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Thursday, March 23, 2023
Upper Canada Lodge battles COVID outbreak
Upper Canada Lodge on Wellington Street in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Somer Slobodian

The Upper Canada Lodge long-term care home on Wellington Street in Niagara-on-the-Lake is in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak.

The outbreak was declared on July 13 by the Niagara Region public health department.

Five people, a mix of both staff and residents, have the virus. There have been no deaths.

“Each person impacted experienced mild symptoms for a few days and are now making a good recovery,” Denise Murphy, the director of resident care at Upper Canada Lodge, said  in an email.

The protocols in place over the last six waves of COVID have worked to prevent an outbreak, she said.

But despite the home’s best efforts, it is now experiencing firsthand the challenge of the first outbreak reported at the home.

When the first case was identified, the home took the necessary steps to keep its staff, visitors and residents safe, Murphy said.

This included daily screening, testing and using proper protective equipment, she said. Management also enhanced cleaning and disinfecting practices in the home.

Upper Canada stopped visitors from entering the building per health ministry guidelines, with the exception of essential caregivers.

“Increased community spread increases the risk for outbreaks in long-term care and we are seeing the impact through this seventh wave of the pandemic,” Murphy said.

Niagara’s acting chief medical officer of health, Dr. Mustafa Hirji, said even though more outbreaks are happening, health officials aren’t seeing large, widespread outbreaks like happened in the first and second wave.

This is largely due to the vaccine, he said.

“All staff at the home are vaccinated. We offer vaccinations to residents in-house and all residents who are eligible and have consented have had their fourth dose booster vaccination,” said Murphy.

As of Wednesday, Niagara Region reported 753 active COVID cases, 62 of them in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Though the home is still in an outbreak, Murphy said everything is going well at Upper Canada Lodge.

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