News Medical Officer of Health says congregate living faring better against COVID-19 SHARE ON: Lee Griffi, staff Friday, Jan. 14th, 2022 Photo of new HKPRDHU MOH Dr. Bocking, courtesy of HKPRDHU Despite 30 outbreaks at congregate living facilities across the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit area, the Medical Officer of Health says residents are facing much less risk. The outbreaks are all located in the Kawartha and Northumberland areas. Dr. Natalie Bocking says that compared to the first wave of the pandemic there are much lower rates of hospital and ICU admissions from long-term care and retirement homes, and less deaths. “I wouldn’t say the risk is zero, but its certainly much better than previous waves,” she adds. Locally, there have been three admissions to hospital ICU’s and two deaths associated with long-term care and retirement homes in the last two weeks. Two over the age of 70 and one between the ages of 60 and 69. “Unfortunately, we have had five deaths due to COVID-19 over the last 14 days and all of those were age 70 and over. Two of the deceased were residents of long-term care or retirement homes,” says Bocking. There have been 68 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in the health unit’s area. Dr. Bocking says that really speaks to the importance of the ongoing screening taking place at long-term care and retirement homes. “If staff do have COVID-19 and we know there is a lot of it in the community, it is detected by the rapid antigen tests,” she says. In our health unit’s area, a total of 30 outbreaks are ongoing, half of those in long-term care and retirement homes. An outbreak is declared when there are at least two cases with evidence of transmission at the facility. It could be staff to staff, staff to resident, resident to staff, or resident to resident. The health unit is only reporting outbreaks in higher-risk settings like group homes, long-term care and retirement homes as well as correctional facilities.