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Hastings, Prince Edward counties see first long-term care outbreak, 13 total COVID-19 cases

There are currently 13 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Belleville region. One of those people has died, and another is an employee at a long-term care facility.
There are currently 13 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Belleville region. One of those people has died, and another is an employee at a long-term care facility. Global News

As of Thursday morning, there are 13 people who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the Belleville, Ont., region, and 254 probable cases of the virus, according to the local public health unit.

READ MORE: Hastings Prince Edward Public Health announces 1st death due to COVID-19

Global News last reported the region’s numbers on Tuesday, which stood at eight.

One of those eight people died from COVID-19 complications on Tuesday. Hastings Prince Edward Public Health says the person who died was an “older individual with pre-existing health issues.”

Despite the province and many other public health organizations giving the age and gender of those who catch the virus, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health says they are not sharing specifics about their positive cases in order to protect the privacy of those who catch the disease in their catchment area.

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“We operate under strict guidelines that prohibit us from sharing any information that could reveal the identity of an individual. As such, we don’t publicly confirm the specific age, gender or geographical location of positive cases within our region, and want to emphasize that all residents should recognize that the virus is in the community and take all necessary precautions,” Hastings Prince Edward Public Health said in an email.

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Of the five new cases identified in the area over the last two days, the region has seen its first instances of transmission through community contact. Three of the last cases were contracted through the community, two were travel-related, and one was through a close contact.

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On Wednesday, Hastings County announced that one staff member at Hastings Manor, a long-term care facility in Belleville, had been diagnosed with COVID-19.

The employee apparently failed the screening process to enter the facility on March 30. The employee was not allowed into the home and went for testing. It was later determined they had caught the disease.

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A news release from the county noted the employee did not work in the facility while showing symptoms.

The public health unit and the long-term care facility identified six other employees who were deemed close-contacts of the infected staff member. All six were put on leave for 14 days of self-isolation.

“I want to make it clear that at this time no resident in Hastings Manor has tested positive for COVID-19 and we continue to monitor all of our residents in accordance with the protocols set out by the Ministry of Health,” said Debbie Rollins, director of long-term care for Hastings County.