Ontario to 'redeploy every resource' to long-term care homes as province reaches 411 COVID-19 deaths

The province's official death toll is 334. However, CBC News has compiled data from regional public health units throughout Ontario and counted at least 411 deaths.

Province extends state of emergency 28 days to May 12

Ontario is trying to significantly increase its daily COVID-19 testing in the coming days and weeks. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

The latest: 

  • Ontario to launch enhanced action plan Wednesday to redeploy resources to long-term care homes. 
  • A total of 114 long-term care homes in the province now experiencing outbreaks, says Premier Doug Ford. 
  • Death toll at Eatonville Care Centre rises from 25 to 27 Tuesday.
  • Province extends state of emergency 28 days to May 12. 
  • Ontario students won't be back to school on May 4. 
  • Ontario to stop caregivers from working at multiple long-term care homes.
  • Deaths in the province from COVID-19 reach 411, according to data compiled by CBC News.
  • 37 of the 42 Participation House residents test positive for COVID-19.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says the province is going to "redeploy every resource" to long-term care homes as the province reports 483 newly-confirmed cases of COVID-19 Tuesday.

"We're dealing with a wildfire at our long-term care homes right now," Ford said at the province's daily COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday. 

"My top priority right now is getting the troops and resources needed at this front." 

These enhanced measures come as the province announces it will extend its state of emergency 28 days to May 12. 

"The actions being taken by everyone to stay home and practise physical distancing are making a difference, but we are not out of the woods yet," Ford said in a news release Tuesday. 

The emergency declaration falls under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, which allows the government to continue to use every tool at its disposal to protect the health and safety of the people of Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic.

114 outbreaks at long-term care homes 

Some 114 outbreaks have been reported in long-term care facilities in Ontario, Ford said, while three homes have reported more than 20 deaths each:

  • Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon: 29 deaths.
  • Eatonville Care Centre in Toronto: 27 deaths.
  • Seven Oaks in Toronto: 22 deaths.

Other notable outbreaks include:

  • Anson Place Retirement Home in Hagersville: 19 deaths.
  • Almonte Country Haven in Mississippi Mills: 16 deaths.
  • Lundy Manor Retirement Residence in Niagara Falls: 10 deaths.
  • Markhaven Home for Seniors in Markham: nine deaths.
  • Village of Humber Heights in Toronto: eight deaths.
  • Hillsdale Terraces in Oshawa: seven deaths.

The province has also reported outbreaks at 27 hospitals.

About 40 per cent of all COVID-19 cases in Ontario involve people ages 60 years or older, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, associate chief medical officer of health, said at a briefing on Tuesday. 

Province stopping employees from working at multiple long-term care homes

Ford said the province will launch an enhanced action plan on Wednesday to fight COVID-19 in long-term care homes, which will address how to redeploy additional personal protective equipment (PPE) and health-care staff to help contain the outbreaks. 

"We'll spare no expense to protect our most vulnerable," Ford said. "We have an inferno happening at long-term care." 

WATCH | Premier Doug Ford speaks about resources being deployed to fight COVID-19 in long-term care homes:

Ontario deploying more resources to long-term care homes

2 years ago
Duration 2:00
Ontario Premier Doug Ford says the province will launch an enhanced action plan to fight COVID-19 in long-term care homes.

That plan includes reallocating hospital workers to high-risk homes where possible, Ford said, as well as sending infection control specialists to enhance protocols and ensure "everything possible is being done" to isolate patients and prevent the spread. 

Additionally, Ford announced a new emergency order that will prohibit employees from working at multiple long-term care facilities in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Health officials to focus testing at long-term care homes 

Ontario health officials will present a plan to increase testing at long-term care homes to provincial cabinet members later Tuesday, said Dr. David Williams, chief medical officer of health. 

The province completed 6,500 tests in the 24 hours since its last update. When public health officials rolled out expanded testing guidelines last week, they set a target of 8,000 tests per day by April 15 and 16,000 daily tests by May 6.

Hospital vacancies are at a low, Williams said, adding that Ontario can take advantage of that dip by providing long-term care homes with additional testing, PPE and infection specialists. 

"We could use such resources and expertise to assist in our long-term care sector," Williams said. 

He added that health officials are working as quickly as possible to reallocate those resources from hospitals to homes.

37 of 42 residents test positive at Participation House 

Meanwhile, a facility for adults with developmental and physical disabilities in Markham, Ont. says 37 of 42 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, a jump from 10 cases on Thursday. 

Additionally, 12 staff members have also tested positive, up from two.

Participation House, near Highway 7 and Ninth Line, issued an urgent call for more staff and supplies after employees walked out last week amid the outbreak. 

Over the weekend, Markham Stouffville Hospital assembled a rapid-response team to support Participation House, according to a joint statement from the hospital and the home. 

"Our hearts go out to the residents and their families as we face this challenge," Shelley Brillinger, the executive director of the home, said in the release. 

"I want to reassure our residents and their families that, with the support of the hospital, we are providing the care that is needed." 

Students won't go back to school on May 4, Ford says 

Ford also said Tuesday that students won't be heading back to school on May 4.

The province had previously said publicly-funded schools will remain closed until May 1 for teachers and May 4 for students.

But Ford said Tuesday school closures will have to be extended under the advice of the province's chief medical officer of health, adding that more details will be provided in the coming days. 

Death toll in Ontario reaches 411 

There have been 7,953 cases in total in Ontario since the outbreak began in January. 

The province's official death toll sits at 334, an increase of 43 over yesterday. However, CBC News has compiled data from regional public health units throughout Ontario and counted at least 411 deaths.

Some 3,568 cases are resolved, while 2,107 people are currently awaiting test results.

Of the 769 COVID-19 cases in Ontario that have been hospitalized:

  • 255 are in intensive care units, eight fewer than in Monday's update.
  • 199 are on ventilators, four fewer than Monday.

A total of 857 health-care workers have tested positive since the beginning of the outbreak. 

Today's numbers represent a snapshot of the COVID-19 situation in Ontario as of 4 p.m. ET Monday.

Ontario Legislature holds emergency sitting Tuesday

The new figures come after the Ontario Legislature held an emergency sitting earlier Tuesday. 

Ford announced the session on Monday, saying it is too early to start lifting any restrictions in the fight against COVID-19.

In previous such sittings, a limited number of politicians have been required to attend in order to respect the need for physical distancing.

Today, 28 legislators were present including 14 members of the Progressive Conservative government, eight New Democrats, two Liberals, two Independent members and the house Speaker.

Only a select number of MPPs will be in the legislature on Tuesday to ensure proper physical distancing is maintained. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

Doctors Without Borders aiding homeless

The organization overseeing Toronto's recovery centre for homeless residents diagnosed with COVID-19 says a major international group will help run the project.

Inner City Health Associates says Doctors Without Borders will be involved in the 400-bed shelter.

It says the organization has extensive experience in dealing with infectious disease outbreaks around the world.

The shelter is not yet open to the city's homeless patients.

With files from The Canadian Press

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