Staff member tests positive for COVID-19 at Ottawa seniors home with Nunavut residents

No residents have tested positive for COVID-19 at Embassy West Senior Living

Staff at the Embassy West Senior Living home in Ottawa take residents outside in early April. The home has since suspended outdoor excursions, as it awaits the results of COVID-19 tests on staff, one of whom has contracted the new coronavirus. (Photo courtesy of Embassy West/Facebook)

By Jane George

A male staff member at a long-term care facility in Ottawa where about 30 Nunavut elders live has tested positive for COVID-19.

“This staff is not a front-line staff and is not symptomatic at present,” said an online statement from Embassy West Senior Living on Sunday, May 17.

“He is practising self-isolating at home at present and will remain to do so for the next 14 days and will be retested this coming Thursday [May 21].”

The staff member always maintained the home’s infection prevention procedures and had no contact with the residents, the facility’s statement said.

“With that being said, we are putting in extra safety measures until we are 100 per cent certain that we are not experiencing a facility outbreak,” it said.

Staff members who had close contact with the infected staff member were also sent to be tested.

“Depending on the outcome of their tests will tell us what we will be our next move,” the the facility’s statement said.

As of the evening of Monday, May 18, the home was still waiting for the results of some tests. Of the 80 per cent of staff tested by then, all the results were negative.

“We remain hopeful and vigilant at this time,” Embassy West said in a message to Nunavummiut who have family members at the facility. Many of them posted comments of concern and prayers for those at Embassy West.

Embassy West, which is located at 1400 Carling Ave. in Ottawa, specializes in dementia care. About 28 elders, many of whom require medical and nursing support, live there at a cost of $4.3 million annually to the Government of Nunavut.

There are only 28 long-term care spaces for elders in Nunavut, divided among three long-term care centres located in Cambridge Bay, Igloolik and Gjoa Haven.

The planned design and construction of a 24-bed elders centre in Rankin Inlet has been postponed, so that a new design can incorporate the latest infection prevention standards.

No infections have been reported among residents at Embassy West, but the facility said it would follow “each and every resident and staff ” for any signs and symptoms and would test them, if called for.

The director of operations at Embassy West did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Many of Ontario’s COVID-19 cases have been found in the province’s long-term care homes. Ontario’s Ministry of Long-Term Care says there have been 1,389 deaths reported among residents in long-term care homes across Ontario, with 189 outbreaks currently reported in these facilities.

In Ontario, there are now 2,526 confirmed COVID-19 cases among long-term care residents and 1,606 cases among staff.

As well, Ontario says the number of patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 stands at 972.

One of these is a Nunavut resident on medical travel to the south, whose COVID-19 infection was the subject of a news release from the Government of Nunavut on Monday, May 18.

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(1) Comment:

  1. Posted by Ken on

    I believe a investigation will be happening in Ontario to see why these elder homes have been hit so hard by Covid.

    All the funding cuts and cuts to regulations to check and track the operations by these elder care homes should show the short comings and why they are hit so hard by Covid.

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