The Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Unit declared an outbreak on Wednesday, April 27, at the Gardens of Haliburton. There are six residents and two staff, who are asymptomatic or with mild symptoms after testing positive with COVID-19. /FILE DARREN LUM Staff

Support welcomed with outbreak at Gardens of Haliburton

Six residents and two staff test positive, but experience mild symptoms, or none

By Darren Lum
The Gardens of Haliburton is operating with outbreak protocols outlined by the ministry of health since April 27 since eight people tested positive for COVID-19.
The Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Unit (HKPRDU) declared the outbreak, which includes six residents and two staff, who are asymptomatic or with mild symptoms.
Gardens of Haliburton, general manager Selena Lynne Eastman said Gardens’ protocol is that any residents who test positive are isolated immediately with the onset of symptoms or when testing positive following the most up to date direction set out by the ministry of health.
“The Gardens was already maintaining important IPAC (Infection Prevention and Control) measures but continues to heighten our already rigorous precautions through conducting daily risk assessments and audits. Enhanced disinfecting is well underway and will continue through the course of the pandemic,” she wrote in an email.

The residence has now suspended all group activities, communal dining, and the general public is not permitted access.
She added that all of the residents have been offered a fourth dose booster in collaboration with Haliburton Highlands Health Services’ IPAC team in late-March.
There are 96 per cent of the residence’s population who have received their fourth vaccination dose and 100 per cent for third dose recipients.

HKPR’s communication officer, Bill Eekhof said the health unit is working closely with the Gardens of Haliburton since the outbreak was declared.
“While each outbreak is unique, the overriding goal is to help control and reduce the spread of the virus in the facility. Outbreak response measures typically include: regular testing of staff and residents, isolating/cohorting of residents, active screening for COVID-19 symptoms, limiting or restricting communal activities, putting in place visitor restrictions, limiting/restricting new admissions and limiting/restricting client absences. These are in addition to routine COVID-19 prevention measures such as mask use, physical distancing, vaccination, PPE use and regular cleaning/disinfecting,” he wrote in an email. “Testing recommendations can vary during an outbreak by facility, and are based on such factors as symptoms, contact tracing results and evidence of ongoing transmission. Isolation of residents is based on numerous factors including: symptoms, exposure risk level, vaccine status and a recent history of COVID infection in the past 90 days.”

Eekhof said current provincial guidelines for declaring a COVID-19 outbreak at long-term care homes and retirement homes is made when there are “two or more residents and/or staff/other visitors in a home that test positive for the virus through a PCR test, positive molecular test or rapid antigen test and there is an epidemiological link within a 10-day period. This means there is reasonable evidence of transmission between the affected individuals and a risk of COVID-19 being spread to residents in the home.”
Outbreaks can also be made after a health unit investigation, Eekhof added.
Eastman said the support from the community has been welcomed during this outbreak.
“Our Gardens Team is phenomenal and have been working very hard to navigate the outbreak and stop the spread of the virus. The unwavering guidance and support we have received from HKPR and our local HHHS IPAC team has been astounding through this whole pandemic since we opened last May and continues through this time of need.”