SARNIA, ONT. -- Families in Sarnia are growing more concerned as a COVID-19 outbreak continues at a local retirement home.

As of Thursday, Sarnia-Lambton has 59 confirmed cases and six deaths. Nearly one quarter, or 14 of the cases are connected to Landmark Retirement Village.

“It’s devastating. They don’t understand why they can’t see us," says Deb Krukowski, whose parents Sid and Jean Ashmore, both in their 90s, live at the residence.

Krukowski says she had to make an agonizing decision to keep them there during the outbreak based on medical advice.

“We know our days with them are numbered. We knew before this outbreak time is against us at this point. So it’s very hard. It’s very hard to be separated from them and try to explain to them that we love them but we can’t come in."

Of the 14 positive cases at Landmark, nine are residents and five are staff, according to Lambton Public Health - an agency that finds itself the subject of criticism over what some believe is a lack of transparency.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Sudit Ranade said the privacy of retirement home residents needs to be taken into account.

“Other challenges are really related to the difference in the operational model of a retirement home versus a long-term care home and how much control or direction you can actually expect to have over the lives of the residents who are there.”

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley says efforts to help flatten the curve are being hindered.

“What we did ask for as a city, repeatedly, was the location of the virus patients - where they came from - so we could understand whether Sarnia had 20 per cent, 80 per cent. And only reluctantly have we gotten the information on Landmark. We still don’t know the number of people from the city versus the rest of the county that have the virus. That helps us understand what we need to do, and that’s the frustration."

Krukowski is also calling for more openness, in hopes it might prevent more deaths.

“What are the mechanisms in place that are preventing this from further spreading, because clearly whatever we’ve done till now is not stopping the spread."