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Coronavirus: Peterborough Public Health completes testing in all seniors residences

Click to play video: 'High rates of COVID-19 testing, low rate of confirmed cases' High rates of COVID-19 testing, low rate of confirmed cases
Peterborough Public Health and its partners have completed COVID-19 testing in all seniors residences. More than 3,500 staff and residents were swabbed. Peterborough Public Health and its partners have completed COVID-19 testing in all seniors' residences. More than 3,500 staff and residents were swabbed. – May 13, 2020

Peterborough Public Health says testing for the novel coronavirus in all seniors residences in its jurisdiction is now completed.

On Wednesday, the health unit reported that more than 3,560 residents and staff in 20 facilities were tested for the virus over the past three weeks. The health unit serves the City of Peterborough, Peterborough County, Curve Lake First Nation and Hiawatha First Nation.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — Emergency order allows Ontario to control management of long-term care homes

“This work was already underway before the premier’s April 21 directive, and thanks to the tremendous support of our local health-care partners, we were able to go above and beyond the ministry’s request and include retirement homes in our surveillance testing as well,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, the health unit’s medical officer of health.

The 20 facilities include eight licensed long-term care homes, 11 retirement homes and the Congregation of Sisters of St. Joseph’s. The health unit conducted the tests in collaboration with the Peterborough Regional Health Centre assessment centre, Peterborough County-City Paramedics and the facilities themselves.

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“The low number of positive cases detected is good news for our seniors and reflects the strong infection prevention and control practices at these facilities where testing occurred,” Salvaterra said.

“We commend our health-care partners locally and across the province for their continuing efforts to protect this vulnerable population from COVID-19.”

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One outbreak was declared on Monday at Kawartha Heights Retirement Living in Peterborough. The health unit notes it is based on a single case in a asymptomatic staff member that was discovered during the surveillance.

Salvaterra said the outbreak at Kawartha Heights Retirement is “well under control.”

Test results are still being received, but the health unit said the “few” cases identified have been followed up on to ensure individuals self-isolate and that their close contacts are identified.

READ MORE: ‘Pick up the pace’: Doug Ford says some local medical officers falling behind on COVID-19 testing

According to a recent report by the Institute for Evaluative Clinical Sciences, as of April 30, Peterborough Public Health had one of the highest per capita rates of coronavirus testing in the province, along with the public health units serving Hastings and Prince Edward counties, Timiskaming, Sudbury and the surrounding area and Thunder Bay.

An outbreak remains in effect at St. Joseph’s at Fleming long-term care.

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“We expect to call that one over soon,” said Salvaterra. “It has been a very small and well-contained outbreak.”

CASES

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 73 confirmed cases of COVID-19 but 67 are resolved.

“Our rate is 49 cases per 100,000 which is notably less than the provincial average which is 143 cases per 100,000,” she said during Wednesday’s media conference.

She noted while Peterborough and area’s data is “reassuring,” now is not the time let our guard down or forget about the pandemic.

“We are not going back to normal,” she said. “The province is not even at phase 1 of the recovery yet. In the weeks and the months ahead, we will need to create a new normal.”

Salvaterra said efforts such as reduced travel, frequent hand-washing, and maintaining physical distancing will continue to help prevent a resurgence of cases.

“Test results are like looking in the rearview mirror – it takes at least two weeks to see the results of the measures we have taken,” she said.

The health unit also released its weekly situation update online and below:

Click to access COVID19-Weekly-Situational-Report-May-13-2020.pdf

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