SUDBURY -- Sudbury's second death related to COVID-19 was announced Friday afternoon, a long-term care home resident.

The individual, a woman in her 80s, tested positive on April 21 for COVID-19 as part of the outbreak declared at St. Joseph’s Villa.

Out of respect during this difficult time, no further details will be provided.

"On behalf of all of our staff, I want to extend our sincere condolences to the family. I also want to acknowledge the efforts of our staff who themselves are devastated by this news. We continue to follow all necessary policies and procedures to provide safe care to our residents," said Jo-Anne Palkovits, President and CEO of St. Joseph’s Health Centre (SJHC). "Our community needs to continue to be kind and supportive to one another during these difficult times, while also ensuring we follow the advice of public health officials."

Palkovits said the safety of residents and staff remains the number one priority for SJHC.

“We extend our sincere condolences to the family members and friends affected by this loss. We understand this news is difficult for all to hear, especially for those who have loved ones living in long-term care and retirement homes,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, the medical officer of health for Public Health Sudbury & Districts. “We have to continue to do all that we can to prevent the spread of disease to protect older members in our community. I encourage people to reach out, check-in, and be there for one another, while maintaining physical distance." 

Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger issued a statement about the fatality Friday afternoon:

"I was very saddened to hear of our community’s second fatality from COVID-19, a resident of St. Joseph's Villa. On behalf of Council I extend my condolences to her family and friends at this time. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

I again implore every resident of Greater Sudbury to take this virus seriously. Physical distancing is a must to protect us, and our loved ones, especially the older members of our community. We must be smart, stay at home and work together to get through this trying time. We are a strong community, let's move forward together in the safest way possible."

Strict physical distancing guidelines have been in effect at St. Joseph’s Villa since mid-March and residents continue to be isolated from one another in their own private rooms to prevent infection. They are also assessed for COVID-related symptoms three times a day. Staff continue to wear the proper masks for the duration of their shift, and also wear eye protection, gloves, and gowns for direct care with all residents. Staff are also screened for symptoms at the beginning and end of each shift. With these measures, along with visitor restrictions in effect since mid-March, risk of infection throughout the facility remains low.

Surveillance activities continue to help us better understand the presence of COVID-19 infections in long-term care homes.

Public Health Sudbury & Districts continues to work very closely with long-term care homes to ensure preventative measures and provincial directives related to safety remain in place to help protect residents and staff.