15 deaths, 135 coronavirus cases confirmed in Toronto long-term care homes

Apr 6 2020, 8:30 pm

Fifteen COVID-19 related deaths and 135 cases have been confirmed in Toronto’s long-term care homes.

And on Monday, the City of Toronto said it will be improving food availability for vulnerable groups, like seniors, to keep them at home.

Toronto’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Eileen de Villa, said there are 1,301 coronavirus cases in the city, of which 1,078 are confirmed with 223 probable.

There are 145 patients in hospital with 60 ICU and 32 confirmed deaths.

De Villa said that serious outbreaks have occurred in long-term care homes.

“It is difficult and worrisome to not visit loved ones at this time,” she said.

The Chief Medical Officer said she has been asked if residents should remove family members from long-term care homes, but her response was to keep seniors in their care facilities.

“Often older patients need personalized 24 hour care and are often frail or have underlying health issues.”

De Villa outlined that there are stricter cleaning measures in place and non-essential visitation has been banned.

To help seniors stay at home and remain safe, Mayor John Tory added that a food program will help seniors with food delivery.

Beginning April 7, the city along with Red Cross, will provide food hamper delivery to seniors and others in need who are unable to leave their homes to access food.

Red Cross will be accepting calls at 1-833-204-9952 for those who require this service.

“With support from United Way Greater Toronto, this service is made available for qualifying seniors and others that are in self-isolation and do not have alternative access to food through family, friends, or other food delivery services, and are not receiving assistance from another community food program,” according to the city.

Tory also announced other measures to help vulnerable communities access food during this difficult time.

According to the mayor, more than 40% of food bank programs have closed during the pandemic and “food programs are continuing to operate are under immense pressure to meet the increased demand.”

The city’s corporate partners have stepped up to help ensure that community food programs in Toronto — including food banks, multi-service centres, home delivery programs, meal drop-ins — can continue.

Sobeys Inc. donated approximately 7,030 cases of food and Loblaw Companies Limited has provided $30,000 of food credit.

Kraft Heinz Canada has donated more than 3,650 cases of baby food, with additional quantities anticipated soon.

The City is working with several community programs to address food access, including Second Harvest, Daily Bread Food Bank, North York Harvest Food Bank, Red Cross, and the Salvation Army.

Led by the City, this group is focused on identifying ways to keep existing food programs open and to fill the gaps left by the closure of some programs.

The mayor said that there are specific groups that are ensuring individuals have access to the necessities.

The program will help seniors, improve access to food banks, give to Food for Kids, assist Indigenous communities and provide better equipment for community food programs.

There are also four food banks in Toronto Public Library locations with two more to open soon with the goal to open up 10 locations in total.

Tory also urged residents who observe Easter and Passover to avoid gatherings and to “stay home and stay safe” during the crisis.

“An Easter egg hunt is not worth your life,” he said.

On Friday, the city projected that 600 to 3,000 deaths could happen over the course of the pandemic.

The pandemic may last for 18 months to two years, as there could be a potential second wave of the virus.

“I know these numbers are stark and seeing the data is truly sobering and even frightening,” de Villa said.

Clarrie FeinsteinClarrie Feinstein

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