The majority of Ontario COVID-19 deaths are elderly people living in long-term care facilities.
On April 21, Durham Region Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Kyle, issued an Order under the Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act to Orchard Villa in Pickering to address the immediate risk of COVID-19 to residents and staff of this home. The Order indicates that a communicable disease outbreak exists at this facility, which presents a risk to the health of residents and staff in the home.
Working with Lakeridge Health, which will lead monitoring, investigating and responding to the outbreak, the Order requires Southbridge Care Homes Inc (operating Orchard Villa), to enhance measures for the protection of residents and staff including: active screening of residents, staff and visitors; active and ongoing surveillance of all residents; active and ongoing oversight of the delivery of clinical care; screening for new admissions; managing essential visitors; changes to when an outbreak of COVID-19 is declared at a home, including when it is over; specimen collection and testing for outbreak management; and implementation of all of the above measures including the adoption and implementation of Infection Prevention and Control.
Infection Prevention and Control and clinical teams from Lakeridge Health, who are well trained in responding to communicable disease outbreaks, will work with Orchard Villa to immediately assess the situation at the home and determine what additional care services are required. Their goal will be to put in place appropriate solutions to limit the risk of transmission and protect resident and staff safety.
“We recognize that this is a very tragic, difficult and stressful time for residents and their families, as well as staff at Orchard Villa, and we know that staff are truly concerned for the safety and well-being of everyone at this home,” said Dr. Kyle. “The Health Department and Lakeridge Health will work very closely with Orchard Villa to provide the necessary supports to help decrease or eliminate the risks to health associated with the current COVID-19 outbreak.”
“Lakeridge Health’s expert infection prevention and control, and clinical teams, who have significant experience in treating COVID patients, will be heading to Orchard Villa immediately. Today we will be investigating the current state of the outbreak and developing an operational plan to provide care and treatment to support the best outcomes for residents,” said Susan deRyk, Interim President and CEO, Lakeridge Health. “Our team is committed to working to provide safe care in this outbreak situation and to take all steps necessary to stem the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”
Currently, 31 residents have passed away at Orchard Villa from COVID-19-related causes.
“Our primary focus at Orchard Villa is on the care and safety of our residents. We are working with Durham Health Department and Lakeridge Health to help ensure we can provide the care our residents need and we have implemented Public Health’s recommended measures including active, regular screening of all residents and staff and increased testing,” said Ryan Bell, Chief Executive Officer, Southbridge Care Homes. “These unprecedented times have created unprecedented challenges. We approached Lakeridge Health for assistance, and we are grateful they have answered our call. Our focus is to deliver the best possible care and keep our residents safe. We welcome the help of our health care partners.”
“This is a very tragic, difficult time for the residents, families, and staff at Orchard Villa. My heart breaks for them. We must spare no expense to tackle this global pandemic and protect the most vulnerable members of our community. We have been working with our health partners to redeploy resources that will enable Lakeridge Health to address infection control and resident care at Orchard Villa immediately,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, MPP for Pickering-Uxbridge. “The health and safety of all Ontarians is our top priority, and our government will continue to support our health partners to provide the necessary supports needed to decrease the health risks associated with the current COVID-19 outbreak.”
Other Ontario long-term care facilities that have reported double-digit COVID-19 deaths include Markhaven Home for Seniors, Pinecrest Nursing Home, Eatonville Care Centre, and Anson Place Care Centre.