WINDSOR, ONT. -- The operators of a Windsor nursing home experiencing a major COVID-19 outbreak say management is assisting as personal support workers and the Red Cross visited Tuesday to see where they could help.

In an emailed statement to CTV News, Christy Parsons, vice-president of people at Schlegel Villages which operates the Village at St. Clair, said the home is experiencing staffing issues as some have tested positive for COVID-19 or are showing symptoms.

The organization is bringing in volunteers and management is assisting as personal support workers as the outbreak continues.

“We deeply appreciate the support and interest that our partners like the hospital, the LHIN and the union have shown our home,” Parsons said. “Our focus during the outbreak is to ensure all of our residents are hydrated, fed and have companionship, and that our infection prevention and control measures are strong.”

Unifor leader Jerry Dias issued an open letter to Premier Doug Ford Tuesday calling on the province in step in and take over responsibility of the home.

Workers at the Village at St. Clair are represented by Unifor Local 2458.

The union called for the Armed Forces or Red Cross to step in as the outbreak continued. As of Tuesday, the home had 97 active COVID-19 cases among residents and 50 among staff, Dias said in his letter.

The Village at St. Clair saw its first positive case on Dec. 8.

“Our reality is that we are seeking all avenues of support; we had the Red Cross on-site today to see how they can help us,” Parsons said. “This is a challenging time, especially because there are many other homes with outbreaks in Windsor-Essex who are also looking for support and resources, and anyone who is able to contribute would be greatly appreciated.”

As of Wednesday, there we 14 outbreaks at LTC and retirement homes in Windsor-Essex.

Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare says The Village at St. Clair is one of 12 long-term care homes it is partnering with to offer assistance during the pandemic.

Since the outbreak was declared at the home on Dec. 10, HDGH, the health unit, the Village at St. Clair and other community partners have been identifying resources that could assist staff and residents.

On Monday, HDGH deployed eight individuals to further support staff.

Parsons said Schlegel Villages is taking the following measures to address the outbreak:

  • Are in daily consultation with Ontario Health, public health, the LHIN and our partners at Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare (HDGH);
  • Have deployed eight members of our Support Office team to be on-site, including registered clinicians;
  • Have deployed team members from six of our other Villages, who have volunteered to stay in Windsor and support. This is a total of more than 12 people, including registered clinicians;
  • Have eight resolved team members have been able to return to work;
  • Are being provided with nine team members from HDGH, some of whom have already worked in our Villages in the past;
  • Have secured 11 staff from an environmental agency to support on-site with augmented cleaning of high touch surfaces and to assist with hydration and nutrition of residents;
  • Have been provided with five additional staff from Home and Community Care at the LHIN;
  • We’ve been working with more than 10 staffing agency organizations to find a reliable source of temporary team members;
  • Have been able to welcome 25 volunteers and essential caregivers back to support nutrition and hydration for residents;
  • Have more than a dozen other Support Office staff working on recruiting, administration and communications; and
  • Despite what has been reported, none of our team members have ever been without the necessary PPE required to do their job safely, including N-95 masks.