York reports two more deaths related to COVID-19

York Region is reporting two more deaths related to COVID-19 – an 88-year-old man and a 100-year-old woman – bringing its total to four.

The man was a resident at the Markhaven Home for Seniors and died on March 28. The woman died the following day and shared a home with the Vaughan resident who was announced as the Region’s second COVID-19 related death.

The Region has 237 cases to date. Markhaven reports 22 ill residents, five of whom have tested positive for the virus, as well as 43 ill staff members, 12 of whom have also tested positive, York Region Medical Officer of Health Dr. Karim Kurji reported in an information session on March 30.

There are also 11 ill residents at Yee Hong Ho Lai Oi Wan Centre, five of whom have been tested and are awaiting results, as well as 10 ill staff members. Health officials believe that outbreak is connected to a staff member who lives in Peel Region and has tested positive for COVID-19. Another ill resident has been hospitalized but wasn’t attended to by that staff member, Kurji said.

Dr. Karim Kurji

A resident from the Reena Community Residence in Richmond Hill has tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently hospitalized. Five staff members from the home are symptomatic and in self-isolation. The resident’s father is also in self-isolation.

York Region Public Health is currently investigating several clusters of the virus, including two gyms in Vaughan: BodyBarre Fitness Training & Studio (the source of eight positive cases) and the Al Palladini Community Centre gym. It’s believed the source of that cluster had lunch with someone from New York. Anyone who was at BodyBarre between March 9 and 15 and anyone who was at the community centre between March 7 and 15 is urged to contact the public health department.

Another cluster is related to 55 people who took part in a ski trip to Austria and Germany, five of whom have tested positive for the virus. The public health department has connected with all but two of those travellers. The final cluster is from the Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital’s psychiatric floor, where two staff members and a former patient have tested positive for COVID-19.

Travel-related cases in York Region appear to be on the decline but there’s a “mixed picture” when it comes to local transmission cases, Kurji said in the information session. “We want to especially emphasize to the community to continue with physical distancing,” he said. While everyone should stay at home whenever possible, that advice is especially important for those aged 70 years and older. “If you do go out for a walk, make very sure you are staying two metres away from everybody else.”

As cold and flu season continues, it can be difficult to know whether you might have COVID-19. “We are asking those with mild symptoms to self isolate and make sure close contacts – which are usually household contacts – also self isolate for 14 days,” Kurji said. “Work through the people you might have had close contact with two days prior to the onset of your symptoms and get them to self isolate as well. Of course, if medical conditions deteriorate, seek proper medical care.”

Kurji is also reminding residents to practise good hand hygiene and to disinfect surfaces others might have touched. Even at home, try to stay away from another as much as possible. “There’s no reason why we cannot fight this virus and win,” he said. Visit www.york.ca/covid19 for current information and resources in multiple languages, including steps on how to protect yourself.

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