COVID outbreak at St. Lawrence Lodge

St. Lawrence Lodge in the east end of Brockville. File photo SunMedia

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A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at St. Lawrence Lodge in Brockville after a staff member tested positive for the virus, just as the local health unit recorded its first COVID death since June.

A patient at Brockville General Hospital, who had been battling COVID-19 in the Intensive Care Unit for more than a week, succumbed to the disease during the weekend, BGH confirmed on Monday.

The death brings the toll to 53 in the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit since the pandemic began. No additional information has been provided about the new death, except that the patient was from the community, not a long-term care home or a health-care worker.

The outbreak at the St. Lawrence Lodge long-term care centre brings the number of seniors’ facilities with active virus cases to three.

On Friday, one resident at the Chartwell Wedgewood Retirement Residence in Brockville tested positive for the virus, and the Broadview Nursing Home in Smiths Fall recorded a virus case on the weekend.

The local health unit said on Monday it is working with the Lodge to manage the outbreak and that the infected staff member is self-isolating at home.

In a statement, St. Lawrence Lodge said its management team is monitoring the situation and updating its actions accordingly.

“Residents of long-term care homes have been identified as a vulnerable group and our focus has been on keeping our residents safe while providing high quality, resident-centered care,” the Lodge said.

At the Wedgewood, spokesperson Sharon Ranalli said the retirement home is following public health guidelines and it has taken precautions to reduce transmission of the virus including suspending group activities, dining and visiting.

The Wedgewood also has enhanced control measures including screening, monitoring and cleaning as well as additional protective equipment to ensure the safety of staff and residents, she said.

“Being separated from loved ones is not easy and we are committed to ensuring our residents feel supported, engaged and cared for during this difficult time,” Ranalli said.

Susan Healey, who speaks for the local heath unit, said the unit is working with the Wedgewood administration to implement COVID-19 protocols including making sure the infected resident is kept in isolation away from the others.

Under the provincial protocols, staff who had high-risk contact with the resident without the appropriate protection equipment must self-isolate for 14 days. Other staff who had medium-risk exposure should self-monitor – but not self-isolate – for the 14 days.

Residents can be taken out of the Wedgewood by relatives, but they must stay out until the outbreak is over, according to the rules. If residents go out for a medical appointment, they must wear a mask and be screened on return but they don’t have to be self-isolated.

The three outbreaks and the one new death came on a weekend in which Ontario recorded its highest daily COVID numbers since the pandemic began.

The local health unit reported 13 new cases of COVID-19 during the weekend, bringing the total of active cases to 17.

None of the active cases are in hospital or intensive care.

In total, the health region has recorded 439 COVID cases of which 369 have recovered, leaving the 17 active cases and 53 deaths.

Dr. Paula Stewart, local medical officer of health, said the provincial and local COVID-19 outbreaks underlines the need for people to remain COVID smart.

“I encourage everyone to self-isolate if you have COVID-19 symptoms and get tested, wear a mask or face covering when you cannot maintain a distance of 2 metres from others, and to practice regular hand hygiene,” Stewart said.

wlowrie@postmedia.com

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