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3 residents, 1 staff member test positive for COVID-19 in Almonte, Ont., long-term care home

coronavirus tests
A test kit for COVID-19 at Toronto's Sunnybrook Hospital. Matthew Bingley / Global News

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit says it is currently monitoring a novel coronavirus outbreak at a long-term care home in Almonte, Ont.

Three residents and one staff member at Almonte Country Haven have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The health unit says “infection control” measures have been put in place to slow the spread of the virus in the home.

READ MORE: 1st case of COVID-19 confirmed in Leeds, Grenville, Lanark region

“All staff have been instructed to wear personal protective equipment at all times and to self-monitor for symptoms and to self-isolate at home when not working,” the health unit said.

The rural region has seen a quick proliferation of the virus — its first case was identified on Thursday, rising to 15 total cases identified by noon on March 29.

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The long-term care cases are counted in that total.

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Three of the 15 cases are currently hospitalized, while eight others are self-isolating at home.

READ MORE: Live updates — Coronavirus in Canada

The public health unit says the increase in numbers was to be expected due to access to more testing and higher numbers in the United States, with which the Leeds and Grenville region shares a border.

“The risk is higher in the United States now, and more people returning are testing positive,” the health unit said. “The assessment centres are increasing access to both assessment and testing, and hospital labs in Ottawa and Kingston are now able to process the tests of people in our area with results back in one to two days.”

Kingston Self-Isolation Centre gets ready to open and receive referrals from the COVID-19 Assessment Centre
Kingston Self-Isolation Centre gets ready to open and receive referrals from the COVID-19 Assessment Centre

Public health officials are urging people to practise social distancing and self-isolation when possible.

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“The increase in the number of people in our community who have tested positive for COVID-19 reinforces the importance of people staying at home as much as possible, and staying six feet, or two arms lengths, away from others when in public places to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Paula Stewart, medical officer of health for the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit.

The public health unit did not immediately respond to a request for further information.