In his weekly briefing on Jan. 19, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) medical officer of health, Dr. Charles Gardner, said that there had been six COVID-19 deaths in Muskoka in the prior week, five in long-term care settings and one in the community at large.
Gardner would not provide the locations of each death to preserve privacy, but did note that of the Muskoka-area outbreaks with 10 or more cases, both Muskoka Landing in Huntsville and Muskoka Shores in Gravenhurst have had deaths.
In email correspondence with Doppler, both facilities confirmed there had been deaths during their current outbreaks, five at Muskoka Landing and four at Muskoka Shores.
As of Friday, Jan. 21, Muskoka Landing has 18 active cases of COVID-19 among residents and nine active cases among staff in the outbreak that was declared on Jan. 2, 2022. At Muskoka Shores, there are 25 active resident cases and eight active staff cases; its outbreak was declared Dec. 30, 2021.
“Our primary concern at Muskoka Landing Long Term Care, each and every day, is the health, safety and well being of our residents, family members and team members and we work tirelessly to protect them from the COVID-19 virus. We have always implemented proactive measures to protect them throughout the pandemic, often ahead of government policy. We are also committed to open and transparent communication with our entire community, including residents and their family members,” said Trevor Sykes, community relations coordinator with Jarlette Health Services.
“Adherence to stringent infection prevention and control practices, along with proactive health and safety measures, continue in our Home. High rates of community transmission, especially of the more infectious Omicron variant, are well-known and we have taken measures to protect our residents from exposure as they are at a significantly greater risk of harm from the virus,” he added. “Regrettably, five residents have passed away during the current outbreak. We extend our deep condolences to their family and loved ones, including our team members who cared for them.”
Since Dec. 28, general visits to the home, and day absences by residents, other than for essential reasons, have been paused. Protective measures include testing of staff and other workers entering the home at least twice per week and a requirement for designated caregivers to be fully vaccinated by Feb. 21, 2022 unless they have a valid medical exemption. See other measures taken here.
“We continue to strongly encourage everyone to receive a booster/third dose COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they become eligible,” added Sykes. “At this point in time we are very proud to report that 98 percent of our residents have received their third dose and over 60 percent of eligible team members have received, as we continue to work towards the government mandate. We are currently in the process of administering fourth doses to our residents and have employed a number of strategies to promote booster vaccinations for our team members and across our care community.”
He encourages family members and friends of residents who are not essential caregivers to coordinate a virtual call with their loved one at Muskoka Landing, and to continue to send letters and gifts.
“The team at Muskoka Shores has been working around the clock to keep residents safe from COVID-19. There have been a total of 125 residents who have tested positive for COVID-19, with the majority of them being asymptomatic or experiencing mild symptoms, thanks to a high vaccination rate for third doses,” said Nadia Daniell-Colarossi, manager, media relations and communications for Sienna Senior Living.
One hundred resident cases are resolved in this outbreak, while 17 staff cases have resolved.
“With great sadness, we share that four residents with other underlying conditions have passed away during this outbreak. We extend our deepest sympathies to the families,” added Daniell-Colarossi. “Muskoka Shores is using every available tool to fight against this latest COVID-19 variant and have incorporated lessons from past waves to ensure the health and well-being of residents are protected. Team members have been working tirelessly to balance public health infection prevention and control measures and the well-being of residents. We appreciate the support from families and have been in regular communication to keep them updated about their loved ones.
“The impact of Omicron has been felt across all sectors, and while the long-term sector has been challenged, we are also seeing the tremendous benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine and the need to prioritize seniors and frontline workers with this protection.”
The other Muskoka institutions with current outbreaks, and the number of cases at each, are below. The numbers are total cases as of Jan.20 as reported by the health unit, except where noted:
- James Street Retirement Residence, Bracebridge, declared Jan. 14, 2022 – <5 resident cases, <5 staff cases.
- Fairvern, Huntsville, declared Jan. 7, 2022 – 22 active resident cases, four resolved resident cases, eight active staff cases, 10 resolved staff cases (per Fairvern, Jan. 20).
- The Manor, Gravenhurst, declared Jan. 6, 2022 – <5 resident cases, <5 staff cases.
- Castle Peak Retirement Home, declared Jan. 3, 2022 – 6 resident cases, <5 staff cases.
- The Pines, Bracebridge, declared Dec. 31. 2022 – 18 resident cases, 20 staff cases.
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