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Outbreak situation at Roberta Place 'very concerning,' says Gardner

'We’re working very closely with this facility to see what they need in order to manage the situation,' says local medical officer of health after case numbers jump at Essa Road facility

Editor's note: The following story has been updated from a previous version to include new information from a Roberta Place official. 

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit reported today that the COVID-19 outbreak at Roberta Place long-term care home in south-end Barrie has gotten worse in the past 24 hours.

While Monday’s numbers from the Essa Road facility noted 26 positive cases, Tuesday’s health unit update indicated 40 resident cases and two among staff. One resident has also died. 

On Tuesday night, Roberta Place community relations co-ordinator Stephanie Barber told BarrieToday there were 39 confirmed cases among residents and five positive cases in team members as of 2 p.m.

There have been instances in the region where there's a lag or discrepancy in case reporting from public health officials due to volume. 

Dr. Charles Gardner, the medical officer of health for the local health unit, said the Roberta Place outbreak, which was declared Jan. 8, is “very big” and not going in the right direction.

“It’s rapidly progressed very unfortunately,” Gardner told reporters on Tuesday's video call. “This is a very concerning situation. We’re working very closely with this facility to see what they need in order to manage the situation.

"But given how rapidly it’s progressed and its size, it is a worrying situation," he said. 

On Monday, Barber told BarrieToday that residents were in isolation and being cared for in their individual rooms.

On Tuesday, Gardner was asked if the officials from Barrie's Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) would be asked to step in and assist at the south-end facility.

“We’re certainly looking at that kind of question very closely," he said, adding the health unit has been in contact with RVH about the situation at Roberta Place.

In October, the Ministry of Long-Term Care issued a mandatory management order appointing RVH to temporarily manage Simcoe Manor in Beeton on behalf of the County of Simcoe.

At the time, Simcoe Manor had 35 of 124 residents test positive for COVID-19. Additionally, 19 staff also tested positive at the facility. The order came after four elderly residents had died with the virus.