Quebec COVID-19 measures mean Nunavik man can’t visit his mother

Johnny Kasudluak learned Monday that he can no longer spend time with his 91-year-old mother

Johnny Kasudluk of Inukjuak can no longer visit his mother, Martha, seen here with him at the Inuulitsivik hospital in Puvnirnituq. On Monday there were 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Quebec. To curb the spread of the virus, Quebec has stopped visits to hospitals and to seniors in long-term care facilities. (Photo courtesy of Johnny Kasudluak)

By Jane George

An Inukjuak man learned Monday morning that he will no longer be able to visit his mother, an elderly resident of Puvirnituq’s 25-bed Inuulitsivik hospital.

That’s after Nunavik’s health board announced on Sunday, March 15, “the immediate suspension of all visits to patients” at Inuulitsivik and at the Tulattavik hospital in Kuujjuaq, the Ullivik patient residence in Montreal and in elders homes.

Johnny Kasudluak had travelled to the Hudson Bay community of Puvirnituq from Inukjuak last Friday to spend time with his mother, Martha, who is 91 and suffers from dementia.

“She’s losing a lot of her memory, but some key memories are still intact, so she recognizes me,” Kasudluak said by telephone from the transit unit near the hospital.

His mother has been a long-care resident of Inuulitsivik since last summer, because his family could no longer provide the necessary care for her.

“It becomes overwhelming,” he said.

At the hospital, Kasudluak said he would go to visit his mother most of the day: “I leave her when she takes a nap or when she’s eating.”

But this morning, staff there enforced the ban on visits, “and they told me I could not go.”

“I tried to get an exemption, but they just pointed to the notification,” he said.

Quebec Premier François Legault said at a news conference on the COVID-19 restrictions on Monday, March 16, that visits for “exceptional reasons” would be allowed on a case-by-case basis.

This is the English version of the trilingual notice posted by the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services in Nunavik’s Inuulitsivik hospital. (Image courtesy of the NRBHSS)

Kasudluak said he had been at the hospital already for two days when he was told he could no longer see his mother.

“I was frustrated. I understood that it’s a precautionary measure, but they had already seen me and interacted with me and seen me with my mother, so I would have assumed that risk of exposure has already passed,” he said.

As well, he said employees and mobile patients continued to come in and out of the secure area to the public area.

“So the quarantine is not really a quarantine if they are not controlling the others,” he said.

As for becoming infected with the coronavirus, Kasudluak said he’s not really worried.

“The risk is from people travelling from the south, so I am more concerned about teachers and hospital workers and people coming up to work,” he said.

As of Monday, March 16, there were 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Quebec, with more expected as test results come in. None so far are in Nunavik but the regional health board said last week that some have been tested.

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(7) Comments:

  1. Posted by Yes Johnny on

    You are right Johnny, these restrictions are contradictory. Just look at say, Tamaani offices being closed, yet a tamaani employee will go to buy supplies at the local store. Punching in on the atm and being very close to the cashier, that same tamaani employee goes back to the office to interact with another employee or two. It’s a funny behaviour. The virus doesn’t care. The virus doesn’t even know about tamaani, the employees or the cashier.

  2. Posted by Directives on

    It’s for your health and safety also, Johnny.

    A hard pill to swallow but we’ve been hearing the new measures everyday.

    Sorry you have to go through this but put yourself in the situation of the health centre and the orders they’ve been getting from every side.

    • Posted by Yes but on

      If you were to read Johnnys concern further, it’s not difficult to pick up the important point of how the directives are defective. What he’s saying too is that the isolation technique has the back door open, while the front door is locked. Off course, Johnny needs to understand the need for the restrictions, but let’s make sure that the restrictions are not a joke.

      • Posted by Okay on

        It is becoming extremely difficult for non-health care professionals to enter these facilities. The new normal.

  3. Posted by BS on

    International flight crews can go to heaviest infected areas in the world over night and return without any restrictions? And a man wanting to spend last remaining days with mother has to endure torture from a system that is just altogether wrong!

    • Posted by Observer on

      So your logic is just because the system isn’t perfect therefore all precautions should be ignored?

      “Hey, the police can’t catch everyone who drinks and drives, so we shouldn’t do anything to stop drinking and driving!”

      • Posted by I disagree with your logic on

        Seems like you’re shooting the messenger so to speak. The real message here is that those restrictions are flawed and need awareness that they are not good enough. It’s not about doing little here and more there. It’s about exposure that a joke rides beside the facts, and it’s the joke that’s dangerous. False sense of security serves only those who believe blindly.

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