COVID-19 Update - February 22, 2021

Case count

  • Our data from Sunday, February 21, show that Huron-Perth has a cumulative total of 1,321 confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with 15 cases added over the weekend. There are currently 29 active cases.  
    • Details on where the active cases are can be found on our COVID-19 in Huron and Perth webpage. 
    • There is currently three Huron-Perth residents in hospital due to COVID-19.
    • The number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains unchanged at 49.

Outbreaks

  • Hospitals:
    • There is one active hospital outbreak.
  • Long-Term Care & Retirement Homes:
    • Seaforth Manor remains the only active long-term care home and active retirement home outbreak
  • There is one active workplace outbreak and one active congregate living setting outbreak  at the Stratford jail.
  • The outbreak at Relouw Early Childhoold Learning Centre was declared over February 18.
  • More information on outbreaks can be found on our COVID-19 in Huron and Perth webpage. 

 

Caressant Care

  • I am pleased to share that the outbreak at Caressant Care Retirement Home was declared over on February 20.
  • I want to acknowledge the many skilled and compassionate people who worked together to bring this outbreak to an end. Thank you to Caressant Care staff and the to the many community partners who supported the facility with additional staffing to care for residents, with onsite testing, and with decanting residents.

 

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

  • We continue to work on first-dose vaccinations for immediate priority populations, as per provincial direction and the the Regional COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritization Advisory Committee (HPPH, Southwestern Public Health, Middlesex London Health Unit)
    • Staff and essential caregivers in long-term care homes, retirement homes and First Nations elder care homes, and any residents of these settings that have not yet received a first dose of vaccine;
    • Alternate level of care patients in hospitals who have a confirmed admission to a long-term care home, retirement home or other congregate care home for seniors;
    • Highest priority health care workers, followed by Very High Priority health care workers, in accordance with provincial guidance.
    • Indigenous adults in northern remote and higher risk communities (including on-reserve and urban communities).
  • The province has advised that once all reasonable steps have been taken to offer the immediate priority populations a first dose of vaccine, and pending supply from the federal government, first-dose vaccinations may be made available to the remainder of Phase One populations:
    • Adults 80 years of age and older;
    • Staff, residents and caregivers in retirement homes and other congregate care settings for seniors such as assisted living homes;
    • Health care workers in the High Priority level, and in accordance with the Ministry of Health’s guidance on Health Care Worker Prioritization;
    • All Indigenous adults; and
    • Adult recipients of chronic home care.
  • We have been receiving many inquiries regarding the 80+ population.
    • Please know that long-term care and retirement staff, essential caregivers, and residents are still a priority, as per provincial guidance.
    • As we move through the various groups within Phase One we will be contacting groups directly and communicating this information.
    • Timelines will depend on vaccine supply and availability, but we anticipate to start vaccinating community seniors (80+) in mid-March (again, depending on supply).
    • HPPH will be communicating this information widely, including print, radio, website, social media and outreach from groups and organizations.

 

Variants of concern (VoCs)

  • Variants are common with coronaviruses. In Ontario, the following variants of concern (VOC) have been found:
    • B.1.1.7 variant (first identified in the UK)
    • B1321 variant (first identified in South Africa)
    • P1 variant (first identified in Brazil)
  • These VOCs seem to spread from person to person more easily and quickly, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19, and therefore more strain on healthcare, more hospitalizations and potentially more deaths.
  • Although we’re seeing a lower number of COVID-19 cases in Ontario, variant cases are becoming a bigger proportion of positive cases.
  • To stop the spread of variants, the Ministry of Health has updated recommendations on when to isolate:
    • Household members have the highest risk of transmission from a case
    • Household members of someone who is quarantining as a high-risk contact should stay at home except for essential reasons. Essential reasons to go out include: school, childcare, work, and errands such as groceries and picking up prescriptions.
    • Household members of someone with symptoms of COVID-19 should stay at home, until the symptomatic individual receives a negative test result.
  • We encourage everyone to closely adhere to personal and public health measures to prevent the spread:
    • limit close contacts to your own household
    • frequent hand hygiene
    • physical distancing
    • stay home when sick
    • get tested if you have symptoms
    • wear a mask/face covering (well-fitted, 3-layer)
    • avoid non-essential outings and travel
  • More information about VOCs can be found on our website.

 

Screening for schools and childcare

  • As part of the new VOC recommendations, the province has also updated the provincial school and childcare screening tool as follows:
    • Individuals with any new or worsening symptom of COVID-19, even those with only one symptom, must stay home, (except to get a COVID-19 test or to seek medical care) until:
      • They receive a negative COVID-19 test result;
      • They receive an alternative diagnosis by a health care professional; or
      • It has been 10 days since their symptom onset and they are feeling better.
  • Everyone in the household should stay home if anyone has COVID-19 symptoms or is waiting for test results after experiencing symptoms.
  • The tool can be found at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/. Students, staff, and children must screen for COVID-19 every day before going to school/childcare.