Saint Nicholas a super-spreader, 57 care home residents infected

57 residents of a care home in Mol (Antwerp Province) have become infected with coronavirus after the man that visited dressed as Saint Nicholas last week turned out to be a COVID-19 super-spreader. All 150 residents of the Hemelrijck Care Home have been tested for the virus. 57 of them have tested positive. 

A couple of days after Saint Nicholas’ visit a number of residents tested positive for coronavirus. Some also displayed symptoms.

In a press statement the municipal authorities in Mol say that "He visited various communal areas such as the sitting room. He kept his distance from the residents and wore a face covering. The residents also wore face coverings.”

However, photographs show residents not wearing masks. The care home says that they were allowed to take them off once they were sitting within their contact bubble”.

With some test results still not in, 57 of the 150 residents have tested positive for the virus.

The municipal authorities in Mol concede that it was a mistake to allow Saint Nicholas to visit the care home. The visit had been arranged to boast morale among the residents. The man that had dressed up as Saint-Nicholas did not feel ill during of prior to his visit.

Meanwhile, the group that runs the care home Armonea is keen to stress that all procedures were followed and that the man that came to the care home dressed as Saint-Nicholas goes there regularly to work as a volunteer. Armonea adds that staff at the home are shocked by what has happened and that it is no use condemning people for it.

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