Health unit responds to public feedback with more COVID data

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With two new COVID deaths and six active outbreaks in the community, the Brant County Health Unit has returned to posting specific information about outbreaks and their locations.

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Throughout the pandemic, the health unit listed outbreaks each week, indicating when they started and ended, and how many residents and staff were affected.

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At the end of November, the agency stopped posting that information, saying it was aligning with other public health units in Ontario and with Public Health Ontario to report COVID outbreaks in the same way it reports influenza and other respiratory viruses.

This week it returned to the more comprehensive information list.

“The decision was made to return to the previous format for reporting COVID-19 outbreaks based on feedback we received from the community,” said agency spokesperson Ryan Spiteri.

Several people on X, previously known as Twitter, thanked the agency for responding.

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“Good on @BrantHealthUnit for making this change!” said one poster, indicating they had been emailing the agency about hospital outbreaks. “Thank you for making this important information available to your community.”

Another poster who tracks outbreaks in Ontario said “Wow. Really glad to see outbks posted again, by location… thank you.”

The health unit said as of Dec. 19, there had been 14 outbreaks during the previous week, 11 of them COVID. There were no influenza outbreaks and three ‘other’ respiratory outbreaks.

There were six active outbreaks of COVID listed, involving 34 people:

Community Living home on Hampton Street: three residents and one staff member

Tranquility Place Retirement home: four residents.

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Community Living home on Beaver Crescent: two residents and two staff.

Grand River Estates Retirement Home in Paris: six residents and one staff.

Able Living Brant group home: seven residents.

Residence on Sheridan, a seniors’ home: eight residents.

Outbreaks that were declared over last week included one at Charlotte Villa that involved six people, and a Brantwood Community Services home of four residents. Three hospital outbreaks have been declared over so far this month.

During November, there were multiple outbreaks in facilities that affected more than a dozen residents and staff:

The health unit listed 43 new known cases of COVID-19 last week along with 10 new flu cases and 14 people in hospital for COVID infections.

The two new deaths posted for last week were a man and woman, each in their 80s and not part of an outbreak. Both were hospitalized at the time of their deaths.

The agency reported the per cent of those testing positive for COVID was slightly increased last week and the area wastewater signal has shown a gentle rise all through December.

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