Coronavirus case count at Simcoe Manor nursing home climbs to 68

Click to play video 'Ontario’s patient ombudsman warns of another long-term care home disaster' Ontario’s patient ombudsman warns of another long-term care home disaster
Cathy Fooks, Ontario's patient ombudsman, has released a series of recommendations for long-term care homes, warning that the system is poised to have a second COVID-19 catastrophe – Oct 8, 2020

As of Sunday evening, 40 residents and 28 staff members at the Simcoe Manor long-term care home in Beeton, Ont., have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Six residents have died as a result of COVID-19, while the County of Simcoe, which operates the nursing home, says it’s working with public health to make sure it’s receiving coronavirus test results as fast as possible.

Read more: Almost 60 COVID-19 cases, five deaths now reported at Simcoe Manor long-term care home

“This is also a reminder that we must continue to follow all PPE (personal protective equipment) guidelines,” the county says. “PPE remains our best tool in the fight against this virus.”

Last week, Ontario’s Ministry of Long-Term Care issued an order at Simcoe County’s request, appointing the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) to manage Simcoe Manor for 90 days.

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This comes after a previous order by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, which directed RVH to oversee infection control response to the outbreak, which was initially declared on Oct. 2.

Read more: ‘We still have an acute staffing shortage,’ Ontario’s long-term care commission hears

On Friday, the County of Simcoe said the majority of Simcoe Manor’s COVID-19 cases happened either on or before the mass testing dates at the beginning of the outbreak. Test results came back over the following week due to an increase in testing demand across the province.

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The county said it’s now using RVH’s rapid testing system to access results.

Ontario’s long-term care and retirement homes have been at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic in the province.

Read more: Ontario government deciding which long-term care homes to get Red Cross support

Recently, an independent commission heard that Ontario’s nursing homes are dealing with staffing shortages and may not be ready for the province’s second wave of COVID-19.

In the spring, the Canadian military released a startling report, alleging neglect, abuse and failure to implement necessary infection control measures at several long-term care facilities across the province.

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Last week, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the province is deciding which homes should receive help from the Canadian Red Cross.