OTTAWA -- All residents and staff at nine long-term care homes in Ottawa were tested for COVID-19 over the weekend as health officials expand surveillance testing in homes across Ontario.

Ottawa Public Health collaborated with the Champlain Health Region Incident Command, including Ottawa Paramedics and the regional community paramedic team, to implement testing of all staff and residents in the homes.

There are currently 21 COVID-19 outbreaks in Ottawa’s long-term care homes and retirement homes

According to statistics released on Sunday, 269 residents and 126 staff members in long-term care homes and retirement homes have tested positive for COVID-19. Thirty-eight residents in long-term care homes and retirement homes have died due to COVID-19 related complications.

Over the weekend, COVID-19 testing began at the following long-term care homes in Ottawa:

  • Carlingview Manor
  • Extendicare Laurier Manor
  • Extendicare Starwood
  • Extendicare West-End Villa
  • Madonna Care Community
  • Manoir Marochel
  • Montfort Long-Term Care Centre
  • Sarsfield Colonial Home
  • Township of Osgoode Care Centre

In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brent Moloughney says as part of the surveillance initiative, all staff and residents of the nine homes were recommended for COVID-19 testing.  Staff and residents who previously tested positive for COVID-19 did not need to be tested a second time.

Staff who were not available while the testing team was on-site will receive a letter recommending going for COVID-19 testing as soon as possible.

Dr. Moloughney says the purpose of the surveillance testing is to help health officials better understand the current state of COVID-19 infections in long-term care homes.

“Infection prevention and control measures, including wearing a face mask at all times while at work, and proper cohorting of people infected with COVID-19, continue to be the most effective way to decrease COVID-19 in long-term care homes,” writes Dr. Moloughney.

“Testing provides a picture of what’s happening at one moment in time and helps with early detection to track where the virus is spreading.”

On Saturday, 24 members of the Ottawa Paramedic team were deployed to the homes to conduct the testing. Ottawa Paramedics said 554 swabs were conducted on Saturday.

Ottawa Public Health says it has been advised there are sufficient supplies available for testing, including the swabs and personal protective equipment for staff.