COVID-19 outbreak ends at Sarnia hospital

Bluewater Health in Sarnia. File photo / The Observer

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An outbreak connected to a temporary COVID-19 unit at Bluewater Health, where four staff members tested positive for the disease, ended Saturday.

The unit was set up to treat residents of Vision Nursing Home with the disease caused by the novel coronavirus following an outbreak at the Sarnia long-term care home. The unit at Bluewater Health closed June 15 and an outbreak was declared June 17 after staff members tested positive.

The hospital said Saturday it had been 14 days since the last COVID-19 positive staff member began self-isolation, so the outbreak was declared over by the hospital in consultation with Lambton Public Health.

“Bluewater Health is grateful for the support of all staff and professional staff, the COVID-19 swabbing team, and the community during this unprecedented time,” the hospital said in statement.

It added there were currently no COVID-positive patients in acute care at the hospital.

Lambton public health said in its daily report posted online Saturday evening that one local ongoing institutional outbreak continues at Afton Park Place, where one staff member tested positive for COVID-19. That outbreak was declared June 18.

The number of active cases of COVID-19 in the Sarnia area dropped by one to seven in Saturday’s report by the public health agency.

The total number of local cases remained 285. There had been no new test-confirmed cases in the community in a week.

Of the 11,898 local test results received so far, 2.4 per cent have been positive for the disease.

Lambton County, including Sarnia, has been in stage two of Ontario’s COVID-19 reopening process since June 19, when barber shops, shopping malls, restaurant patios and some other businesses were allowed to open their doors again, and rules on social gatherings changed.

“What we want to do is look forward into what happens the next few weeks,” said Dr. Sudit Ranade, Lambton’s medical officer of health. “That’s going to reflect data from when people were starting to increase their social networking and their use of different public settings.”

On Monday, a team from Bluewater Health, Lambton Emergency Medical Services and Lambton Public Health began testing for COVID-19 at four farms in the area. That comes as outbreaks among migrant workers have hit other areas in the province, including nearby Chatham-Kent and Essex County.

Bluewater Health said the mobile unit is designed to go to farms and test on site, and includes team members who speak Spanish.

Ranade said said there have been no local outbreaks related to agriculture, to this point.

Lambton public health is reporting 27 per cent of local COVID-19 cases have been identified in areas of the county outside Sarnia and Point Edward.