Sudbury

Public Health Sudbury & Districts to start retirement home COVID-19 testing

Public Health Sudbury & Districts says it will start testing all residents and employees in the 12 retirement homes in its service area as part of its targeted surveillance.

Testing already complete in long-term care homes

Testing will start at retirement homes in the Sudbury health unit's area. (Erik White/CBC)

Public Health Sudbury & Districts says it will start testing all residents and employees in the 12 retirement homes in its service area as part of its targeted surveillance.

The health unit says testing is already being done on any symptomatic residents and staff in homes. Currently, there are no COVID-19 outbreaks in retirement homes in the Sudbury health unit's area.

Testing has already been completed at all long-term care homes in Sudbury and across Ontario as part of a provincial order.

"Implementing a broader strategy to test every resident and employee in local retirement homes — regardless of whether they have symptoms or not — is an important next step for us to take to establish a point-in-time picture of the situation," Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, medical officer of health with the health unit said.

"To get this work done, we are building on the lessons and successes of surveillance testing in all long-term care homes and emergency child care settings."

The health unit says the testing will be done by community paramedicine. It adds proactive surveillance testing "provides a helpful, but time-limited snapshot of COVID-19 activity."

"Whether test results are positive or negative, the infection prevention and control measures in place in retirement homes remain of critical importance to limit the spread and protect the health and safety of residents and staff," the health unit stated.

During the testing of long-term care residents and staff, the health unit says 14 cases of COVID-19 were found. Seven outbreaks were declared as a result.

The health unit says it is also considering plans for proactive surveillance in other "congregate settings once risk assessments are completed for each." That could include homeless shelters, group homes, community supported living and disability-specific communities.

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