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Outbreak at St. Joseph’s Villa in Hamilton involves four residents, say officials

A picture of St. Joseph's Villa long-term care home on Governor's Road in Dundas, Ont. Google Maps

An active COVID-19 outbreak declared Friday at a hair salon within’ a Hamilton long-term care home (LTCH) involves four residents, according to officials.

In a release on Monday, St. Joseph’s Villa on Governors Rd. in Dundas revealed their outbreak is now a facility wide surge.

“It is believed exposure came from outside the Villa community,” John Woods, president of St. Joe’s told Global News in a statement.

Read more: Vaccinated Ontario mother, son say they contracted COVID-19 from basement tenant

“The affected residents are in isolation. Contact tracing has been established and outbreak protocols have been implemented. No staff have tested positive at this time.”

Woods said, as a precaution, all residents are being tested along with staff who may have been exposed. The facility has also closed its doors to visitors, allowing only essential caregivers.

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He said it`s believed exposure came from third-party service providers who work in the hair salon.

St. Joe’s says its current COVID-19 vaccination rate for residents at the LTCH is 93 per cent for residents and 72 per cent for staff.

Public health says there are a total of nine cases at the home as of Tuesday and that four third party service providers have also come down with COVID but are not regular staff at the facility.

There is one other case involving a visitor.

Michelle Baird, director of epidemiology and communicable disease control with the city of Hamilton, said information pertaining to whether the infections are the more contagious Delta variant will likely take weeks.

Read more: 3 Hamilton long-term care homes affected by COVID-19 to get $7M from government for upgrades

“It could take upwards of two weeks to get that confirmation,” Baird said.

“We do know that the Delta variant, of course, is the primary variant that’s circulating right now, but we don’t have information about this specific facility.”

Baird did not reveal whether any of the nine reported cases were tied to any individual that had not been vaccinated but said even with a completed set of vaccinations not all risks of acquiring a COVID-19 infection are removed.

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“We still might see COVID-19 infections among fully vaccinated individuals. This is something called breakthrough infection,” said Baird.

“And this is not just with the COVID-19 vaccine, this is with any vaccine that this is possible.”

As per provincial guidelines, long-term care homes in Ontario were mandated to have COVID-19 staff immunization policies as of July 1, 2021.

In response to high levels of COVID-19 vaccination in many long-term care homes, on May 4, Ontario modified restrictions to help homes safely resume communal dining and social activities, with precautions.

Infection prevention requirements including masking, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and staying at home when sick are still in place for all staff, visitors, and residents in all LTCHs in the province.

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Read more: Mixing COVID-19 vaccines a ‘dangerous trend,’ WHO chief scientist says

As of May 30, Public Health Ontario reported that 97 per cent of long-term care residents were fully immunized with more than 89 per cent of staff have received at least their first dose, and approximately 66 per cent fully immunized.

Baird says accurate information of how many staff are vaccinated in a specific LTCH in Ontario is still a “fluid” situation due to continuing vaccinations and staff turnover.

“So I would say as an overall, we don’t necessarily know the number accurately with respect to who’s been vaccinated in long term care on an individual case basis. We don’t give specifics about individuals,” Baird said.

Hamilton reports 6 new COVID-19 cases

Hamilton reported six new COVID-19 cases on Monday, and over a hundred active cases in the city.

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Of the 103 reported active cases, just under 70 per cent involve people under the age of 50. About 45 per cent of the cases are tied to people under 30 and just over 22 per cent involve people under 20.

Public health is reporting a test positivity rate for the city of 1.9 per cent as of Monday. Ontario’s test positivity rate is 0.9 per cent as of July 12.

There are a combined three ongoing outbreaks in Hamilton as of Monday. Aside from the aforementioned surge at St. Joseph’s village, There are a pair of workplace outbreak involving a combined five cases among workers at Kirin Air Systems in east Hamilton and Duarte’s Supermarket in central Hamilton.

Read more: Ontario reports 114 new COVID-19 cases, zero deaths for 2nd time in a week

Local hospitals have a combined 26 COVID-19 patients at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) and St. Joe’s.

HHS had 11 COVID-19 patients as of Monday, with just two in intensive care units. St. Joe’s has 15 COVID-19 cases, 14 in ICUs.

75 per cent of Hamiltonians have at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine

As of Sunday, public health is reporting close to 639,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the city overall.

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Over 75 per cent of the city’s adult population (over 18) have received at least one shot of a vaccine while 52.9 percent have had two shots.

Hamilton’s total vaccination rate is comparable to or better than most regions in Ontario, however public health data shows rates among youth and some central and east-end FSAs (forward sorting area codes) are still low.

As of July 12, less than 64 per cent of people under the age of 29 have had at least one shot of a vaccine while those with second doses among that age range is less than 37 per cent.

Read more: Ontario families, experts want more guidance for unvaccinated kids as province reopens

Less than 61.13 per cent of residents in FSAs L8R, L8L, L8M, L8H, and L8J have had a single dose of a vaccine. The lowest is in an area of central Hamilton which has seen just 54.20 per cent of it’s population having had at least one shot.

As of 8 p.m. on Sunday, more than 17.1 million total COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered in Ontario.

There are more than 6.5 million people fully immunized with two doses which is 56 per cent of the adult (18+) population. First dose adult coverage stands at 79.2 per cent.

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