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Thursday, October 6, 2022
Cases fall,NOTL care home hopes it has’turned the corner’ on outbreaks

After 11 deaths and 120 people testing positive, hard-hit facility is down to six cases

After 11 deaths in one Niagara-on-the-Lake care home and a spike in COVID cases across town in January, things are starting to look up, pandemic statistics show.

NOTL's hardest-hit long-term care facility has had a major reduction in active COVID-19 cases and more residents are about to receive their first or second dose of vaccine.

At Niagara Long Term Care on Wellington Street, where 11 people have died of COVID, executive director Chris Poos said Tuesday there are now just three active resident cases and three staff cases.

A week ago, the 124-bed home had 56 residents with COVID and 14 positive staff cases. In total, the home has had 76 residents test positive since the beginning of January. Over the same period, 44 staff were diagnosed with COVID.

“We are cautiously optimistic that our home has turned the corner in this outbreak and remain resolute in our practices to ensure the safety of our residents, their families, our staff, and the greater Niagara community,” Poos told The Lake Report.

He said there will be a vaccination clinic this Saturday, Feb. 6, for more residents to receive their “first or second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.”

“We are waiting for details on when staff and essential caregivers can also receive it and look forward to the time when all our residents, staff and essential caregivers are vaccinated.”

At Radiant Care's Pleasant Manor in Virgil, which had a smaller outbreak in its long-term care facility, chief executive Tim Siemens said Tuesday there are now three active resident cases. The facility has had one resident death and four residents have recovered, he said.

The home has no staff cases, as six infected employees have now recovered. In the centre's regular housing units, there are no active tenant or staff cases, Siemens said.

Upper Canada Lodge, which is operated by the Region of Niagara, has continued to avoid an outbreak of COVID-19.

Poos said Niagara EMS visited Niagara Long Term Care Residence on Monday “to provide additional infection prevention and control education.”

“Public health has also been into the home and continues to be pleased with our (infection control) practices,” he said.

“We remain in regular contact with public health, other health system partners, and our residents, families, and staff regarding the status of COVID-19 in our home.”

He said the home is pleased to be utilizing Pan Bio Rapid testing, “which is a great tool in detecting a possible case of the virus, gives us real-time information to assist us in managing this outbreak.”

Infection control measures include 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. We have appropriate staffing levels, and staff are wearing full personal protective equipment at all times, which is well-stocked in the home.”