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Northwood COVID-19 outbreak claims one more life; province reports one new case Thursday – HalifaxToday.ca

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NEWS RELEASE
COVID-19/HEALTH/WELLNESS
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Today, May 21, Nova Scotia is reporting one additional death related to COVID-19, bringing the total to 58. The death occurred at the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax Regional Municipality.

“My thoughts are with the families and friends who are grieving today,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “Thank you to everyone who is working tirelessly at Northwood to contain this virus. To the staff and families with loved ones at Northwood, you continue to have our full support as long as necessary.”

As of today, Nova Scotia has 1,046 confirmed cases of COVID-19. One new case was identified Wednesday, May 20.

“Until a vaccine is available, we have to stay vigilant in fighting this virus. We have to find – and adapt to – our new normal,” said Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health. “That means we have to keep practising good personal hygiene, use physical distancing, limit non-essential travel, stay home when unwell, limit large groups and wear non-medical masks. These measures will remain in place for some time to come, and will continue to be a key part of our fight against this virus.”

The QEII Health Sciences Centre’s microbiology lab completed 579 Nova Scotia tests on May 20 and is operating 24-hours.

There are two licensed long-term care homes and unlicensed seniors’ facilities in Nova Scotia with active cases of COVID-19. Northwood in Halifax currently has 15 residents and four staff with active cases. One other facility has one resident with an active case.

If you have two or more of the following symptoms, visit https://811.novascotia.ca to determine if you should call 811 for further assessment:
— fever
— new or worsening cough
— sore throat
— runny nose
— headache

To date, Nova Scotia has 37,078 negative test results, 1,046 positive COVID-19 test results and 58 deaths. Confirmed cases range in age from under 10 to over 90. Nine individuals are currently in hospital, four of those in ICU. Nine-hundred and fifty-nine individuals have now recovered and their cases of COVID-19 are considered resolved. Cases have been identified in all parts of the province. A map and graphic presentation of the case data is available at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/data .

Public health is working to identify and test people who may have come in close contact with the confirmed cases. Those individuals who have been confirmed are being directed to self-isolate at home, away from the public, for 14 days.

Anyone who has travelled outside Nova Scotia must self-isolate for 14 days. As always, any Nova Scotian who develops symptoms of acute respiratory illness should limit their contact with others until they feel better.

It remains important for Nova Scotians to strictly adhere to the public health order and directives – practise good hand washing and other hygiene steps, maintain a physical distance of two metres or six feet from those not in your household or family household bubble and limit planned social gatherings of people outside your household or family household bubble to no more than five.

Nova Scotians can find accurate, up-to-date information, handwashing posters and fact sheets at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus .

Quick Facts:
— testing numbers are updated daily at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus
— a state of emergency was declared under the Emergency Management Act on March 22 and extended to May 31

Additional Resources:
Government of Canada: https://canada.ca/coronavirus

Government of Canada toll-free information line 1-833-784-4397

The Mental Health Provincial Crisis Line is available 24/7 to anyone experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis, or someone concerned about them, by calling 1-888-429-8167 (toll-free)

Kids Help Phone is available 24/7, by calling 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free)

For help or information about domestic violence 24/7, call 1-855-225-0220 (toll-free)

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Long-term care company cuts ties with executive after comments made during meeting – OttawaMatters.com

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A long-term care provider’s decision to cut ties with an executive who made disparaging remarks about the relatives of residents struck by the COVID-19 pandemic falls short of the mark, family members said Friday as they continued to push for greater accountability.

They said Sienna Senior Living’s decision to part ways with former executive vice-president of operations Joanne Dykeman does little to address their concerns about the care their relatives are receiving. Dykeman’s comments, they added, raise questions about the company’s overall commitment to residents and their families.

Sienna announced Dykeman’s departure a day after she was overheard mocking family members of seniors living at a home in Woodbridge, Ont., which has been grappling with a deadly COVID-19 outbreak.

Immediately following an online video conference to discuss the situation at Woodbridge Vista Care Community, attendees reported hearing Dykeman refer to them as litigious and blood-sucking when she thought the call had been disconnected.

Sienna declined to verify the substance of Dykeman’s comments, but said they “fell far short of our expectations” and apologized to members of the Woodbridge Vista community.

For Mike di Donato, whose 92-year-old grandmother was hospitalized after contracting COVID-19 at the home, the company’s actions weren’t good enough.

“There’s a culture problem there,” the 43-year-old said in a telephone interview. “There needs to be change.”

Di Donato said his grandmother moved to the facility last fall and received excellent care for the first several months of her residency.

He said his family did not become truly concerned until early May when the first positive cases were identified at the facility.

Di Donato said his grandmother tested positive for the virus on May 17, but he did not receive an update from Woodbridge Vista’s resident doctor until more than a week later.

That call, he said, came hours after the Ontario government released a damning military report about horrific conditions in five long-term care homes where soldiers had been deployed to provide support, including another facility owned by Sienna. The report detailed a litany of disturbing findings, including improper hygiene practices and inadequate efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Di Donato said he learned last weekend his grandmother was one of 18 Woodbridge Vista residents sent to hospital with the virus. In the days since, he said her condition has deteriorated and his family was forced to say what they fear will be their final goodbyes via video.

Dykeman’s comments, he said, came Wednesday night during a Zoom call with dozens of concerned relatives.

He described her conduct during the meeting as “callous,” saying she did not seem truly engaged with the family’s concerns and declined to answer specific questions about the ongoing outbreak.

Once the call had officially concluded, he said, he and several attendees overheard her remarks. Di Donato and others present reported hearing Dykeman refer to relatives as “blood-sucking class-action lawsuit people” and mock concerns expressed by some at the meeting.

Dykeman, who did not respond to request for comment, no longer worked for Sienna as of Thursday afternoon.

That same day, the Ontario government said management of Woodbridge Vista was being reassigned to William Osler Health System, a nearby hospital where patients were already receiving treatment. Data from the local public health authority indicated more than 20 residents had died from the virus, while more than 100 had fallen ill. More than 40 staff members were also infected.

“Despite receiving hospital support, Woodbridge Vista Care Community has been unable to contain the spread of COVID-19,” read a statement from the Ministry of Long-Term Care. “These steps will enable a rigorous management structure to help contain the spread of the disease and assist in returning their home to normal operations.”

Sienna said it has developed a six-point plan to protect residents, noting Dykeman’s remarks were not consistent with those efforts.  

“Our residents and their loved ones are deserving of our respect at all times and as a company we will ensure this respect guides our every action,” Sienna said, adding its “renewal” efforts include improving communication with families.

Di Donato said he questions Sienna’s commitment to change, but hopes the Dykeman controversy will force the company’s hand. 

“If she had disconnected properly from that Zoom call, would we be talking today? Probably not,” he said.

“They would have just kept doing what they’re doing.”

Sienna Living also owns Red Oak Retirement Homes located in Kanata.

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Long-term care company fires executive after comments made during meeting – Toronto Sun

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VAUGHAN, Ont. — An executive at a Canadian long-term care company has been fired after the organization said she made inappropriate comments during a town hall with family members.

Sienna Senior Living is apologizing to families for the comments made by Joanne Dykeman, the company’s former executive vice-president.

The company held a Zoom meeting on Wednesday for the family members of residents at the Woodbridge Vista Community Care near Toronto, which is currently facing an outbreak of COVID-19.

The provincial government recently appointed the local health system to control the home, and last weekend 18 residents were sent to hospital.

Sienna Senior Living says it is working on a plan to better respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It says the plan includes improving communication with the family members of residents.

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Small percentage of Ottawa residents infected with COVID-19: Ottawa Public Health – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
Ottawa Public Health is reminding residents that COVID-19 is still circulating in our community, and everyone needs to do their part to help limit the spread of the virus.  

Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brent Moloughney says Ottawa Public Health estimates approximately one per cent of Ottawa residents have been infected with novel coronavirus.

“Through everyone’s actions, we’ve been successful in reducing the number of infections that would have otherwise occurred,” said Dr. Moloughney.

“Overall, we estimate that only a small percentage of Ottawans have been infected with COVID so far, perhaps as low as one per cent but perhaps a bit higher.”

As of Thursday, Ottawa Public Health reported 1,985 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa, including 248 deaths.

“Regardless of the specific number through, the key implication is that the vast majority of us remain susceptible to infection,” said Dr. Moloughney, noting the new cases reported daily show COVID-19 is still circulating in the community.

“In order to track cases within Ottawa and to limit transmission, please seek testing if you think you may be infected with the virus.”

The Ontario Government announced in May that asymptomatic residents of Ontario could present for COVID-19 testing.  Ottawa Public Health says residents can visit the COVID-19 Assessment Centre at Brewer Arena and the two COVID-19 care clinics for testing.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches says the data from the expanded testing criteria has been “educational” as more people present for COVID-19 testing.

“What we’ve found was as the number of people tested grew, we didn’t find a lot more cases. That per cent positivity hasn’t grown,” said Dr. Etches.

“It’s telling us that population out there without symptoms, the general population, may not be where we’re going to find most of our cases.”

The medical officer of health says Ottawa Public Health and health officials in eastern Ontario will test all staff in long-term care homes twice in June.  That would be 8,000 COVID-19 tests this month.

“Our goal is to use all of the testing capacity we have,” said Dr. Etches, adding Ottawa Public Health will look to “test in a smart way”, including workplaces and congregate care settings.

Limit your contacts

With warm weather in the forecast for the weekend, Ottawa Public Health is reminding people to practice physical distancing and limit interactions with people outside your household.

“As more activities become possible, the new normal will be to consider how risky an activity is and how you can reduce the risk of transmission for yourself, your family and others,” said Dr. Moloughney.

“In general, outdoor activities are less risky than indoor ones. The more people that are involved and the closer the contact, the higher the risk.”

Ottawa Public Health has issued a graphic looking at “least safe options” and “safer options” for activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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