London long-term care homes continue to grapple with COVID-19 outbreaks

As the second wave of COVID-19 grips the city, many long-term care facilities are seeing outbreaks every few days.

Since Sept. 23, there have been 11 facilities in London where at least one person has tested positive for novel coronavirus. As of Friday, nine facilities were still dealing with an active case.

In that time period, 19 staff members tested positive, while only two residents contracted the virus.

“All homes have a pretty strict set of guidelines right now,” said Dr. Chris Mackie, London’s medical officer of health.

“Regular testing of staff, all staff and residents to be wearing masks, no gatherings within the facilities. We also give strong recommendations to long-term care homes to limit any visiting to essential visiting only, and long-term care homes are taking that recommendation very seriously,” he added.

Mackie said staff are also cohorting, so they are not working in multiple facilities where they could potentially spread the virus from an outbreak location.

“In these situations, whenever there is a case of an outbreak, we recheck and reinforce the messaging around those protective measures for all of the staff in that facility,” he said. “Testing is not a guarantee that an individual is negative and we know that the testing every two weeks is helpful and has helped us identify some cases before they became symptomatic.”

Current outbreaks as reported by the Middlesex London Health Unit:

  • Chartwell London (entire facility) – Oct. 15.
  • Chelsey Park (4th floor) – Oct. 14.
  • Henley Place (Harris) – Oct. 11.
  • Craigwiel Gardens (entire facility) – Oct. 10.
  • McGarrell Place (Ivey Lane, Harris House, Windermere Way) – Oct. 10.
  • Extendicare¬†(entire facility) – Oct. 8.
  • Peoplecare Oak Crossing (Juniper, Norway Spruce) – Oct. 7.
  • Earls Court Village (4th floor) – Oct. 4.
  • Mount Hope (MV3) – Oct. 4.

Resolved outbreaks:

  • Meadow Park Care Centre – declared Sept. 24, resolved Oct. 13.
  • Country Terrace – declared Sept. 23, resolved Oct. 12.

Retirement homes have not seen an equivalent number of cases, though the same testing and safety measures are in place. Since Sept. 1, there have been three cases of COVID-19 at retirement facilities, where one resident and two staff members have tested positive.

Since Sept. 1, the health unit has reported 298 cases of COVID-19 for the region. The number of active cases stands at 88.

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