Ottawa

Family 'devastated' after COVID-19 shows up at Ottawa long-term care home

Ottawa Public Health has confirmed an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Villa Marconi Long-Term Care Centre on Baseline Road.

Employee at Villa Marconi tests positive for respiratory illness

Villa Marconi, located on Baseline Road, has been added to Ottawa Public Health's list of active outbreaks at institutions in the city. (Taken from Google Street View )

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has confirmed an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Villa Marconi Long-Term Care Centre on Baseline Road.

The facility was added this weekend to the public health authority's list of active outbreaks at institutions across Ottawa, which currently sits at 14.

"What we've been told is that there is a staff member or employee at the home that was tested and tested positive for COVID-19," said Julian Morelli, whose 92-year-old mother-in-law, Mary Lou Kennedy, lives there.

Morelli said a letter was sent to people with loved ones in the home, informing them of the outbreak. 

According to OPH, an outbreak in a long-term care home is declared when there's at least one confirmed COVID-19 case among residents or health care workers.

"We do not share more specific details about the number of cases and deaths within each institution," a spokesperson wrote in an emailed statement. 

Morelli said he doesn't know of any residents at Villa Marconi who have tested positive for the virus.  No one from the home responded to requests for an interview. 

Before the pandemic, Julian Morelli, left, and his wife, Heather, right, visited her mother, Mary Lou Kennedy, two to three times a day at the villa. (Supplied by Julian Morelli )

'They're stuck in there'

Morelli said his mother-in-law, who was a nurse, has been told about the situation but is somewhat confused by her surroundings.

He said his wife had been waiting anxiously to learn if there would be a case at her mother's home, and was "devastated" by the news.

"Everyone was rooting that it wouldn't," he said. "It's fear. They're stuck in there."

At a news conference on Saturday afternoon, Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, said there have been 79 outbreaks of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities and 109 deaths related to those outbreaks.

Just outside Ottawa, 11 people have died at the Almonte Country Haven long-term care home in the municipality of Mississippi Mills, Ont.

Morelli said staff at his mother's home have been working diligently to limit the spread of the virus, adding that public health officials should allow everyone in long-term care facilities should be tested — whether or not they show symptoms.

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