The situation in local nursing homes throughout the province continues to escalate, as deaths from confirmed cases mount while military support has been called in to help frontline workers. Schlegel Villages, the management group behind the Village of Erin Meadows longterm facility in Mississauga, announced earlier this week that a total of ten residents had passed away from COVID-19.
The facility, located in the Winston Churchill/Eglinton area, made the news last week after an outbreak was declared amid patients and staff. As of Wednesday afternoon, 19 staff members at the home were confirmed positive for the virus, 89 residents had received negative test results from Peel Public Health, and 44 cases were still confirmed positive within the home. Neighbouring facility Erin Mills Lodge has seen seven confirmed cases of the virus. Two sites operated by the Region of Peel, including Sheridan Villa and Peel Manor both confirmed one death from the virus, as of Wednesday. Erin Meadows is one of six long-term care facilities owned by Schlegel which are currently dealing with outbreak situations, including the Humber Heights retirement facility in Toronto, which had 42 confirmed cases of the virus, out of a population of 250 residents, as of Wednesday afternoon.
“We remain encouraged by the fact that with the exception of slight increases in positive cases in the Village of Erin Meadows, there have been no changes in status at The Village of University Gates in Waterloo, the Village of Winston Park in Kitchener, Maynard Nursing Home in Toronto or in the retirement neighbourhood at Humber Heights,” Schlegel spokesperson Anneliese Krueger said during a status update Wednesday afternoon. “There have been many negative tests returned at many of our Villages, including 89 negative test results at Erin Meadows. This is a testament to the efforts of our dedicated teams and our strict infection control protocols and we are grateful for the continued efforts of our teams and residents and for the ongoing encouragement of families, friends and neighbours.”
An increase in testing methods is being prioritized by public health authorities, Krueger said last week, which will help the management team better understand the situation. “With more comprehensive testing, health officials expect to see increased positives and this knowledge will better prepare us to care for and support residents and team members,” said Krueger. The announcement of the updated figures came on the same day that the province announced stronger supports to aid long-term homes, including a formal request to the Canadian military to provide medical personnel to aid in the influx of cases.
“We must continue to act swiftly and decisively to keep our loved ones in longterm care safe, as well as their caregivers,” said Minister of Long-Term care Dr. Merrilee Fullerton about the supports, which include a 24/7 response team that will be deployed to homes as needed, additional testing of asymptomatic residents at 20 sites, and partnering with local hospitals to support critical facilities as needed.
“Our long-term care homes continue to be the front-lines of this pandemic and we must continue to work around the clock to assist all our dedicated staff during this crisis.” The province has currently conducted an approximate 11,600 tests for the virus in longterm care facilities, for both symptomatic and asymptomatic residents, as of Wednesday.