Ottawa

COVID-19 outbreak at Ottawa nursing home spreads to 28 residents, 3 staff

A long-term care facility in Ottawa's west end is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak involving more than two dozen residents and staff members.

West End Villa says resident who tested positive on weekend had tested negative after returning from hospital

Extendicare West End Villa has confirmed 28 residents and three employees have tested positive for COVID-19 since the end of August. (Francis Ferland/CBC)

A long-term care facility in Ottawa's west end is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak involving more than two dozen residents and staff members.

Twenty-eight residents and three employees have now tested positive for COVID-19 at Extendicare West End Villa on Elmira Drive.

The residents who contracted the illness are being cared for on the home's fourth floor, while infected staff members are isolating at home, wrote Kelly Keeler, administrator with Extendicare West End Villa, in an email to CBC on Tuesday afternoon.

"We have conducted an additional round of testing of all residents and staff and expect to receive the remaining results over the coming days," the statement reads.

Melissa Acheson's partner Shawn Hill lives on the home's fourth floor. He's been at the home since November 2019 after suffering a traumatic brain injury in the summer of 2018.

Because the 45-year-old is relatively young and healthy, she's not too worried about him getting extremely sick if he contracts the illness. What she is worried about is the isolation.

"Just the idea of him being alone in his half of the room he shares with the roommate and just being so confused and I can imagine probably very lonely and scared," she said. "I feel like it must just be so terrible for him."

Shawn Hill and Melissa Acheson, seen with their son Levi, inside Hill's former room at the Ottawa Hospital's General campus in October, 2019. Hill has been living at West End Villa since he was transferred from the hospital last November. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

She hasn't been able to visit Hill since March but had been speaking with him over FaceTime almost daily until the outbreak when it became more difficult to secure times for a virtual visit.

Overall, Acheson said she's impressed with how staff have been handling the outbreak and believes the home can control the spread of the illness.

A long-term care facility in Ottawa's west end is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak involving more than two dozen residents and a few staff members. Melissa Acheson, whose partner Shawn Hill is a resident at the facility, describes how her family is handling the outbreak. 10:05

Cases emerged after patient returned from hospital

The news of the outbreak comes as public health officials in the city reported a surge in cases — 36 on Tuesday alone, half over the age of 60.

According to an email from Extendicare to family members on Aug. 31, a resident who had been in hospital initially tested negative for COVID-19 before returning to the nursing home, but was kept in isolation for 14 days as a precaution.

"The resident who tested positive on the weekend, had tested negative prior to being discharged from hospital
and had been symptom free beyond the 14 day isolation period," the email reads.

But in an email to CBC Ottawa, the company would not confirm the patient who returned from the hospital was the home's first case.

"We cannot know for certain where the outbreak originated as community spread in the area is still an active concern, and we do not speak to specific resident circumstances for privacy."

In another letter to family members on Monday, Extendicare said residents were re-tested Saturday, while staff were tested on Monday "and will be tested on a weekly basis going forward to avoid any potential of asymptomatic transmission from staff."

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