Total of 51 residents, 33 staff infected by COVID-19 at Halifax’s Northwood long-term care facility
HALIFAX -- Nine more residents and seven more staff members at a long-term care facility in Halifax have tested positive for COVID-19.
A total of 51 residents and 33 staff members at Northwood’s Halifax campus have now tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement posted on their website Friday.
There have also been four home care workers and two health services staff from Northwood who have tested positive. Those numbers have not increased since April 12, but Northwood says they are currently testing additional Health Services staff for potential COVID-19 exposure, and those workers are now off work.
Previously, Northwood had been stating that all affected residents had been transferred to a treatment floor, where they would receive specialized treatment as required. The latest release did not state that information.
As of April 17, the province was reporting that eight licensed long-term care homes in Nova Scotia had confirmed cases of COVID-19, involving 55 residents and 43 staff.
Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, spoke to the situation at Northwood during Friday's news conference.
"There absolutely will be a plan to support them moving forward, very quickly, with the necessary staffing or to address the necessary staffing challenges, and needs they have in front of them," said Dr. Strang.
"This situation is the one that keeps me awake," said McNeil during Friday's news conference. "We all hear this virus getting into long-term care facilities, and many of our loved ones who are in these facilities have underlying health issues."
"We will aggressively go after this virus inside of this facility, just as we have in this province," added McNeil.
Kirsten Saliste Dogan says her mother, who lives in Northwood, has not been tested, despite others on the floor testing positive.
"The three cases on her floor alone are being quarantined in their rooms on that floor, which is also concerning because that means that staff are providing care for presumably unaffected residents, also have to provide care to the residents that have tested positive," says Saliste Dogan.
The situation at Northwood terrifies Saliste Dogan.
"I am concerned for her life if she contracts this virus. I really want to hope for the best, but I am preparing for the worst. I'm not sure she would survive contracting this virus."
She also is concerned that Northwood doesn't have enough staff, and wants the province to stelp in to help.
"For the love of God, step in and do something, provide this facility with the support they need so that they can take care of those precious residents," says Saliste Dogan. "They are our most vulnerable, they are our precious family members, they need our support and they need our voice, now more than ever."
On Thursday, Northwood CEO Janet Simm said staffing at Northwood remains challenging as 80 people are currently off work -- about 40 per cent of them because of the virus.
Still, the centre's new pandemic relief team has already recruited 68 new employees, including laid-off day-care workers, airport staff, hotel cooks and others from the devastated food-services industry.
"We're just beginning to train and deploy those staff in the areas of need and that should help us dramatically," Simm said in an interview.
But "the staffing levels are certainly not at the level that we would normally be in. Most days, we're starting with 60 per cent of the staff on the unit."
The long-term care facility in downtown Halifax has 485 residents.