2 more Rosslyn residents die of COVID-19

An 85-year-old man died on May 25 and a 95-year-old woman on May 23, according to public health.

8 people who were living at the retirement home have died

A paramedic pushes a stretcher into the Rosslyn Retirement Residence in Hamilton, Ont. on May 15. Health-care staff spent the next eight hours transferring residents from the home to hospital. (Dan Taekema/CBC)

Two more residents of the Rosslyn Retirement Residence have died of COVID-19 in hospital.

An 85-year-old man died on May 25 and a 95-year-old woman on May 23, according to public health.

Their deaths bring the total for the city to 34, eight of which have been linked to the home near Gage Park.

The Rosslyn was evacuated on May 15 with the vast majority of people living there being transferred to hospital following an outbreak of the virus that has infected 64 residents and 22 staff members.

Officials previously said the home was cleared as the number of ill residents continued to rise and staffing levels dwindled.

One resident was left behind during the transfers to hospital, a mistake that wasn't discovered until nearly a day later when his family insisted he was still there.

The Rosslyn, which corporate records show is associated with the Martino family, has not responded to repeated calls and emails seeking comment about the outbreak and situation at the home.

A woman who picked up the phone at the home Tuesday said only "no comment at this time," then hung up.

The home remains empty and officials say it won't be opened again until the owners comply with orders from both Hamilton public health and the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority, which said it "did not follow certain sections of the Retirement Homes Act pertaining to infection prevention and control and failure to protect residents from neglect."

Paul Johnson, director of Hamilton's emergency operations centre, said the home seemed to lack a "true understanding" about the importance of infection prevention and control.

He also noted screening of visitors was "simply not happening" even months into the pandemic and that "conflicting information" was provided to officials about personal protective equipment supply.

Families with loved ones who were living at the home told CBC they were "disgusted" and frustrated by what had happened there.

"This whole thing, right from the start, has been handled incredibly wrong. Somebody has to be made accountable for this. It's got to change," said Brian Melnike, whose  87-year-old mother is currently in hospital.

Following the outbreak, health officials urgently inspected seven facilities associated with the same owners as the Rosslyn, issuing new orders at four of them and carrying out mass-testing.