'The worst outbreak we've ever had': Three residents dead in COVID-19 outbreak at Barry's Bay long-term care home
BARRY'S BAY, ONT. -- Three residents at Valley Manor nursing home in Barry's Bay, Ont. have died due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
The three residents were described to be "very senior", with two of them over the age of 95. All three residents had received four doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
"This is without doubt the worst outbreak we've ever had," Dr. Robert Cushman, Renfrew County's medical officer of health, told CTV News Ottawa.
"Not only in terms of the percentage of the residents (and staff), but also because of the deaths. I mean we had three deaths on one day."
Valley Manor is currently home to 74 people. As of Thursday, 31 residents were involved in the outbreak, along with 27 out of 130 staff members testing positive for COVID-19.
"Valley Manor has been doing quite well throughout the last two-and-a-half-years and we have been unscathed for the most part," says Trisha Deslaurier, CEO at Valley Manor. "However, this last wave has hit us quickly and it came through fast and furious."
The nursing home can accommodate up to 90 residents but due to the outbreak and staffing shortages has limited their acceptance to 74 residents.
With over one-fifth of the staff infected, Valley Manor has put out a plea to the community, asking anyone willing to volunteer to come in and help. Deslaurier says volunteers can expect to be needed for likely a month.
"They all need to have their third vaccination, and we would train them on anything when it comes to feeding residents and portering."
Combermere resident John Lynch was one of the first to step forward and offer his help to the home.
"I know a lot of people in there, I know a lot of the staff that work there," the 75-year-old tells CTV News.
"I'm vaccinated with two boosters, relatively healthy, a little on the old side. But that doesn't matter too much. My goodness those people, you've got to be up there helping them. You can't walk away from that."
Dr. Cushman says this seventh wave - the BA5 variant wave - has caught the entire region by surprise.
"There is some hope that we're plateauing soon and we'll be out of it quickly, but again, fingers crossed."