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

Medical staff wearing personal protective equipment wait to test staff and residents of the Embassy West Senior Living home in Ottawa on May 27. Management of the facility said 100 per cent of staff and residents participated in the testing. In an afternoon update on June 1, the management said, “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.”(Photo courtesy of Embassy West Senior Living/Facebook)

By Jane George

(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.

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(3) Comments:

  1. Posted by Ontarians, Not Nunavummiut on

    This makes no sense at all “…all residents from Nunavut”.

    These residents are all now Ontarians. If they have been living in this long-term care home for more than 90 days, their residency changes, just like any Ontarian in Nunavut for more than 90 days becomes a Nunavummiut.

    • Posted by Paul Murphy on

      Is that all you got out of the article?? Wow!

      Congratulations to the management and staff for protecting our Nunavut residents.

      That must have been a scary sight for our friends and family to walk into. All those “aliens”. Take care all.

  2. Posted by wonder on

    Every single person is on lock down but with special considerations for cigarettes users to go outside.
    The NU Gov should be promoting their incentives to refrain from smoking in this facility too.
    However their exceptions as this one could lead to the link to killing many elders. Viruses can be traced back to one person. The NU Gov and the owner of Embassy could be liable?

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