TORONTO -- Canadian soldiers will be sent to help care for residents at a Pickering long-term care home where 40 residents have died so far of COVID-19.

Orchard Villa long-term care home, whose infection control duties were earlier handed over to the local hospital authority, is one of the five GTA facilities where the Canadian Armed Forces will be deployed to provide assisstance.

Troops will also be heading to Altamount Care Community in Scarborough, Eatonville Care Centre in Etobicoke, Hawthorne Place in North York and Holland Christian Homes’ Grace Manor in Brampton.

As of Friday, the five facilities have a combined death toll of more than 100.

On Thursday, staff at Orchard Villa informed families of residents that 131 of the 233 residents at the facility tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Ashe said he’s been asking for the military to help the facility for more than a week.

Durham Region Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Kyle said there have been doctors and nurses from Lakeridge Health have been in the facility since Tuesday.

“The home has been in outbreak for many weeks and it will take time to sort out what additional measures need to be in place, what additional staffing needs to be in place and how to instill a culture if you will of sound infection prevention and control,” he said.

COVID-19 infections among staff at the facility led to a severe shortage.

Families of residents at Orchard Villa have complained that they learn of developments such as the number of deaths that have occurred from media reports rather than the facility’s administrators.

Approximately 50 soldiers, led by an officer who is also a registered nurse, will eventually begin work at the facility.

In a statement on Friday evening, Eatonville Care Centre said it is pleased that the province is providing military support to the facility.

"These resources will assist our hard-working staff as they continue to prioritize the health and safety of our residents," the facility said in a statement. "I want to express my thanks to the provincial government and to the Premier for expediting our request for assistance."

There were no new deaths reported at that Etobicoke long-term care home on Friday. The COVID-19 death toll at the facility stands at 37.

Hawthorne Place Care Centre said in a statement that the additional support from the Army would bolster its staff.

“Our sole focus has always been the health and safety of our residents and front-line staff. We are grateful for the assistance as we remain focused on alleviating staffing challenges and ensuring that our residents get the care and comfort they deserve,” the facility said in a statement.

The North York facility said nine people have died after contracting COVID-19.

Long-Term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton said the five homes that were chosen for military support have serious staffing shortages.

“Staffing appears to be main area of main concern and that’s a major part of how we determined to go with these five homes.”

Ontario's Associated Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe said the province remains extremely concerned about what is happening in long-term care facilities.

"There probably are more deaths in long-term care,” Yaffe said.

“And regardless of the numbers, we know it’s a serious problem. Public health units are working very hard with their long-term care homes, with Public Health Ontario, with the local hospitals and with others to do everything we can to prevent and control the spread of this infection with this very high-risk population.”