Public health confirms COVID-19 case at Royal Terrace in Palmerston

Eleven of 13 virus-related deaths in the region were part of institutional outbreaks

WELLINGTON COUNTY – A Palmerston facility is now included on a list of nine ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks in the region.

The updated list, which includes one case in a resident at the Royal Terrace Long-Term and Residential Care facility, was provided by Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) on April 22.

The only other Wellington County facility on the outbreak list is Caressant Care in Fergus, where one resident has tested positive for the virus.

“Long-term care facilities are a provincial focus and we are continuing to work with these facilities to implement provincial guidance/directives and keep residents safe,” stated Chuck Ferguson, communications manager with WDGPH.

He added, “We are enhancing testing of these populations and the staff that care for them. This includes providing recommendations about who should be tested, procuring swabs for them, and providing other support as needed.

“This is part of the broader provincial strategy but we are actively working to ensure uptake in [Wellington, Dufferin and Guelph].”

An outbreak is defined by public health as one or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 within a long-term care home, retirement home or hospital.

The complete WDGPH list of outbreaks, which includes 114 lab-confirmed cases, is as follows:

  • Dufferin Oaks, Shelburne, four residents, five staff members;
  • Shelburne Residence, 21 residents, six staff;
  • Headwaters Health Care Centre, Orangeville, five patients, 18 staff;
  • Homewood Health Centre, Guelph, 14 patients, five staff;
  • Norfolk Manor, Guelph, 22 residents, four staff;
  • St. Joseph’s Health Centre, Guelph, one patient, six staff;
  • Stone Lodge Retirement Residence, Guelph, one resident;
  • Royal Terrace, Palmerston, one resident; and
  • Caressant Care, Fergus, one resident.

There were previous outbreaks – now declared over – at Guelph General Hospital (six patients, 16 staff), St. Joseph’s (one staff) and Wellington Terrace in Aboyne (one staff). An outbreak is declared over by WDGPH 14 days after symptoms began in the most recent case and when no other cases are suspected.

Ferguson noted that about half of all deaths from COVID-19 occur in long-term care homes.

“These populations are experiencing a disproportionate burden,” he said.

Locally, at least 12 of the 13 virus-related deaths in the WDGPH region were residents aged 70 or older.

Eleven died during institutional outbreaks, but none in Wellington County; five were in Guelph and six were in Dufferin County.

Ferguson said WDGPH tries to ensure virus deaths are reported as soon as possible.

“Often deaths are known in the community through family or health care workers before they are reported to [WDGPH] … because families and health care workers have other priorities to attend to in these tragic circumstances before they report to public health,” he stated.

“[WDGPH] understands the need to inform the public and media of events as they unfold.

“We strive to do so while maintaining strict privacy guidelines and adhering to guidelines that ensures the accuracy of our information.”