The tab for the ongoing containment of the COVID-19 outbreak at Scotlynn Group illustrates one reason why health units in Ontario are desperate to avoid cluster outbreaks in bunkhouse settings.
The cost so far is $241,600 and counting according to a report from Norfolk’s treasury department.
Since May 29, 35 staff members at the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit have been focused on containment, testing and contact tracing in an effort to prevent the outbreak from spreading into the general community.
Of the cost so far, $181,600 has been spent on wages and benefit for health unit staff. Other costs itemized in the report, which was prepared by county financial analyst Kathryn Fanning, include:
- $25,300 for wages and benefits to Norfolk County staff also working on this file.
- Paramedic swabbing teams (for testing purposes): $17,400.
- Translation and interpretative services (the 199 workers infected at Scotlynn are from Mexico): $13,600.
- Personal protective equipment (masks, face shields, latex gloves, disposable gowns, etc.) $2,700.
- Operating supplies and services: $1,000.
“Note that the chart above excludes the in-kind services provided by the Delhi Family Health Team, Grand River Community Health Centre, volunteer translators, Brant County Health Unit and Norfolk General Hospital costs which supported the health unit response,” Fanning said.
Treasury staff at Governor Simcoe Square is also working on a cost analysis of the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak at the Anson Place Care Centre in Hagersville. That outbreak began in March around the time the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic alert.
A total of 27 deaths at Anson Place were attributed to the outbreak. As well, dozens of staff and residents were sickened.
The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit declared the outbreak at Anson Place over June 25. But it hasn’t made a similar declaration regarding the outbreak at Scotlynn Group, which spread to six bunkhouses where 221 migrant workers reside.
Several of the migrant workers were hospitalized, some of them in serious condition. One of them – Juan Lopez Chapparo – died June 20.
Due to its larger population, Norfolk is responsible for 60 per cent of shared expenses with Haldimand County, which is responsible for the remainder.