LISTOWEL, ONT. -- Edwin Rutherford was an avid fisherman, and an occasional singer. But his voice has fallen silent after he succumbed to COVID-19, among other ailments, earlier this month.

“He did have other illnesses. He had kidney problems. He had diabetes. The doctor told me if the kidneys didn’t kill him, the COVID would,” says his stepson, Jeffery Hancox.

Rutherford is one of 13 residents at Listowel’s Caressant Care to die during a COVID-19 outbreak that has infected 108 residents and staff. Twenty-two residents have been moved to hospital due to staffing shortages caused by the outbreak.

“It went really fast. It started on the retirement side, and within three days it was in the nursing side. It went really, really fast through the home,” says Rutherford’s granddaughter, Alycia Houchen.

His family, who hadn’t seen him in person in over three months, says the 82-year-old Rutherford was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Jan. 13, was moved to hospital on Jan. 18, and died alone in a hospital bed on Jan. 21.

“That’s been the hardest part for all of us, is knowing he had to be in the hospital, by himself with nobody he knew, and we couldn’t say goodbye,” says Houchen.

Rutherford has been cremated. His ashes to be spread in Lake Erie when spring arrives.

The outbreak at Caressant Care that has infected over two-thirds of the home’s residents is still very active, but largely under control, in part due to the vaccination of some residents early last week.