The COVID-19 outbreak at Riverview Heights retirement home has been declared over by Renfrew County and District Health Unit’s (RCDHU) Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Cushman.
One of the 102 swabs done on staff and residents at the home on May 19th was reported as positive for COVID-19. All the remaining swabs were negative and the resident with the positive result was asymptomatic. The home had no previous history of COVID-19 amongst the residents or staff. Furthermore, there was no history of COVID-19 in family members of residents and staff.
On the basis of the information above, RCDHU declared an outbreak and tested the positive individual two more times along with three additional residents and seven staff who had tested negative during the original screening but were potential contacts. These test results all came back negative for COVID-19.
Since May 21st, when the test result was reported, the facility has been under strict outbreak precautions but these were lifted yesterday (Wednesday). Rigorous infection control measures were put in place. The identified resident contacts were isolated to their rooms, and staff contacts sent home to self-isolate. Based on all the testing done at Riverview Heights and the low prevalence of COVID-19 in Renfrew County and District which is now less than one in 1,000 tests coming back positive, there is a high probability that the original test was a false positive.
“We will never really know for sure, but all precautions have been taken along with diligent retesting and the outbreak status has been lifted,” a health unit release states.
According to Dr. Cushman, “the staff at Riverview Heights along with those who volunteered to help out from Pembroke Regional Hospital deserve our respect and congratulations for their around the clock dedication and professionalism. To date, we have seen what tragedy can happen in seniors’ homes elsewhere, and while there was potentially never any imminent threat, they took it upon themselves to ensure the safety of the residents during a potential crisis”.