Outbreak in Kenora long-term care home

Merna Emara

The Birchwood Terrace long-term care home in Kenora is in an active COVID-19 outbreak after the Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) reported a total of 10 positive COVID-19 cases across Kenora schools, care homes and in the general public, at the end of last week.

The Birchwood Terrace long-term care home can accommodate 96 beds.

According to the Ontario government’s website, the confirmed staff cases at the Birchwood Terrace long-term care are less than five. A single case in a long-term care facility is considered an outbreak. There are no resident cases reported at this time.

During a press conference on Friday, Dr. Kit Young-Hoon, medical officer of health at the NWHU, also said four out of the nine confirmed cases reported on Friday belong to three different school in Kenora, meaning one school had two cases.

According to the government of Ontario’s website, Keewatin Patricia District School Board reported an outbreak at the Valleyview Public School, with at least two positive cases.

In a post shared to Facebook, the NWHU said the situation has been classified as an outbreak because it meets the ministry’s definition which says that an outbreak in a school is defined as two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in students, staff or visitors in a school within a 14-day period. At least one case should have acquired their infection in the school setting.

NWHU said they will be treating this as an outbreak because they cannot rule out this possibility at this time.

In the Kenora Catholic Board, one positive case was reported in Ecole Ste-Marguerite Boureoys, prompting the closure of three classrooms, with another case in St. Thomas Aquinas High School, which closed one classroom in that school.

The NWHU said for reasons of privacy, they will minimize sharing personal information about any case and encourage others to avoid identifying individuals.