Today, the City of Greater Sudbury confirmed that an outbreak related to COVID-19 has been declared at Pioneer Manor long-term care home in Greater Sudbury. Ministry of Health direction requires a COVID-19 outbreak be declared with a single laboratory-confirmed case in a resident or staff member.
“It was for this exact reason that we proactively tested all residents and staff at Pioneer Manor to determine if we had asymptomatic residents or staff in our facility, and if found, to stop the spread,” said Greater Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger. “Although concerning, after all of the precautions and controls that staff have put in place to prevent the spread of the virus, the identification and isolation of asymptomatic people is the best way to protect our residents and staff throughout this crisis. But let us also take this example to reinforce that we all must remain vigilant and strong. As cases recede across Ontario we can not rest or relax our efforts. Our most vulnerable community members are those residing in facilities like Pioneer Manor, we owe it to them and to their families to stay home, keep six feet apart when out and do everything we can to flatten this curve. Lives are at stake, let’s keep that top of mind when we are making choices in the days to come.”
In this case, a male in his 70s tested positive on April 26, 2020, and is under active follow up with Public Health Sudbury & Districts. This brings the total number of confirmed cases in the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts to 51.
“The resident is no longer experiencing symptoms and is doing well. He is on isolation in a private room. All other residents in this area were put on isolation and staff caring for them are not performing work outside of this area, wherever possible. Pioneer Manor continues to work closely with Public Health Sudbury & Districts to ensure the safety of residents and staff,” said Aaron Archibald, Director of Long-Term Care Services at Pioneer Manor. “The risk of infection in the home remains low. All 423 residents and 432 staff of the Home have been tested. This is the only positive test result to date, and numerous negative results have already been received for residents in the same area of the home. We will continue to enhance precautions, and I am confident in the expertise and experience of the staff at Pioneer Manor to safely manage this situation,” said Aaron.
“This case marks the second long-term care home outbreak related to COVID-19 in Public Health Sudbury & Districts’ service area,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health with Public Health Sudbury & Districts. “At this time, there are no cases among staff at Pioneer Manor,” added Dr. Sutcliffe.
“With the declaration of an outbreak, additional control measures are put in place and overseen by an outbreak control team. This is in addition to the already stringent COVID-19 protection actions in place as required by provincial orders and guidance,” said Dr. Sutcliffe.
Actions taken in long-term care homes
- Staff and residents follow strict physical distancing guidelines.
- Group activities are discontinued.
- Staff screening occurs at the beginning and end of every shift, including temperature checks for fever.
- All staff and essential visitors wear masks, gowns, goggles, and gloves.
- Residents are assessed three times a day for symptoms. This includes temperature checks.
- Visitor restrictions have been in effect since the beginning of March.
- Employees of a long-term care provider cannot also work in any other long-term care home, health service provider, or retirement home.
Case management and contact tracing
When Public Health Sudbury & Districts receives a report of a positive COVID-19 test result, our staff follow-up with the individual as soon as possible. Public health professionals discuss the test results with the individual and explore possible exposure settings as well as close contacts of the case.
At the same time that Public Health conducts follow-up with confirmed cases, our staff also begin the process of contact tracing. Through this process, Public Health identifies people who may have been in close contact with a person with COVID-19 during the period of time when the person may have been infectious.
The purpose of identifying contacts is to further reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Close contacts are advised of important direction such as testing, self-monitoring, work-related direction, or self-isolation, depending on the specific circumstances.
If you think you may have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, first self-isolate, then contact an assessment centre or use the online self-assessment tool to see if you need to seek further care.
For more information on how Public Health conducts follow-up after a positive test result, self-isolation, self-assessment, and assessment centres visit phsd.ca/COVID-19 or call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).