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Two staff test positive in Flin Flon PCH outbreak, but case growth limited among residents

A COVID-19 outbreak is still being considered active for the Flin Flon Personal Care Home. Staff members have gotten sick, but no further residents have tested positive so far.
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A COVID-19 outbreak is still being considered active for the Flin Flon Personal Care Home. Staff members have gotten sick, but no further residents have tested positive so far.

As of March 3, four people - two residents and a pair of staff members - have tested positive for COVID-19 in relation to the outbreak. All four people are still considered as active cases - as of March 3, none of the four are considered yet to have recovered, according to Manitoba public health data. An outbreak was first proclaimed for the Personal Care Home Feb. 18 after a pair of residents at the home tested positive for COVID-19.

The Northern Health Region (NHR) has restricted some access to the Flin Flon PCH as part of the outbreak.

“Barring any new acquisitions, the outbreak is expected to end in early March,” reads a statement from an NHR spokesperson, who said that screening, testing and personal protective equipment (PPE) use have been part of the NHR’s strategy to fight the current outbreak.

“In addition to the infection control measures in effect throughout the pandemic, outbreak protocols include resident and staff testing, active screening, hand hygiene, physical distancing, PPE use and PPE education.”

Under Manitoba policy, an outbreak in a health care or long-term care setting is declared when two or more people test positive for COVID-19 with evidence of possible transmission within the area - occasionally, one case can lead to an outbreak being declared under certain conditions.

According to most recent data, there are at least 2,442 people in the NHR considered to be "active cases" - people who have tested positive either through a PCR test or through a medically supervised rapid antigen test. That, as of March 3, includes 60 people in the Flin Flon/Snow Lake/Cranberry Portage/Sherridon health zone who are still considered as active cases.

A total of 459 Manitobans are in hospital due to COVID-19, with 29 people in intensive care as of March 3 - that includes 58 people hospitalized who are NHR residents, as well as seven northerners in ICU.

As of Feb. 28, there are five designated outbreaks in the NHR - the Flin Flon PCH, the Nisichawayasihk personal care home at Nelson House/Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation, the Northern Spirit Manor in Thompson and the St. Paul's Personal Care Home in The Pas, as well as a community outbreak still considered in effect at Pukatawagan and Mathias Colomb Cree Nation.

The other outbreaks in northern Manitoba have included several other cases, according to health data. Eleven people at the Northern Spirit Manor in Thompson have tested positive for COVID-19, including nine non-staff people and two staff members. Ten people are still considered as active cases as of March 3 – one has recovered. Eight people at St. Paul’s in The Pas, including five non-staff people, have tested positive as well - four of those eight people are considered to have recovered from COVID-19.

Two other outbreaks have been reported at the Flin Flon PCH earlier in the pandemic - one in Nov. 2020 and a second in April 2021.