WARMINGTON: Resident dies as COVID-19 ravages Maison de la participation

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MARKHAM – It’s hard to imagine that the grim and dire situation of Participation House could get worse.

But it did.

The history of the long-term care center for adults with disabilities quickly changed.

First, the overworked staff of the center abandoned their clients. The center was revived a little when Jane Philpott, a doctor and former federal health minister, stepped in to help.

But now there has been a death.

People were already worried and worried that 37 of the 42 residents and a dozen employees at Participation House might be infected with the potentially deadly virus.

Martin Frogley, 58, died on Wednesday of the first COVID-19 death at the facility.

“He was a wonderful son, uncle and the best brother you could ask for,” read a statement from his family.

Before this virus hit, it was fine. Now he’s gone.

Now his fellow citizens are afraid. The goal now is to try to protect others in this residence.

On Wednesday, two York Region paramedics in full protective gear were treating the many patients inside Participation House, which is adjacent to Markham Stouffville Hospital.

Everything is on deck – at least for those who are there.

Earlier this week, much of the staff fled – leaving an even bigger crisis behind. This is why Philpott stepped in to help you and why if you call general manager Shelley Brillinger, you receive a phone message asking all interested personal support workers to step in.

Carrie Beatty, who is a 60-year-old sister, Carolyn Bennett – born with cerebral palsy – has lived there since 1994.

“It has always been a wonderful place and I want to help,” said Carrie. “But they said I couldn’t because I don’t have the training. “

It is ironic that many of those who have been trained have left the ship. Carrie’s reaction to their decision is nuanced.

“Shame on them,” she said at first, before adding, “In a way, I can’t blame them. “

Some staff were sick. Many feared that they would fall ill – but complained that they did not have proper protective equipment.

In good and bad times, Carrie called Participation House a “special place.” She and her 90-year-old mom Agnes came to see Carolyn on Wednesday but had to do so from an outside window.

“We brought her favorite peanut butter cookies,” said Agnes. “We dropped them off at the front door. She was so happy to see us and we were so happy to see her. “

They pray that she will get through without contracting the virus.

“The staff there have been amazing and we want to thank Dr. Philpott who came every day to check on the residents,” said Agnes.

With residences in Bobcaygeon at 29 deaths and in Eobicville in Etobicoke at 25, Carrie and her family pray that the number at Participation House will stop at one.

The death of Martin Frogley is already one too many.

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