10 COVID-19 deaths at Almonte long-term care home

Ten people at a long-term care home west of Ottawa have died of COVID-19, with another 20 testing positive for the disease.

Additional 20 residents have tested positive for coronavirus

Several notices have been posted at the entrance to the Almonte Country Haven long-term care home in Almonte, west of Ottawa. The facility has had 10 deaths because of COVID-19. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Ten people at a long-term care home west of Ottawa have died of COVID-19.

A letter sent from the home to families Wednesday evening and forwarded to CBC confirmed eight people at Almonte Country Haven in Almonte, a community of about 5,000 people in the municipality of Mississippi Mills, have died of complications of the respiratory illness.

A statement from the home Thursday afternoon said two more residents are believed to have died from the respiratory illness, for a total of 10. Twenty more residents have tested positive.

Two other people living in the home, which has 82 residents, have died of unspecified reasons.

Outbreaks in long-term care homes like Almonte Country Haven are driving up the number of confirmed cases and deaths as a result of COVID-19 in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties in eastern Ontario. (Jean Delisle/CBC News)

That home is one of three in Lanark County that has had "really serious" problems during the pandemic, the local health unit has said. The others are in Carleton Place and Perth.

Staffing challenges

The daughter of a resident at the Almonte home said news of the deaths is "sobering."

"We're very frightened that she's going to catch this, and we're very frightened that she'd pass away," said Jan Carter Lea.

WATCH / The thoughts of a resident's daughter:

Jan Carter Lea, whose mother is a resident of Almonte Country Haven, where there has been an outbreak of COVID-19 cases, says she’s worried her mother could also contract the disease. 0:53

Lea said her 82-year-old mother is in a semi-private room and shared it with another resident who has passed away from COVID-19.

Lea said it has been "very frustrating" trying to get information from the residence about the number of confirmed cases and deaths.

'Knowing is far better than wondering'

Earlier this week, she told CBC she was really concerned she hadn't heard anything from the home since it reported its first death, which it says occurred on March 29.

"Even though the numbers are really, really sobering, knowing is far better than wondering. And it takes a lot of the anxiety away, even with those really drastic numbers," Lea said Thursday morning.

Jan Carter Lea, top, relaxes with her mom, Gail Attfield, and two sisters. (Submitted by Jan Carter Lea)

The letter from the home said delays getting back to families are because it has been "pressed for time" and "experiencing some staffing challenges."

It said it's hiring more staff and that everyone working there is screened for symptoms when they report for work.

Meals are delivered to residents on carts that are disinfected between uses, it said, and it's doing more cleaning of high-touch surfaces.

WATCHRick Spencer's daughter tests positive

Rick Spencer says his daughter, who lives in Almonte Country Haven, has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is on oxygen in the facility. 1:06

The deaths in that home are more than are known at any other location in eastern Ontario. Ottawa reported seven deaths in its Wednesday update.

The last update from the local health unit using numbers from Tuesday afternoon said there were outbreaks at six long-term care homes and confirmed cases in 45 of their residents.

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit's per-capita rate of confirmed cases is second-highest in Ontario, according to provincial data.

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