Single positive case of COVID-19 confirmed in Golden Plough Lodge staff member

Cobourg, ON – December 21, 2020 –  An employee of Northumberland County’s Golden Plough Lodge (GPL) long-term care home has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee, who most recently worked in the home on Saturday, December 19, is at home in self-isolation.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge (HKPR) District Health Unit has declared the GPL to be in outbreak as a result of the positive test result. The asymptomatic employee was confirmed positive through the standard bi-weekly process of testing all staff. As per Ministry of Health guidelines, a long-term care facility is considered to be in outbreak once a single case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in a resident or staff member.

“Staff are working closely with Public Health to implement outbreak management protocols and minimize any risk,” states GPL Administrator Bill Detlor. “Residents have been cohorted in Resident Home Areas (RHAs) since the beginning of the pandemic. As part of our outbreak management measures, residents will now be limited to their quarters out of an abundance of caution while we are in outbreak, and every resident will be tested.

“We are closely monitoring any residents in the home who have been experiencing cold symptoms (runny nose, cough, no fever). These individuals have been isolated from the onset of symptoms, and contact precautions are in place. Staff are maintaining strict adherence to all infection control protocols, including rigorous hand hygiene practices and appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and all have instructions to self-monitor for any symptoms and, as directed, self-isolate and seek testing. Our thoughts are with the employee who is currently at home in self-isolation, and we are supporting this individual to ensure they have the resources they need during this difficult time.

“We understand this is very concerning news for our residents, their families and staff at the GPL. Keeping residents and staff safe and healthy has been our primary focus since the outset of the pandemic. The bi-weekly testing protocol for staff has been an important part of this process and we are hopeful that, with this precaution, this case was caught early, and the risk of transmission is limited.”

Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Ian Gemmill notes: “Public Health and GPL staff are working closely together to ensure all appropriate infection control measures are in place in response to this outbreak. Together, we are taking all possible steps to protect residents and staff from the spread of infection.”

Stringent preventative measures have been in place at the GPL since the beginning of the pandemic, and have continued to evolve to include:

  • Twice-daily screening of residents and staff for symptoms;
  • Bi-weekly COVID-19 testing of all staff;
  • Mandatory use by staff of appropriate PPE at all times and strict adherence to rigorous hand hygiene practices;
  • Cohorting residents in their own Resident Home Area;
  • Isolation of any resident who develops the on-set of symptoms, and the implementation of contact precautions for staff;
  • Enhanced environmental cleaning protocols;
  • Visitor restrictions;
  • Quarantine protocols for packages for residents;

In addition to these measures, outbreak control measures have also now been instituted including:

  • One-time whole-home COVID-19 testing of all residents, with ongoing monitoring and assessment of the need for additional whole-home or by-resident testing;
  • Increase to weekly COVID-19 testing of all staff;
  • Temporary suspension of new admissions to the home;
  • Temporary suspension of all visitation.

 “We appreciate the close collaboration with health authorities to ensure the highest protective measures are in place for resident and staff well-being,” states County Warden Bob Crate. “We know that our staff are working with great commitment and compassion to care for and support residents during this particularly challenging time. County Council is receiving regular updates from the County CAO and the Administrator of the GPL and we are keeping GPL residents, their families and staff in our thoughts as the home responds to this situation.”