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Two residents, another staff member at N.S. nursing home test positive for COVID-19
ENFIELD, N.S. -- There are now three more cases of COVID-19 at one Nova Scotia nursing home, bringing the total at that location to four.
A spokesperson with Rosecrest Communities, which runs The Magnolia continuing care home in Enfield, N.S., confirms a second staff member and two residents have tested positive for COVID-19.
The three people were tested because they had been in contact with another employee who tested positive. On Sunday, Nova Scotia public health announced that employee was among 12 new COVID-19 cases in the province.
“All measures were in place to ensure the right social distancing happened as much as possible,” says Tracey Tulloch of Rosecrest Communities. “We have seven other tests that were negative.”
Those additional tests were done on other staff and residents who had come into contact with the first case.
The Magnolia houses about 70 residents, who live in groups of 11 or 12 in separate units known as “cottages.”
The two affected residents are in their 80s and live in the same unit, says Tulloch. “They do have mild symptoms, but they are doing well,” she says.
Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health says public health will now test everyone at the facility using a new mobile testing unit.
“EHS now has a mobile testing capacity,” says Dr. Robert Strang. “We are deploying that to this facility so that every resident and every staff member at that facility can be tested.”
On Saturday, the province announced workers at two different nursing homes had also tested positive for the virus.
One of the homes affected is the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home in Antigonish, N.S.
The CEO of the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home provided a statement to CTV News:
“We are working closely with public health and NSHA infection prevention and control,” writes Michelle Thompson. “Staff are taking the appropriate infection control measures.”
Thompson adds in the statement that a number of staff and residents were tested on Saturday. An update on the home’s website says that all the residents who were tested received negative results. The home is also taking the temperature of all its residents twice daily.
An employee at Lewis Hall, a private retirement community in Halifax, has also been infected with COVID-19. Lewis Hall is part of Parkland at the Lakes in Dartmouth, a private retirement community operated by Shannex.
“This is an employee that was being followed by our Occupational Health team,” says Shannex’s senior vice-president of operations.
Catherine MacPherson says the team was established as part of the company’s pandemic protocols. She says Shannex was notified late Friday night that the employee had tested positive.
“As soon as we were notified, we began working very closely with public health and taking direction from them around tracing other employees in that work environment,” MacPherson says. “And also tracing contact with residents in that environment.”
She says as a result, 17 residents were put into isolation and tested for COVID-19. She says all those tests have since come back negative.
“Nonetheless, we do know that we need to continue to be vigilant in monitoring these residents over the next period of time,” she adds. “We are continuing with additional precautions for those residents and monitoring them daily for symptoms.”
MacPherson says any work areas used by the affected employee also received additional disinfecting.
For The Magnolia, the positive test results have brought an additional challenge. Tulloch says a number of employees who had contact with the initial infected worker are now self-isolating as a precaution, even though their tests came back negative. Tulloch says that means now the home is “strapped for staff.”
“Nursing homes typically have been at critical staffing levels prior to this happening, so we knew this was coming,” she says. “We’re working with the provincial Department of Health and Wellness, and their partners, to get additional staffing.”
“We are working on it, but we are definitely at critical levels at this point,” she says. “And that’s probably the biggest concern is making sure we can maintain our care of our residents during this stressful time.”
Editor's note: A previous version of this story erroneously stated that Lewis Hall is part of Parkland at the Gardens, when, in fact, it is part of Parkland at the Lakes. CTV News regrets the error.