The Rosslyn, warned by public health last month, grapples with a COVID-19 outbreak

Public health officials are grappling with a growing outbreak of COVID-19 at the Rosslyn Retirement Residence near Hamilton's Gage Park.

Brant is still at a COVID-19 plateau, while Halton has 18 more cases

The Rosslyn Retirement Residence near Gage Park has 49 resident and 13 staff cases of COVID-19. (Dan Taekema/CBC)

Hamilton public health officials will spend Friday night transferring residents from Rosslyn Retirement Residence after a COVID-19 outbreak so severe that 49 people living there have tested positive.

Eight people have already been hospitalized from the 64-bed home so far, and 16 test results are still pending, says Hamilton Public Health Services. Thirteen staff members have also tested positive. A 70-year-old man died in hospital on Thursday, four days after an outbreak was declared.

Six staff members and one physician from St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton and Hamilton Health Sciences have been deployed to the home "to assess patients' health conditions and facilitate the safe transfer of patients to hospital, as required," the city said in a Friday afternoon media release.

Those transfers started around 4:45 p.m. and are expected to take about six hours. Patients are being taken to St. Joseph Healthcare Hamilton's Charlton site and Hamilton General Hospital, the city said. 

Paul Johnson, head of the city's emergency operations centre, said during a media briefing Friday that the home was also dealing with a staff shortage and officials have had to send in assistance to care for residents.

"We get involved when staffing levels are critical," he said. Staff from local hospitals have stepped in there, he said, but "the staffing situation has worsened."

Public Health Services warned the Rosslyn of potential staffing issues in April. 

That's when it gave the Rosslyn, along with 42 other facilities, an order to improve their infection controls during the pandemic.

The order, dated April 17, covers eight actions, including calling for the home to immediately start screening all staff and visitors, and to keep a minimum supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and provide an adequate supply of "hospital-grade" disinfectants at all times.

Public health also ordered the home to develop a contingency plan in case there was a staff shortage.

The order was issued following an inspection on April 15, which identified the Rosslyn as a facility that was "inadequately prepared to respond to a case or outbreak of COVID-19."

It cited two specific issues: 

  • A lack of a sufficiently detailed outbreak response plan.
  • A lack of written policy and process for in-home isolation of ill residents and/or physical distancing.

Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, the city's medical officer of health, says the home made changes that brought it into compliance with the original order.

However, she added, a second order had been issued to the home Thursday.

"We wanted to ensure that they were continuing to do the things that they were ordered before, as well as all of the good things that are related to an outbreak."

Overall, Hamilton has 11 institutional outbreaks. The city had 512 cases of COVID-19 (507 confirmed, five probable) Friday. Twenty-five people have died and 372 have recovered.

Ten people are in hospital with COVID-19 at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton, and 12 at Hamilton Health Sciences.

Here's what's happening elsewhere:


Brant and Brantford are still reporting 102 cases of COVID-19, as it has for six days. Five people are hospitalized, 90 have recovered and three have died.

There are outbreaks at Telfer Place in Paris (one resident), and Brierwood Gardens (one staff) and St. Joseph's Lifecare Centre (two staff) in Brantford.


The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit is reporting 204 cases of COVID-19, and that number has held steady for two days. Of those, 78 people have recovered and 30 have died. Twenty-seven of those deaths were at Anson Place Care Centre in Hagersville. 


Halton has 618 cases (550 confirmed, 68 probable), which is 18 more than Thursday. Twenty-five people have died and 461 have recovered. On Thursday, Halton saw nine new cases.

In Burlington, there are 126 cases (110 confirmed, 16 probable), which is six more since Thursday. Seven people have died and 90 have recovered. One person is in hospital at Joseph Brant with COVID-19, and three residents have tested positive at Hampton Terrace.


Niagara has 578 confirmed cases, which an increase of three since Thursday. Of those, 425 people have recovered. One more person has died since Thursday, for a total of 56.

Niagara Health numbers show 38 people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19.

There are outbreaks at Niagara Health's St. Catharines and Greater Niagara hospital sites, Lundy Manor in Niagara Falls, and Royal Rose Place and Seasons Welland in Welland.


Samantha Craggs is a CBC News reporter based in Hamilton, Ont. She often tweets about Hamilton city hall. Follow her on Twitter at @SamCraggsCBC, or email her at samantha.craggs@cbc.ca