PENETANGUISHENE, ONT. -- Dozens of jobs will soon be up for grabs as the County of Simcoe looks to fill vacancies at long-term care homes.

A recent report recommended the council fill about 40 shifts, seven days a week.

"We need to fill these gaps to ensure that we can continue to maintain a safe environment for our residents living at our homes," said Jane Sinclair, County of Simcoe.

At the peak of the pandemic, about 150 non-essential county staff avoided layoffs by volunteering to be redeployed, but now they're heading back to their pre-COVID jobs.

A new position has been created based on their work called the Home Services Assistant, which could cost the county about $9,000 per day, and it's looking to hire 52 people in the new role.

"And so we're going to require a lot of full-time employees to come work for us, help support our seniors and keep them safe," Sinclair said.

The greatest need is at Georgian Manor and Georgian Village in Penetanguishene, where redeployed staff helped with cleaning, family visits and screening.

"We do need to look at all the continued enhanced protocols we have in place due to this pandemic and how we're going to manage them," said Michelle Pauze, Georgian Village Director of Senior Services.

Pauze said without the added hands, managing through the pandemic would have been difficult, and now they need to fill about 14 positions.

"This is their home, so it's trying to keep them safe, keep them active and not socially isolating them," Pauze said.

County of Simcoe council will review the recommendations at the next council meeting. Sinclair hopes to have the positions posted by the end of the month.