EOHU region sees first nursing-home case, as a staff member tests positive in Plantagenet

Paramedics take samples at Pinecrest Nursing Home in Plantagenet, April 23.

PLANTAGENET— The first positive case of COVID-19 in a long-term care home within the five eastern counties turned up yesterday as a staff member at Pinecrest Nursing Home has fallen ill with the virus.

However, nobody else at the institution has shown symptoms of the contagious respiratory sickness, Eastern Ontario Medical Officer of Health reported yesterday. All 59 residents and 61 staff were pre-emptively tested yesterday in response to the earlier verified infection of a “healthcare worker” at Pinecrest, added Dr. Paul Roumeliotis.

Prescott and Russell Emergency Services personnel conducted the sampling at the request of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU). Results have yet to be received.

The EOHU plans on testing all residents and staff of long-term care facilities, group homes and retirement homes in the region, under a more aggressive testing directive recently issued by the province. “We’ll be doing this all over,” the doctor said.

However, the individual identified as positive for COVID-19 at Pinecrest was tested under the previous protocol after showing symptoms and going into self-quarantine.

“Our hope is that no other individual has been infected,” said Dr. Roumeliotis, after noting a number of “vital” measures in place to prevent spread — including active screening of residents and staff for symptoms,  the mandated use of masks by staff at all times and observing the two-metre physical distancing rule “whenever possible.” The EOHU has also taken control of “managing work locations for the staff.”

Below, Eastern Ontario’s Medical Officer of Health talks about the Pinecrest case, during his April 23 media briefing.

“Our hope is that no other individual has been infected,” he said, adding the aim is to catch and isolate infections early enough to prevent anyone else getting it.

Approximately half of all COVID-19 deaths have occurred in the hard-hit long-term care sector, a toll the EOHU jurisdiction has dodged so far with no lives lost across the board.

As of today, the region has 78 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the general population — up three from yesterday’s 75 and up seven from Wednesday’s 71 — with 36 recoveries. However, the number of hospitalizations has been dropping, now sitting at three (down one from yesterday) including two in ICU (a decline of one).

Dr. Roumeliotis has expressed optimism at what appears to be a flattening of the curve in the region.

Pierre Leroux, Warden of the United Counties of Prescott and Russell Council said his community’s paramedics could be called upon again to assist should any of the tests come back positive at Pinecrest.

“Our community paramedicine program reduces the need for these patients to be transported to emergency departments, by treating early signs while keeping people in the comfort of their residences,” Leroux said. “Early detection is the key to positive outcomes, and through the partnership between the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Long-Term Care, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit and the Prescott and Russell Emergency Services, we are helping to ensure the well-being of our most vulnerable residents.”


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