2 new outbreaks at care homes in Waterloo region, death toll now at 87

Two new outbreaks have been declared at long-term care and retirement homes in Waterloo region as of Monday morning. As well, seven more people have died, bringing the region's death toll to 87.
Signs in Victoria Park in Kitchener, Ont., remind people to keep a physical distance between themselves and others. Groups of people enjoyed the sunny weather in the park on Sunday. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Two more long-term care homes have declared outbreaks in Waterloo region, bringing the total to 15 active outbreaks.

Twin Oaks long-term care home in Maryhill and Doon Village retirement home in Kitchener each reported one case. Twin Oaks' case is in a staff member, while the case at Doon Village is a person who lives in the home.

The numbers released Monday by Region of Waterloo Public Health also shows seven new deaths in the region, four of which were at long-term care homes. Of the region's 87 deaths, 70 have been in long-term care or retirement homes.

Two of the deaths reported Monday morning were at Forest Heights Revera, which has been hit hard by COVID-19. The home has 162 cases in residents and 55 cases among staff. Forty people have died.

Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, the region's acting medical officer of health, says the home is moving more people into area hospitals. Revera had planned earlier this month to move approximately 40 people. So far, 44 residents have been moved and Wang said there are plans to move approximately 11 more people into hospital. 

"That will help the home be able to even better separate residents," Wang said Monday during a media briefing.

The home also continues to see new cases of the novel coronavirus. Wang said that's because public health has been doing "aggressive testing" at the home and retesting people who have tested negative before or who were asymptomatic. She said it's unclear if the virus continues to spread or if the new cases were acquired earlier and are now just showing up as positive.

Wang noted, "It's just a very challenging outbreak to manage and we are continuing every day to work with not only Forest Heights but also Revera, their parent company, the health system partners and  also the ministry of long-term care."

Larry Roberts, director of corporate affairs for Revera, said in an email that the decision to move more people out of the home was made because of the "success of the initial moves in helping us better isolate residents."

"We are now in the process of assessing which residents can move as further space becomes available in the hospitals. We appreciate the hospitals providing us with additional nursing staff, in addition to the [personal support workers], to help give our permanent staff some much needed time off," he said.

16 new cases in region

There are 817 cases of COVID-19 in Waterloo region, new numbers released Monday morning show.

That's up from 801 reported on Sunday. The region is reporting both confirmed and presumptive cases. Health officials have said presumptive cases are ones where a test has come back positive from a lab, but the results need to be confirmed.

The numbers also showed 361 people have recovered from the novel coronavirus, up from 345 reported on Sunday.

Also reported on Monday:

  • There have been 7,183 tests done in the region.
  • 39 people are in hospital.
  • 259 of presumed or confirmed cases are health-care workers, making up 32 per cent of cases.
  • There are active outbreaks in 15 long-term care, group and retirement homes.
  • 22 per cent of people contracted the virus through community spread.

Public health officials say when a person is listed as getting the virus through community spread, it means it's unclear how they got the virus and that they don't fall into one of the other three categories: travel, long-term care or retirement home outbreak or close contact.

The numbers are accurate as of 7 p.m. on Sunday.

Long-term home outbreaks

There are 15 active outbreaks at long-term care and retirement homes in Waterloo region. An outbreak is declared when just one person living at a home or working there tests positive for COVID-19.

Outbreaks have been declared over at 11 long-term care and retirement homes.

See the full list of outbreaks.

361 resolved cases

There are 361 resolved cases in Waterloo region, which represents a 44 per cent recovery rate.

Across the province, about two thirds of people who have had COVID-19 have recovered. Numbers from the province on Monday indicated of the 17,923 cases in Ontario, 12,505 have recovered.

Wang said the discrepancy for Waterloo region is not because the region is lagging in recoveries.

She said it's due to data entry: basically, people are not being marked resolved as quickly as people are being recorded as having the virus. 

In order to find out a person is resolved, they must talk to the person.

"We don't always get people calling us back right away when they're well ... And we don't check them off as resolved until we confirm they're resolved," she said.

Laurier offers rooms to health-care workers

Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo is opening dorm rooms to health-care workers who are choosing to live apart from their families during the pandemic.

The school says it will make about 150 apartment-style rooms available in the coming days.

Laurier will also make available up to 300 beds for hospital patients who have lower care needs if the hospitals in the region need extra space.

The move is similar to one made by St. Paul's College at the University of Waterloo, which is also offering to house patients until the end of June.

26 deaths in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph

There have been 26 deaths in the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health region. That's up two from the weekend. Six of those deaths have been in Guelph, two in Wellington County and 18 in Dufferin County.

Shelburne Residence continues to be hit hard by COVID-19, with 15 deaths. As well, 55 of the people who work there and 22 staff members have tested positive for the virus. Dufferin Oaks, which is also in Shelburne, has two deaths, four cases in people living at the home and six staff members who have tested positive.

Norfolk Manor, a retirement home in Guelph, is also struggling with the virus as 22 people who live there and six staff members have tested positive for the virus. Five people at the home have died.

In total, 23 deaths in the health unit's area were people living in a long-term care or retirement home.

Outbreaks have been declared over at St. Joseph's Health Care Centre and Homewood Health Care, both in Guelph.

There are also now 308 confirmed cases in the area and 114 people across the health unit have recovered from the virus.

Read more from today:

Chart: Long-term care home outbreaks


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