Multiple COVID-19-related deaths at Bobcaygeon nursing home
By Chad Ingram
This story was updated March 31.
At least nine residents of the Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon have died of complications related to COVID-19 as of the afternoon of March 31, and more than 20 of the home’s staff had tested positive for the virus, making it the worst outbreak in the province.
As of the afternoon of March 31, the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit confirmed on its website that nine of some 65 residents at the facility had died of the coronavirus. An additional two deaths have occurred there since an outbreak was declared March 18, but the health unit says those two deaths were not related to COVID-19.
“This is not ‘real time’ data and will be at least 25 hours behind current updates,” a disclaimer on the health unit website reads. “The numbers may differ from other sources, as data are extracted at different times.”
As of the afternoon of March 31, some major media outlets were reporting there had been at least a dozen deaths of COVID-19 at the Bobcaygeon nursing home.
The outbreak was declared after three residents tested positive for the virus, however, in line with provincial rules, no other residents were tested.
“In following our provincial outbreak guidelines, we did not do any additional tests on residents as we
already had confirmation the virus was in the home,” Dr. Lynn Noseworthy, medical officer of health for the HKPR Health Unit said in a press release.
As of Friday, at least 35 residents of Pinecrest were displaying symptoms of the virus, which can have the most lethal effects in the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
Additionally, as of March 30, 24 employees of the nursing home had tested positive for COVID-19, with test results for another 10 pending.
“Once the initial respiratory outbreak was declared, staff at Pinecrest followed all proper procedures to help contain the spread of the virus,” the release reads. “Ill staff did not come to work, arrangements were made to have them tested and they were advised to self-isolate at home; residents were isolated as best they could be in the smaller facility; group activities were stopped; and meals were served to residents on trays rather than in the dining room.”
The nursing home has been closed to visitors since March 14 to all but “compassionate visits,” which typically mean people going to visit at relative at the end of their life.
“This is truly a horrible time for the families and friends of the residents, as well as our staff,” Mary Carr, administrator of the Pinecrest Nursing Home said in the release. “We have a number of medically fragile and vulnerable people living in our home; our residents are like family to our staff. Our sympathies go out to all of the families and friends of the people we have lost.”
“This outbreak of COVID-19 is currently the largest outbreak in the province,” Noseworthy said, “and really brings home how devastating and deadly this virus can be for older people in our communities. I am asking everyone to do everything they can to stop the spread of this virus – if not to protect yourself but to protect others who need our care.”
Anyone who is feeling ill is encouraged to self-isolate and everyone is asked to practise physical distancing – staying at least two metres from one another – and regular and thorough hand-washing. Anyone over the age of 70 and anyone with a compromised immune system is also encouraged to self-isolate at home.
As of the afternoon of March 31, there were 52 confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the jurisdiction of the HKPR Health Unit, that jurisdiction including Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. Of those cases, 41 have been confirmed within the City of Kawartha Lakes, 11 in Northumberland, and none within the County of Haliburton. A COVID-19 assessment centre was being set up in the parking lot of the Haliburton Family Medical Centre this week.