The Ontario Health Coalition has been tracking the number of residents and staff infected with COVID-19 in long-term care homes as well as the number of health care workers who have contracted the virus, listed by town across Ontario. Distressingly, the list has grown significantly since last week, the Coalition notes, particularly in the province’s long-term care homes. For the most recent update see here: https://www.
“Care workers at all levels and across the continuum of care are concerned for their safety, the safety of their families and the safety of their patients,” said Natalie Mehra, executive director. “The spread of COVID-19 in the nursing homes is frightening for residents and their families and also for staff who are contracting the virus in increasing numbers. From hospitals to home care staff are also reporting that they are facing rigorous rationing of personal protective equipment (PPE). Care workers in multiple health care settings, long-term care residents and their families are upset and scared and want to know what concretely is being done to address their needs.”
“Even before COVID-19 there was a staffing crisis in long-term care. Every home, virtually every shift was working short-staffed,” added Ms. Mehra. “Many PSWs could not get full-time work and had to work in multiple workplaces. Families have to hire in extra caregivers who also travel between clients and facilities. In this situation, this make the virus even more difficult to contain and it makes the burden of work in the homes very very hard indeed.”
The Coalition noted that the Ford government has passed regulations under their special emergency legislation enabling the homes (and hospitals) to bring in lesser trained or untrained staff and volunteers. The Coalition, which released a report on the staffing crisis with evidence from cross-Ontario roundtables over the last year in which they consulted with more than 350 front-line long term care PSWs, home administrators, PSW college course administrators, family councils and advocates, reported that this is the opposite of what they have been calling for.
“Obviously we are in a whole new level of crisis and we understand that more help is desperately needed,” concluded Ms. Mehra. “We are asking the Ontario government to tell Ontario health care staff exactly when more PPE is coming, and to commit to ensuring that staff are protected with N95 masks as they are calling for. In addition, immediate action needs to be taken to support the long-term care workforce, not simply to deregulate and undermine the existing staff, but to get them into full-time work, improve their wages and conditions, and help the homes recruit more staff urgently. It is not enough to call them heroes. They need real support and protection and so do their patients.”
In the meantime, Ontario announced additional support to protect health care workers in this March 30 press release.
Ontario is taking further action to protect frontline nurses and to recognize their clinical training and experience to help to keep Ontarians and hospitals safe and healthy during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The province, in collaboration with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, and in consultation with the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA), Ontario Health and the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA), is issuing a directive on health and safety standards for frontline nurses in hospitals in order to prevent exposure to and transmission of COVID-19. These standards have been developed with the guidance of clinically trained frontline nurses, hospital leaders and public health experts.
“It is critical that we are protecting our frontline nurses who are fighting to protect us from COVID-19 every day,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “We are collaborating with our partners in the health system to implement this new directive to ensure that nurses have the protection they need to safely provide the best care for their patients.”
This directive outlines:
- Precautions for interactions with suspected, presumed or confirmed COVID-19 patients, including relying on the clinical education and training that nurses receive to use their professional and clinical judgement;
- Point-of-care risk assessments for every patient interaction to assess appropriate health and safety measures; and
- Training on safe use of all personal protective equipment (PPE).
The directive also addresses the ongoing stewardship and conservation of the current level of PPE supplies as the government aggressively pursues all available efforts to increase this supply to ensure the appropriate health and safety control measures are in place to mitigate the transmission of infections. A joint statement from the province, the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the ONA can be found here.
- As part of Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, the province is investing $75 million to supply personal protective equipment and critical medical supplies to frontline staff.
- A new website, Ontario Together, will help the government partner with Ontario’s manufacturing sector to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak and redirect resources towards the production of essential equipment such as ventilators, masks and swabs.
- Everyone in Ontario should stay home unless absolutely necessary and practice physical distancing to reduce their exposure to other people. Avoid close contact (within 2 metres) with people outside of your immediate families.
- If you think you may have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, first self-isolate and then use Ontario’s Self-Assessment Tool to see if you need to seek further care.
The Ontario Health Coalition has provided the following list derived from the public reports that it has found regarding hospital staff and long-term care staff and residents that have tested positive.
March 28 2020- Ontario chief medical officer Dr. David Williams said 91 health-care workers in Ontario had tested positive for COVID-19 since the end of January. He said they were unable to confirm how many of those people were exposed or infected on the job at the health-care facilities. We were able to find some details on more than 50 of those cases below. Outbreaks in long-term care homes among residents and staff have grown tragically since our last update. It appears now that some homes are not testing all residents who are sick after the first three (or more) test positive.
March 30 2020- The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit said it was monitoring a novel coronavirus outbreak at a long-term care home in Almonte, Ont. Three residents and one staff member at Almonte Country Haven have tested positive for COVID-19.
- March 20 2020- Three residents of a long-term care home in the village of Bobcaygeon northeast of Lindsay, two men, ages 89 and 61 and a 94-year-old woman, had tested positive for COVID-19. Late Friday afternoon, Dr. Lynn Noseworthy, medical officer of health for the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, said the residents live at Pinecrest Nursing Home.
- March 26 2020- Fourteen employees of Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon had tested positive for COVID-19. Two residents died; one on Tuesday March 24, and one on Wednesday March 25. Sixteen more staff and thirty-five more residents were also showing symptoms. Test results for the sixteen staff were pending. It was not clear how many residents or staff may have had COVID-19 because testing was limited only to residents and staff who showed symptoms. On March 26 it was reported that Public Health had found thirty-five epidemiologically linked cases with symptoms among the residents.
- March 29 2020- Seven more Pinecrest residents had died over the weekend as of Sunday evening (March 29), according to Dr. Michelle Snarr, the facility’s medical director, and Dr. Steve Oldridge, a local doctor also treating the residents. All were presumed to have died of COVID-19. A total of 17 staff members had tested positive as of Sunday March 29, with more results pending.
March 30 2020- Lori Marshall, president and CEO at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance hospitals, said that 100 staff and 17 physicians were currently on self-isolation at home.
March 26 2020- Four health care workers at Guelph General Hospital (GGH) were infected and more are expected, said Marianne Walker, CEO of GGH. GGH and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health declared an outbreak of COVID-19 on a ward (4E) at the hospital.
Haldimand and Norfolk
March 29 2020- A resident from Anson Place, retirement and long-term care facility in Hagersville, was the area’s first death due to the novel coronavirus. The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit said that the person had died after being admitted to West Haldimand Hospital in Hagersville.
- March 11 2020- A 32-year-old radiation oncologist with the Hamilton Health Sciences’ Juravinski Cancer Centre went into self-isolation in Burlington after testing for COVID-19. She had recently returned from Hawaii. Her husband, a surgeon at St. Joseph’s Healthcare, tested negative.
- March 21 2020- Hamilton Public Health has declared a coronavirus outbreak at Heritage Green Nursing Home in Stoney Creek on Saturday March 21. The nursing home confirmed two cases: an 80 year-old resident reported on Wednesday March 18, and a 55 year-old resident confirmed on Thursday March 19.
- March 24 2020- The 80-year-old Heritage Green Nursing Home resident passed away.
- March 26 2020- A dialysis nurse at St. Joseph’s Healthcare and Hamilton General Hospital tested positive for COVID-19. 
- March 28 2020- A case reported March 28 was a nurse who worked at McMaster Children’s Hospital, according to a spokesperson for Hamilton Health Sciences.
Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington
- March 25 2020- Lakelands Family Health Team, based in Northbrook, Ont., in Addington Highlands, was forced to close its doors after a health care worker at their centre was diagnosed with COVID-19. Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Public Health said that one other health care clinic in their catchment area had a health care professional diagnosed with COVID-19 and had closed, but they would not be identifying it.
- March 30 2020- KFL&A Public Health said at least three cases were found in health-care workers, including one at a family health clinic in Northbrook, Ont., and another at Kingston General Hospital. It is unclear where the third health-care worker is employed.
March 21 2020- More than 50 nurses at St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener were exposed to a patient who tested positive on Thursday March 19, and the six staff who demonstrated symptoms were referred to public health for “fast track testing”.
- March 20 2020- Public health officials in London announced that a primary health care worker at Strathroy Medical Clinic was Middlesex-London’s second case. She went into isolation.
- March 20 2020- London-area public health officials announced a nurse in her 20s at London Health Sciences Centre’s University Hospital tested positive for the virus after returning from a trip to Las Vegas. She was in self-isolation. Several of her colleagues were also sent home for isolation as a precaution.
- March 29 2020- One of six cases announced Sunday March 29 in the London Region was in a long-term care home, as reported by the Middlesex-London Health Unit.
- March 21 2020- A resident at Markhaven Home for Seniors in Markham tested positive for coronavirus, as confirmed by the City of Markham.
- March 23 2020- A worker at Markhaven Home for Seniors in Markham tested positive for coronavirus.
- March 25 2020- Public health officials announced that now there were three staff members at Markhaven who had tested positive for COVID-19. Two of the workers were residents of York Region, while the other lived in Toronto, and all were in self-isolation.
March 14 2020- A health care professional from Lennox and Addington County General Hospital has tested positive and was sent home for isolation. They had returned from Barbados within the last two weeks, according to Dr. Kieran Moore, medical officer of health for KFL&A Public Health. 
- March 19 2020- The Region of Durham said two women, who are 80 and 92, and two men, who are 68 and 71, at the Hillsdale Terraces Long-Term Care Home in Oshawa tested positive for the virus on Wednesday March 18. All of the residents were being treated at the facility and were in isolation.
- March 23 2020- The 92-year-old woman at Hillsdale Terraces Long-Term Care Home died in hospital, as confirmed by Durham Region Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Kyle.
- March 26 2020- A total of eight residents of the Hillsdale Terraces seniors’ home in Oshawa were now confirmed as having COVID-19, according to the Durham Region Health Department. The home has 28 residents in total and does not intend to test the rest, but were instead isolating everyone.
- March 18 2020- A Health Canada employee at Tunney’s Pasture tested positive for COVID-19, the department confirmed Wednesday March 18. The employee went into self-isolation.
- March 22 2020- A health care worker at the Ottawa Hospital tested positive for the virus by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit. The man was in his 30s, lived in Prescott-Russell and was in self-isolation.
- March 27 2020- Ottawa Public Health said a resident at the Promenade retirement residence in Orleans tested positive for novel coronavirus. The individual and their spouse, who also lived at the Promenade retirement residence, were being treated in hospital.
- March 29 2020- A health care worker at Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) tested positive for COVID-19. In a statement on its website, CHEO said the individual worked in an Ambulatory Care clinic, and that he was in self-isolation and doing well.
- March 29 2020- There was also a confirmed COVID-19 case at a second retirement residence in Ottawa, this time at the Maplewood Retirement Community.
- March 30 2020- The resident at the Promenade Retirement Residence who tested positive died. Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches said that there were five confirmed cases at that long-term care home.
- March 26 2020- A female resident in her 90s at a St. Joseph’s at Fleming, a Peterborough long-term care home, has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Peterborough Public Health also confirmed that a staff member at the long-term care home who had symptoms was referred to community paramedics for in-home testing, and was self-isolating at home. 
- March 30 2020- Three staff members from St. Joseph’s at Fleming were in isolation.
- March 30 2020 Peterborough Public Health announced that there had been 15 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 since Friday March 27, and that one was suspected to be an occupational exposure for a health-care worker who worked outside the city.
- March 25 2020- A resident at a retirement home has been declared to be the first case in Renfrew County, west of Ottawa. She was in her 90s, and in isolation in Pembroke Regional Hospital.
- March 29 2020- Renfrew County and District Health Unit confirmed that the resident from the retirement home had passed away.
- March 28 2020- A woman in her late 40s from St. Marys (southwest of Stratford) who worked in health care was announced as one of three new cases by Huron Perth Public Health.
- March 30 2020- The Chief Medical Officer for Revera confirmed that a resident tested positive at Hillside Manor Long Term Care Home, in the Stratford area. Dr. Rhonda Collins adds one other resident with symptoms tested negative and they were waiting on the test results for a third resident.
March 27 2020- A resident at Landmark Village in Sarnia was confirmed as a new case. The was admitted to Bluewater Health March 20, said Steeves & Rozema CEO John Scotland. The independent living retirement home has since sent three to five staff members who came in contact with the man home to self-isolate and self-monitor for 14 days.
March 25 2020- A man in his 80s who was a resident at Ina Grafton Gage Village, a retirement home in St. Catharines, has passed away. He was being treated at Niagara Health – St. Catharines Site.[44
- March 20 2020- A Toronto paramedic tested positive for COVID-19 as reported by Toronto Public Health on Friday March 20. They were at home in isolation.
- March 20 2020- A resident at Seven Oaks long-term care home in Scarborough was among to 60 new cases that were reported on Friday March 20.
- March 22 2020- 13 health care workers in Toronto were confirmed to have had the virus including doctors, nurses, and personal support workers from various health care settings. This number was confirmed by Dr. Michael Finkelstein, Toronto’s acting director of communicable disease control and associate medical officer of health.
- March 25 2020- Three residents of St. Clair-O’Connor Nursing Home in East Toronto had the respiratory illness COVID-19. An outbreak at the home was declared on Saturday March 22.
- March 25 2020- Two residents of Seven Oaks long-term care home in Scarborough had died, confirmed by Toronto’s medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa. Of the 249 residents at Seven Oaks, nine were confirmed to have had the virus and four others were “presumed” cases. There were also four staff confirmed positive for COVID-19.
- March 25 2020- An 80-year-old resident at Kensington Gardens, a long-term care home in Toronto, has tested positive for COVID-19. The home confirmed that she was in isolation in her room.
- March 30 2020- Multiple people working at Toronto Public Health had tested positive for COVID-19. Officials within the public health unit, located in downtown Toronto, confirmed the positive cases within the Public Health Unit on Monday March 30.
March 27 2020- Seasons Welland, a retirement community, has declared a COVID-19 outbreak on the Niagara Region website as of Friday March 27.
March 18 2020- The test results of an employee at Woodstock General Hospital were confirmed as positive by the Brant County Health Unit on Tuesday March 17. The employee, in her 40s, worked at the hospital from March 9 to March 11, and was said to have had limited patient contact.  CBC News staff. 151 new COVID-19 cases in Ontario as province cracks down on price gouging, large gatherings. CBC News. March 28 2020. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/151-new-covid-19-cases-in-ontario-as-province-cracks-down-on-price-gouging-large-gatherings-1.5513554 Lindsay Advocate Q & A with health unit: Pincecrest Nursing Home challenged by small size in COVID-19 outbreak, March 26, 2020  Mazur, Alexandra. 3 residents, 1 staff member test positive for COVID-19 in Almonte, Ont., long-term care home. Global News. March 30 2020. https://globalnews.ca/news/6749708/almonte-long-term-care-home-covid-19-cases-march-30/  Davis, Greg. 3 new COVID-19 cases confirmed at Bobcaygeon, Ont. long-term care home: health unit. Global News. March 20 2020. https://globalnews.ca/news/6709951/new-covid-19-cases-confirmed-long-term-care-unit/
 COVID-19 outbreak at Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon the largest in Ontario. KawarthaNow. March 27 2020. https://kawarthanow.com/2020/03/27/covid-19-outbreak-at-pinecrest-nursing-home-in-bobcaygeon-the-largest-in-ontario/ Lindsay Advocate Q & A with health unit: Pincecrest Nursing Home challenged by small size in COVID-19 outbreak, March 26, 2020  Grant, Kelly, and Mahoney, Jill. Nine residents die, 34 staff suffer symptoms as coronavirus devastates Bobcaygeon, Ont. nursing home. The Globe and Mail. March 29 2020. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-covid-19-kills-nine-infects-34-staff-at-bobcaygeon-nursing-home/  CBC staff. CBC Windsor’s March 30 COVID-19 update: 44 confirmed cases. CBC News. March 30 2020. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/covid19-windsor-essex-march-25-1.5514532
 GuelphToday staff. Outbreak of COVID-19 declared on Guelph General Hospital ward. GuelphToday. March 26 2020. https://www.guelphtoday.com/local-news/outbreak-of-covid-19-declared-on-guelph-general-hospital-ward-2203234 Simcoe Reformer staff. UPDATE: 23 positive COVID-19 cases, one death in Haldimand and Norfolk. Simcoe Reformer. March 29 2020. https://www.simcoereformer.ca/news/local-news/update-23-positive-covid-19-cases-in-haldimand-and-norfolk  Mitchell, Don. Coronavirus: Physician tested positive for COVID-19 says Hamilton public health. Global News. March 11 2020. https://globalnews.ca/news/6660378/coronavirus-physician-tests-positive-for-covid-19-says-hamilton-public-health/  Frketich, Joanna. COVID-19: Two more coronavirus cases found in Hamilton and Halton. The Hamilton Spectator. March 13 2020. https://www.thespec.com/news-story/9904639-covid-19-two-more-coronavirus-cases-found-in-hamilton-and-halton/  Zamperin, Rick. Coronavirus outbreak declared at Hamilton nursing home Global News. March 21 2020. https://globalnews.ca/news/6713474/hamilton-heritage-green-nursing-home-coronavirus/  Mitchell, Don. Coronavirus: 80-year-old from nursing home Hamilton’s first COVID-19 fatality, says city. Global News. March 24 2020. https://globalnews.ca/news/6726417/hamilton-coronavirus-death/  Frketich, Joanna. Dialysis nurse at St. Joseph’s and Hamilton General has COVID-19. The Hamilton Spectator. March 27 2020. https://www.thespec.com/news-story/9917165-dialysis-nurse-at-st-joseph-s-and-hamilton-general-has-covid-19/?utm_source=twitter&source=thespec&utm_medium=socialmedia&utm_campaign=&utm_campaign_id=&utm_content=  Buist, Steve. Hamilton sees biggest one-day increase in cases since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Hamilton Spectator. March 29 2020. https://www.thespec.com/news-story/9918691-hamilton-sees-biggest-one-day-increase-in-cases-since-the-start-of-the-covid-19-pandemic/  Mazur, Alexandra, and Krause, Kraig. Health care professionals at 2 clinics test positive for COVID-19 in KFL&A region. Global News. March 25 2020. https://globalnews.ca/news/6730168/ontario-health-workers-test-positive-covid-19/  Mazur, Alexandra. Kingston COVID-19 numbers more than double over the weekend, rising from 17 to 35. Global News. March 30 2020. https://globalnews.ca/news/6749839/kingston-covid-19-numbers-march-30/  Thomson, Chris. Dozens of nurses exposed to COVID-19 at St. Mary’s Hospital: ONA CTV News Kitchener. March 21 2020. https://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/dozens-of-nurses-exposed-to-covid-19-at-st-mary-s-hospital-ona-1.4862996  Sims, Jane. Strathroy healthcare worker first case since virus crackdown The London Free Press. March 20 2020. https://lfpress.com/news/local-news/london-woman-tests-positive-for-covid-19  Bieman, Jennifer. COVID-19: Several LHSC staffers self-isolating after symptomatic nurse worked for days before positive test The London Free Press. March 20 2020. https://lfpress.com/news/local-news/covid-19-several-lhsc-staffers-self-isolating-after-symptomatic-nurse-worked-for-days-before-positive-test  London region adds six more COVID-19 cases, as Ontario limits gatherings. The London Free Press. March 30 2020. https://lfpress.com/news/local-news/london-region-adds-6-more-covid-19-cases-as-ontario-limits-gatherings