COVID-19 cases surge at west Ottawa nursing home

·2 min read
COVID-19 cases surge at west Ottawa nursing home
COVID-19 cases surge at west Ottawa nursing home

The number of cases of COVID-19 linked to one west Ottawa nursing home surged over the weekend.

In a letter sent to families Monday, and shared with CBC, Extendicare reported that there are 80 active cases among residents and 26 in staff at Extendicare Starwood on Starwood Road in Nepean. The letter said eight residents have died from COVID-19.

According to Ottawa Public Health (OPH), 102 residents and 32 staff at Extendicare Starwood have contracted COVID-19 since an outbreak started there on Sept. 25.

Nearly half of the 132 new cases reported in Ottawa on Sunday are tied to the nursing home, OPH said.

"Given the circumstances in this setting, there has been extensive testing of residents and staff, for which the results were received and reported over the weekend," the health agency said.

Ottawa's medical officer of health said that testing and separating residents is key in battling an outbreak like this one at a long-term care home.

"You do testing to identify who's positive and who's negative, and you separate people based on their status," Dr. Vera Etches said.

Natalia Goodwin/CBC
Natalia Goodwin/CBC

Families beyond worried

As the number of cases at the home rises, so does anxiety for families on the outside.

"My brain tells me she's not going to make it. My heart tells me that she's a tough old girl and she's going to pull through, but really, I don't know," said Rose Anne Reilly who's 104-year-old mother lives at the home.

Reilly visits her mother twice a day at her window, since residents are confined to their rooms and there are no visits permitted. Reilly said she has seen a decline in her mother since the pandemic began and visits were limited.

"She's staring at the ceiling or she's looking at a wall if they leave her in her chair, she's got no mental stimulation. Like I mean, they need they need interaction—they need people."

Rose Anne Reilly/Facebook
Rose Anne Reilly/Facebook

Reilly said she would be willing to go in and help if she was allowed.

This is the first outbreak at the home that has affected residents. Data provided by OPH shows five staff members contracted the illness in the spring during the first wave of the pandemic, but no residents were infected at that time.

On Friday, Ontario's Ministry of Long-Term Care announced The Ottawa Hospital would be providing "enhanced support" to the home for the next 90 days.