Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }
Coronavirus information
Coronavirus information
The Zero Canada Project provides resources to help you make the most of staying home.
Visit the hub

A massive COVID-19 outbreak that’s sickened all but five residents of an Ontario group home for the disabled has now turned deadly.

The family of resident Martin Frogley, 58, says he died of COVID-19 in a Markham, Ont., hospital early Wednesday.

A family statement says he “passed peacefully” listening to music he loved.

Story continues below advertisement

Frogley was one of 42 people with either a physical or intellectual disability living at Participation House, a facility where a major outbreak of the novel coronavirus has caused chaos in recent days.

The Markham Stouffville Hospital, which is assisting the home, says 37 of the 42 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, and at least 13 staff are also infected.

Last week most of the employees stopped working, a situation the union representing them attributed to a growing number of positive tests and public health guidance that advised them to stay away from the facility.

Frogley’s family did not comment on the unfolding situation at Participation House, reflecting only on his memory while requesting privacy as they grieve his death.

“He was a wonderful son, uncle and the best brother anyone could ever ask for,” the family said in a statement.

They thanked Participation House employees for what they described as “exceptional care,” as well as the hospital staff who tended to him in his final days.

Earlier this week, Participation House Executive Director Shelley Brillinger said a resident had been taken to hospital on the weekend. She said at the time he was “holding his own,” but provided no other details.

Story continues below advertisement

The staffing shortage, which triggered pleas for help from municipal and provincial politicians and prompted former federal health minister Dr. Jane Philpott to start providing medical care at the home, began last week when the outbreak was first announced.

At that point, at least 10 residents and two staff members were confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19.

It was widely reported that the ensuing shortage was caused by employees walking off the job, but the union representing Participation House staff says the situation was caused instead by employees following widely recommended public health advice.

Tom Galivan, secretary-treasurer of The Service Employees International Union Local Two, said the home had been experiencing staffing shortages for months prior to the pandemic. On Thursday, he said employees staff learned that positive cases had surfaced among residents and were advised to get tested immediately.

“The current staffing challenges are rooted in the fact that 30 per cent of the work force has tested positive or is awaiting test results,” he said, noting public health officials have advised those with possible COVID-19 exposure to self-isolate at once.

Galivan said another large swath of the staff had previously been working at multiple long-term care facilities in order to make ends meet, but were advised to stay at one workplace in order to curb the spread of the virus. Premier Doug Ford announced a provincial measure to the same effect on Wednesday.

Story continues below advertisement

Since last week, the outbreak has spread to 27 more residents and 11 more staff, a development the home described as “very upsetting.”

“Our hearts go out to the residents and their families as we face this challenge,” Brillinger said in a statement released on Tuesday. “I want to reassure our residents and their families that, with the support of the hospital, we are providing the care that is needed.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a particularly heavy toll on long-term care homes across the country, and Ontario is no exception. At least 98 facilities have reported outbreaks, and the 145 deaths in those homes account for nearly 40 per cent of the 385 total deaths in the province to date.

The grim situation prompted Ford to acknowledge shortcomings in the province’s long-term care system as he announced emergency measures intended to address the outbreaks in those centres.

“There’s cracks,” Ford said after announcing additional testing and infection control measures. “We have to raise the standards…This is a wake-up call to the world, not just Ontario.”

Sign up for the Coronavirus Update newsletter to read the day’s essential coronavirus news, features and explainers written by Globe reporters and editors.

In the interests of public health and safety, our coronavirus news articles are free for anyone to access. However, The Globe depends on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe to globeandmail.com. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.

Your subscription helps The Globe and Mail provide readers with critical news at a critical time. Thank you for your continued support. We also hope you will share important coronavirus news articles with your friends and family. In the interest of public health and safety, all our coronavirus news articles are free for anyone to access.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies