With 19 deaths and 73 out of 101 residents testing positive as of yesterday, COVID-19 is rampaging through Anson Place Care Centre in Hagersville.

And with 31 staff also infected, the nursing home is scrambling to find extra workers, some of whom are paramedic students, to make up the staff complement.

The county’s medical officer of health, Shanker Nesathurai grimly predicts there will be additional deaths. Elderly residents are more likely to get infected and succumb, he said.

“COVID-19 is a tough illness to have in your eighth or ninth decade of life.”
He said those fatally stricken are not taken to hospital, but receive oxygen on site.

While there has been speculation at the provincial level that workers moving between multiple nursing homes might have contributed to the spread of the disease, such is not the case at Anson Place, Nesathurai pointed out.

“The people who work at Anson Place are only working at Anson Place,” he said.

All staff have been directed to self-isolate at home and restrict outside activities to necessities such as gassing up their vehicles. They all wear personal protective equipment at all times.

All residents are confined to their rooms, including those who have tested negative. No resident may move to an alternative location because some who test negative may still be carrying the virus. Visitors are banned.

Nesathurai has no answers as to why Anson Place has been so hard hit, but speculated that perhaps staff didn’t at first realize that apparently seasonal illnesses there had a pandemic connection.

Meanwhile, after an apparent virus-free slow start, Haldimand-Norfolk COVID-19 infections overall are ramping up with 145 of 650 people tested so far proving positive and ordered into self-isolation, Nesathurai said.