Report says CHSLD Ste-Dorothée acted late against COVID-19

But situation has improved since outbreak began, says CNESST

Martin C. Barry

A provincial commission that oversees health and safety norms in the workplace says in a report leaked to the media that management at CHSLD Sainte-Dorothée was slow to implement special measures at the long-term care facility to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

According to the report, details of which were first made public by the Montreal daily La Presse, an inspector from the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail visited CHSLD Sainte-Dorothée during the first week of April.

Were COVID-positive

The CNESST inspector had been asked to do so by medical staff union officials who were worried about inadequate prevention measures. The CNESST report confirmed that CHSLD Sainte-Dorothée workers who were experiencing symptoms indicative of COVID-19 were still working at least up to April 6.

The CHSLD Sainte-Dorothée on Samson Blvd. in western Laval, where a high number of fatalities from COVID-19 took place following the initial outbreak of the neo-coronavirus more than a month ago.

The report also notes that staff at the CHSLD, who were working simultaneously at other retirement and long-term care establishments, continued to travel back and forth between locations as COVID-19 was actively spreading at CHSLD Sainte-Dorothée. This contradicted guidelines established at that point for safeguarding against the spread of COVID-19.

Unprotected tasks

As well, according to La Presse, the report states that nurses were forced to complete some complex high-risk tasks without the benefit of superior quality N95 facial masks, which were unavailable at the time in the CHSLD.

Report says nurses were forced to complete high-risk tasks without benefit of superior N95 masks

The inspector also pointed out that training and availability of information at the establishment were inadequate during the same time period. However, at the same time the CNESST inspector noted that the initially chaotic situation at CHSLD Sainte-Dorothée has improved.

Situation improved

Since then, the CISSS de Laval, which oversees CHSLD Sainte-Dorothée, says that it has taken measures to ensure that adequate supplies of protective gear, including N95 masks, are available for all employees, and that the gear is being received up to twice a day at the CHSLD. In the meantime, the Syndicat Des Infirmières, inhalothérapeutes et infirmiers auxilières de Laval (the union representing nurses and nursing assistants at the CHSLD) wants the protective measures implemented at CHSLD Sainte-Dorothée to be made the standard at all other CHSLDs in Laval.

Martin C. Barry, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for the Laval News,