TORONTO -- The province has appointed two Ontario hospitals to temporarily manage two privately-owned long-term care homes that are currently experiencing severe COVID-19 outbreaks.

On May 12, the province issued an emergency order allowing the government to appoint a manager to oversee the response to COVID-19 at these facilities and help curb the spread of the disease. At the time the province said the order will “support the use of rapid, immediate and effective management alternatives to protect residents and staff within a home.”

This is the first time the Progressive Conservative government has made use of the order.

For the next 90 days, Southlake Regional Health Centre will temporarily manage River Glen Haven Nursing Home in Sutton, Ont. The 119-bed facility operated by ATK Care Group Limited has reported 54 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among residents and 29 among staff.

At least 20 residents at the home have died after contracting the disease.

Downsview Long-Term Care Home in North York, which is operated by GEM Health Care Group, has reported at least 52 resident deaths related to COVID-19.

Last week the facility said that 124 residents, including those who have recovered and passed away, have tested positive for the disease. More than 100 employees have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

As of Monday, Humber River Hospital will temporarily manage the facility.

The province has said the order may be extended beyond the 90 days if necessary.

"I want to make sure that everyone knows, everyone in Ontario knows that our number one priority and our commitment is to the safety of our residents and staff in our long-term care homes, that's the very first thing," Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, told reporters on Monday.

"We've taken measure after measure after measure to make sure that happens and when we look at homes that are struggling to stop or contain the spread of COVID-19 despite the measures we've taken with the infection prevention and control, with having public health and risk assessments, with our inspectors going in to assess the homes and they are still having trouble then our obligation as a government is to take another measure and this is another measure."