Pen pal project supporting Bobcaygeon, Ont., long-term care rebounding from COVID-19 outbreak

A new pen pal project has been launched to write to residents of Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, Ont. Facebook

A new pen pal initiative has been launched for the community to write letters to residents of a Bobcaygeon, Ont., long-term care home recovering from a deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Last Friday, health officials declared the two-month-long outbreak over at Pinecrest Nursing Home, but not before the virus claimed the lives of 28 residents at the 65-bed facility (approximately 43 per cent) and one spouse of a resident. It also infected more than two dozen staff.

READ MORE: Coronavirus outbreak declared over at Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon

Facility administrator Mary Carr said on Friday that staff members continue to rejoin the team and assist in an ongoing “spring cleaning” effort.

“Our residents are happy to see familiar faces in the home and we are so glad to see our staff recovered and healthy,” she said.

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Carr said a new letter-sharing group called the Caring and Connecting Pen Pal Initiative invites the community to write letters to Pinecrest residents. The project was launched by residents in nearby Fenelon Falls, she said.

“Residents can respond if they wish, but the primary goal is to connect residents with the community and boost spirits with cheerful and uplifting letters,” said Carr.

“Some residents will receive their very first letter this weekend and I know that they will appreciate this connection as social-distancing measures remain in place following public health’s ongoing isolation directives.”

To participate in the letter writing, send a letter via email to

Carr also noted that over the past week residents have been enjoying their outdoor walks and a few families have been busy planting flowers in the building’s front gardens for residents “to enjoy during what we hope will be a bright and healthy summer.”

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