‘Incredibly urgent’ need for vaccine as two long term care residents in Lambton die of COVID-19

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Heather Wright Photo

Lambton has higher COVID-19 transmission rates than the GTA

Two seniors from long term care homes in Lambton have died of COVID-19.

Bluewater Health confirmed the deaths, although Lambton Public Health has not included them in its daily data release. It’s not clear which long term care home the seniors lived.

There are ten outbreaks in long term care homes in Lambton. Two homes – Village on the St. Clair Retirement Home and Twin Lakes Terrace – have a major outbreak with multiple people ill.

There are 21 seniors who tested positive for COVID-19 at Village on the St. Clair and seven staff members.

Twelve residents and three staff at Twin Lakes Terrace tested were COVID-19 positive.

Monday, the head of Steeves and Rozema, the company which owns both homes, said that one resident at Twin Lakes had been sent to hospital and another was being considered. It’s not clear if any residents of Village on the St. Clair needed hospitalization.

There are now 11 people in hospital in Sarnia with the virus.

The news of the deaths comes as Lambton prepares for the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine. Public health officials are expecting the vaccines to come to Lambton the first week of February and long term care residents will be first to roll up their sleeves.

“Long term care homes are currently gathering consents, preparing lists of staff and residents and setting up tentative appointments, so that as soon as we know when the vaccine will arrive, we will be able to provide immunizations within 24 hours,” says Lambton’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Sudit Ranade in a news release.

Ranade told reporter in a teleconference Thursday morning it is “incredibly urgent” the vaccine arrive in Lambton soon.

“The need is very urgent here and and the sooner we can get vaccine the better especially for that really vulnerable population that we’re trying to protect right now given the rise in in our institutional outbreaks that we’ve seen in the last few weeks,” he says.

Lambton has some of the highest rates of transmission in the province. Today, the University of Toronto says Lambton’s transmission rate is at 44 cases per 100,000 people – only Windsor-Essex has a greater transmission rate of 47 cases per 100,000.

Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey has written a letter to the premier “imploring” him to send the vaccine to Lambton sooner due to the “meteoric rise” of cases in the community since mid-December.

Meantime, Public health has set up a website for people to access information about the vaccine; www.getthevaccine.ca.

Public health has not set up a waiting list for the vaccine. Ranade says it public health will be sure to communicate when it is ready and able to start vaccinating widely in the community.