Keeping the public informed with accurate information and protecting the privacy of residents and their families
Today, Halton Region Public Health released information on the number of cases and deaths within institutional settings, including long-term care homes and retirement homes. This information will also be provided daily on the Region’s website and through the more detailed bi-weekly Surveillance Report (Mondays and Thursdays).
“Protecting the health and safety of our residents remains our top priority,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health. “Halton Region Public Health is also committed to providing the community with the latest information and providing as much information as we can. Since the first cases of COVID-19 were identified in China and in our community, we have been working around-the-clock to track the virus, assess health risk, conduct contact tracing and keep residents safe and informed.”
Public Health currently keeps the community informed and educated through daily updates on halton.ca/COVID19 with information on confirmed and probable cases by municipality and age group, and the number of institutions in a declared outbreak. Additional data is released in a bi-weekly Surveillance Report (external link) that provides information on cases over time, demographics, exposure sources, hospitalizations, deaths, recoveries, institutional outbreaks, number of tests completed and how Halton compares to Ontario. This information is also shared on the Region’s social media channels. In addition, Public Health has been in constant communication with local partners, including childcare centres, schools and institutional settings since the very beginning to make sure that they have all of the information and resources to keep staff, students, families and residents protected.
“Our commitment to supporting the health and safety of our residents includes a responsibility to protect the privacy of individuals with COVID-19. I have received clarification from the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner and as a result, we are releasing this information,” said Dr. Meghani. “Please be mindful and respect that in this data, each case is a person and has a family who is struggling with a loved one in isolation or grieving a loss. We must work together to continue to keep our most vulnerable safe and protected.”
Halton Region Public Health has been working closely with homes that are currently in outbreak, including ensuring that all infection prevention and control measures are in place, assessing challenges and arranging testing where appropriate.
On March 31, an outbreak was declared at Mountainview Retirement Residence in Georgetown. Since that time, Halton Region Public Health has been actively working with the home to implement outbreak measures and taking advice from the Ministry of Health and Public Health Ontario to address any challenges the home has experienced. As the situation evolved, Halton Region Public Health investigated and determined that the outbreak may have been more widespread than initially determined. This resulted in testing of all staff and residents, including those who were asymptomatic, and additional measures to isolate confirmed cases and the most at risk. As of April 17, 63 residents and 18 staff have been confirmed as COVID-19 cases, with some lab results still pending. As of April 17, Public Health has been informed of 8 deaths of Mountainview residents who tested positive for COVID-19. The majority of cases at Mountainview are asymptomatic and have been isolated.
All Halton residents are encouraged to stay informed by continuing to access credible sources of information. To read the latest information about what residents can do to stop the spread of the virus, symptoms, risks and when to contact Halton Region Public Health, please visit halton.ca/COVID19. Residents are also encouraged to follow Halton Region on Twitter (external link), Facebook (external link) and Instagram (external link) where they will find regular video messages from Halton Region Public Health Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Hamidah Meghani and other educational videos and resources for the community.
The Regional Municipality of Halton serves 580,000 residents in the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton, and the Town of Oakville. Halton Region is committed to meeting the needs of its residents through the delivery of cost-effective, quality programs and services, including water and wastewater; Regional roads and planning; paramedic services; waste management; public health; social assistance; children’s and seniors’ services; housing services; heritage programs; emergency management and economic development. For more information, call 311 or visit Halton Region’s website at halton.ca.