COVID-19: 2nd death at Empress Gardens Retirement Residence in Peterborough, 11 new cases for region

A second resident at Empress Gardens Retirement Residence in Peterborough has died of COVID-19. File

A second resident at Empress Gardens Retirement Residence has died of COVID-19, the home reported on Thursday.

The resident died in hospital on Thursday morning, according to executive director Renee Nixon. It’s the second death in less than a week after a woman in her 80s died in hospital over the Easter weekend. An outbreak was declared at the home on March 22 after a staff member tested positive.

Peterborough Public Health said Thursday there have been up to eight cases connected to the outbreak. The home said two cases have been resolved and four are active with “mild symptoms.”

Read more: COVID-19: April vaccine supply for Peterborough area ‘nearly all gone’

“With heavy hearts, we share that a second resident has passed away in hospital this morning, due to complications arising from COVID-19,” stated Nixon.

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“The resident tested positive in late March and was transferred to hospital last weekend when their symptoms worsened. Despite the best efforts of the care teams here at Empress Gardens and the PRHC, the resident was unable to overcome the virus. Our thoughts and prayers are with the resident’s family at this difficult time.

“With the second-dose vaccine clinic now being a week ago, residents should experience increasing protection from the vaccine,” she added. “This is a sad day. We lost a valued member of the Empress Gardens family and extend our deepest sympathy to that resident’s family, friends, and loved ones.”

The health unit reported that the death is its 12th since the pandemic was declared in March 2020.


Case data for April 8, 2021. Peterborough Public Health

On Thursday, the health unit also reported 11 new cases and an additional 12 variant cases on its COVID tracker at 4:29 p.m. There are now 92 active cases of COVID-19, up from 89 reported on Wednesday.

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“What’s equally concerning is that this jump is not due to an outbreak in a particular setting, rather from individuals who aren’t sure where they were exposed,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, medical officer of health, during her Thursday media briefing, referencing the steady increase in cases over the past few weeks.

The health unit also reported that of its 960 cumulative cases, 264 are variant of concern cases, up from 252 reported about 24 hours earlier. The first confirmed variant of concern was reported on Feb. 23.

Of the health unit’s 960 cases, 856 are now declared resolved — approximately 89 per cent.

Active outbreaks in the health unit’s jurisdiction, which Salvaterra said were all “stable” include:

  • Thomas A. Stewart Secondary School: Declared Sunday — three cases as of Thursday morning, according to the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board. Unchanged. Two student cohorts have been impacted, one assessed as high-risk and will quarantine until April 14, said Salvaterra.
  • Champlain College Annex at Trent University: Declared April 3 with three cases.
  • Empress Gardens Retirement Residence: Declared March 22 after one employee tested positive. Two residents have died in hospital due to COVID-19 complications. Salvaterra reported eight cases as of Thursday morning.
  • Two workplace outbreaks: Declared March 31, locations not identified by the health unit. Ontario’s COVID outbreak database lists one case under congregate care and another under education.

Since the pandemic was declared, the health unit has dealt with 213 COVID-19 cases associated with 34 outbreaks — 211 cases were reported on Wednesday.

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Other COVID-19 data for Thursday:

  • Other school cases: One case each at Kenner Collegiate, Holy Cross Catholic Secondary St. Anne Catholic Elementary, St. Peter Catholic Secondary all in Peterborough.
  • Close contacts: 257, up from 246 on Wednesday.
  • 32 local cases have required hospitalized care since the pandemic was declared — one more since Wednesday; five required the intensive care unit — unchanged since Monday.
  • Fleming College: Reports no cases related to its Sutherland Campus in the city.
  • Trent University: Reports at 4:30 p.m. seven active cases — unchanged from Tuesday. All seven cases are in student residence. The university states “not all active cases may be related to the current outbreak at Champlain College Annex.”
  • Peterborough Regional Health Centre: Reports 12 COVID-19 inpatients — one more since Tuesday. There have been 33 patient transfers from other areas — up from 27 reported on Wednesday.
  • Death toll: 12 since the pandemic was declared, two linked to outbreak at Empress Gardens Retirement Residence; one to the Severn Court Student Residence outbreak in Peterborough; three associated with a November 2020 outbreak at Fairhaven long-term care in Peterborough.
  • More than 47,500 people have been tested for COVID-19 as of Wednesday’s update.

Stay-at-home order

Under Ontario’s latest month long stay-at-home order which began Thursday, Salvaterra urged families not travel during next week’s April Break, rather stay home or go outside for activities together. She also asked that grandparents refrain from visiting their families or have their families visit — even if they have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose.

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Read more: COVID-19: 2 Peterborough homeowners charged for March party involving group of teens

“I’m going to ask you to hold off for the next four weeks,” she said. “I know this is hard, this is frustrating. We are so close to the end of this pandemic that we can taste it. But we need this one last effort, this one last spring to bring the outbreak under control and to buy enough time to build enough immunity in our most vulnerable and at-risk community members.”


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