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Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, Ont., is ground zero for a novel coronavirus outbreak where 22 residents have died and one-third of the staff members are isolating after coming into contact with COVID-19.

“They’re treating it like a hospice, like there’s no hope like they have stage four brain cancer and they just have to keep them comfortable because there’s nothing they can do,” says Tanya Bartley, whose grandmother passed away at the home at the end of March.

Edna Bowers lived with dementia and began exhibiting symptoms of the virus along with dozens of other residents who have been treated at the home and not transferred to hospital.

Global News has obtained documentation from health officials sent to long-term care homes saying seniors in nursing homes should be kept comfortable if they contract the virus and not taken to hospital as there’s little that can be done beyond comforting measures.

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“They don’t play god. Everybody is the same. I don’t care if it’s a two-year-old, a 10-year-old, a 20-year-old, middle-aged, elderly. I don’t care,” added Bartley when she heard of the directive.

The letter, dated March 23, 2020, was written by Dr. Allan Bell, a medical director and chief of emergency medicine at Quinte Health Care (QHC) in Belleville, Ont., a region in eastern Ontario that services hospitals in Belleville, North Hastings, Trenton and Prince Edward County.

It outlines suggestions on how to prepare long-term care administrators for potential COVID-19 outbreaks in their respective homes.


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