Corp Comm Connects

Vaughan and Woodbridge hit with high COVID-19 cases

Some long-term care residents test positive after death with no prior symptoms
April 27, 2020
Kim Zarzour

Vaughan continues to the be the COVID-19 hot spot in York Region, according to the latest numbers from Region of York public health.

The region reported 45 new cases of the novel coronavirus Saturday Apr. 25, bringing the total to 1,387.

On Friday Apr. 24, there were 65 new cases, and Apr. 23 saw 33 new cases.

More than half (55 per cent) of those tested positive for COVID-19 in York Region are women, with age groups distributed almost equally among those from 20 to 34, 45 to 45, 55 to 64 and 80 and over.

Just three per cent of those testing positive were 19 and younger.

Vaughan remains at the top of the charts, with 43 per cent of positive testing results -- 177 per 100,000 population.

“We are looking deeper into the different parts of Vaughan to see where the problem was perhaps more acute, and we found that about 50 per cent of the cases were in Woodbridge, about 25 per cent in Thornhill and about 20 per cent in Maple,” Dr. Karim Kurji, York’s medical officer of health, said in an interview, adding that Thornhill and Maple numbers appear to be on the decline but Woodbridge remains a concern.

“We are making progress with respect to the public's assistance in terms of staying home and the physical distancing part. and also making sure that they're going for testing. And that's why we do expect an increased number of cases just now, because more and more people are probably going for testing,”

A large number of cases in York Region continue to be acquired through institutional outbreaks.

There are currently 36 facilities with active outbreaks -- the largest number at Mackenzie Place in Richmond Hill (55 cases) Participation House in Markham (40), Villa Leonardo Gambin in Woodbridge (39), Participation House Farintosh on Kennedy Road (36) and Markhaven Home in Markham (34).

Two COVID-19 deaths were recently reported in long-term care and these patients never exhibited any symptoms, Kurji said.

The patients tested positive following death.

Kurji said the region is testing each resident and staff in long-term care, retirement homes and other congregate living -- approximately 5,000 residents -- with help from local hospitals’ mobile teams, paramedics and RNs.

“We have prioritized how we are going to be approaching them,” he said. “We are trying to go as fast as we can.”

The public health website outlines multiple outbreaks still active in the region.

“This is a challenge to us," Kurji said, "but we are slowly, slowly gaining control.”