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Health unit issues order to help bring Roberta Place outbreak under control

Jan 18, 2021
SIMCOE MUSKOKA – The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) has issued an order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA) for the temporary leadership of Roberta Place Long-Term Care Home in Barrie by Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (OSMH) to help bring a current outbreak under control.

SIMCOE MUSKOKA – The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) has issued an order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA) for the temporary leadership of Roberta Place Long-Term Care Home in Barrie by Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (OSMH) to help bring a current outbreak under control. The order, a Section 29.2 (1) of the HPPA, was issued Saturday, January 16, 2021.

“The residents and staff at Roberta Place have been hit very hard with this current COVID-19 outbreak and our thoughts are with them during this extremely difficult time. In consultation with the facility, we have determined that the support of OSMH is essential,” said Dr. Charles Gardner, SMDHU’s medical officer of health. “This outbreak unfortunately has spread very rapidly and affected a large number of the residents and staff. The leadership of OSMH, together with a number of other agencies and organizations, is necessary to bring it under control.”

The outbreak at Roberta Place was declared on January 8 when a resident tested positive for COVID-19. Since then it has spread rapidly, with 63 residents and 53 staff testing positive so far. To date there have been nine deaths associated with the outbreak.

Under the order, OSMH provides leadership support at the facility, working with other organizations that have been providing assistance, including Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, the County of Simcoe and the Red Cross. Some of that assistance includes ensuring that staffing, training, and equipment and supplies are in place so that the facility can continue to respond to and control the outbreak.

“The circumstances unfolding at Roberta Place are heartbreaking and our thoughts are with the families, patients and care providers directly impacted by this outbreak,” said Carmine Stumpo, president and CEO of OSMH. “We have been asked and are now providing a leadership role to support Roberta Place, in collaboration with the other organizations, and are committed to working together toward the best possible outcomes for all those involved.”

As of today, all residents and staff at the facility have been tested for COVID-19. Testing is also underway to determine if the UK variant strain is part of this outbreak.

Seventy-one residents who were not cases or ill, and a number of the staff and eligible staff at Roberta Place were vaccinated against COVID-19 on-site on Saturday through the health unit’s mobile immunization unit. Staff and essential caregivers of all LTC homes in Simcoe Muskoka have been receiving their vaccination at the COVID-19 Immunization Clinic in Barrie, a partnership between SMDHU, RVH and the City of Barrie, since it opened December 22, 2020.

Recent weeks have seen significant and continually increasing cases of COVID-19 in Simcoe Muskoka. Seniors 80 years of age and older had the highest rate of infection so far in January, with 80 per cent of these cases associated with an institutional outbreak.

The order is posted on the health unit website under its COVID-19 pages. For more information about COVID-19 see www.smdhu.org or call Health Connection to speak with a public health professional weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturdays 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 705-721-7520 (1-877-721-7520).

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