Coronavirus outbreak at Markham home for adults with disabilities causes staff to walk off job

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A Markham home for adults with disabilities is in dire need of help after an outbreak of the novel coronavirus caused staff to walk off the job, leaving residents unattended.

Participation House is home to 42 adults with disabilities and as of Friday, had a confirmed 10 residents and two staff members test positive for COVID-19, Debra McLaughlin, a member of the board of directors, told Global News.

McLaughlin said Shelley Brillinger, executive director of Participation House, told staff about the outbreak Thursday, which then caused workers to walk off the job. McLaughlin said it is now only Brillinger and four other managers providing care for the residents.

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She added that the union is refusing to allow staff to come back, even after being offered double their salary. Agencies who supply personal support workers allegedly also won’t send anyone.

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Meanwhile, Markham’s Mayor Frank Scarpitti put out a call for emergency support for the home Friday afternoon after he said York Region Public Health informed him of the outbreak at Participation House.

“I am issuing an emergency call to businesses,


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