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Sunday, December 10, 2023
All three NOTL care homes hit by Christmas COVID outbreaks
The Niagara Long Term Care Residence is coping with its latest COVID outbreak, executive director Chris Poos says. File photo

NOTL Long Term Care has five active cases, while Upper Canada Lodge reports four


All three of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s long-term care homes are weathering COVID outbreaks heading into Christmas.

The Niagara Region public health department declared new outbreaks at both Upper Canada Lodge in Old Town and at Radiant Care Pleasant Manor in Virgil on Thursday, Dec. 22.

Henriette Koning, director of senior service for the Region of Niagara, which operates Upper Canada Lodge, said four residents have tested positive and have mild symptoms.

A spokesperson for Pleasant Manor could not be reached for comment.

On Dec. 12, public health confirmed a new outbreak at Niagara Long Term Care in Old Town.

That announcement came just three days after the previous COVID outbreak at the Wellington Street care home was declared over.

“We currently have five active cases, with 28 cases resolved for residents,” Niagara Long Term Care executive director Chris Poos told The Lake Report on Friday, Dec. 23.

“The affected residents are isolated to their rooms and receiving in-room meal service. At this time only essential caregivers may visit the home and, along with our team members, must wear N-95 respirator masks and appropriate PPE,” he said in an email.

Over the Christmas weekend the home will have special meals and one-to-one and small group activities, he said.

Essential caregivers will be able to visit their loved ones.

“Families have been dropping off Christmas gifts and the recreation staff will be delivering them to the residents on Christmas Day. The staff will also be setting up virtual calls with residents and families to keep everyone connected during the holidays,” Poos said.

The home is continuing to follow COVID protocols, including masking, active screening and daily rapid testing for team members and visitors, he said.

“COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses, including influenza and RSV, continue to cause outbreaks in many long-term care and retirement homes,” Poos noted.

He emphasized that “vaccination plays a big role in keeping residents and team members less sick. Most who are fully vaccinated come down with mild cold-like symptoms or remain asymptomatic.”

At Upper Canada Lodge, staff have implemented all the necessary infection prevention and control measures, Koning said.

“We appreciate the support of families as we strive to clear this outbreak as quickly as possible,” she said.

“Recognizing that an outbreak at this time of year is particularly challenging for residents, the staff at Upper Canada have continued  to provide activities in smaller groups to support the residents,” she added.

The “generously donated” Christmas stockings supplied by Joan King and her small army of volunteers to all three care homes, will be delivered to all the residents of Upper Canada Lodge, Koning said.

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