The COVID-19 outbreak has claimed another patient's life at Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care in Penetanguishene, bringing the total number of patient deaths to four.
Eight patients and eight staff members have also tested positive for COVID-19 after an outbreak was declared at the centre's Horizon Program for Geriatric Psychiatry.
"It's extremely stressful for all staff, especially the unit that has the outbreak," said Local OPSEU president Pete Sheehan on Tuesday.
Staff members who work in the affected unit are now isolating, either at home if they live alone or at housing provided by Waypoint, which includes the Super 8 motel in Midland.
Those infected with the virus are isolating in their rooms, with food and other items being delivered to them. Those who haven't contracted the virus are only leaving their rooms to go to work.
CTV News spoke with several workers, who say they are devastated for their patients and patients' families and are also having a difficult time being away from their own families.
"It's extremely stressful and trying times to be away from their loved ones," said Sheehan. "But on the other hand, they've got to think about the safety of their own families."
The presence of a COVID-19 variant has also added to the stress and fear inside the facility. Waypoint and the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit have confirmed that a mutation of the COVID-19 virus has been found.
In a statement on Tuesday, the centre wrote, "We have confirmation that one of the individuals in the current outbreak was positive for a particular mutation indicating a high probability that this individual has a variant strain of concern of COVID-19." Waypoint says it doesn't know which variant it is yet.
The statement went on to say, "Our team continues to work closely with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit to manage the current outbreak. We are also in contact with the Ministry of Labour, and our union is part of our daily outbreak meetings."