Staff of Roberta Place Facing Unprecedented Challenges with Newly Discovered COVID-19 Variant
Cambridge, ON— CLAC is expressing its concern for the staff and residents of Roberta Place Long Term Care in Barrie, Ontario, after an unidentified variant of the COVID-19 virus was discovered in the home.
“Our hearts go out to these workers,” says Ian DeWaard, CLAC’s Ontario director. “Sixty percent are infected, and the remaining staff are trying to attend to the residents.
“These are incredibly trying times. We know that every effort is being made to contain the spread and to support the workers. There is no blame to assign in moments like this.”
An article from The Globe and Mail reports that since the outbreak at Roberta Place was declared on January 8, 122 of the home’s 130 residents have contracted the virus and 19 have died. Sixty-nine staff members and two visitors to the facility have also tested positive.
DeWaard notes that this outbreak is emblematic of the mounting issues in Ontario’s long term care system, which have been compounded by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We remain concerned that staffing in long term care is in a state of crisis and has been for a long time,” explains DeWaard. “There is no way the continuing need for new staff can be met without a robust plan. A significant investment from the government is required to attract and retain the tens of thousands of workers needed to serve on the front lines.”
The staff of Roberta Place have been represented by Health Care and Service Workers Union, CLAC Local 304, since December 2014.