C-K Public Health and Health Alliance ramping up long-term care testing
Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative
Two new positive cases of COVID-19 have been reported by Chatham-Kent Public Health on Saturday, bringing the cumulative cases to 42.
The number of active cases remains less than half with 18 individuals still self-isolating. Only two earlier cases resulted in hospitalization.
Chatham-Kent’s numbers remain promising compared to neighbouring counties.
Roughly 1.5 per cent of residents that fall under C-K Public Health’s jurisdiction have been tested for COVID-19, which is on par with the number of people in Ontario tested, 1.55 per cent.
Out of Chatham-Kent’s 42 cases, one resulted in death, bringing the death rate to 2.38 per cent. The provincial per cent of deaths from positive cases is 5.79 per cent, and 5.38 per cent for national cases.
Both the Lambton Health Unit and Middlesex-London Health Unit have less active cases than inactive, although their death rates remain high with more than 8 per cent of those that have contracted COVID-19 deceased.
Windsor-Essex continues to struggle as 68 per cent of their 550 cases are still active and 10 per cent of those tested are found to be positive.
Southwestern Public Health has 29 out of 54 cases active, 12 of which are in Chatham-Kent’s neighbouring county, Elgin-St. Thomas, and 17 in Oxford County. Both Southwestern Public Health and Chatham-Kent Public Health have found more than 2.5 per cent of those tested to be positive, however Southwestern has seen a 7.5 per cent death rate with four of 54 individuals deceased.
Ramping up LTCH testing
To date, Chatham-Kent has not had any outbreaks in long-term care or retirement homes.
CK Public Health and Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) will be testing all staff and residents of the seven Long-Term Care Homes (LTCH) across Chatham-Kent for COVID-19 virus, following a provincial order as part of Ontario’s COVID-19 Action Plan for Protecting Long-Term Care Homes.
“We have already been working closely with our community partners to aggressively test and isolate to stop the spread of COVID-19, especially in communal settings. This new directive goes even further,” said Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health.
With support from the municipality, a van has been provided to transport supplies and swabs as CKHA’s Assessment Centre team will be going sequentially from home to home.
In some cases, the homes have chosen to do the swabbing themselves. In these homes, CKHA will be joined by the community paramedics who will assist in training LTCH staff on the proper swabbing technique.
“Our Assessment Centre is pleased to step up and move outward to assist our community partners at CK Public Health in this swabbing effort. This proactive measure will ensure we can continue to protect our most vulnerable populations in the fight against COVID-19 as well as staff members in these facilities. It is truly a team effort and one we are proud to be a part of,” said Lori Marshall, president and CEO, CKHA.
Any staff or resident in LTCHs who develop symptoms are tested and isolated. The new directive will ensure that all residents and staff of LTCHs are offered testing even without symptoms.
This testing is scheduled to take place up until May 13.
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