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 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.