Toronto long-term care home grappling with outbreak reports 29 active COVID-19 cases, including 1 death

A Toronto long-term care home that saw just two COVID-19 cases earlier this year is now dealing with 22 residents and seven staff members with confirmed cases, as well as one death, in the past week.

Fairview Nursing Home, a long-term care home in the Dundas Street West and Dufferin Street area, saw a recent spike in cases this month.

A spokesperson for Schlegel Villages, the organization that runs Fairview Nursing Home along with other long-term care facilities across the province, confirmed the total number of cases with CBC News Tuesday.

“Fairview Nursing home has been in full outbreak protocol since the first two positive team member cases were detected on Sept. 15,” Kristian Partington said in an email to CBC Toronto.

“The team is following every Infection and Control Protocol to the letter, with deep cleaning underway consistently, resident and team member cohorting and isolation in place and very strict surveillance of everyone connected to our home.”

In his statement, Partington also acknowledged the death of a patient at the home.

“Over the weekend a resident who had tested positive for COVID-19 passed away and our deepest condolences go out to loved ones,” he said.

“This resident had been supported by the team in palliative care before testing positive for COVID-19 but will still fall into the province’s COVID-19 tracking.” 

He said it was the first COVID-19-related death at the home, and that none of the other 29 individuals who tested positive within the facility seem seriously ill so far.

“No one is showing anything more than minor symptoms and we certainly hope this continues.”

On the same day the outbreak at Fairview was detected, Ontario saw an increase of 14.71 per cent in outbreaks in long-term care homes. This includes 46 long-term care homes and 78 confirmed active cases among residents.

Partington said there has only been one other COVID-19 outbreak declared at the home: one that occurred between Jun. 15 and Jun. 30 when two employees tested positive.

However, he said no residents tested positive during that period and Toronto Public Health declared the outbreak resolved on Jun. 30.

A resident of Toronto’s Fairview Nursing Home leaves with paramedics on Sept. 29, 2020 — the same day Premier Doug Ford announced a plan to scale back visitations to care homes to curb a spike in cases. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Ontario Premier Doug Ford also announced on Tuesday that the province will be investing $540 million into the long-term care sector.

The funding will go toward helping facilities with containment measures, staffing supports, renovations for infection control, and getting personal protective equipment.

Additionally, Ford said that long-term care homes in the province’s COVID-19 hotspots will be restricted to staff, essential visitors and essential caregivers only.

“There are a number of outstanding tests with University Health Network and Public Health we are awaiting,” said Partington.

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