Delays in vaccination in Quebec worry seniors’ residences still struggling with COVID-19 outbreaks, some for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
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“It’s so sad, they had done such a good job to keep the virus out of the walls,” says Montrealer Katherine Snow.
Her 99-year-old mother, Jean, is one of eight victims of the first outbreak at Fulford Seniors’ Residence (RPA).
Even though the vaccine had not necessarily saved her mother, she is sorry that the eldest did not receive a dose, while she lives in an RPA offering care to residents, like the centers of long-term care accommodation (CHSLD).
The outbreak at Residence Fulford has infected almost all 31 residents and more than half of the staff, according to owner Anne-Marie Lacoste, herself infected and teleworking.
“It spread like wildfire […]. We had never had a case, it’s a shame, ”she breathes.
Clentièle at risk
The outbreak was discovered on January 12, 10 months after the start of the pandemic, when a resident, who had to undergo a hospital test, tested positive. Despite the masks and measures in place, massive screening of seniors and employees has turned the facility into a single red zone.
“I would have liked the places with care to be vaccinated at the same time as the CHSLDs, because the residents are the most at risk”, estimates Mme Lacoste.
Her clients, elderly and many of whom suffer from dementia, struggle to fully understand health rules, such as physical distancing or wearing a mask, she continues.
With vaccine doses that remain scarce, Dr Quoc Dinh Nguyen, a geriatrician specializing in epidemiology, also urges the government to prioritize facilities that serve a vulnerable population.
He points out that not all RPPs are created equal in this regard, with some serving a very independent population and others providing care to seniors with cognitive losses.
Other affected RPAs
At Résidence Le Dahlia in L’Assomption, in Lanaudière, a first outbreak also infected at least 18 residents, or 70% of the building.
Director Marie-Cristelle Comeau ensures that she is in control.
“It would have been interesting to have a faster vaccination, it might have saved us from the situation we are currently living,” she says.
The vaccination effort has slowed down considerably in Quebec with delays in the delivery of pharmaceutical doses to Canada.
RPAs in critical situations
- Beautiful Manor Time, Montreal | 48 case and 2 dead
- Residence Place Primrose, Estrie | 25 case and 6 dead
- Residence Saint-Philippe, Estrie | 31 case and 3 dead
- Residence Val-Mauricie, Mauricie | 16 case and 3 dead
- The Lighthouse of Peace, Lanaudière | 18 case and 1 dead
Source: Ministry of Health and Social Services, dated 1er February