COVID-19 outbreak declared at Avalon Care Centre, virus contained to single staff member

September 8, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Baker

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Orangeville’s Avalon Care Centre.

In a release to media on Monday (Aug. 31), the regional health body confirmed a staff member employed by the local seniors’ home had tested positive for coronavirus. The individual worked predominantly within Unit 2 South, and has been self-isolating at home since receiving the positive test result on Saturday (Aug, 29), according to Avalon spokesperson Stephanie Barber. 

“At this time, I can confirm that the Care Centre is in confirmed outbreak per the recommendations made by Public Health as a result of an asymptomatic team member,” Ms. Barber said. “Said team member is currently in 14-day isolation within their personal place of residence, and will continue with testing to confirm negative results over the course of those 14 days.”

As of Wednesday morning, it was confirmed to media that the outbreak had, thus far, been contained to the one, single employee. Ms. Barber informed the Citizen that mass testing at the facility was currently underway. 

“At present, no other team members or residents are showing any symptoms of the virus and testing (proceeded) on the (Unit) 2 South home area on Wednesday,” Ms. Barber noted. 

The facility is now, essentially, on lockdown, with Ms. Barber informing the Citizen that all indoor and outdoor visits have been postponed until further notice. 

This marks the fourth confirmed institutional outbreak in Dufferin County, following separate incidents at Headwaters Health Care Centre, Dufferin Oaks and Shelburne Retirement Residence that originated in March. There was a previous scare at the 137-bed Avalon retirement home in May, when the provincial government reported there was an “active outbreak” at the facility. WDGPH moved quickly to clarify there was a general respiratory outbreak at the site, reported on May 10, but stopped short of declaring a COVID-19 outbreak. 

Since that time, the Province has redefined what constitutes as a COVID-19 outbreak, as highlighted by WDGPH spokesperson Danny Williamson this week. 

“An outbreak is defined as one or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 within a facility – long-term care home, retirement home, or hospital,” Mr. Williamson said. “Outbreaks confined only to sections or wings of these facilities will be identified where applicable. The date an outbreak is declared is the date the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was identified. An outbreak is declared over 14 days after symptoms began in the most recent case, and when no other cases are suspect.”

He added, “Confirmed cases in staff of these facilities only include those that reside in the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph area.”

There is, at present, only one other confirmed institutional outbreak within the local health region. A staff member at the Village of Arbour Trails Retirement Home (Williamsburg/Becker), located in Guelph, tested positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 26. 

As of press time, there have been 42,421 confirmed cases of coronavirus within Ontario, with 1,241 of those considered active. In total, there have been 2,812 coronavirus-related deaths province-wide since March. 

There are currently 18 active cases of COVID-19 across Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, with three of those cases located within Dufferin County. 

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