Long-term care home in Toronto reports 5 dead of COVID-19

A long-term care home in the northwest end of Toronto is reporting that five of its residents have now died of COVID-19.

Three residents died overnight at Hawthorne Place Care Centre, executive director Gale Coburn said in a statement on Tuesday. The centre has 51 positive cases, she added.

Coburn said the home, located on Finch Avenue West near Highway 400, has notified the families of the residents who died and she expressed her condolences.

Staff at the home are now speaking daily to Toronto Public Health officials, she added.

“Hawthorne Place has implemented all precautionary protocols and medical directives from Public Health, including increased cleaning, screening, and isolation measures,” she said.

“Residents’ temperatures are checked at least twice a day, staff are required to wear personal protective equipment at all times, and they are screened when they enter and leave the home.”

While public health officials in Ontario say the community spread of COVID-19 appears to have peaked, the number of cases in long-term care homes continues to grow.

“We’re at peak in the community, but still in that accelerating upswing of the curve in long-term care,” said Adalsteinn Brown, dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto on Monday.

Every resident tested

In Ontario, at least 399 long-term care residents and one staff member have died amid outbreaks at 128 facilities, the Canadian Press reported on Tuesday.

Coburn said every resident in Hawthorne Place Care Centre, which has 215 beds, has been tested for the virus.

“We are pleased that Public Health has now tested every resident in our home, regardless of whether they showed symptoms or not, and test results continue to be received,” she said.

“As per normal practice, our team is contacting the families whose loved one tested positive or has a change in their health status.”

Hawthorne Place Care Centre, along with Eatonville Care Centre in Toronto and Anson Place Care Centre in Hagersville, Ont., has been named in court documents filed by the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA).

The union is asking a Superior Court judge to order that the homes comply with provincial infection control and health standards.

Court documents filed on Friday allege that nurses did not have proper access to personal protective equipment (PPE), symptomatic residents were not isolated and then infected healthy residents and staff, and there was a lack of communication with staff and families.

A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Two types of outbreaks

Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s medical officer of health, has said the city has two distinct outbreaks, one in the general community and the other in congregate settings, which include long-term care homes.

Hospitalizations have been driven by cases in the community, while deaths have been driven by cases in congregate settings, de Villa said on Monday.

At a daily news briefing by city officials on Tuesday, she said “part of our core work in public health” is managing the outbreaks and monitoring what is occurring to adjust public health actions as needed.

“The city is looking to support the ten long-term care homes it operates through the redeployment of some members of my team at Toronto Public Health, particularly registered nurses and registered practical nurses, whose unique skills are needed to provide care to some of our city’s most vulnerable residents,” De Villa said.


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