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Two more deaths reported at Roberta Place, bringing death toll to 27

There are 96 currently residents residing in the Essa Road facility and there are nine residents being cared for in hospital

Two more Roberta Place residents have died due to the COVID-19 outbreak at the long-term care home in south-end Barrie, bringing the death toll to 27 residents. 

Roberta Place community relations co-ordinator Stephanie Barber tells BarrieToday there are also currently 124 positive resident cases as well as 81 positive cases among staff/team members. 

At present, there are 96 residents residing in the Essa Road facility and there are nine residents being cared for in hospital. 

It was announced Wednesday that a first round of lab testing confirmed that the Roberta Place outbreak could be attributed to a variant of COVID-19. Six swabs tested positive for a variant.

It has been believed it is either the UK, South African or Brazilian variant, but a needed second round of testing still has to be completed before a final determination can be made. That confirmation is expected to come any day.

The UK variant is believed to travel quicker and is more contagious, but as Dr. Michael Ryan explained at a World Health Organization (WHO) press conference on Friday, that doesn’t mean the strain itself is deadlier. 

“If I have one million people who are infected and the lethality is one per cent, and then I have two million people infected with the same lethality, then twice as many people will still die,” said Ryan, the executive director of the WHO health emergencies program.

“That's the issue with mortality in this case," he added. "We’re not seeing so far that the disease (variant) is more lethal; what we’re seeing is that if you infect more people, more people will get very sick. If more people get very sick, more people will die.”

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit declared an outbreak at Roberta Place on Jan. 8. At that time, there were 26 total positive cases at the facility with no known deaths.

On Jan. 18, the local health unit issued an order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA) for Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (OSMH) to take over temporary leadership at the Roberta Place long-term care home by helping to bring a current outbreak under control.