Ontario’s ministry of long-term care is temporarily appointing a hospital to step in and manage a Kitchener long-term care home after nearly 200 residents at the facility tested positive for COVID-19.

As part of a Mandatory Management Order put in place by the provincial government on Tuesday, St. Mary’s Hospital in Kitchener has been appointed to take over operations at Forest Heights Revera long-term care home for the next 90 days.

According to the province, the facility, which has been receiving assistance from the hospital for weeks, has been unable to contain the spread of the virus.

"The safety and well-being of residents and staff in long-term care have always been and will continue to be our number one priority," Long-Term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton said in a written statement.

"I am confident that the talented staff at St. Mary's General Hospital and Forest Heights will work together to contain COVID-19 and stabilize the home."

The province noted that the order can be extended if necessary.

Region of Waterloo Public Health says since the outbreak began at Forest Heights on April 1, 175 residents of have tested positive for the virus along with 69 staff members. A total of 51 virus-related deaths have been reported at the facility to date.

Last month, an emergency order was put in place allowing the ministry of long-term care to install new management at homes struggling to deal with outbreaks of COVID-19.

Seven other long-term care facilities that have been hardest hit by the pandemic have been taken over by the province to date, including four of the five homes at the centre of a damning military report released late last month.

The report outlined disturbing conditions at five long-term care homes, including incidents of patient neglect and poor infection control protocols.

The ministry has said it will decide whether to appoint new management at homes on a “case-by-case basis.”