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Public health urgently inspecting 7 homes linked to Rosslyn owners after home evacuated



Officials are urgently inspecting seven retirement and residential care homes linked to the same owners as the Rosslyn Retirement Residence after it was evacuated because of a massive COVID-19 outbreak.

They include five retirement homes — Dundas Retirement Place, Northview Seniors Residence, Cathmar Manor, Montgomery Retirement Home and Emerald Lodge — as well as two residential care facilities Victoria Manor I and II.

Six of the seven facilities, along with the Rosslyn, have previously been ordered by public health to improve infection controls or face consequences.

Staff will finish inspecting the retirement homes Wednesday and plan to wrap up their investigations at the residential care facilities by Friday, according spokesperson Kelly Anderson.

“Given the issues at the Rosslyn specifically, public health decided to look at the other seven more closely,” she explained.

The homes are all associated with the Martino family, which owned the Royal Crest Lifecare chain of nursing homes that controversially filed for bankruptcy in 2003, as first reported by the Hamilton Spectator.

Public health confirmed the ownership and operation of the eight homes are linked in variety of ways to members of the same family.

The Rosslyn was emptied over the weekend and residents transported to hospital after dozens tested positive for the virus.

Sixty-four residents at the 64-bed facility had contracted COVID-19 as of Wednesday, along with 20 employees.

Public health says two residents — an 86-year-old man and an 80-year-old man — died Tuesday, bringing the number of resident deaths to four.

The home has not responded to repeated requests calls and emails asking questions about the situation at the home.

Calls to personal numbers for the Martino family at a home in Ancaster also went unanswered Tuesday.

A woman who picked up the phone at North American Living Centres Ltd. at 307 King Street East, which is linked to the family and listed as the business address for several of the homes, said she had “no information” to provide then hung up.


A paramedic pushes a stretcher into the Rosslyn during a mass transfer of residents on May 15. (Dan Taekema/CBC)


The earlier orders on six of the seven homes that are being inspected again resulted from a round of inspections of dozens of homes across the city by public health in mid-April.

The Montgomery Retirement Home is the only facility that wasn’t written up at that time.

Issues identified at the other homes, including the Rosslyn, ranged from lacking a contingency plan for enough staff to safely operate to not having an adequate supply of personal protective equipment, the orders from public health show.

‘Truly a nightmare’

The Rosslyn was brought up during Question Period at Queen’s Park Wednesday when Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas MPP Sandy Shaw described the outbreak as “horrific” and referred to the fact a resident had been left behind and without care for nearly a day when the facility was cleared.

“This is truly a nightmare,” she stated.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott responded, saying the home was evacuated because of concerns about its “physical structure and to keep people safe and healthy.”

She noted the government is aware one resident was forgotten during the transfer, saying it’s something that never should have happened.”

“That is not acceptable under any terms … and we are working with our partners to review the protocols and understand why this could have happened, and to make sure that this never happens again.”


Edited BY Harry Miller

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8 new coronavirus cases identified in Ottawa on Monday –



Ottawa Public Health’s (OPH) novel coronavirus case tally rose by eight on Monday as the city’s streak of days without a death related to the virus hit double digits.

The local public health unit says it’s identified 2,118 lab-confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Ottawa since the pandemic was first declared in mid-March.

There are currently 54 active cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, in Ottawa, but 85 per cent of previously identified cases are now marked resolved.

Read more:
Ottawa, surrounding regions make indoor masks mandatory as of Tuesday

Three people are currently in hospital with the disease.

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Some 263 people in the city have died as a result of COVID-19 — that figure has remained unchanged for the past 10 days.

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OPH also said Monday the outbreak at the Peter D. Clark long-term care facility ended on July 4, which marked at least 14 days since a resident or staff member last tested positive for the virus.

The outbreak at the city-run long-term care home was first declared on April 28. There were 45 coronavirus cases linked to the Peter D. Clark outbreak, with eight residents dying as a result of complications from COVID-19.

Staff at the home are now starting to schedule outdoor visits between residents and family members.

There is now only one Ottawa institution currently facing an outbreak: the Rideau building at the Perley & Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre.

Eleven people have tested positive for the virus at the long-term care home’s Rideau facility, with one resident dying in connection to COVID-19.

Coronavirus: Ontario health minister says there’s ‘hope’ for move to stage 3 soon

Coronavirus: Ontario health minister says there’s ‘hope’ for move to stage 3 soon

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Hundreds of Scientists Warn COVID-19 Is Airborne, And WHO Needs to Act – ScienceAlert



As countries ease their lockdowns, authorities need to recognize the coronavirus can spread through the air far beyond the two meters (six feet) urged in social distancing guidelines, an international group of 239 scientists said Monday.

In a comment piece that takes direct aim at the World Health Organization (WHO) for its reluctance to update its advice, researchers recommended new measures including increasing indoor ventilation, installing high-grade air filters and UV lamps, and preventing overcrowding in buildings and transport.

“There is significant potential for inhalation exposure to viruses in microscopic respiratory droplets (microdroplets) at short to medium distances (up to several meters, or room scale),” wrote the authors, led by Lidia Morawska of the Queensland University of Technology.

“Hand washing and social distancing are appropriate, but in our view, insufficient to provide protection from virus-carrying respiratory microdroplets released into the air by infected people.”

The new paper appears in the Oxford Academic journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

When an infected person breathes, speaks, coughs or sneezes, they expel droplets of various sizes.

Those above five to ten micrometers – which is less than the width of a typical human head hair – fall to the ground in seconds and within a meter or two.

Droplets under this size can become suspended in the air in what is called an “aerosol,” remaining aloft for several hours and traveling up to tens of meters.

There has been a debate in the scientific community about how infectious microdroplets are in the context of COVID-19.

For the time being the WHO advises that the potential for infection from an aerosol occurs “in specific circumstances” mainly in hospitals, for example when a tube is placed down a patient’s airway.

On the other hand, some studies of particular spreading events suggest that aerosolization and microdroplet transmission can happen in a variety of settings.

The air flow from an air conditioning unit appeared to waft the coronavirus to several tables in a Chinese restaurant in January where patrons became infected, according to a study that appeared in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Another study that appeared in a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that the virus was spread by microdroplets from people singing during a choir practice in Washington state in March.

Fifty-three people fell ill at that event and two died.

That is in addition to the fact that bars jam-packed with people have also emerged as hotspots of contagion, with droplets of all sizes believed to contribute to the spread.

Cath Noakes, a professor of environmental engineering for buildings at the University of Leeds, who contributed to the paper, said COVID-19 doesn’t spread in the air as easily as measles or tuberculosis, but is a threat nonetheless.

“COVID-19 is more likely to be ‘opportunistically’ airborne and therefore poses a risk to people who are in the same room for long periods of time,” she added.

The WHO advice is out of step with both the US CDC and its European counterpart.

“We are aware of the article and are reviewing its contents with our technical experts,” the WHO said in response to the new commentary.

Precautionary principle

The authors recognized that the evidence for microdroplet transmission was “admittedly incomplete,” but argued that the evidence for large droplets and surface transmission was also incomplete yet still formed the basis for health guidelines.

“Following the precautionary principle, we must address every potentially important pathway to slow the spread of COVID-19,” they wrote.

Put another way, “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence,” said Julian Tang, an associate professor of respiratory sciences at the University of Leicester who contributed to the commentary.

“The WHO say that there is insufficient evidence to prove aerosol/airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is happening. We are arguing that there is insufficient proof that aerosol/airborne transmission does not occur,” he said.

© Agence France-Presse

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Ottawa business owner won't ask workers to enforce mask rules –



The owner of an Ottawa coffee chain says mandatory mask rules announced by four public health units on Monday could place significant pressure on employees to enforce the new policy, but not at his shops.

Henry Assad, owner of Happy Goat Coffee, said his employees will instead be asked to “politely request, but not to enforce,” the new mask rules intended to protect residents against the spread of COVID-19. 

“If the customer is not willing to oblige or is not willing to actually voluntarily put the mask on, I think we’ll have to leave it at that,” said Assad, while speaking with All In a Day host Alan Neal on Monday. 

“I definitely will not ask my employees to ask people to get out of the establishment or to force them to wear one,” he said. “That will not be our recommendations, at least for the time being.”

Henry Assad, owner of the Happy Goat Coffee chain, says employees won’t be told to enforce new mandatory mask rules. Instead, employees will be instructed to politely ask that customers wear masks. (Jean Delisle/CBC)

According to the new indoor mask rules, business owners, as of 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, are required to adopt a policy to make sure customers aren’t inside businesses without a mask that covers the nose, mouth and chin. 

Speaking at a Monday media conference, Ottawa Public Health medical officer of health Vera Etches said the onus will be on businesses to establish a mask policy, train staff and post visible signs about the new rules. 

However, Etches said “we do not expect them to be the police.” 

Exceptions to the mandatory mask rule apply to young children, as well as customers unable to safely wear a mask due to pre-existing medical conditions.

Businesses could face fines ranging from $500 to $800 for non compliance.

‘A lot of concern’ around rule

Ryan Mallough, Ontario provincial affairs director for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said his organization has heard “a lot of concern” from businesses in areas where mandatory mask rules exist. 

Ryan Mallough, with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, says he hopes bylaw officers and health officials enforce new mandatory mask rules fairly. (Sameer Chhabra/CBC)

He’s also hearing from businesses who understand that the rules are designed to protect against COVID-19, he said. 

“Absolutely no one wants to see us get into second-wave territory or a situation where businesses are going to be shut down again,” Mallough said. “And if mandatory masks [are] going to help us get there, that is good.”

Mallough says there’s a lack of clarity about how the mask rules will be enforced in communities across Ontario.

“For example, if you’ve got a customer that is outright refusing to wear a mask, you’re supposed to deny them entry. But if they’re already in your store, what exactly is the business owner expected to do?” asked Mallough.

“Are they supposed to kindly ask them to leave? And if they refuse, is there going to be a number to call or are they expected to sort of escort them outside the premises?”

LISTEN | Henry Assad talks about new mandatory mask rules 

Today Ottawa Public Health announced a mandatory mask order for indoor spaces. We talked to the owner of Happy Goat cafe about how this will change or affect the way his employees work. 10:37

He added that exemptions made for customers with pre-existing medical conditions also creates an element of uncertainty.

“If someone says, ‘Well, I have a respiratory illness, I don’t have to wear a mask’ … [Is] a business owner supposed to inform other customers so they’re comfortable with it?” Mallough said. “What is the onus there?”

Mallough said his organization wants to see mandatory mask rules applied fairly, adding that while it’s on business owners to attempt to implement such policies, bylaw officers and health officials also have roles to play. 

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