5 Nunavut elders have COVID-19 at Embassy West

First outbreak among residents at Ottawa longterm care home is ‘very concerning,’ says Nunavut health minister

Five Nunavut elders staying at Embassy West Senior Living in Ottawa have tested positive for COVID-19. (Photo by Jeff Pelletier)

By Mélanie Ritchot

Five elders from Nunavut who live at Embassy West Senior Living in Ottawa have tested positive for COVID-19.

Nunavut Health Minister John Main said in a Wednesday news release he is “very concerned” about the news.

Main said a bilingual staff member has been sent to the facility to ease communication between the affected elders and Embassy West staff, and to make sure the elders get the best care possible.

The department is also now allowing family members to help with caregiving under strict COVID-19 safety protocols, Main said.

He said the department is monitoring the situation closely, will seek regular updates from the facility and will provide more support as needed.

“I want to let the elders and families know that my heart is with them during this difficult time,” Main said.

“We are doing everything we can to support our elders.”

Main confirmed the five cases among the elders are not counted towards Nunavut’s total active case count — which was at 231 on Wednesday.

On Dec. 31, Main assured Nunavummiut who have family members at Embassy West that the Health Department was monitoring cases of COVID-19 among staff the facility, but at that time, no residents had tested positive.

Three Inuktitut interpreters were on site to make sure elders understood the situation and what needed to be done to ensure their safety, Main said at the time.

Main said the recent cases announced are the first to hit Embassy West residents since the start of the pandemic and their strict protocols include limiting visitors, testing staff and residents.

Four elders were sent to Embassy West from Iqaluit in May, when then-Health Minister Lorne Kusugak said they were transferred because of potential COVID-19 exposure at the Iqaluit elders home.

It is not known whether any of those elders sent south in May are among the five who tested positive for COVID-19 at Embassy West.

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(8) Comments:

  1. Posted by Mona Evetalegak on

    Worried about my uncle Amos Wamikon who was send there from our community. he was at the ccc here before he got send to Ottwa which he really refused to leave the community but they just send him there .please keep me up dated quana .

  2. Posted by Uvanga on

    So now all of a sudden, they are providing 3 translators. meanwhile for the whole facility, there was only one and I had heard that the original translator was not vaccinated.

  3. Posted by Richard Smith on

    Wasn’t Iqaiuit elders home good enough for them to be sent to Ottawa.
    They just tested positive, no mention of symptoms or if it is the mild omicron variety.

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  4. Posted by Lynda on

    I know one of the elders who is one of the five. She is triple vaxxed. The invitation to family members to be with their loved one at the Residence requires the family member to: 1) be there for a period of two weeks; 2) be with the elder for the three meal times to assist in the feeding of meals; 3) only be permitted 90 minutes per day visitation, however, it is not understood how there person visiting can visit for 90 minutes and also be there to help in the feeding of the elder, and 4) undergo the rapid test each day before visiting the elder (but as the family member is required to be there for the three feedings per day…with only one test per day of the three entries, who knows if the person may be bringing the covid in, or not). It is so very stressful on those who have a loved one so far away. I hope that there is a senior’s home in every Nunavut community….Nunavut seniors deserve that.

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  5. Posted by AJJAI on

    Covid contact from the staff since there are rarely visitors or they were not allowed.

    More reason why did they not get transferred back when it was to be only a few weeks. Hire rotation of southern staff is better than this. NU should be purchasing a large building in Ottawa for now and run it themselves until the buildings and the training are in place here one day.

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    • Posted by IKAJUQ on

      If your suggestion is for a temporary and nore immediate measure it makes sense. This idea, rather than have a southern business run our businesses. I understand that the President of QC also suggested this on CBC call back.

  6. Posted by Perplexed a little on

    I really can’t wrap my head around the closing statement in the article. It says that in May “four elders were sent to Embassy West from Iqaluit… because of potential COVID-19 exposure at the Iqaluit elders home.” Then closes with “It is not known whether any of those elders sent south in May are among the five who tested positive for COVID-19 at Embassy West.”

    Who doesn’t know? NN, or.. the Department of Health? Are they still there, after all this time? Why?

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