Skip to main content
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track on the Olympic Games
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track onthe Olympics Games
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

A large long-term care facility in Quebec where staff had complained about the lack of protective medical equipment is now the seat of an outbreak of at least 105 cases of infection to the novel coronavirus, with eight deaths among the elderly residents.

Located in Laval, a suburb north of Montreal, the Sainte-Dorothée long-term care centre has a capacity of 285 residents.

The regional health authority in Laval made public Monday that there were 105 confirmed cases, but only listed one death at the Sainte-Dorothée centre.

Story continues below advertisement

The latest on the coronavirus: Boris Johnson in intensive care; 3M to resume exports of N95 masks to Canada

Theresa Tam offers new advice: Wear a non-medical face mask when shopping or using public transit

Huawei sending millions of masks to Canada as supplies grow short

However, Judith Goudreau, a spokesman for the regional authority, confirmed to The Globe and Mail that a total of eight residents had died since the outbreak began.

Even before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sainte-Dorothée centre had been the subject of media reports about the lack of personnel, resulting in poor conditions for its elderly residents.

Because of the chronic staff shortage in the province’s facilities for seniors, Quebec Health Minister Danielle McCann confirmed last week that, in some cases, employees who had been exposed to the coronavirus didn’t complete a 14-day quarantine. Instead, they were brought back to work after only a week in isolation if they didn’t show any symptoms.

“We do it in exceptional circumstances where otherwise there would be a lack of protection,” Ms. McCann told reporters, saying that those situations were mitigated by strict hygiene measures.

(The coronavirus can spread about one to three days before symptoms start, the World Health Organization officials said at a news conference Monday, though concerns about asymptomatic transmission had emerged well before.)

According to a local newspaper, Le Courrier Laval, Sainte-Dorothée employees were not issued masks until March 30, when 11 people had already been infected. The paper said some staffers tried to protect themselves with diving goggles or paid for face shields out of their own pockets.

While personal support workers in private Quebec homes earn about $15 an hour, wages in public-sector facilities can top $22 an hour after five years.

Story continues below advertisement

However, according to Jeff Begley, president of the FSSS – CSN, a trade union representing health workers, even with better pay, personnel in Quebec public-run long-term care centres are chronically hobbled by heavy workload, mandatory overtime and a high rate of sick leaves.

The federal government has been talking to American officials after reports that a shipment of millions of N95 masks bound for Ontario was held at the U.S.-Canada border, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says. The Canadian Press

Sign up for the Coronavirus Update newsletter to read the day’s essential coronavirus news, features and explainers written by Globe reporters.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies