COVID-19: Resident at Empress Garden Retirement Residence dies amid ongoing outbreak; cases rise

Click to play video: 'Woman in 80s latest COVID-19 death in Peterborough' Woman in 80s latest COVID-19 death in Peterborough
Empress Gardens Retirement Residence is mourning the loss of one of its residents. A woman in her 80s, who lived at the home, died in hospital over the weekend after contracting COVID-19 – Apr 6, 2021

A resident at a Peterborough retirement home was the area’s 11th COVID-19 related death, the home revealed on Monday evening.

The resident at Empress Gardens Retirement Residence died overnight Sunday in hospital due to “complications arising from COVID-19,” according to Tim Harrold, senior vice-president of AON Inc., which owns and operates the 87-bed facility (which includes 22 enriched care beds).

An outbreak was declared March 22 at the Charlotte Street facility after a staff member tested positive. Harrold said the resident — who has not been identified — tested positive last week and was transferred to hospital as symptoms developed and gradually worsened. The resident was one of two transferred to hospital.

The Ontario COVID database identifies the death as a woman in her 80s who tested positive on March 23.

Read more: COVID-19: 11th death, 1 new case in Peterborough; Thomas A. Stewart Secondary School outbreak at 3 cases

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“Unfortunately, the resident was unable to overcome the virus,” he said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with our resident’s loved ones at this difficult time.”

According to executive director Renée Nixon, four more positive cases were reported over the Easter long weekend while one case was resolved.

“We extend our sincere condolences to that resident’s loved ones and friends,” she said.

“We are deeply saddened by this loss. All other positive residents range from asymptomatic to mildly unwell, possibly due to the after-effects of the vaccine. They continue to ‘cohort’ in a special, segregated area of the home, with designated staff who do not interact with other residents or staff. We are currently operating with more than our regular complement of staff.”

Nixon noted all residents received their second COVID-19 vaccine on April 1 after receiving their first in early March. Staff have been tested four times since the outbreak was declared, with no further cases among staff, she said.

“The first shot appears to have offered protection to most residents; the second should supplement this,” she said.

Harrold said variants of COVID-19 appear to be a challenge.

“With vaccines being available so recently it was our hope that tragedies like this one could be avoided,” he said on Sunday.

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“The emergence of variants has made our battle with COVID-19 all the more urgent and unpredictable.”

“We lost a valued member of the Empress Gardens community today and extend our deepest sympathy to that resident’s family, friends, and loved ones.”

Nixon says additional staff have been provided to address the outbreak and visitation restrictions continue.

On Monday, Peterborough Public Health reported 67 active cases of COVID-19 in its jurisdiction which includes Peterborough, Peterborough County, Curve Lake First Nation and Hiawatha First Nation.

The health unit confirmed the victim had received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine but “did not likely achieve immunity as they were still within the 14-day window prior to achieving immunity.  Also, the first dose is 80 per cent effective 14 days after being vaccinated.”

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