Southwestern Public Health (SWPH) issued a plea for increased community vigilance surrounding COVID-19 on Tuesday after a nursing home in Tillsonburg, Ont., garnered 90 infections and four deaths linked to the virus.
The deaths and infections are tied to an outbreak at Maple Manor Nursing Home that was first declared on Dec. 12.
Of the infections, 35 are among staff and 55 are among residents, accounting for just over half of Maple Manor’s 92 residents. All four deaths occurred among infected residents.
To ease potential staffing concerns, SWPH is collaborating with the South West Local Health Integration Network, Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital and Woodstock Hospital to offer support to Maple Manor’s team.
“We have approximately 25 people deployed into that home at any given time,” said Sandy Jansen, the president and CEO of Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital.
“Ontario Health is involved and the Ministry of Long-Term Care is also on site auditing infection, prevention and control strategies and that type of thing… we anticipate at this point our staffing will continue to be at a safe level.”
Dr. Joyce Lock is the medical officer of health for the SWPH, which covers Oxford County, Elgin County and St. Thomas. During a teleconference with reporters on Tuesday morning, Lock stressed that the consequences of Maple Manor’s outbreak can stretch well beyond the nursing home.
“This home is not an island, we have significant number of cases across our region, many new cases are coming in each day and we are seeing more outbreaks in our vulnerable settings,” Lock said.
“Most of our cases need critical health-care support and we are seeing more fatalities, including seven fatalities across our region over the past 24 hours,” added Lock Tuesday morning.
While mitigating measures are in place at Maple Manor, including only allowing essential visitors who show no symptoms, Lock says more infections may arrive in the coming days.
“When you put together the different combining elements of a very highly transmissible organism, a facility which has challenges just due to its layout (and) you have vulnerable individuals, despite the best of efforts, the virus spreads.”
Elsewhere, four deaths have now been linked to the region’s second-largest institutional outbreak.
PeopleCare Tavistock, located about a half-hour north of Woodstock, has seen 32 resident cases and 24 staff cases in an outbreak declared on Dec. 16. The four deaths at PeopleCare are among the seven fatalities SWPH recorded since Monday.
Other outbreaks in SWPH’s jurisdiction remain active at:
- Caressant Care on Mary Bucke, declared Jan. 4 (one staff case)
- Woodingford Lodge in Woodstock, declared Jan. 1 (one staff case)
- Elgin Manor, declared Dec. 21 (two resident cases)
- Seasons Retirement Home, declared Dec. 17 (two staff cases)
- Bethany Care Home in Norwich, declared Dec. 10 (three staff cases)
- Terrace Lodge, declared Dec. 19 (five staff cases)
- Chartwell Aylmer, declared Dec. 19 (three staff cases).