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All admissions and visits on hold following Penetanguishene retirement home outbreak

Resident and staff member test positive for COVID-19 at county-run home
outbreak

A Penetanguishene retirement home has initiated a sweeping set of measures after the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) declared a COVID-19 outbreak at the county-run facility.

The health unit made the move earlier today after a Georgian Residences Retirement Home resident and staff member both tested positive for the virus. The resident is described as a woman over the age of 80 while the employee is a woman between 18 and 34 years old from Severn.

"In order to ensure the health and safety of residents and staff, the County's Health and Emergency Services division has enacted our full outbreak protocols," Jane Sinclair, the county entity's general manager, said in a release.

As a separate entity, Georgian Manor Long-term Care and Seniors Services facility (which makes up the other portion of Georgian Village) is not included in the outbreak declaration. However, staff have implemented enhanced monitoring and procedures as an additional precaution for the entire campus.

"We are working closely with the staff of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit to monitor this situation and ensure all outbreak precautions are in place," Sinclair said, noting all staff are continuing to wear necessary personal protection equipment.

"We will continue with our diligence to screen everyone entering the building at the beginning of their shift as well as before they leave at the end of the day."

As well, all residents of Georgian Residences and all staff working at Georgian Village and Manor are being tested today and tomorrow.

The only other occurrence in a county-run residence happened last month at Simcoe Manor in Beeton. That case was isolated to the one positive case (a resident) and the home came out of outbreak status on July 6.

According to Sinclair, the resident who tested positive was admitted to hospital July 2 for a lengthy period due to unrelated medical issues. Subsequently, the resident received a negative test result on July 11 in the hospital and returned to Georgian Residences on July 12.

"Upon return, this resident was placed in isolation and received enhanced monitoring and infection control precautions given this virus can test negative during its incubation period," Sinclair said.

But on Monday, the woman became symptomatic, was transferred back to hospital and was retested with county staff notified by public health Thursday that the resident now tests positive for COVID-19.

"The resident continues to receive care in hospital, and we are monitoring the situation while wishing them and their family the best outcome possible," Sinclair said, adding the county was subsequently notified that a staff member has also tested positive.

"The staff member has consistently taken part in precautionary bi-monthly testing and reported a negative result as recently as July 14. Preliminary tracing identified symptom development with this staff member after exposure to our positive resident case. We are supporting our staff member as much as we can during this difficult time."

In addition, the following steps are being taken at Georgian Residences to keep residents and staff safe:

  • All family visits (except essential) are on hold during the outbreak;
  • Adult Day programming at Georgian Village is cancelled effective immediately for the duration of the outbreak;
  • All Village Square (Rendezvous) services will be closed during this outbreak except for Life Labs;
  • Retirement Home residents will receive meal service on their floor;
  • Residents are asked to stay on their floor and are reminded to maintain physically distancing (6 feet) from others; and
  • All resident admissions are on hold during this outbreak.

"Similar to the recent outbreak at Simcoe Manor, we are hopeful that these cases are limited, and have the best possible outcomes for our resident and staff member, Sinclair said. "We will continue with our strict precautions and protocols and keep you informed as the situation unfolds."


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Andrew Philips

About the Author: Andrew Philips

Editor Andrew Philips is a multiple award-winning journalist whose writing has appeared in some of the country‚Äôs most respected news outlets. Originally from Midland, Philips returned to the area from Québec City a decade ago.
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