COVID-19 outbreak in Laval seniors home grows, claims 10 lives

CHSLD Idola-Saint-Jean in Laval was largely spared during the first wave of COVID-19, but it is now dealing with a growing outbreak that has infected more than 70 residents and employees, while causing 10 deaths.

'Everyone is hard at work to stop the outbreak,' says regional health board spokesperson

CHSLD Idola-Saint-Jean in Laval is experiencing an outbreak which has affected dozens of residents and resulted in 10 deaths. (Simon Martel/Radio-Canada)

A long-term care home in Laval that was largely spared during the first wave of COVID-19 is now dealing with a growing outbreak that has now claimed the lives of 10 people, according to a spokesperson with the regional health board.

More than 70 residents and staff at CHSLD Idola-Saint-Jean have tested positive for the virus. 

"Everyone is hard at work to stop the outbreak. Having resources and infected residents concentrated in the same areas (on two floors) will certainly help reduce the spread," said  Judith Goudreau, a spokesperson for the CISSS de Laval.

"We sincerely hope so."

On Friday, Katie Chamberland-Langlois of the patient attendants' union told CBC that things at Idola-Saint-Jean are approaching the point of being out of control.

The centre has announced that no visits will be allowed until Jan. 23, with the exception of those visiting a dying loved one.

Bill Timotheatos's mother is one of the three people who have died at Idola-Saint-Jean of COVID-19.

His mother, Ourania, had Alzheimer's disease and dementia and had been living in the CHSLD for about a year.

Bill Timotheatos pictured with his mother, Ourania, who had been living in the Idola-Saint-Jean residence in Laval for a year prior to her death. (Submitted by Bill Timotheatos )

In early January, Timotheatos got a phone call informing him that cases of COVID-19 had been reported on her floor.

"It was devastating to hear that and there's nothing we can do, we can't go there," he told CBC.

She tested positive on Jan. 4 and died three days later.

Timotheatos said it was especially hard that he wasn't able to see his mother after she died, or lay a funeral shroud over her before burial.

"The funeral process was just as devastating. They wouldn't let me see her, just to verify that it's my mom and not somebody else."

The family, which is Greek Orthodox, was also disappointed they couldn't hold a proper funeral.

"There's no church, just straight to the cemetery, 10 people and that's it," he said.

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Bill Timotheatos said it was upsetting not to be able to carry out their Greek Orthodox funeral traditions due to the pandemic.

According to Laval public health, the vaccination campaign for residents in long-term care homes is progressing.

The numbers as of Friday night showed 4,500 health workers, 100 patient attendants and 1,100 CHSLD residents vaccinated so far.

Unfortunately for Timotheatos's mother, she had not been given her first dose before contracting the virus.

With files from Simon Nakonechny