The death toll at a Scarborough long-term care home experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19 has climbed to 60 as eight more residents have died.
North York General Hospital, which took over the management of Tendercare Living Centre in December, updated the number of fatalities at the home on Saturday, up from the 52 deaths reported on Thursday.
The hospital said there are no new residents or staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19 for the third day in a row.
“This is a positive indicator that the outbreak control measures are being successful,” the hospital said in a statement.
As of Jan. 1, 78 residents and 39 staff members remain infected with the novel coronavirus.
While there has been an improvement in infection and prevention control practices and the number of cases has been reduced at the facility since North York General Hospital took over, the hospital noted that additional cases are expected for the next two weeks given the incubation period of the novel coronavirus.
“We know that there was widespread transmission at Tendercare during the third and fourth week in December just prior to NYGH becoming significantly involved,” the hospital said in its statement.
“We have now entered this critical period of time. Some of those residents who acquired COVID 10 to 14 days ago are resolving their infection, while others are developing complications and unfortunately some are passing away.”
Meanwhile, another rally was held outside the home located in the area of McNicoll and Victoria Park avenues Saturday afternoon, calling for the end of for-profit long-term care homes.
Carrying signs that read ‘save our seniors’ and ‘care over profit,’ demonstrators said the pandemic has shown that private nursing homes only focus on profit instead of providing care to residents.
They also want the Ford government to revisit legislation that they say makes it harder to hold private operators liable for any harm caused by the pandemic.
In a statement on Saturday, the Ministry of Long-Term Care said staffing at the facility is now above levels during normal operations.
“Infection Prevention and Control audits have shown significant improvement this week. Environmental Services staff are on-site and continue to clean the home,” the ministry said.
“We want to thank the staff at North York General Hospital, along with those from Tendercare Living Centre, for working around the clock to help stop the outbreak. We remain committed to doing everything we can, along with our partners, to help stabilize the home and have them return to normal operations.”
Meanwhile, The Canadian Union of Public Employees joined the Ontario Health Coalition on Saturday, urging the province to call on the military to help long-term care homes dealing with outbreaks.
“We are tragically losing the battle to protect long-term care residents. The homes and staff are on the verge of total crisis and collapse,” said CUPE Ontario secretary-treasurer Candace Rennick in a statement.
“But military assistance is just a temporary solution to the worsening crisis caused by the government’s failure to implement immediate and meaningful reforms needed months ago. This kind of crisis cannot continue to be met with half measures by the province.”
On Saturday, Ontario reported outbreaks at 188 long-term care homes.