BEETON, ONT. -- Ravaged by COVID-19 since late September, staff and residents inside Simcoe Manor are grieving the loss of two more lives at the Beeton long-term care home.

“Our heartfelt sympathies go out to all of their loved ones and all those who have been impacted by COVID-19 here at Simcoe Manor,” said County of Simcoe Health and Emergency Services general manager Jane Sinclair.

Nine residents have died, five more are fighting the virus. Officials confirm a total of 40 residents and 28 staff have become infected, with two additional staff cases being investigated by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

Still, officials from the County and Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, who are working inside the home, are encouraged 26 of those 40 infected residents are medically cleared.

“We’ve made considerable progress,” said RVH chief nursing executive Liz Ferguson.

“We have to get through the crisis, and as we get further along in managing the outbreak, we will have a better sense of what’s required for sustainability and long-term management,” Ferguson said.

RVH has been managing the facility by order of the province since early October stepping up infection prevention and control.

The facility has added and trained all staff on proper personal protective equipment protocol with help from the health unit and Stevenson Memorial in Alliston.

“We have significant additions to our staff, so we are managing with adequate staff. In fact, we are operating well above our normal baseline staffing levels at this time,” said Sinclair.

Health officials are reviewing how the virus got into the home and how to prevent it from happening again.

The County reports no new resident cases since October 16, and if it remains that way, and more residents recover, the health unit could declare the outbreak at Simcoe Manor over in a few weeks.