Health authorities say another individual has tested positive for the United Kingdom (UK) variant of COVID-19, and this individual had close contact with a person who is part of a COVID-19 outbreak at a long-term care facility in Bradford.
Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) is investigating if this outbreak at Bradford Valley Care Community is also due to the UK variant of COVID 19.
“Given this situation, we are working together in partnership with the residence to implement additional measures to contain the spread while pursuing the necessary tests to determine if it is the UK variant of COVID-19 that is the cause of this outbreak,” said Dr. Charles Gardner, SMDHU’s Medical Officer of Health.
SMDHU is investigating all other connections to the individual who tested positive for the UK variant, including a curbside-only retail setting.
The COVID-19 outbreak was declared at Bradford Valley Care Community on Jan. 14. As of Jan. 23, four residents out of 230, and three staff out of 260, have tested positive for COVID-19; further testing will be done to determine if this is the UK variant. While the outbreak is well under control at this time with a relatively low case count, officials say the possibility of this being due to the UK variant needs to be assessed and managed, given its increased transmissibility.
“We are being extremely vigilant in our monitoring for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and are taking all of the necessary steps to protect the safety of our residents and team members, said Dr. Andrea Moser, Sienna Senior Living Chief Medical Officer. “We are working proactively with Public Health and community partners as fighting the virus will require everyone’s expertise and teamwork.”
The intensified case and contact measures being taken include extending the isolation duration for cases and close contacts, more readily identifying close contacts, and quarantining all household contacts of confirmed or probable cases as quickly as possible.
On Jan. 15, most of the residents in Bradford Valley Care Community were provided with vaccination by SMDHU staff as a protective measure against COVID-19. As of Jan 16., the residents of all the LTCHs in Simcoe Muskoka have been offered their first dose of immunization against COVID-19. Although many of the staff have received their first vaccination, steps are being taken to ensure that all of them will have access to the vaccine at this time.
“Approximately 60 percent of team members and 96 percent of residents at Bradford Valley have received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine,” said Dr. Moser. “We appreciate all the efforts from our partners in the community with the rollout of the vaccine and will continue working closely with them as additional doses are available for deployment.”