'We will call 911': Ontario long-term care home warns families to stop sneaking into facility
TORONTO -- A long-term care home in Ontario, dealing with a deadly COVID-19 outbreak, has warned families it will call 911 if relatives continue to sneak in through patio doors to visit loved ones.
The Village of Humber Heights long-term care home, located in Toronto, sent a letter to loved ones last week, stating that a number of family members have been entering the building through patio doors and a side-entrance, despite being banned for safety reasons during the coronavirus pandemic.
"This is not a game and we will not hesitate in calling the police who will enforce safe distancing and public health policies," the letter, obtained by CTV News Toronto, said. "When we see this happening we will just call 911 rather than put the team in the difficult position of confronting those who clearly do not understand the risk."
"The last thing that we need is to deal with outside visitors compromising the safety of not only your resident but all of us."
As of Wednesday, 10 residents at the long-term care home have died as a result of COVID-19, while 22 other people tested positive. At least 18 staff members contracted the virus and are now self-isolating at home.
The facility's general manager told CTV News Toronto on Tuesday that since they sent the letter to residents they have not had an issue or had to contact the police.
"Everyone has been abiding by this measure," General Manager Pauline Dell’Oso said. "We care deeply about the health and safety of everyone in our Humber Heights community, including residents, their families and our team members."
"It's why we've enacted a number of measures that will help us fight COVID-19, and contain the spread of this devastating virus, including restricting access to the facility to only essential visitors for residents who are palliative or critically ill."
"We know that this has been a very difficult time for the loved ones of our residents, but we believe that it is a vital step we had to take in protecting the lives of everyone within our community. Our message of April 6th was to remind everyone of this important protocol, and the reasons for it."
There are 98 long-term care homes in Ontario currently dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks.
The outbreaks have forced the provincial government to unveil an enhanced plan to fight the virus in long-term care homes.
Premier Doug Ford said the province will boost testing for residents and staff and also stop people from working at more than one of the homes at a time.