Outbreak’s Over in Long-Term Care Homes, Says Health Team

Since the start of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the primary concern has been for older people in congregate settings like long-term care and retirement homes. On that account, there’s a piece of good news this Friday as the Guelph & Area Ontario Health Team announced that there are no more COVID-19 outbreaks in such facilities in Wellington, Dufferin and Guelph (for now).

“As healthcare facilities, we are familiar with outbreaks but the severity and risk posed by COVID-19 represented a new level and we have been able to work together to protect some of our most vulnerable citizens,” said David Wormald, the president of St. Joseph’s Health Centre Guelph in a statement. “We were able to provide support and expertise of partner organizations on the frontline of healthcare and I think it’s through this cooperation that we are faring so well in our community.”

According to the media release, credit goes to new Ontario Health Team established in the region in just last November. The formal partnerships formed between various institutions like WDG Public Health, Guelph General Hospital, the Elliott Community and St. Joseph’s Health Centre were able to co-ordinate modelling and data, service delivery, and infection control and prevention to keep outbreaks as low as possible.

Training is also key to Guelph and area’s success, and that training assisted in quick action on things like early establishment of the COVID-19 assessment centre, and universal COVID-19 testing of every staff and resident in congregate care facilities.

“Thankfully we had already established strong foundations of trust and cooperation and it paid off when we needed it,” said Emmi Perkins, the director of transformation for the Health Team. “We were able to quickly coordinate our efforts to respond to the needs of our community partners including the collection and redeployment of personal protective equipment (PPE) for all of our frontline healthcare workers. Our partners did incredible work to keep their staff and residents protected from this infection.”

On Thursday, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health said that there have been five more cases of COVID-19 in the area since Monday night. There are now 124 cases in Guelph, 55 in Wellington County, and 146 in Dufferin County. There have been 16 resolved cases in our region, and now 32 fatalities. In Canada, the number of COVID-19 cases is now up to 73,401 with nearly 5,500 deaths.

“The fight against COVID-19 isn’t over but now we are better positioned to work as a community on next steps which will include evaluating our residents’ overall health and planning a coordinated approach to safely re-introducing visitors to our facilities when Pubic Health advises us the timing is right,” added Michelle Karker, CEO of The Elliott Community.

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