Published Monday, April 13, 2020 12:50PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, April 13, 2020 2:13PM EDT
Toronto’s Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Elizabeth Rea confirmed the latest deaths at Seven Oaks long-term care home on Neilson Road on Monday morning.
There have now been 22 residents who have died at the facility since the outbreak was first reported last month.
“Seven Oaks currently remains the largest COVID-19 long-term care home/retirement home outbreak in Toronto, with the tragically highest number of deaths,” Rea said in a statement provided to CP24. “These people are our parents, our grandparents and our loved ones. I am sure you join me as I extend my sincerest condolences to the families and friends of all individuals who have died from COVID-19 in this setting and in our community.”
Toronto Public Health says that there are now 82 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the 249 residents at Seven Oaks and 14 confirmed cases among the 200 employees at the facility.
Those numbers are up from the 45 confirmed cases reported at the facility last week, though Rea said that the increase is likely “mainly due to increased testing of residents who were already known to be sick” and not the result of increased transmission of the virus.
“Overall we are starting to see a positive effect of the stringent outbreak measures that have been put in place throughout Seven Oaks, and the rate of new COVID-19 infections is starting to slow” she said.
There are currently 88 COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care facilities in the province. Those outbreaks have resulted in the deaths of 119 residents so far.
Speaking with reporters on Monday, Premier Doug Ford said that the spread of the virus through many of the facilities has been “heartbreaking,” as have necessary restrictions that have more or less prohibited family members from visiting their loved ones.
“It affects everyone. Everyone has grandparents or friends or a family member somewhere in long term care. I speak from experience. My mother-in-law is over at West Park (Long-Term Care Centre) and it breaks my heart watching Karla (Ford’s wife) standing outside the window in tears,” he said. “There are hundreds of thousands of families in the same position wishing they could help their loved in there. It is very, very difficult for families right now, very difficult.”
Ford said that public health officials are doing “absolutely everything” they can to limit the spread of COVID-19 within long-term care facilities like Seven Oaks.
He said that as part of that he has asked for all residents and staff at long-term care homes to be tested regularly for the virus, something officials have assured them that they will do but is not currently reflected in policy.
“Let’s just get these damn tests done. It is simple,” he said. “I don’t know what is so hard about it."