End of outbreak at Participation House

Mayor Frank Scarpitti announced June 8 that the COVID-19 outbreak is over at Participation House in Markham. 

An outbreak was first declared at the home in April. At the time, there was a critical shortage of staff and personal protective equipment (PPE). The City of Markham immediately put out an urgent call for help and launched the Markham Cares Donation Centre to ensure necessary supplies could get to the facilities that needed it most. The support was overwhelming. People and businesses from Markham and beyond immediately rose to the challenge, donated supplies and meals and offered to help. There were countless heartwarming stories of kindness and generosity.

At the height of the outbreak, 95 per cent of residents at the home had COVID-19. Tragically, six residents passed away. “Our hearts and thoughts are with their families and loved ones for their unimaginable and devastating loss,” said Mayor Scarpitti. “Our community is with you.”

Now that Participation House has been given the all clear, Mayor Scarpitti took this opportunity to thank the entire team, led by Shelley Brillinger for their steadfast commitment, hard work and dedication to the residents, many of whom worked around the clock for weeks with little to no rest and at risk to themselves and their own families. It was a difficult and heartbreaking situation and it took a toll on everyone involved.

Mayor Scarpitti also applauded Dr. Jane Philpott for her extraordinary support at Participation House. Undoubtedly, she was a critical resource during a time of crisis. “We extend our sincere appreciation to the highly skilled medical team at Markham Stouffville Hospital, along with York Region EMS for answering the call and for their exceptional support and leadership,” he continued.

Mayor Scarpitti is now calling on the Provincial Government to include all supportive housing facilities, like Participation House, in its review with the recently announced Independent Commission into Long-Term Care. Last week, on a call with Deputy Premier Christine Elliott, Mayor Scarpitti was assured that she and Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, are looking into adding supportive housing in that review.

“Participation House is home to our most vulnerable, people who cannot care for themselves,” said Mayor Scarpitti. “Families were understandably worried and afraid, and they deserve to know that every effort is underway to prevent similar tragedies. Meanwhile, I hope today’s news offers some relief. We all have a responsibility and duty to protect and care for the residents of Participation House, and our collective response helped end the outbreak and made all the difference. Thank you for ensuring they were not alone.”

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