5th coronavirus outbreak in Barrie, Ont., reported at local retirement home

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Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott discussed on Friday the province's efforts to protect long-term care homes after three more homes declared outbreaks Friday – May 1, 2020

The fifth coronavirus outbreak in Barrie, Ont., has been reported at the Allandale Station Retirement Residence by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

“We were informed on May 1, 2020 that there is one confirmed case of COVID-19 at Allandale Station Retirement Residence,” Steve Graham, president of MTCO Holdings, the developer and operator of Allandale Station, said in a statement Saturday.

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“As directed by public health, we have activated the required enhanced infection control measures to contain the outbreak for the safety of our residents and staff.”

The person who tested positive for the virus is an Allandale Station resident, according to Graham.

“Starting on Saturday we proactively encouraged all staff to get tested at Eagle Ridge Health Complex at 490 Huronia Road in Barrie,” Graham said in an emailed statement Monday.

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“Contact tracing is being done to identify all who may require testing at the directive of (the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit). Universal testing will be administered at the residence on May 6.”

According to Dr. Charles Gardner, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s medical officer of health, it’s unclear exactly how the virus made its way into the facility.

“All of the facilities that are in outbreaks, we’re testing them all. We’re making it a priority now,” Gardner said at a tele-press conference Monday.

Graham said the retirement residence will continue to monitor the health of all residents and staff and “remain vigilant” in protecting all residents and employees.

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“We are following all isolation and infection control protocols and other recommendations of the chief medical officer and public health,” Graham said in the statement Saturday.

This includes having personal protective equipment (PPE) available and in use by staff, which Graham said will be enhanced, actively screening employees and essential visitors twice per shift, maintaining visitor logs, promoting healthy hand hygiene and making hand sanitizer readily available.

Residents are also screened regularly for signs and symptoms, including getting temperature checks twice daily, and there is increased cleaning and disinfecting on frequently touched surfaces.

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“Residents are isolated in their suites and meals are being delivered to the suites,” Graham said, adding that group activities have been cancelled and that residents are engaged in activities where physical distancing is possible

READ MORE: Four new coronavirus-related deaths reported in Simcoe Muskoka, total cases now at 283

Allandale Station Retirement Residence is Barrie’s fifth COVID-19 outbreak.

On Friday, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit reported the fourth coronavirus outbreak in Barrie, at Chartwell Whispering Pines Retirement Residence, where one staff member and one resident have tested positive for the virus.

Owen Hill Care Community, the Woods Park Care Centre and IOOF Odd Fellow and Rebekah Home are also experiencing outbreaks.

As of Monday, Owen Hill has 22 positive cases of COVID-19 — 14 in residents and eight in employees — while IOOF only has one staffer who tested positive and Woods Park has two confirmed cases in staff members, one of whom has recovered, according to Gardner.

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The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has reported 102 cases of the novel coronavirus in Barrie.

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There are 175 COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care homes across Ontario, according to the province’s Ministry of Long-Term Care.

There are also 2,751 confirmed cases among long-term care residents and 1,619 cases among staff, the ministry said.

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