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COVID-19 outbreak declared at county-owned long-term care home

A resident at Simcoe Manor in Beeton has tested positive for the coronavirus
2020-03-11 County JO-001
County of Simcoe council chambers. Jessica Owen/BarrieToday

A county-operated nursing home in Beeton is officially in COVID-19 outbreak after a resident tested positive for the coronavirus.

Simcoe County released a statement today confirming the outbreak at Simcoe Manor and indicating the resident was taken to hospital on June 21 with COVID symptoms. A test done at the hospital confirmed the virus.

Tests done on all residents and staff between April 28 and 30 and June 11 and 12 came back negative.

A single case of confirmed COVID-19 in a staff member or resident of a long-term care facility warrants an outbreak declaration under the public health guidelines for COVID-19.

According to the county’s statement signed by Jane Sinclair, general manager of health and emergency services for the county, the staff at Simcoe Manor have implemented additional infection controls including assigning staff to a single unit and closing all units, testing all staff and residents for COVID-19 in the next 48 hours, postponing family visits and new resident admissions, and temporarily cancelling all resident activities including patio visits.

Before discovering this case, Simcoe Manor was screening staff at the beginning and end of their shift for any symptoms of COVID and also screening residents twice per day.

“Due to our strict precautions and protocols, we are hopeful that this single case of COVID-19 was caught early and will be limited,” said Sinclair in the statement.

While this is not the first long-term care facility outbreak in Simcoe County, it is the first outbreak at a county-owned and operated facility.

There is currently a COVID-19 outbreak at Stayner Care Centre, where one staff member has tested positive, but the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has not reported any further cases at the Stayner home.

To-date, the health unit has reported eight other outbreaks at long-term care homes in the Simcoe-Muskoka region, three at retirement homes, and one at a group home.

There have been 23 deaths of residents at long-term care homes in Simcoe County attributed to the coronavirus.