Two residents die after COVID-19 outbreak at Oshawa long-term care home

Two residents at Hillsdale Estates, a long-term care home in Oshawa, have died after an outbreak of COVID-19.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the families during this difficult time,” a spokesperson with the Regional Municipality of Durham told CTV News Toronto in an e-mailed statement.

The residents “tested positive for COVID-19 this past weekend.”

An outbreak was first declared at the home on Aug. 26. The first positive test was a staff member and was discovered through daily screening.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the region of Durham said there were 21 active cases of the virus, including 13 residents and eight staff.

“We have more outbreaks now than any point of the fourth wave; it’s steadily rising and they’re primarily staff-driven outbreaks,” said Dr. Vivian Stamatopoulos, a long-term care advocate.

“We know that this is being driven primarily by unvaccinated staff and the fact that we don’t have a mandate yet in long-term care for vaccinations is pretty ludicrous,” she said.

Sharon Montgomery is an essential caregiver and visits her 95-year-old mother in the home often.

Montgomery has received both doses, but said she was surprised to learn not all caregivers had.

“They’re still letting us in, all the caregivers, but they only have something like 65 per cent vaccination rate,” she said.

Personal vaccination statuses cannot be released without consent the region said, but it confirmed 95 per cent of residents at the home are vaccinated, as well as 83 per cent of staff.

For health-care workers in Quebec, starting Oct. 15 unvaccinated medical staff will be suspended without pay.

Dr. Stamatopoulos is pleading with the Ontario government to implement a similar mandate.

The region of Durham says it’s following infection control protocols and has the necessary staffing levels in place.