ESTEVAN - The Estevan Regional Nursing Home (ERNH) remains in lockdown, but it appears there has been a slowdown in the number of COVID-19 cases at the facility.
According to an email from Amanda Watson – the director of continuing care for southeast networks 6, 7 and 9 integrated rural health, Saskatchewan Health Authority – a total of 18 cases of COVID-19 have now been diagnosed. The last case was Sept. 20.
Three of the cases are considered active.
Watson did not give the latest breakdown on cases, but 14 of the first 17 cases reported were residents.
Most of the residents who have tested positive have had symptoms that can be cared for at the home, Watson said, and have not required hospitalizations.
“With the current number of cases among residents, we would not be able to provide any additional details as that could compromise patient confidentiality,” said Watson.
These were the first cases at the ERNH since the pandemic began in March 2020.
The first case was identified on Sept. 4 through routine antigen testing, Watson said. The outbreak was declared several days later after an investigation, testing and contact tracing identified other cases linked within the Estevan Regional Nursing Home.
“Outbreak protocols were implemented once the first case was identified. This included isolation requirements for the first case and close contact,” Watson stated.
Family members of residents were notified, and the home moved to Level 3, allowing for compassionate care visitors, Watson said. The ERNH remains at that level.
Outbreaks in long-term care homes are usually declared over after two full infectious periods following the onset of symptoms in the last known case. For COVID-19, the infectious period is 14 days, which means 28 days without any new case.
The decision to change family presence policies will also depend on the current COVID-19 situation in the community.
A direction to lift restrictions would come from the medical health officer.
Watson noted that all long-term care homes in the integrated rural health areas are at a minimum of Level 1. Staff members are required to screen before entering the workplace.
An investigation has not been able to determine any specific exposure for the initial case.
“The team at Estevan Regional Nursing Home continues to be committed to mitigating risk and providing a safe living and working environment to all those at the home,” Watson said.