A staff member at Grey Gables in Markdale has tested positive for COVID-19, but public health is awaiting the results of follow-up tests before declaring an outbreak at the county-owned long-term care facility.
“This is mainly based on the asymptomatic testing and the less than optimal reliability of the test when it’s applied in asymptomatic people,” Grey-Bruce medical officer of health Dr. Ian Arra said in an interview Sunday.
The positive test result was received by public health Sunday, following universal testing at the long-term care facility. The sample from the first result will be retested and the staff member has also received a second and third test.
The results of those tests are expected Monday or Tuesday, Arra said, and an outbreak declaration will be made if the positive result is confirmed.
The staff member is in self-isolation at their home. The long-term care facility has been notified of the positive test result, as have all residents and staff.
“We’re taking this positive test result seriously. Physical distancing strategies and intense infection control protocols are already in place to prevent transmissions in the home,” Jennifer Cornell, Grey County’s director of long-term care, said in a statement.
“We appreciate public health’s guidance as we face this challenge and wait for the results of the second round of testing. We’re thankful all other tests of our Grey Gables residents and staff have been negative.”
All outbreak protocols, case management and contact-tracing activities are in place to ensure safety while public health awaits confirmation of the first test.
Ninety-five staff members at Grey Gables were tested for the novel coronavirus as part of the Ontario government-mandated universal testing of all residents and staff at long-term care homes. Ninety-four of those tests came back negative.
Sixty-eight residents were also tested, with 67 results coming back negative and one reported as invalid. That test is being redone.
Two people, including the Grey Gables staff member, tested positive for COVID-19 Sunday, according to the local health unit’s daily situation report, bringing the total number of cases so far in Grey-Bruce to 93. Seventy-seven of those cases have recovered.
Meanwhile, public health has announced that the COVID-19 outbreak at the Golden Dawn Senior Citizen Home in Lion’s Head has been officially declared over.
Arra made the announcement Saturday evening, saying there has been no further transmission past the first and only positive case at the long-term care facility.
“Congratulations to the Golden Dawn staff and the Grey Bruce Health Unit on the optimal case management and outbreak management that ensured full control of the outbreak. Full mark from me; job well done!” he said in an email to local media.
The outbreak at Golden Dawn was declared May 9 after an asymptomatic resident tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
The case was detected after public health swabbed 44 residents and 60 staff at the facility, as part of the Ontario government-mandated universal testing of all residents and staff at long-term care homes in the province. The testing was completed May 5.
Two additional swabs were done and both came back negative, bringing the facility out of its outbreak status, according to a notice posted on the Golden Dawn website.
No one is currently hospitalized in the region with a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus.
The Grey Bruce Health Unit has announced that it is expanding eligibility for COVID-19 testing. Testing is available for anyone exhibiting any new or worsening respiratory symptoms, regardless of the risk factors that were previously part of the testing criteria. Symptoms for COVID-19 are similar to the flu and other common respiratory infections and can range from mild to more severe.
These symptoms include, but are not limited to, fever, cough, difficulty breathing, muscle aches, headaches, difficulty swallowing, and lack of smell or taste.
These non-specific symptoms may also indicate other illnesses, and individuals who are experiencing new and worsening symptoms should be assessed for COVID-19 testing.
Members of the general public can go to any of the three assesment centres in Grey-Bruce to get a COVID-19 test. They are located at the hospitals in Owen Sound, Kincardine, and Hanover.