ALMONTE -- Eileen Watt-Rawlings says she was on edge as soon as she learned of a COVID-19 outbreak at Almonte Country Haven.

Both of her parents are residents at the home and have tested positive for the virus. 

Marjorie and James Watt are in their 80s and celebrated their 60th anniversary at the home.

James is doing well, but Marjorie’s health is declining.

“He wasn’t extremely upset, but he said well if she dies, I’ll die,” Watt-Rawlings said teary-eyed.

“The good news is when my sister called back 10 minutes later, he forgot,” she laughed.

As a former PSW herself, Watt-Rawlings can sympathize with staff at the long-term care home in Almonte and understands they are under immense pressure.

“I’ve spoken to one person who cried on the phone twice with me,” she said.

“They are superb people. They’ve done everything they can.”

She and her sister have found comfort in knowing staff keep them informed every step of the way.

“I find the staff there are taking the best care possible for my parents,” Jennifer Watt said. 

There were 82 residents at Almonte Country Haven. Dozens have tested positive for the virus and 18 have died due to COVID-19 complications.

Long term care homes have been under fire, as many have experienced outbreaks, with some resulting in tragic deaths. 

A spokesperson for Almonte Country Haven tells CTV News Ottawa they have now expanded testing to test all residents for COVID-19.

Four symptom-free staff members have returned to work, as well as an additional seven nursing students who are joining them.

“People have to remember these workers can’t go home to their families, they are giving up months of their life to ensure the health of these residents,” said Debbie Hartwick, whose mother is a resident at the home.

On Facebook, an Almonte man launched a fundraiser called “Almonte Country Haven Covo Recovery”

Over $12,000 has been donated to treat staff to spa days and whatever else they may need post-pandemic. 

Until that happens, families with a heavy heart, like Watt-Rawlings, want staff to know they are supported.

“We appreciate what they’re doing immensely and we want them to be encouraged.”