TORONTO -- A long-term care home in Whitby where nearly all residents recently tested positive for COVID-19 and 11 have died was so understaffed, with such poor infection prevention controls, that a provincial inspector said the situation caused “actual harm to residents.”

As of Wednesday, 113 residents of Sunnycrest Nursing Home off of Dundas Street East in Whitby had tested positive for COVID-19, along with 47 staff members.

A recent inspection of the facility found no one was screening visitors for symptoms, personal protective equipment was lacking and proper guidelines concerning use of protective gear were not being followed.

“There was actual harm to residents as the home did not demonstrate consistent infection prevention and control practices, shortage of staff leading to wound dressings not being completed, high risk medications being late up to two hours, staff reporting lack of access to PPE, inconsistent precaution signage on resident rooms and lack of PPE caddies located outside of certain resident rooms,” Ministry of Long-Term Care inspector Jack Shi said in a report compiled on Nov. 29.

“With all these factors considered, the home has failed to demonstrate that it was providing a safe and secure environment for its residents during the course of the outbreak.”

Lakeridge Health and Durham Public Health would not say how many residents live in the facility, only that it has capacity for 136 people and 113 were infected with COVID-19.

Of those, 36 have recovered, 55 are isolating within the facility, 11 are in hospital and 11 others have passed away.

The first case of the outbreak was reported on Nov. 23. Forty-seven staff members have been infected with COVID-19.

Shi said he spoke to two personal support workers, a registered practical nurse, the home administrator and the director of care at the home.

They told him that staffing was below 50 per cent of pre-outbreak levels.

He said he saw staff enter and exit resident rooms without donning and doffing protective gear, and that he was told some PPE was kept locked in the administrator’s office.

Since the inspection, the home has been taken over by Lakeridge Health.

It said staff from the hospital network, Durham Region Paramedic Services and the Red Cross are now at the home, and will remain there for up to 90 days.

“The Sunnycrest team are receiving ‘in-the-moment’ training and education related to IPAC [infection prevention and control] best practices. COVID-swabs continue with residents and staff, as well as co-horting residents to further reduce potential exposure to COVID-19,” a Lakeridge Health spokesperson said on Tuesday.

The home last received a full inspection concerning resident quality in Dec. 2017.

Sunnycrest Nursing Home

A recent report of the Ford government-appointed commission on long-term care found only 11 proactive resident quality inspections were performed in the province’s 626 long-term care homes from when the pandemic began in March to mid-October.

Since March, 2,407 residents and 8 employees of long-term care homes have died of COVID-19.