The Canadian military arrived at five different Ontario long-term care homes that are struggling with COVID-19 outbreaks on Friday.
The armed forces were deployed to Orchard Villa in Pickering, Altamont Care Community in Scarborough, Eatonville in Etobicoke, Hawthorne Place in North York and at Holland Christian Homes’ Grace Manor in Brampton.
A spokesperson for the Ontario government said conditions in other long-term care and retirement homes will continue to be monitored and military may be placed at other locations, as well.
“Our top priority is ensuring the staff at these long-term care homes can focus on providing care and have the resources they need to combat the spread of this virus,” a statement read.
“We are asking everyone to respect the privacy of these long-term care homes. At this time, it is critical the dedicated and hard-working staff in these homes operate in an environment free from outside distractions so they can focus on saving lives and delivering quality care to their residents.”
Premier Doug Ford became visibly upset at a press conference on Thursday when asked about whether Ontario had failed residents in care homes, whose deaths have accounted for more than half of the province’s total.
It was confirmed shortly after Ford spoke that his mother-in-law, who is a resident at a long-term care home facility, had tested positive for COVID-19.
The federal government confirmed Thursday that it had approved the Ontario government’s request for military aid at long-term care homes with operational needs.
According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care on Friday, there have been 573 deaths reported among residents and patients in long-term care homes across Ontario, which is up by 57 deaths, and there are 131 outbreaks.
The ministry also indicated there are 2,287 confirmed cases among long-term care residents and 1,089 cases among staff.
As of Friday morning, Ontario reported 13,519 cases of coronavirus and 763 deaths total.