Published Saturday, January 30, 2021 8:18PM EST
A spokesperson for Shannex, who operates Parkland on the Glen in Mississauga and Parkland on Eglinton West in Etobicoke, confirmed to CTV News Saturday that they have introduced stricter measures to control the flow of people in their facilities.
These include restricting anyone "who has been to a 'high alert' community or has been in contact with someone who has been to a high alert area." Gill Costello, the senior communications manager for Shannex, said Barrie had been identified as one of the high alert areas.
A COVID-19 outbreak at Roberta Place in Barrie has so far resulted in 53 resident deaths. All but one of the 129 residents and 89 staff members had been infected. In an open letter, the president of Jarlette Health Services, which operates the long-term care home, said the UK variant "was responsible for a much higher rate of transmission through our facility."
As of Saturday, there are 10 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant in the Simcoe Muskoka region.
"In addition to continuing vigilance, these new measures are extra precautions we must take in our battle to keep COVID-19 out of our buildings, particularly as we see the new variant in our province," Costello said. It is not known how many are affected by the new measures.
He noted that essential visitors who are providing direct care and support to residents are the only guests permitted in their facilities. They must provide the date of their most recent test before entering the building. Employees must also participate in regular COVID-19 testing in addition to the daily screening protocols, Costello said.
Fifty-seven cases of the variant have been reported in Ontario so far. On Friday, the province announced that it is ramping up capacity to screen all positive COVID-19 tests for known variants as part of Ontario's six-part plan to prevent further spread of the virus.
Provincial modellers said Thursday that the UK variant could become the dominant strain in Ontario by some point in March.
The province reported 2,063 new cases of COVID-19 and 73 more deaths on Saturday.
- with files from CTV News Barrie