Bi-weekly testing of all staff members was completed this week to support early detection of any spread of the COVID-19 virus in the home, following a recent positive staff case and a positive resident case. A total of 186 staff were tested and the District has been advised by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) that a staff member who is part of the care team has tested positive for COVID-19.
At this time, we await the results of approximately 80 staff members. The staff member who has tested positive is not experiencing any symptoms and is self-isolating at home.
Out of an abundance of caution the Pines must consider a single confirmed case of COVID-19 in a staff member as a confirmed respiratory outbreak in the home. For the time being, it is necessary to again suspend all resident visits. Enhanced protocols for the cleaning of high touch surfaces and resident living areas continues.
Based on the recommendation from Public Health, all of the residents in the home area where the staff member worked will be tested on Monday September 21, 2020. All staff will also be re-tested through next week.
The District remains focused on protecting residents and staff at the Pines Long-Term Care Home from COVID-19 and extensive measures are being taken to ensure the health, safety of wellbeing of residents and staff remain in place.
The Pines Long-Term Care recently experienced its first outbreak resulting from one employee testing positive for COVID-19 on August 30, 2020 and subsequently one resident testing positive for COVID-19 on September 2, 2020. This first outbreak was deemed resolved by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit on September 16, 2020.
Regular updates continue to be provided to residents, their families, and staff along with regular updates to the community.
How can the community help? Take extra care.
According to SMDHU, community spread of the COVID-19 has sharply risen to numbers not seen since the spring and they are asking the public to shrink their social circles as much as possible to those within their own household and to be cautious to reduce their exposure within the community.
SMDHU has provided the following steps to keep everyone safe, including those returning to school and those living in long-term care homes:
- Shrink your close contacts (the people you can get close to such as hugging and touching) as much as possible to only those people within your own household and those whose well-being requires or is dependent on you.
- Think carefully about how often and where you go out to in the public, try to limit to what is essential and avoid crowded spaces.
- Limit social gatherings, and keep the number of people in your gatherings and get-togethers to 10 people or less indoors, or 25 or less outdoors. When gathering with people outside of your household, practice physical distancing, or wear a mask if you can’t.
- Parents should screen children for symptoms of COVID-19 every day before they leave for school; if a child has even one symptom, they should stay home and self-isolate, and get tested.