The Care Centre co-owner charged with mischief

The Care Centre at 510 Second Street East in Cornwall, Ont. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – One of the owners of The Care Centre is facing a mischief charge in relation to the alleged handling of a situation involving a tenant who tested positive for COVID-19.

Dan Orr, 46, was arrested Tuesday, Feb. 2 and charged with mischief. He’s accused of interfering “with someone’s lawful enjoyment of their property.”

Paralegal John Robinson, who has represented the accused on other issues with The Care Centre, tells Cornwall Newswatch, Orr was afraid for the safety of people in the congregate living building after one of the tenant’s was admitted to hospital with COVID-19.

Robinson is familiar with the situation but is not representing Orr in the criminal proceeding.

The woman was released from the Cornwall Community Hospital but Orr wanted proof of a negative test before allowing her to return in the congregate style building on Second Street East, according to emails supplied by Robinson.

Six days before the charge was laid (Wednesday, Jan. 27), Orr had emailed Police Chief Danny Aikman and the Eastern Ontario Health Unit Executive Assistant Nicole Desautels for Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis expressing concern about the health and safety of residents.

“Can you please ask your officers not to force someone who is testing positive into a congregate style of living,” Orr wrote the police chief, noting that they would “gladly welcome her” with proof of a negative test. He also asked the EOHU to contact him saying he was “very afraid for the health and safety” of residents. It’s not known whether the EOHU contacted The Care Centre or Orr.

“Here’s a guy trying to protect the rights of everyone who’s living in a vulnerable setting from potential reinfection,” Robinson tells Cornwall Newswatch. “He wants confirmation that it’s safe for her to return, not just some cops who don’t know anything.”

CCH: Patient can test positive days after leaving hospital but not a threat

Cornwall Community Hospital CEO Jeanette Despatie tells Cornwall Newswatch a patient that is hospitalized with COVID-19 can’t return to a long-term care home, retirement home or congregate living situation until the hospital gets authorization from the health unit.

“They make that determination on whether these people can return to a safe environment. But a negative test is not one of the criteria and the reason is…most people will continue to test positive for some time but they are not shedding the virus, they’re not contagious,” Despatie explained.

“It might well be that you continue to test positive but you’re of no risk to others. That’s one of the reasons we wouldn’t have people wait for a negative test to be able to be discharged.”

Despatie adds the health unit works to ensure the safety of the congregate living facility.

Orr will make his first court appearance April 13.