Prescott and Russell Residence in Hawkesbury. Photo: James Morgan

Prescott and Russell Residence COVID-19 outbreak at 78 active cases, 24 Red Cross personnel arrive

The number of residents and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Prescott and Russell Residence in Hawkesbury had increased as of Friday, October 23.

To date, 110 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at the Residence since the beginning of the outbreak which was first reported on October 9. Most cases have been asymptomatic, and 32 cases (involving 22 residents and 10 employees) are now resolved. One resident has died; however, the resident’s case was resolved prior to their death, but the coroner still attributed the death to the effects of COVID-19.

Seventy-eight cases at the Residence remained active as of October 23, involving 46 residents and 32 employees. Forty-two test results are still pending. The Residence remains closed to visitors while the outbreak is ongoing.

Due to the high number of COVID-19 cases among residents and employees at the Prescott and Russell, the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR), which owns and operates the facility is receiving emergency assistance from Ontario Health (formerly the Champlain Local Health Integration Network), paramedics, the Canadian Red Cross, and the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU).

Prescott and Russell Residence Administrator Alexandre Gorman said that 24 Red Cross personnel, who would work in two teams of 12, were to arrive on Friday evening to begin assisting with the operations of the facility.

UCPR Warden Pierre Leroux acknowledged that this outbreak is extremely difficult and unprecedented.

“Whatever you need from county council, we’re here to help,” said Leroux on Friday afternoon, offering the full support of the regional government to the families of residents and staff.

UCPR Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Stéphane Parisien said that there were no pre-existing situations within the Prescott and Russell Residence that made it more vulnerable to an outbreak and that preventative measures have always been observed.

“We’ve been following these protocols to the T since the get-go,” he said.

Parisien said that the UCPR believes that the outbreak may have been introduced into the facility when residents could leave and visit family members, but that the UCPR is not completely sure that was the cause.

Communication has been crucial between staff and families during the outbreak.

“We’ve had someone on staff informing families,” said Parisien.

He acknowledged that the speed with which families are informed of the situation is not always instant, but explained that when staff contact a resident’s family, the take the time to give each family a consistent message and answer their questions.

Parisien said that families were always kept informed when test results of their loved ones living at the facility were available.

Across the territory of the EOHU on October 23, the COVID-19 outbreak remained in effect at The Palace Retirement Home in Alexandria, and in Cornwall at Sandfield Place Retirement Home and St. Joseph’s Continuing Care (Kane House).



James Morgan

James Morgan is a freelance contributor. He has worked for several print and broadcast media outlets. James loves the history, natural beauty, and people of eastern Ontario and western Quebec.

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