Outbreaks declared at 3 seniors' homes, long-term care facility in Ottawa

Ottawa Public Health has now declared coronavirus outbreaks at four retirement and long-term care homes in the city after a third person, a woman in her 80s, died after contracting the respiratory illness.

Married couple who lived at Orléans retirement home are Ottawa's 2nd and 3rd COVID-19 deaths

A staff member attaches a sign indicating a COVID-19 outbreak at the Promenade retirement residence in Ottawa on Saturday, March 28, 2020. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Ottawa Public Health has now declared coronavirus outbreaks at four retirement and long-term care homes in the city after a third person, a woman in her 80s, died after contracting the respiratory illness.

The woman was a resident at the Promenade retirement home in Orléans. Her death follows that of a man in his 80s who lived at the same home. CBC learned Tuesday the two were husband and wife. 

Last week, a man in his 90s who lived alone also died from the virus.

There are currently three positive cases at Promenade, where an outbreak was declared last week. On Sunday, health officials declared another outbreak at Maplewood Retirement Community on Industrial Avenue, where one resident and one employee have tested positive.

'My top concern'

On Tuesday, Ottawa Public Health added two more facilities to the list of outbreaks: the Park Place retirement home in Central Park, where one employee has tested positive, and the Garden Terrace long-term care home in Kanata, where an employee is also sick. 

So far no residents at either Park Place or Garden Terrace have tested positive, Ottawa Public Health said. 

"I am concerned about cases in retirement and long-term care homes because that is a place where it's a vulnerable population. The nature of the residence is that it's harder to contain the virus in those settings, and we have seen examples of pretty negative outcomes," said Vera Etches, Ottawa's medical officer of health, during a conference call on Tuesday. 

"It's really my top concern." 

WATCH: Ontario pledges more advanced screening, protections at long-term care homes

Premier Doug Ford announced new funding Monday to increase COVID-19 screening and sanitation measures at the province’s long-term care homes. 0:51

Practising physical distancing and self-isolation is also important in the community because it can reduce the chances of employees becoming sick and bringing the virus into those facilities, Etches said.

Ontario is advising all residents over 70 to practise self-isolation during the pandemic. 

More positive cases in city 

The number of people in the eastern Ontario and western Quebec testing positive for the coronavirus continues to grow. 

Ottawa Public Health announced Tuesday 14 more people have tested positive for COVID-19, growing the total number of confirmed cases in the city to 144. Among the positive cases includes an Ottawa paramedic, Ottawa Public Health confirmed Tuesday. 

Cars drive along the highway as a sign reminds drivers to stay vigilant about COVID-19 in Ottawa, Friday March 27, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Renfrew County announced five new cases Tuesday, two of them with no ties to travel. Hastings and Prince Edward Counties reported its first coronavirus-related death Tuesday and confirmed COVID-19 is spreading in the community. 

The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit reported two COVID-19 deaths Tuesday, a man and a woman. 

The man was living at the Almonte Country Haven and the woman was living at home and died at the Queensway Carleton Hospital, said the health unit in a release. Both were older adults with underlying health conditions. 

Ontario now has 1,987 confirmed cases as of the latest provincial update, with 38 deaths and 534 cases considered "resolved" — a wider definition than it had been using before, which was a negative test two days in a row.

Quebec health officials said there are 12 new laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in western Quebec as of Tuesday afternoon. The region now has 50 positive cases, the vast majority in urban areas. 

Provincewide, Quebec now has 4,162 suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 31 deaths related to the illness.

Public health officials have warned these numbers likely represents only a small fraction of the actual number because not everyone with symptoms of the respiratory illness is being tested, and test results aren't immediately available.

That's why health officials say it's important to stay home as much as possible, to practise physical distancing if you do have to go out, and to self-isolate for 14 days if you fall within certain categories, such as recent travel.

with files from CBC's Joanne Chianello

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