Seventh Wellington County resident has died of COVID-19

Second Caressant Care Arthur resident dies as cases at facility surpass 50

WELLINGTON COUNTY – A seventh Wellington County resident has died from COVID-19 as the county and region continue to set new highs for active cases.

An 89-year-old man from Centre Wellington, a long-term care resident at Caressant Care Arthur since 2019, got sick on Dec. 26 and passed away on Jan. 5 from the virus.

The death is the second linked to two concurrent outbreaks at Caressant Care Arthur (the county’s sixth death was previously reported by the Advertiser on Dec. 23, but it was not noted at that time the 84-year-old woman was a resident of Caressant Care Arthur’s retirement home).

As of Jan. 8, the facility has a total of 52 staff/resident cases split between its long-term care (17) and retirement home (35) sides.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) reported the death, the fifth fatal COVID-19 case in the county in the last two months and seventh since the start of the pandemic, on Jan. 8.

That day, the province reported 4,249 new infections, including 26 deaths related to the disease.

Wellington County and the region continue to set new highs for active cases.

A Jan. 8 update from WDGPH reported 79 new COVID-19 cases:

  • Wellington County, 19 new cases, 85 active cases and two people hospitalized with the virus;
  • Dufferin County, nine new cases, 105 active, zero hospitalizations; and
  • Guelph, 47 new cases, 230 active, three hospitalizations.

The WDGPH region now has a confirmed case rate (weekly moving rate) of 138.5 cases per 100,000 population and a 5.8% test positivity rate.

Those indicators have risen dramatically over the last month. They were 76.1 and 3.4% respectively on Dec. 8.

“We all need to understand how serious cases are in the province and in our region,” WDGPH spokesperson Danny Williamson stated on Jan. 8, noting 89 people in Ontario died the previous day due to COVID-19.

He explained the holidays likely played a role in the recent surge in cases in the region.

“Given the rise in cases and our understanding that private gatherings are a significant driver of cases, it is very likely played a factor in the rise of cases,” WDGPH spokesperson Danny Williamson stated on Jan. 8, exactly two weeks from Christmas.

“As we get further into January, we will have a better understanding of how much the holidays may have contributed to rising cases.”

COVID-19 case data for municipalities within the WDGPH region, dated Jan. 8. (WDGPH image)


Caressant Care Arthur

The death of the Caressant Care Arthur resident on Jan. 5 is the first reported COVID-19 death related to the outbreaks at the facility.

It now has 17 reported cases in its long-term care portion (eight residents, nine staff) and 35 in its retirement home (23 residents, 12 staff) – for a total of 52 cases.

Thirteen new cases have been reported in the last three days.

It is by far the largest facility outbreak in Wellington County since the pandemic began last March.

Spokesperson Stuart Oakley stated in an email that Caressant Care Nursing and Retirement Homes is working closely with public health to manage the outbreaks in Arthur.

Oakley said deep cleaning is done daily and the home has a good supply of personal protective equipment for staff.

“We have an incredibly capable team at Caressant Care Arthur who is working around the clock to ensure residents are cared for and to help stop further spread,” he said earlier this week.

Other outbreaks

On Jan. 8, Ontario reported 20 deaths in long-term-care homes across the province. Currently 224 long-term care homes in Ontario are in outbreak.

The Caressant Care Arthur outbreaks are among 12 in the WDGPH region.

In Wellington County the others are:

  • Heritage River in Elora, one staff case, reported on Jan. 5;
  • Royal Terrace in Palmerston (long-term care), one staff case, reported on Dec. 30;
  • Eden house in Guelph-Eranosa, one staff case, reported on Dec. 27; and
  • Wellington Terrace in Aboyne, eight staff cases, originally reported on Dec. 12.

For more information on outbreaks in the WDGPH region, click here.

‘Stop the spread’

Williamson said local residents “must do all we can to stop the spread” of COVID-19 – and that “comes down to doing the things we know works,” including:

  • practicing good hand hygiene;
  • maintaining physical distancing of two metres;
  • wearing a face covering of two or three layers; and
  • gathering only with those from your own household.

“There’s hope on the horizon as vaccines begin to arrive in the region, but we must stay vigilant until a significant portion of residents of Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph are vaccinated,” he said.