MONTREAL -- The Quebec coroner overseeing an inquiry into long-term care deaths is questioning why more wasn't done to help residents at a Montreal-area home where dozens died.

Coroner Gehane Kamel has repeatedly asked why it took regional health authorities days to get more employees and front-line staff to Residence Herron when they were aware by March 29, 2020 that residents weren't getting enough to eat or drink at the understaffed private facility.

Kamel raised the issue again today as witnesses from the regional health authority took the stand, describing a chaotic situation that persisted at the care home well into early April.

She asked one witness why residents weren't transferred to other facilities, with the witness suggesting the entire system was overwhelmed by staff shortages and there were fears of overloaded emergency and intensive care units and COVID-19 spread.

The coroner's mandate is to investigate 53 deaths at six long-term care homes and one seniors residence -- including 47 at Herron -- during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Testimony is winding down in this final stage of the hearings, with the owner of the residence expected to take the stand on Wednesday.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Sept. 21, 2021.