COVID-19 outbreak declared at west Ottawa long-term care home
OTTAWA -- A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at a long-term care home in Ottawa's west-end after an asymptomatic employee tested positive for the virus Thursday, and a resident tested positive in hospital on Friday.
Residents living at Extendicare Medex on Baseline Road are self-isolating in their rooms, where they are receiving meals and being provided with care.
“Unfortunately the global pandemic of COVID-19 has reached Extendicare Medex, and the Ottawa Public Health has placed Medex in COVID-19 outbreak,” said Melanie Dea, as she read an email from the home on Thursday. Her husband is living in the home.
“I gotta say I was shocked to find out they weren’t through the worst of it, and got through it, and now there’s an outbreak,” said Dea.
For four months, Dea has not been able to see her husband.
“It’s terrible to not hug your loved one, to give them a kiss, to be socially distanced, we’ve been together for 36 years, this is the longest we’ve ever been apart,” said an emotional Dea.
“He has gone downhill so much in the last four months, I’m losing him, everyday I’m losing a part of him and I can’t be there.”
While new lab-confirmed cases in Ottawa have recently remained low, Ottawa Public Health said this new outbreak is a reminder that COVID-19 is still in our community.
“If we’re starting to see cases in homes again, I think it shows you how difficult this virus is,” said Vera Etches, Ottawa's Medical Officer of Health.
In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, Extendicare said it is working closely with public health officials to contain the spread of the virus and protect both residents and staff.
“We would in this case then expect testing to occur in the home, so we would go out and look through testing for COVID-19 for more cases, whether it’s staff or residents,” said Dr. Etches.
Dea is also concerned about the heat — she said her husband’s room does not have air conditioning.
“With yesterday’s temperatures, I can’t imagine how hot it was in those rooms,” she said.
When asked about the situation in long-term care homes during the heat wave, Mayor Jim Watson said "that's a real concern."
"So I appreciate the fact that the premier (Doug Ford) has said that he will look into what can be done from a regulatory point of view to make sure that these loved ones of ours are living in conditions that we are back in our own homes, with air conditioning.”
Extendicare said that throughout the pandemic it has been conducting surveillance testing of staff for the virus every two weeks. That testing will now be happening on a weekly basis.
Extendicare also said staff are wearing full personal protective equipment and are being cohorted in specific areas of the home.
All residents living on the second and third floors of the home are now being tested for COVID-19.
A previous version of this article mistakenly said "a symptomatic employee" of the Medex long-term care home had tested positive for COVID-19. The employee was asymptomatic.
We regret the error.