Nunavut monitoring health of elders in Ottawa facility after two staff test positive for COVID-19
“All Nunavummiut remain free of symptoms and have not tested positive for COVID,” says chief public health officer
(Updated, June 1, 5:30 p.m.)
All residents from Nunavut at a long-term care facility in Ottawa have tested negative for COVID-19.
But Nunavut’s Department of Health continues to monitor the situation at the Embassy West Senior Living facility “very closely,” said Nunavut’s chief public health officer, Dr. Michael Patterson, during today’s Government of Nunavut update on COVID-19.
A second staff member at the long-term care facility where about 30 Nunavut elders live has now tested positive for COVID-19.
That’s after a first staff member tested positive last month. This staff member is now in hospital, the management of the long-term facility said on Saturday, May 30, in a posting on social media.
“Our first staff was admitted to hospital and we are checking on this staff routinely to ensure his health and well-being during this time. Also for our other staff that recently tested positive we ask that you keep this person also in your thoughts and prayers as she remains stable at home in self-isolation during this time,” the update said.
This was the second community-spread case in which an employee acquired the new coronavirus outside the facility, it said.
Embassy West, which is located at 1400 Carling Ave. in Ottawa, specializes in the care of individuals with dementia.
About 30 elders, many of whom require medical and nursing support, live in the facility at an annual cost of $4.3 million to the Government of Nunavut.
So far none of the residents have tested positive, Patterson said.
“All Nunavummiut remain free of symptoms and have not tested positive for COVID,” he said.
After a mass testing of staff and residents on May 27, Embassy West learned on May 30 that, with 70 per cent of the residents’ results and 90 per cent of the staff’s results processed, all the test results were negative: “We are waiting for the final confirmation of results from all the staff and residents but this gives us positive vibes,” the management said in a May 29 update.
“We would like to report that we have finally received all the results from Public Health Ottawa/Ottawa Hospital for our residents and staff. We are happy to report that all residents and staff are COVID-19 negative,” said a late afternoon update on June 1.
Since its first staff member was confirmed to have COVID-19, Embassy West has been listed as having an outbreak status by Ottawa Public Health.
Embassy West managers said they are now trying to check with public health officials how they could safely take residents outside for a walk and fresh air.
After the second staff member tested positive for COVID-19, Embassy West said it immediately cleaned each resident’s room with Virox, a chemical that cleans and disinfects COVID-19. Staff have also cleaned all common areas and high-touch surfaces to ensure additional protection.
Many of Ontario’s COVID-19 cases have been found in the province’s long-term care homes. Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care said on May 31 that there have been 1,648 deaths reported among residents in long-term care homes across Ontario, with 112 outbreaks currently reported in these facilities.
As of May 31, there were 1,154 confirmed COVID-19 cases among long-term care residents and 978 cases among staff.
As well, Ontario says the number of patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 stands at 781.
One of these was a Nunavut resident on medical travel to the south, whose COVID-19 infection was the subject of a news release from the GN on May 18.