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COVID-19 found at Delhi retirement home

The novel coronavirus has found its way into a Delhi retirement home.

The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit says one resident of Delrose Retirement Residence tested positive for COVID-19 during regular surveillance testing of residents and staff in long-term care.

Medical officer of health Dr. Shanker Nesathurai couldn’t say how the virus got into the retirement home, but said the health unit is in “regular contact” with Delrose staff as they collaborate on a public health management plan.

That plan has residents confined to their rooms, including for meals, and staff wearing full protective gear.

“We’re working to try to contain the outbreak and ultimately to bring it to a resolution,” Nesathurai said.

“We’re always cognizant of the impact that measures during an outbreak can have on residents of an institution, but we also have to balance out trying to prevent transmission within the institution and from the institution beyond.”

The resident at Delrose is one of five active lab-confirmed cases in Haldimand-Norfolk, which has seen 491 total COVID-19 infections and 32 deaths.

With Ontario reporting 700 new cases on Monday, worry about a second wave of the virus is growing.

Nesathurai said the local health-care system can handle the current caseload and the “background risk” posed by the disease, but he added that “a large surge” in hospitalizations could spell trouble.

“I am concerned about the increasing number of cases throughout the province,” Nesathurai said, reiterating the need for mask use, frequent handwashing and physical distancing.

“If you’re sick, stay at home,” he said. “Don’t go to school, don’t go to work.”

Nesathurai encouraged residents to get the flu shot once it is available at pharmacies and doctor’s offices in October. While the flu shot doesn’t protect against coronavirus, he explained that getting immunized should reduce the number of residents who will experience flu-like symptoms and require a COVID-19 test to rule out the coronavirus.

“That allows us to use more of our (health-care) resources to manage people who have COVID-19,” he said.

J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator

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