care Residence (formerly Chartwell) on Wellington Street have active cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday, executive director Chris Poos told The Lake Report.

As of Wednesday, NOTL overall had 62 active COVID cases, up substantially from 15 a week earlier. The town has had 181 total cases since the pandemic began.

Poos said the facility has had daily calls with public health officials and ongoing weekly testing for staff and residents who previously tested negative.

"We are also in regular contact with all residents, families and staff regarding the status of COVID-19 in our home," he said.

Pleasant Manor's long-term care home in Virgil is also in the midst of a COVID outbreak, but officials with Radiant Care, which operates the facility, did not return calls or emails. 

However, an internal email from CEO Tim Siemens sent to staff Wednesday afternoon, said Pleasant Manor has four COVID cases – three patients and one long-term care worker. A staff memo issued the previous day included a positive test for one member of the centre's supportive housing staff.

A week ago the Virgil facility had only one positive case, an employee. The centre's apartments, wellness suites and life lease units are not in outbreak, Siemens emphasized.

The staff member who tested positive has completed self-isolation and returned to work, Siemens said in Tuesday's memo. The emails from the CEO were sent to The Lake Report by an employee. Three of the four residents who were in contact with that staff member also have finished their isolation, he said.

The memos said the latest positive test result was Tuesday at Pleasant Manor, a private non-profit operation affilliated with the Mennonite church. No other cases have been confirmed since then.

Radiant Care's Tabor Manor in St. Catharines has a much more serious outbreak, with 23 residents and nine staff infected, Siemens wrote Wednesday.

Siemens told staff that with the vaccine now available in Niagara Region, he is hopeful Radiant Care's facilities will receive it soon.

At Niagara LTC, Poos said, "We remain diligent 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." 

"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 also said he's hopeful for a vaccine to come soon.

"As with all long-term care and retirement homes, we are hopeful that good news will come soon and that the Pfizer-BioNTech and/or Moderna vaccines will become available to all residents and staff in the Niagara area."