Seven deaths at Main Street Terrace long-term care home as criticism of province's COVID-19 response grows

·3 min read

Main Street Terrace long-term care home is reporting seven deaths, and 50 active cases of COVID-19, as cases continue to grow across Toronto and the province.

The number of cases at the home, located on Main Street between Gerrard Street East and Kingston Road, are down from a peak of 65 reported on Nov. 2. But since then there have been seven reported deaths among the residents. The home has 150 residents.

Main Street Terrace has an outbreak management team from Michael Garron Hospital, Toronto Public Health, and Revera Inc. that is responding to the situation.

It’s one of 19 COVID-19 outbreaks declared at long-term care homes in Toronto, with a total of 209 across all sectors in the city between Oct. 25 and Nov. 6.

The province announced on Friday, Nov. 13, that there is an update to its COVID-19 response framework, which means more health units across the province – including Toronto Public Health – will be moved into its Red-Control level.

However, Toronto Public Health added its own stricter measures on top of the provincial rules, as the daily case count continues to break records.

Toronto had its highest daily case count on Nov. 10 with 533 infections. On Nov. 13, Toronto reported 440 new cases. The city has also seen an 18 per cent increase of COVID-19 patients in hospitals over the two-week period.

There are 4,043 active cases of COVID-19 in the city as of Nov. 13. Since March, 1,410 people have died from the disease in Toronto.

A story in the Toronto Star on Nov. 11 reported that the provincial government rejected advice from its own public health agency when developing the framework. On Nov. 12, the province released new modelling that showed daily case counts in Ontario would exceed 6,500 by mid-December.

While the framework has been reinforced and made stricter, the criticism of Premier Doug Ford’s handling of the pandemic response, continues.

Michael Garron Hospital medical director of critical care Dr. Michael Warner has been vocal in his criticism. Upon the release of the report from the Toronto Star, he responded on Twitter.

“Whether you are a business owner who has lost their business, an employee who no longer has a job, a loved one of a long term care resident who has passed away, a health care worker exposing themselves to risk every day or an average Ontarian just trying to make it through the day, it’s time for Premier Ford to provide us with clear honest answers,” he said.

“No amount of spin can explain this,” Dr. Warner added.

Official Opposition and Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath called for a “circuit breaker” lockdown while adding “it’s really clear we can’t trust Mr. Ford, and the Minister of Health.” In Horwath’s proposal, COVID-19 hotspots across the province would be under lockdown for two weeks to reduce case counts.

On Nov. 13, the Ontario Hospital Association, the Ontario Medical Association, the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, and other medical organizations and unions held a press conference imploring the province to impose a 28-day lockdown except for essential services and schools to avoid a spike of cases in long-term care homes.

RNAO also asked the province to provide immediate funding and directives to hire more nurses and personal support workers in long-term care homes and nursing homes across the province.

At his press conference on Nov. 13, Ford said “we’re staring down the barrel of another lockdown” as he announced lower thresholds for the colour-coded system.

He explained when the colour-coded system was first released, case projections were lower than what was announced a week later on Nov. 12.

Ali Raza, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Beach Metro News