‘It’s a war zone’: Coronavirus deaths at Bobcaygeon, Ont., nursing home climb to 9

Nine residents of a long-term care home in Bobcaygeon, Ont., have died of COVID-19 complications since March 25, according to the facility’s medical director.

Dr. Michelle Snarr has called the Pinecrest Nursing Home a “war zone” since an outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease was declared on March 20. The nine deaths are presumed cases of COVID-19, she said, noting that seven of the deaths occurred over the weekend.

“It’s a war zone — more than one nurse has said that,” Snarr said Monday morning. “I feel like a field commander in a war.”

READ MORE: 2 long-term care home residents in Bobcaygeon, Ont. die after COVID-19 outbreak

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit has not confirmed the deaths, having last updated its jurisdiction’s statistics on Friday at 5 p.m.

At the time, the health unit stated that two residents at the 65-resident facility had died and three others had tested positive for COVID-19.

The health unit also said on Friday that 35 staff members had COVID-19 symptoms and 17 had tested positive. As of Friday, another four staff members had tested negative, and 13 others were awaiting test results, according to the health unit.

“We started off with 65. We’ve had nine die so far,” said Snarr.

“There are patients dying right now; more are going to die.”

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Snarr said she emailed families on March 21, warning them they may have to decide on sending a loved one to the hospital or placing them on a ventilator — the latter of which Snarr said would likely cause a patient to “suffer a great deal,” adding that they “may not survive.”

“I cannot begin to imagine what the abysmal quality of life would be for a person in a nursing home — that frail — and if they survived a ventilator, the quality of life would just be abysmal,” she said.

Snarr thanked the public for the outpouring of support and said a “plea for compassion is needed” for the situation, which she describes as “beyond horrifying … heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching.”

“I can’t put it into words. It’s just devastatingly horrible. So, so, so sad,” she said.

The health unit has called the outbreak the largest in the province.

Global News has reached out to Health Minister Christine Elliott’s office numerous times for comment on this story, however the minister’s office has declined to comment, saying it would have more details Monday afternoon.

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