COVID-19 outbreaks in doubt as more false positive tests found in Hamilton

News May 11, 2020 by Joanna Frketich Hamilton Spectator

Hamilton is up to potentially 17 false positive COVID-19 tests, putting redeclared outbreaks at Heritage Green Nursing Home and Wentworth Lodge in doubt.

Meanwhile, another resident from the outbreak at Cardinal Retirement Home has died, bringing the city’s death toll to 24. In addition, three new legitimate outbreaks have been declared at Hamilton seniors’ homes.

The city is still listing Heritage Green and Wentworth Lodge among active outbreaks but with zero cases after it came to light that the six asymptomatic residents who tested positive — three at each home — likely don’t have COVID-19.

Hamilton’s medical officer of health, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, said the questionable tests are currently being redone and it will take “a little time,” which she says will be difficult for all involved.

“When we have this happen with our laboratory testing, it causes a lot of stress ... at a time when anxieties are already heightened,” she said. “Some people may be relieved to find out they didn’t test positive and that’s great, but of course the stress, fear and inconvenience that comes along with that ... it’s very unfortunate.”

Ten of the other false positive cases were at Macassa Lodge, where outbreak measures were already being put in place Thursday when Ontario’s regional public health laboratory on Fennell Avenue West realized the testing process had likely been contaminated. The tests were redone twice and found to be definite false positives Friday.

As a result, the lab went through earlier tests and found issues with the results from Heritage Green, which was put back in outbreak May 1, and Wentworth Lodge, which had its outbreak redeclared May 5.

The city has not revealed where the last false positive is from, although the majority of Hamilton tests done in the last 10 days have been at long-term care homes as part of provincially mandated mass testing.

The value of the mass testing in long-term care, which has been completed in Hamilton for residents and is near done for staff, has been questioned by two Hamilton health leaders including Dr. Dominik Mertz, an associate professor in McMaster University’s Division of Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Bart Harvey, an associate medical officer of health. Harvey later apologized making it clear his opinions were not a reflection of the city.

At least 16 of the 17 potential false positives were asymptomatic people who were part of the mass testing.

Hamilton had the 10 false positives on its website until Sunday when public health finally removed them, causing the numbers to go down for that day.

The further seven false positives are still included in Hamilton’s current 489 confirmed cases — plus five more probable.

Halton Region’s number of confirmed cases went down on Monday by one to 515, but it was not due to false positives. It was because at least one case was wrongly classified as living in Halton. The region also has 67 probable cases.

Provincewide, there are 20,546 confirmed cases, including 201 in Haldimand and Norfolk and 11 at Six Nations.

The false positives are significant because long-term care homes have to implement outbreak measures including separating infected residents from those who are well and making sure no staff go between them. Workers who test positive self-isolate at home, which can cause staffing issues. And the home has to use higher amounts of in-demand personal protective equipment.

One Hamilton family believes their parents died at Heritage Green Nursing Home because of the isolation and anxiety of the first COVID-19 outbreak there. The couple were not among the 12 residents and three staff who tested positive during the five-week outbreak that started March 21 and ended with four residents dying. But their family feels the outbreak still took a tragic toll on Jim and Norma Kirchin.

“You can imagine that it must be stressful,” Richardson said about the homes being put back into outbreak for potentially no reason. “I can absolutely understand the frustration.”

Richardson says she believes the lab is finished checking past results and doesn’t expect any new false positives to come to light. She says she still has absolute faith in the lab.

“By far, the vast majority, there has been no change to them. But you are going to find things when you are dealing with tests, something new like this and you’re continuously doing quality improvement. The important thing is that they identify those and follow up on them.”

A new legitimate outbreak has been declared at The Rosslyn Retirement Home on King Street East with two residents infected. Also new, are outbreaks at Blackadar Continuing Care Centre in Dundas and Idlewyld Manor on Sanatorium Road, where one resident has tested positive at each long-term care home.

All but one of Hamilton’s current eight outbreaks are in seniors’ homes. Roughly three-quarters of the province’s 1,669 deaths have been in long-term care.

“This COVID crisis has shone a light on an area that needs dramatic reform,” said federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu.

Another senior has died in Hamilton’s worst outbreak at Cardinal on Herkimer Street, where 47 residents and 18 staff tested positive before it was declared over May 3. The 82-year-old man, who died May 9, brings the death toll there to nine.

“It’s sadly so that some of the most vulnerable in our community are the ones that suffer the most as we go through this experience,” said Richardson.

An outbreak at Dundurn Care Centre, where two residents have died, has increased to 10 residents and three staff.

“Dundurn Place Care Centre, it’s leadership team, and front-line care team members have worked promptly to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” executive director Danny Pereira said in a statement.

Three recent outbreaks of COVID-19 at St. Joseph’s Healthcare are now over and all units are reopened for admissions. In addition, an outbreak at St. Elizabeth’s Villa on Rymal Road West has ended.

COVID-19 outbreaks in doubt as more false positive tests found in Hamilton

A ninth resident at Cardinal Retirement Home has died while other outbreaks have been put in doubt as the city reaches 17 false positives

News May 11, 2020 by Joanna Frketich Hamilton Spectator

Hamilton is up to potentially 17 false positive COVID-19 tests, putting redeclared outbreaks at Heritage Green Nursing Home and Wentworth Lodge in doubt.

Meanwhile, another resident from the outbreak at Cardinal Retirement Home has died, bringing the city’s death toll to 24. In addition, three new legitimate outbreaks have been declared at Hamilton seniors’ homes.

The city is still listing Heritage Green and Wentworth Lodge among active outbreaks but with zero cases after it came to light that the six asymptomatic residents who tested positive — three at each home — likely don’t have COVID-19.

Hamilton’s medical officer of health, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, said the questionable tests are currently being redone and it will take “a little time,” which she says will be difficult for all involved.

Related Content

“When we have this happen with our laboratory testing, it causes a lot of stress ... at a time when anxieties are already heightened,” she said. “Some people may be relieved to find out they didn’t test positive and that’s great, but of course the stress, fear and inconvenience that comes along with that ... it’s very unfortunate.”

Ten of the other false positive cases were at Macassa Lodge, where outbreak measures were already being put in place Thursday when Ontario’s regional public health laboratory on Fennell Avenue West realized the testing process had likely been contaminated. The tests were redone twice and found to be definite false positives Friday.

As a result, the lab went through earlier tests and found issues with the results from Heritage Green, which was put back in outbreak May 1, and Wentworth Lodge, which had its outbreak redeclared May 5.

The city has not revealed where the last false positive is from, although the majority of Hamilton tests done in the last 10 days have been at long-term care homes as part of provincially mandated mass testing.

The value of the mass testing in long-term care, which has been completed in Hamilton for residents and is near done for staff, has been questioned by two Hamilton health leaders including Dr. Dominik Mertz, an associate professor in McMaster University’s Division of Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Bart Harvey, an associate medical officer of health. Harvey later apologized making it clear his opinions were not a reflection of the city.

At least 16 of the 17 potential false positives were asymptomatic people who were part of the mass testing.

Hamilton had the 10 false positives on its website until Sunday when public health finally removed them, causing the numbers to go down for that day.

The further seven false positives are still included in Hamilton’s current 489 confirmed cases — plus five more probable.

Halton Region’s number of confirmed cases went down on Monday by one to 515, but it was not due to false positives. It was because at least one case was wrongly classified as living in Halton. The region also has 67 probable cases.

Provincewide, there are 20,546 confirmed cases, including 201 in Haldimand and Norfolk and 11 at Six Nations.

The false positives are significant because long-term care homes have to implement outbreak measures including separating infected residents from those who are well and making sure no staff go between them. Workers who test positive self-isolate at home, which can cause staffing issues. And the home has to use higher amounts of in-demand personal protective equipment.

One Hamilton family believes their parents died at Heritage Green Nursing Home because of the isolation and anxiety of the first COVID-19 outbreak there. The couple were not among the 12 residents and three staff who tested positive during the five-week outbreak that started March 21 and ended with four residents dying. But their family feels the outbreak still took a tragic toll on Jim and Norma Kirchin.

“You can imagine that it must be stressful,” Richardson said about the homes being put back into outbreak for potentially no reason. “I can absolutely understand the frustration.”

Richardson says she believes the lab is finished checking past results and doesn’t expect any new false positives to come to light. She says she still has absolute faith in the lab.

“By far, the vast majority, there has been no change to them. But you are going to find things when you are dealing with tests, something new like this and you’re continuously doing quality improvement. The important thing is that they identify those and follow up on them.”

A new legitimate outbreak has been declared at The Rosslyn Retirement Home on King Street East with two residents infected. Also new, are outbreaks at Blackadar Continuing Care Centre in Dundas and Idlewyld Manor on Sanatorium Road, where one resident has tested positive at each long-term care home.

All but one of Hamilton’s current eight outbreaks are in seniors’ homes. Roughly three-quarters of the province’s 1,669 deaths have been in long-term care.

“This COVID crisis has shone a light on an area that needs dramatic reform,” said federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu.

Another senior has died in Hamilton’s worst outbreak at Cardinal on Herkimer Street, where 47 residents and 18 staff tested positive before it was declared over May 3. The 82-year-old man, who died May 9, brings the death toll there to nine.

“It’s sadly so that some of the most vulnerable in our community are the ones that suffer the most as we go through this experience,” said Richardson.

An outbreak at Dundurn Care Centre, where two residents have died, has increased to 10 residents and three staff.

“Dundurn Place Care Centre, it’s leadership team, and front-line care team members have worked promptly to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” executive director Danny Pereira said in a statement.

Three recent outbreaks of COVID-19 at St. Joseph’s Healthcare are now over and all units are reopened for admissions. In addition, an outbreak at St. Elizabeth’s Villa on Rymal Road West has ended.

COVID-19 outbreaks in doubt as more false positive tests found in Hamilton

A ninth resident at Cardinal Retirement Home has died while other outbreaks have been put in doubt as the city reaches 17 false positives

News May 11, 2020 by Joanna Frketich Hamilton Spectator

Hamilton is up to potentially 17 false positive COVID-19 tests, putting redeclared outbreaks at Heritage Green Nursing Home and Wentworth Lodge in doubt.

Meanwhile, another resident from the outbreak at Cardinal Retirement Home has died, bringing the city’s death toll to 24. In addition, three new legitimate outbreaks have been declared at Hamilton seniors’ homes.

The city is still listing Heritage Green and Wentworth Lodge among active outbreaks but with zero cases after it came to light that the six asymptomatic residents who tested positive — three at each home — likely don’t have COVID-19.

Hamilton’s medical officer of health, Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, said the questionable tests are currently being redone and it will take “a little time,” which she says will be difficult for all involved.

Related Content

“When we have this happen with our laboratory testing, it causes a lot of stress ... at a time when anxieties are already heightened,” she said. “Some people may be relieved to find out they didn’t test positive and that’s great, but of course the stress, fear and inconvenience that comes along with that ... it’s very unfortunate.”

Ten of the other false positive cases were at Macassa Lodge, where outbreak measures were already being put in place Thursday when Ontario’s regional public health laboratory on Fennell Avenue West realized the testing process had likely been contaminated. The tests were redone twice and found to be definite false positives Friday.

As a result, the lab went through earlier tests and found issues with the results from Heritage Green, which was put back in outbreak May 1, and Wentworth Lodge, which had its outbreak redeclared May 5.

The city has not revealed where the last false positive is from, although the majority of Hamilton tests done in the last 10 days have been at long-term care homes as part of provincially mandated mass testing.

The value of the mass testing in long-term care, which has been completed in Hamilton for residents and is near done for staff, has been questioned by two Hamilton health leaders including Dr. Dominik Mertz, an associate professor in McMaster University’s Division of Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Bart Harvey, an associate medical officer of health. Harvey later apologized making it clear his opinions were not a reflection of the city.

At least 16 of the 17 potential false positives were asymptomatic people who were part of the mass testing.

Hamilton had the 10 false positives on its website until Sunday when public health finally removed them, causing the numbers to go down for that day.

The further seven false positives are still included in Hamilton’s current 489 confirmed cases — plus five more probable.

Halton Region’s number of confirmed cases went down on Monday by one to 515, but it was not due to false positives. It was because at least one case was wrongly classified as living in Halton. The region also has 67 probable cases.

Provincewide, there are 20,546 confirmed cases, including 201 in Haldimand and Norfolk and 11 at Six Nations.

The false positives are significant because long-term care homes have to implement outbreak measures including separating infected residents from those who are well and making sure no staff go between them. Workers who test positive self-isolate at home, which can cause staffing issues. And the home has to use higher amounts of in-demand personal protective equipment.

One Hamilton family believes their parents died at Heritage Green Nursing Home because of the isolation and anxiety of the first COVID-19 outbreak there. The couple were not among the 12 residents and three staff who tested positive during the five-week outbreak that started March 21 and ended with four residents dying. But their family feels the outbreak still took a tragic toll on Jim and Norma Kirchin.

“You can imagine that it must be stressful,” Richardson said about the homes being put back into outbreak for potentially no reason. “I can absolutely understand the frustration.”

Richardson says she believes the lab is finished checking past results and doesn’t expect any new false positives to come to light. She says she still has absolute faith in the lab.

“By far, the vast majority, there has been no change to them. But you are going to find things when you are dealing with tests, something new like this and you’re continuously doing quality improvement. The important thing is that they identify those and follow up on them.”

A new legitimate outbreak has been declared at The Rosslyn Retirement Home on King Street East with two residents infected. Also new, are outbreaks at Blackadar Continuing Care Centre in Dundas and Idlewyld Manor on Sanatorium Road, where one resident has tested positive at each long-term care home.

All but one of Hamilton’s current eight outbreaks are in seniors’ homes. Roughly three-quarters of the province’s 1,669 deaths have been in long-term care.

“This COVID crisis has shone a light on an area that needs dramatic reform,” said federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu.

Another senior has died in Hamilton’s worst outbreak at Cardinal on Herkimer Street, where 47 residents and 18 staff tested positive before it was declared over May 3. The 82-year-old man, who died May 9, brings the death toll there to nine.

“It’s sadly so that some of the most vulnerable in our community are the ones that suffer the most as we go through this experience,” said Richardson.

An outbreak at Dundurn Care Centre, where two residents have died, has increased to 10 residents and three staff.

“Dundurn Place Care Centre, it’s leadership team, and front-line care team members have worked promptly to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” executive director Danny Pereira said in a statement.

Three recent outbreaks of COVID-19 at St. Joseph’s Healthcare are now over and all units are reopened for admissions. In addition, an outbreak at St. Elizabeth’s Villa on Rymal Road West has ended.