New COVID-19 case at Calgary's McKenzie Towne care facility a 'setback' for families

WATCH: A COVID-19 outbreak at a Calgary long term care home, which is the deadliest in the province, can't yet be declared over. As Jill Croteau reports, a new case has been reported at the Mckenzie Towne Continuing Care Centre, stopping plans to loosen restrictions.

The addition of a new case at Calgary’s McKenzie Towne Continuing Care Centre has suspended outdoor face-to-face visits, which was supposed to start up this week. It’s a disappointing development for families of residents who long to see their loved ones.

It had been more than four weeks since the last confirmed case of COVID-19 was reported, but officials with Revera, the operator’s of the home, revealed one resident tested positive on May 16.

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Larry Roberts, Revera’s corporate affairs manager, said residents and staff in the affected area were swabbed and tested.

A message of kindness toward the residents of the McKenzie Towne Continuing Care Centre is seen hear the facility.

A message of kindness toward the residents of the McKenzie Towne Continuing Care Centre is seen hear the facility.

Mike Hills/Global News

“All the other tests for residents who live in that home area and the staff came back negative from AHS,” Roberts said.

Health officials had been on the verge of deeming the outbreak over.

Dr. Rhonda Collins, Revera’s Chief Medical Officer, said they are looking to find out more about this recent case.

“We are working with public health officials investigating whether this is a new exposure or if the resident was previously exposed to COVID-19 but had no symptoms until now,” Dr. Collins said.

“This resident was part of a group who had not previously had tests done, and was being tested in a precautionary way,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw explained at her daily press conference Tuesday afternoon. “So it is not clear whether this is a new infection with the virus, or shedding from a previous mild infection, that was not identified earlier.”

Until more is known, face-to-face visits with families have been temporarily suspended.

“At this point, the renewed outbreak means that outdoor visits, which we had hoped to offer this coming week, are on hold again for the many families who have been anticipating visiting their loved ones in person,” Dr. Collins said.

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The total number of positive cases since the outbreak began is now 63 confirmed resident cases and 44 staff. To date, 43 residents and 43 staff members have now recovered. 21 people living in the facility died from COVID-19.

“Despite this setback, the team at McKenzie Towne is determined to prevent further spread of the virus among residents or staff,” Collins said. “We work closely with Alberta Health Service’s public health experts. Staff continue to follow pandemic protocols and wear Personal Protective Equipment, as per AHS guidelines, at all times. “

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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