Officials with Haldimand-Norfolk’s Health Unit (HNHU) say a COVID-19 outbreak declared on the weekend at a retirement community in Caledonia is tied to fully vaccinated residents at the facility.
The breakthrough cases among the five residents involve “mild symptoms” discovered through testing at the Argyle Street South home, according to the region’s EMS Chief Sarah Page.
Page said the bulk of the residents at that home have had two shots of an approved COVID-19 vaccine but did not say if any had yet received a third booster shot.
“I believe we have ninety-nine percent of all residents done at that long-term care retirement home, so it’s my understanding those five cases are fully vaccinated,” Page said in an update on Monday.
Acting medical officer of health Dr. Alex Hukowich said “congregate functions” at the home have discontinued in light of the surge and that changes have been made in daily routines to limit spread — such as residents eating meals in their rooms.
Both Hukowich and Page did reveal that one person was transferred to hospital for “additional assistance” due to comorbidity to a disease that they already had prior to contracting COVID-19.
Many health units across Ontario beginning a program of administering booster shots for vulnerable people amid heightened concerns over the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant. Page said HNHU started its initiative last week with some of the two area’s larger scale nursing homes.
“So we have completed five nursing homes in the area so far and we have 10 nursing homes and 10 retirement homes, I believe, as the number to get through,” Page said.
“We’ve done five in total and we have about 20 to 22 in total to do so. It was five this week. There’s another seven scheduled and then moving forward after that.”
As of Monday, Haldimand Norfolk has 23 active cases in the region with 21 new cases reported in the last seven days. The region’s seven-day rolling average of cases is up to 3.0 from 2.3 over the past week.
Over 134,000 COVID vaccine doses have been administered by the health unit since it began its program and just over 60,000 residents have completed a series of two shots.
Seventy-five per cent of residents over 12 have had a pair of shots as of Sept. 13, a vaccination rate that places the region 29th among the 34 health units in Ontario.
As of the week of Aug. 29, about 2.55 per cent of tests completed in the region have been coming back positive for COVID-19. The health unit had a testing rate of about 1,192 per 100,000 people as of the end of last month.
The region is below the province’s percentage positivity average which was 3.1 per cent as of Monday, down from 3.6 per cent last week.
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