COVID-19 death toll at Toronto long-term care home climbs to 39

TORONTO — Thirteen more residents have died at a Scarborough long-term care home dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak.

North York General Hospital, which is temporarily managing Tendercare Living Centre, said a total of 39 residents have died from the novel coronavirus as of Saturday, which is up from the 26 deaths reported earlier this week.

The hospital said there are currently 116 residents and 77 staff members infected with COVID-19.

The current outbreak at the facility located in the area of Victoria Park and McNicoll avenues was declared on Dec. 4. The home had two previous COVID-19 outbreaks earlier this year.

“North York General is committed to supporting Tendercare to successfully resolve the outbreak and reduce the impact of this terrible virus on the residents and staff at the home,” Karyn Popovich, interim president and CEO at North York General Hospital, said in a statement.

“Our expert team of physicians, nurses and other professionals are already enhancing patient care and providing infection control oversight, support and education.”

A senior manager from the hospital has been appointed to oversee the outbreak response. Additional physicians have also been brought into the facility to help stabilize the cases.

“Education and training for staff and physicians working at the long-term care home is well underway. They are receiving intensive training and education in infection prevention and control best practices and protocols, including proper donning and doffing of PPE and continuous cleaning of spaces and equipment,” the hospital said.

An inspection conducted by the Ministry of Long-Term Care last week found “inconsistent” infection prevention and control practices at the home.

The hospital said it is making every effort to separate COVID-19 positive residents from those who do not have the disease.

A team of housekeepers and environment cleaning staff has also been brought into the facility to conduct a deep clean, the hospital noted.

Meanwhile, management is working to provide families with timely information about the situation at the home.

“A COVID-19 outbreak is extremely difficult to mitigate when case rates in the surrounding community are high. Tendercare has been hard-hit by the virus and as a result, a significant number of staff are infected and have been forced to isolate,” Francis Martis, the home’s executive director, said in a statement.

“Our teams will be collaborating with the physicians, clinicians and infection control experts provided by North York General Hospital to clear the virus from our home as quickly as possible, while reducing the current pressures on our staff as they work to care for our residents. Our responsibility to our residents and the people who love them is paramount.”

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