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Six more Roberta Place residents succumb to COVID, bringing death toll to 25

There are 122 residents confirmed to have the virus, which is unchanged from Wednesday, while the number of cases among staff and team members increased to 74 from 69 in the past 24 hours

Six more Roberta Place residents who were positive for COVID-19 have have died, bringing the death toll to 25 people at the long-term care home in south-end Barrie. 

Stephanie Barber, who is the community relations co-ordinator for the 137-bed facility on Essa Road, also confirmed 122 residents have tested positive for the virus, which is unchanged from Wednesday's update, as well as 74 staff/team members, which is up from 69.

The rising numbers come with Wednesday's news that there is now evidence a COVID-19 variant has been found in the long-term care home and may be the cause of the outbreak. Laboratory testing identified a COVID variant in six swabs taken at the facility.

The variant strain testing is a two-part test. At this time, the first test indicates a "very high probability" that they are of a variant strain of concern. The second part of the test is a whole genome sequencing test to determine the exact strain. The results are expected in the next few days.

An outbreak was declared at the long-term care home on Jan. 8 by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

Residents and staff started to be vaccinated on Saturday, but only those who had tested negative and/or had no symptoms could get the vaccine.

According to Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for the local health unit, after one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, there’s an 85 per cent protection level for the person who received the vaccine. After two doses, it offers 95 per cent protection.