Mass casualties in long-term care: What really happened?

Seniors living in long-term care faced astronomical death tolls throughout the COVID pandemic. Were they dying of the virus, or neglect?

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A nursing home in Bobcaygeon, Ontario had nearly half of its residents tragically die in a two and a half week period during peak COVID hysteria in the spring of 2020. All of the deaths were marked as COVID-related.

Undoubtedly, this worked to instill fear and terror into the general population, thinking they were next. Yet it was only when staff stopped showing up for their shifts that the mass casualty toll began at Pinecrest Nursing Home.

Pinecrest was one of the first nursing homes to be hit with a COVID outbreak and my colleague, David Menzies, went there to conduct a field report early in the spring of 2020.

The outbreak was declared on March 20, and the very next day, on March 21, Pinecrest Medical Director Michelle Snarr emailed family members telling them to “brace for the worst.” Due to a provincial policy, as per the Globe and Mail, only three residents were actually tested for COVID-19, and everyone else was presumed to have it.

Two days after Snarr’s email went out, Nurse Sarah Gardiner was quoted as saying that “nobody showed up for the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift on Monday, March 23. The remaining day-shift staff stayed to work a double.”

It appears that the staff were panicking. From roughly March 23 to April 6, almost half of the 65 residents at Pinecrest tragically passed away.

The article further notes that “Pinecrest was perilously short of staff” and references social media “calls for help,” where the community said that the “small staff at Pinecrest is infected and working with a skeleton of staff saying that they are in desperate need of help urgently.”

This article details the horrific death toll: “Two residents at Pinecrest Nursing home died on Friday, followed by seven more over the weekend.” Seven seniors, dead in two days.

Shortly thereafter, the Ford government brought in the military to assist with the carnage that was happening in LTC all across Ontario. It’s now well known that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on residents of long-term care and seniors’ homes was severe, with approximately 81% of Canada’s COVID-19 deaths having occurred among residents.

Based on the military’s report, we know now that Ontario seniors suffered at the hands of horrific treatment and experienced neglect, malnutrition, and dehydration, among other atrocities.

When I inquired with the Bobcaygeon home about what went so tragically wrong and what was being done to prevent it from happening again in future, administrator Jenelle Whalen said that their “leadership team had daily conversations with Public Health, the Ministries of Health and of Long-Term Care and other health system partners.”

But apparently the local health unit knew nothing of it.

Then-medical officer of health for the Haliburton, Kawartha Pine Ridge (HKPR) health unit, Dr. Lynn Noseworthy, who received a 32.6% raise in 2020, said that she wasn’t aware of the unprecedented death toll. “We’re always the last to find out. I’m serious. We’re the last to find out,” she is quoted as saying.

Were they having daily communication or not?

When I filed an Access to Information request to find out, it came back that no responsive records existed! The email noted that Sheila Bristo, then the Assistant Deputy Minister, Long-Term Care Operations Division, was responsible for this decision.

This was the opposite of what Pinecrest alleged, so I appealed the decision and had to detail why.

Finally, after nearly two years of investigative research, we have received a response that this documentation is to be released! Jeff Butler, the current Assistant Deputy Minister, Long-Term Care Operations Division, is responsible for this updated decision.

Stay tuned for updates, and consider supporting this investigation if you’re able to, at

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  • By Rebel News

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