Health Unit waiting for test results to verify Roberta Place outbreak involves COVID-19 variant

Results expected in three to four days

The local health unit says there are indications a variant strain of COVID-19 was involved in the outbreak at Roberta Place.

Laboratory testing has identified a variant in six swabs from the long-term care home, but a two-part test is required to confirm that. The first test indicated a very high probability they are of a variant strain, while results from the second part of the test are expected in the next three to four days.

It is not yet known which variant of the virus it is.

“The impact of this outbreak on the facility has been tragic and these interim results of a variant are extremely concerning for everyone,” said Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. “The health unit, Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital, and Roberta Place, as well as our partners including the Red Cross, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, community physicians are all working together to contain the spread of the virus and protect residents and staff.”

The outbreak at Roberta Place was declared on January 8, while the health unit says positive cases have grown exponentially since. A mobile vaccine clinic was at the long-term care home over the weekend and provided vaccination to all those who were willing and able.