By Chad Ingram
This story was updated March 31.
At least nine residents of the PinecrestNursing Home in Bobcaygeon have died of complications related to COVID-19 as ofthe afternoon of March 31 and more than 20 of the home’s staff had testedpositive for the virus making it the worst outbreak in the province.
As of the afternoon of March 31 theHaliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit confirmed on its websitethat nine of some 65 residents at the facility had died of the coronavirus. Anadditional two deaths have occurred there since an outbreak was declared March18 but the health unit says those two deaths were not related to COVID-19.
“This is not ‘real time’ data and will beat least 25 hours behind current updates” a disclaimer on the health unitwebsite reads. “The numbers may differ from other sources as data areextracted at different times.”
As of the afternoon of March 31 some majormedia outlets were reporting there had been at least a dozen deaths of COVID-19 at theBobcaygeon nursing home.
The outbreak was declared after threeresidents tested positive for the virus however in line with provincialrules no other residents were tested.
“In following our provincial outbreakguidelines we did not do any additional tests on residents as we
already had confirmation the virus was inthe home” Dr. Lynn Noseworthy medical officer of health for the HKPR HealthUnit said in a press release.
As of Friday at least 35 residents ofPinecrest were displaying symptoms of the virus which can have the most lethaleffects in the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
Additionally as of March 30 24 employeesof the nursing home had tested positive for COVID-19 with test results foranother 10 pending.
“Once the initial respiratory outbreak was declared staff atPinecrest followed all proper procedures to help contain the spread of thevirus” the release reads. “Ill staff did not come to work arrangements weremade to have them tested and they were advised to self-isolate at home;residents were isolated as best they could be in the smaller facility; groupactivities were stopped; and meals were served to residents on trays rather thanin the dining room.”
The nursing home has been closed tovisitors since March 14 to all but “compassionate visits” which typically meanpeople going to visit at relative at the end of their life.
“This is truly a horrible time for the families and friendsof the residents as well as our staff” Mary Carr administrator of the Pinecrest Nursing Home said in therelease. “We have a number of medically fragile and vulnerable people living inour home; our residents are like family to our staff. Our sympathies go out toall of the families and friends of the people we have lost.”
“This outbreak of COVID-19 is currently thelargest outbreak in the province” Noseworthy said “and really brings home howdevastating and deadly this virus can be for older people in our communities. Iam asking everyone to do everything they can to stop the spread of this virus –if not to protect yourself but to protect others who need our care.”
Anyone who is feeling ill is encouraged toself-isolate and everyone is askedto practise physical distancing – staying at least two metres from one another– and regular and thorough hand-washing. Anyone over the age of 70 and anyonewith a compromised immune system is also encouraged to self-isolate at home.
As of the afternoon of March 31 there were52 confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the jurisdiction of the HKPR Health Unitthat jurisdiction including Haliburton County Northumberland County and theCity of Kawartha Lakes. Of those cases 41 have been confirmed within the Cityof Kawartha Lakes 11 in Northumberland and none within the County ofHaliburton. A COVID-19 assessment centre was being set up in the parking lot ofthe Haliburton Family Medical Centre this week.