Ministry inspector says operator of Roberta Place did not ensure home was a safe and secure environment

Covid outbreak has killed 45 people

An inspection of a Barrie long-term care home ravaged by a deadly COVID-19 outbreak found the operator failed to ensure the home was a safe and secure environment for its residents.

The report by a Ministry of Long-Term Care inspector found Roberta Place allowed rooms to be shared by both confirmed positive COVID-19 patients and those who had not yet tested positive for the virus.

The inspection was conducted on Jan. 12 and 13.

As of Monday night, the outbreak had killed 44 residents and one essential caregiver. All but two of 127 residents have been infected, and 86 staff. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) has traced the outbreak to the UK variant of COVID-19.

The facility is operated by Jarlette Health Services.

The report said a personal support worker indicated that residents within these shared rooms would often come into close contact with each other. The inspector found that certain staff were providing care to both confirmed COVID-19 positive residents and residents not confirmed to have the virus.

The inspector indicated that the administrator had explained that cohorting of staff on all resident home areas was not always possible. The report said not cohorting staff and residents placed other residents in the home at risk of disease transmission.

The inspector also found the home did not strictly follow the directive to place all residents in isolation under droplet and contact precautions.

“All residents in the home were required to be in their room isolating under droplet and contact precautions at all times. Multiple residents were observed out of isolation, touching high-touch surfaces and coming in close contact with other residents. Some of these residents were identified as COVID-19 positive,” the report said.

“A registered practical nurse indicated that they tried to keep residents isolated but some residents refused to stay in their rooms.”

At a media briefing on Monday, Premier Ford was asked why he had not called the military to assist at Roberta Place.

Ford indicated he had asked that question and was told “they don’t need them.”