There are now coronavirus outbreaks at four long-term care facilities and at one retirement home in the Simcoe Muskoka region.
The most recent outbreak reported by the local health unit is at the Bayview Retirement Home in Waubaushene, Ont., where one staff member has tested positive for COVID-19, according to Dr. Charles Gardner, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s medical officer of health.
“I have no doubt that this virus is freely circulating in all of our communities, including Waubaushene,” Gardner said at a telepress conference Wednesday.
“One is most likely to acquire the infection from the community, even if you’re a health-care worker.”
Owen Hill Care Community in Barrie, Ont., which is owned by Sienna Senior Living, now has 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 — four in staff and seven in residents.
Another Sienna Senior Living long-term care facility, Bradford Valley Care Community in Bradford, Ont., has 45 cases of the novel coronavirus — 34 in residents and 11 in staff members. Seven of the residents at the facility have died.
There are also outbreaks at two additional long-term care centres in Barrie, Ont., — IOOF Odd Fellow & Rebekah Home and the Woods Park Care Centre.
“Long-term care facilities have people who are older, people who have serious medical conditions, and they’re more vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19,” Gardner said.
“We see more severe manifestations, and then they’re more likely to have severe outcomes, require hospitalizations and are much more likely to die from this.”
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has reported a total of seven deaths related to COVID-19 in long-term care homes — almost half of the health unit’s total number of coronavirus-related deaths, which stand at 15.
According to Ontario’s Ministry of Long-Term Care, there have been 775 deaths reported among residents and patients in long-term care facilities across the province, in addition to 159 outbreaks.
The ministry also said there are 2,632 confirmed coronavirus cases among long-term care residents and 1,361 cases among staff.