Montreal long-term care residences see growing number of COVID-19 outbreaks

Health authorities say there are currently 120 private seniors residences with at least one active case of COVID-19.

In the island of Montreal, three long-term care facilities are dealing with growing outbreaks of the novel coronavirus: Maimonides Geriatric Centre, Ste. Anne’s Hospital which primarily serves veterans and the latest, the West Island Manor in Pierrefonds.

At the Manor, 53 people have caught the virus: 40 patients and 13 health care staff, according to the CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal.

Read more: COVID-19 outbreak at Maimonides seniors residence in Côte Saint-Luc has residents, families on edge

“A crisis unit has been deployed and the CIUSSS’ outbreak management team is in place in order to assist the CHSLD’s teams, especially in terms of preventing and controlling infections,” said Hélène Bergeron-Gamache, a spokesperson for the CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal in an email to Global News.

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Angie Argyrakos’ 93 year-old grandfather is one of the 40 residents who tested positive for COVID-19 at the manor.

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“It’s been really hard because he was placed not very long before all of this happened, so there weren’t many visits before this,” Argyrakos said.

Click to play video 'Montreal long-term care home sends 20 residents to hospital after COVID-19 outbreak' 2:36 Montreal long-term care home sends 20 residents to hospital after COVID-19 outbreak

Montreal long-term care home sends 20 residents to hospital after COVID-19 outbreak

Argyrakos said she believes the staff and government are doing a good job of managing the outbreak and communicating with the families.

“They’re just saying that they’ve gone into full lockdown at this point and that the patients who have tested positive have been moved to another floor, that everything is completely separated and segregated and the government is on it and they are going to be sending Red Cross volunteers,” Argyrakos said.

“They’re not even accepting packages from the outside to family members.”

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Argyrakos praised the fact that the residence hadn’t seen a single case of COVID-19 for the duration of the pandemic — until now — due to strict measures it had imposed.

Read more: Holiday gatherings on the line as coronavirus hospitalizations soar in Quebec

Quebec’s health minister Christian Dubé said the measures put in place by the government to manage outbreaks in long term care facilities are working so far.

“Now we have the team, we have the practice and we know how to enter the situations so it’s really how do we control them,” the minister said.

Dubé explained that it takes an average of two weeks to solve an outbreak – if the outbreak reaches a certain number of cases, the province deploys a team to the facility.

“We act locally as quickly as possible and if we see we cannot control locally, then we add the group,” Dubé said. “I think so far it has worked.”

— With files from Global’s Kalina Laframboise

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