Red Cross deployed to Barrie LTC after massive COVID-19 outbreak

The Canadian Red Cross has been deployed to a long-term care home in Barrie after a massive COVID-19 outbreak.

By BT Toronto

The Canadian Red Cross has been deployed to a long-term care home in Barrie after a massive COVID-19 outbreak.

Roberta Place Long Term Care home confirmed to CityNews that they have partnered with the charitable organization for support in their efforts to stop the ongoing outbreak.

“We are pleased and excited about the swift action and assistance demonstrated by the Canadian Red Cross and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with them,” said spokeswoman Stephanie Barber.

The facility is home to 122 residents and Barber said currently, 62 residents and 43 staff members have confirmed cases of COVID-19. Nine residents have died at the home as a result of the virus.

Barber added that a vaccination clinic was conducted at the home on Saturday, with 71 residents vaccinated. She did not confirm reports that the U.K variant of COVID-19 was responsible for the outbreak, but said further testing is underway.

In a news release on Sunday afternoon, Provincial NDP Leader Andrea Horwath called for the army and the Red Cross to be deployed to Roberta Place to help manage the crisis as earlier reports suggested nearly all residents and staff were infected.

Horwath also called on Premier Doug Ford to respond to the urgent situation at the facility and others across the province.

“We’re asking Doug Ford not to let these people continue to suffer without the province doing anything to ease their struggle and help save lives,” she said in the release.

Earlier this month, the St. George Care Community in Toronto was believed to be the worst hit in Ontario, reporting that 97 of their 140 residents were infected at some point during their outbreak. The facility, like Roberta Place, is a for-profit home.

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has said it is time to end for-profit long-term care homes in Ontario.

He attended a rally outside St. George Care Community last weekend where he called on the federal government to be more proactive when it comes to COVID-19 outbreaks in homes — including deploying military help if necessary.

“We can’t just react when a problem occurs, we can’t just react when there’s an increase in infection rate, we have to be proactive,” he said at the time. “One of the key steps that everyone agrees [is] that profit is clearly resulting in horrible conditions for seniors and we can’t allow that to continue.”

According to provincial data, 246 of the 626 long-term care homes in Ontario are currently experiencing outbreaks of the virus.

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