Fourteen cases of COVID-19 among staff and residents of an Elmira District Community Living (EDCL) facility are part of a total that reached 379 in Waterloo Region as of Wednesday.
Public Health reported deaths related to the coronavirus stood at 15, with 24 patients being hospitalized due to the virus, representing six per cent of cases. About half, 187 cases, involve those self-isolating at home, while 127 cases (34 per cent) have been resolved.
Health officials are monitoring incidents at 14 long-term care and retirement homes. The EDCL outbreak dates back to April 3, when testing kits were made mandatory for retirement communities throughout the province, said executive director Greg Bechard, who credits a quick response from staff for catching the outbreak early on at an undisclosed EDCL location.
“Thirteen out of 16 residents tested positive and a number of staff at the location,” said Bechard, who put the number of staff members infected at eight.
“We should be coming out on the other side, and the staff that have been tested positive are being retested,” he added.
Of the virus, Bechard said “it’s been everything you could have imagined,” adding staff acted as real heroes and have been working around the clock.
“We’ve had staff work and get sick and staff for personal reasons chose not to come to work. It’s been up and down in terms of making sure we’ve got enough people to come to work, that we’ve had enough PPE equipment to keep people protected as best as we could.”
Bechard expressed gratitude to the community for their support effort, including Ben Murphy of Murphy’s Law Distillery, which supplied hand sanitizer and masks. Numerous other groups supported EDCL during the time of crisis these groups include: KW Sunbeam Cancer Community Living, Cambridge Association for Community Living and Guelph Association of Community Living.
“I don’t know where the help would have come from if not the community. It certainly has not come from the government,” he said, noting his agency was not provided with additional staffing or personal protective equipment (PPE) by any level of government.
The community response was noted by acting medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang and regional Chair Karen Redman during a video conference Wednesday morning.
“It’s great that they are feeling support from the community. I think it just speaks to the type of community that exists there,” said Dr.Wang, before explaining that much of the government assistance has been behind the scenes.
“In all my experience politically, I have never seen both levels of government be more willing to work together, be more communicative and collaborative with us at the municipal level. They recognize [that] we’re the closest to the people and they are listening to how to shape things going forward. Whether it’s public health, first responders, PPE, or how to deal with economic follow, they are collaboratively listening,” added Redman.
Some 64 per cent of cases in the region involve women, with 34 per cent of those afflicted being men. People in their 50s make up 22 per cent of the cases, followed by those over 80 at 17 per cent. The next highest group is those in their 40s (15 per cent), followed by those in their 20s (12 per cent), 30s (11 per cent), 70s (nine per cent) and 60s (11 per cent). Those under the age of 20 make up two per cent of cases.
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health reported 162 confirmed cases, with three fatalities. Thirty-seven cases have been resolved, with nine patients in hospital, three in intensive care.
As of Wednesday, the Ministry of Health was reporting 8,447 cases of the novel coronavirus in Ontario, with 385 deaths attributed to the virus, representing a mortality rate of 4.6 per cent. The ministry reports 3,902 cases (46.2 per cent) have been resolved.
The latest numbers from Health Canada show 27,540 confirmed cases of COVID-19 nationwide, with 954 related deaths.