Ottawa

Ottawa ramping up support for long-term care homes with SWAT teams

The head of emergency management at the Ottawa Hospital says teams of health-care workers from Ottawa have already worked with four long-term care homes to try to stop the spread of COVID-19, and plan to work with many more in the region.

Response teams have already worked in 4 long-term care homes

A loved one visits a resident of the Montfort Long Term Care Centre in Ottawa on April 20, 2020. (Jean Delisle/CBC)

The head of emergency management at the Ottawa Hospital says teams of health-care workers from Ottawa have already worked with four long-term care homes to try to stop the spread of COVID-19, and plan to work with many more in the region.

Dr. Andrew Willmore said Thursday the teams are "analogous" to the SWAT teams announced by Premier Doug Ford last week.

Response teams have already worked in Carlingview Manor, Montfort Long-Term Care Centre, Madonna Care Community and Laurier Manor to address outbreaks and are working with local health authorities as well as the Ministry of Long-Term Care to assess what other homes need extra help.

"This is something we're taking extremely seriously," said Willmore during a teleconference on Thursday.

"As health-care providers we're very concerned about what's happening in long-term care homes."

Dr. Andrew Willmore, medical director of emergency management at the Ottawa Hospital, said any health-care worker who wishes to help out at long-term care centres should contact their manager. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

Willmore said the teams, which are composed of health-care workers from hospitals across Ottawa, as well as family doctors and paramedics, provide a range of support to facilities enduring outbreaks — from swabbing to sanitation.

"[The teams] give them support in any aspect of their response to ensure the infection is contained and also that we have all the necessary equipment and staffing to provide care to these patients," he said.

"We're rapidly ramping up those activities."

Willmore said any health-care worker in Ottawa who is interested in helping the response teams can contact their manager for shifts.

There are currently 20 outbreaks in Ottawa at institutions, most of which are retirement homes or long-term care homes. Twenty-six of Ottawa's 35 COVID-19 deaths are residents or patients at institutions, according to Ottawa Public Health data.

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