The flag flies at half-mast in honour of those who died of COVID-19, and the white ribbons show community support for residents and staff.

By Kathryn Stocks

It was a heartbreaking start to the new year as COVID-19 struck the Tony Stacey Centre on January 1 and spread quickly through the longterm care home. As of January 24, six residents were positive with COVID and, sadly, there had been 16 resident deaths. Sixty-two residents had recovered.

Stacey Centre staff worked hard to keep the coronavirus at bay last year and they were successful for 10 months. Now that it’s entered their building, they are working tirelessly to keep it in check.

“This is a very difficult period for our residents, families and staff,” Executive Director Melissa Elliott wrote in a statement to Centennial News. She said the safety of staff and residents will always be their priority.

According to Elliott, Toronto Public Health directed them to isolate all residents, which they have done, and staff are taking measures to either meet or exceed provincial directives. Staff and residents who previously tested negative are being tested every five days, which exceeds the directive for every seven days required by the Ministry of Long-Term Care.

Elliott noted that the Stacey Centre has a dedicated group of physicians who visit the home daily. She said they are grateful to have additional onsite clinical staff experienced with COVID and the geriatric population supporting the home seven days a week. All residents continue to be assessed for any change in condition.

The best news is that all eligible staff and residents who have consented were given their first COVID-19 vaccinations in early January. “We believe by working together we will minimize the risk and overcome this challenge,” Elliott wrote.

She thanks Stacey Centre staff who from the beginning of this pandemic have been committed to the wellbeing of residents. “We are also grateful for the continued support, words of encouragement and appreciation of the level of care that we have provided to our residents from our families and community stakeholders.”

Our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones. As a show of support, CCRA has started a campaign to tie white ribbons on the trees and the fences outside the Stacey Centre. We encourage the community to join us. Elliott said it is already having a positive effect on the staff and residents when they see such support.