Nearly half of the residents at a nursing home near The Annex have tested positive for COVID-19 since an outbreak was declared in September.

The executive director of Vermont Square long-term Care Home confirmed to CP24 on Sunday that a total of 62 residents and 47 staff members have contracted the infection.

The home said there are currently 59 active cases – 38 residents and 21 staff members. According to the province, eight residents have died after acquiring the infection.

Located on Bathurst Street, north of Bloor Street West, the 130-bed facility has been dealing with an outbreak since it was declared on Sept. 27.

In a statement, Executive Director Abiola Awonsanya said the home is working closely with TPH, University Health Network and Mount Sinai hospital to manage the outbreak.

"We have implemented and continue to follow all new and ongoing infection prevention and control measures as directed by the province," Awonsanya said.

"These ongoing measures include the use of appropriate personal protective equipment at all times, enhanced cleaning measures, twice daily symptom monitoring of all residents and staff, universal mass testing of all residents and staff every five days, and isolating residents to their rooms with in-room meal service."

She said staff are also working hard to connect families of residents, providing them daily updates.

According to the province, there are 82 nursing homes currently experiencing an outbreak.

Ontario reached a new high of new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, reporting more than 1,000 infections.

While those under the age of 40 have been disproportionately affected by the virus during the second wave of the pandemic so far, epidemiologist Dr. Abdu Sharkawy told CP24 in an interview on Sunday that it is beginning to spill over to high-risk communities, including long-term care homes.

"I think we should be very worried," Sharkawy said. "In the first wave, we essentially went into a lockdown mode -- schools were not open, the economy was to a certain extent shut down, and people weren't going to work in person. Those things have changed now."

Last week, the Long-Term Care COVID-19 commission released interim recommendations, which includes addressing critical staffing shortages in homes to deal with the second wave.

It said the province must spend more money, on a permanent basis so that the homes can hire more personal support workers and nurses.

The independent commission is investigating how COVID-19 spread in the long-term care home system and will submit its final report in April.

- with files from The Canadian Press