Pickering long-term care home reports 31 deaths related to COVID-19, up from 4 last week

Orchard Villa Retirement Residence in Pickering, Ont. has reported that 31 residents have died as of Monday due to “complications related to COVID-19” — a startling jump from the four deaths reported by the facility last week.

The home confirmed that an additional 98 residents and 24 staff have also tested positive for the virus in long-term care. There are another 17 positive cases among residents and six among staff in the facility’s retirement home.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our residents and we extend our sincere condolences to their family and friends,” April Beckett, the home’s acting executive director, said in a statement.

“Our main focus remains on the care and safety of our residents.”

Beckett said all residents have now been tested, and the facility expects to receive the remaining results over the next five days.

She added that Orchard Villa is “continuing its efforts to reduce transmission” by conducting two temperature checks per resident each day.

“In the event of positive test results, our first priority is to make sure the resident is receiving adequate care for their symptoms and that their family is informed,” Beckett wrote in the statement.

The facility says it has reached out to the provincial government, local hospitals and Ontario Health for assistance in finding additional staff, equipment and care for residents.

Ontario expanding testing in long-term care homes

The jump in cases at Orchard Villa comes as the Ontario government attempts to ramp up COVID-19 testing at long-term care homes across the province.

New modelling numbers released by health officials Monday show that while community cases of the novel coronavirus seem to have peaked, cases in long-term care homes are still on the rise.

The province has now tested all residents and staff, including those without symptoms, at 21 long-term care homes in Ontario, health officials said Monday.

On Tuesday, the province announced it’s investing $11 million to help deliver meals, medicines and other essentials to Ontario’s most vulnerable — including seniors — and doubling the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payments.

“Our seniors and people with disabilities are the most at risk during this crisis, and we must go above and beyond to ensure they get financial relief, food, medicine and other essentials without delay,” Premier Doug Ford said in a statement.

Ford acknowledged Tuesday that changes do need to be made within the province’s long-term care system.

“I’m the person who’s going to be held accountable no matter which way this goes,” he said.

Meanwhile in Toronto, the city received a shipment of three million surgical masks that will primarily be dedicated to long-term care homes and shelters.


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