GP Photo: St. John’s Ambulance at River Glen Haven

By: Mike Anderson

Sixty-one residents at River Glen Haven have tested positive for COVID-19, according to York Region Public Health.

That’s more than half of the nursing home’s 114 residents, making it the second-worst long-term care outbreak in York Region, after Mackenzie Place in Newmarket, which has 80 positive cases.

RGH administration is currently reporting 48 active cases of COVID-19 in the home, as some residents have passed, and others have been hospitalized, according to an email update sent to family members on May 15.

RGH staff infections continue to be a concern, as 23 staff members have now tested positive for COVID-19.

This has some family members calling on the province to take over the nursing home.

“It’s gotten too big, too fast. Staff are burning out. And more staff and residents are testing positive each day,” said Maureen McDermott, who runs a Facebook group for family members of residents at RGH, and whose own mother has tested positive.

“The staff are absolute heroes. But the terrifying truth is this virus is deep inside where my mom is. It’s too big. Let’s get in there before it becomes another Bobcaygeon.”

The Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon recently declared its outbreak over after 29 residents died of COVID-19 – River Glen Haven has reported six deaths from the virus, although unofficial reports claim that number may be higher.

Following the adoption of an emergency order on May 13, the province can replace a long-term care home’s management team if the home is struggling to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak.

According to the order, the new manager could be any person, including a corporation or a hospital.

With 23 staff members testing positive, RGH is facing a staffing shortage, forcing management to use agency staff, Central LHIN volunteers and administrative staff to fill the gaps.

“RGH is in regular communications with our regulatory bodies … and multiple staffing agencies, to explore all avenues of procuring and maintaining adequate staffing during this challenging time,” said Jordan Kannapuzha, the chief operating officer for ATK Care Group, the home’s owner in an email to The Post.

“Our staff and management have been working tirelessly to ensure optimal care for our residents. I want to thank them for their tremendous effort.”

But, as RGH struggles to contain the outbreak, it’s not clear if the province will invoke the order, as Southlake Regional Health Centre has already been providing on-site support.

Gayle Seddon, a health care executive and RN from Southlake, is currently acting in a leadership role at RGH, assisting the home’s management team and staff.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Long-Term Care, Southlake has implemented a co-horting plan and is providing ongoing infection control and PPE training.

But these measures may be too late, as subsequent testing has uncovered more positive cases, some asymptomatic, on floors considered to be clear of the virus.

“The Ministry of Long-Term Care is tracking the situation unfolding at River Glen Haven closely, said Gillian Sloggett, a ministry spokesperson.

“We can confirm that the home has seen a spike in confirmed resident cases following the completion of universal resident testing at the home. With these cases now identified, the home can enact strict measures to control the spread.

While cohorting and wider infection prevention and control measures are ongoing with the support of Southlake and the LHIN, many of these cases have been asymptomatic and may have resulted in transmission.”

The outbreak at RGH is currently the only active institutional outbreak in Georgina, responsible for 82 per cent of its positive cases, and all of the fatalities resulting from COVID-19.

According to York Region Public Health, the previous outbreaks reported in four community care settings in Georgina are now considered closed.



  1. This mans definition of “optimal care” needs to be explored. Six employees per night to address the needs of 119 residents housed over four floors is absurd. Residents wander the halls aimlessly and unchecked, enter the rooms of other residents and in some cases physically attempt to engage one another. Positive and negative COVID status residents housed together in 166 square ft rooms, basic daily health care needs not being met; residents going as long as a week without a bath or change of clean undergarments. Dietary needs not being met. This is adequate? I think not! This, is criminal.


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