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31 die at Montreal nursing home

In the US 17 bodies were recently discovered at a long-term care facility in New Jersey
Paramedics take a patient from an ambulance at the Verdun Hospital in Montreal
Paramedics take a patient from an ambulance at the Verdun Hospital in Montreal
(AP photo)

Dan Bilefsky/New York Times News Service   |   Montreal   |   Published 17.04.20, 08:14 PM

 Thirty-one people were found dead in less than a month at a nursing home in Montreal, at least five confirmed to have coronavirus — a powerful Canadian emblem of how nursing homes are among the places hardest hit by the pandemic.

In the US 17 bodies were recently discovered at a long-term care facility in New Jersey, among 68 deaths linked to the residence, 26 confirmed as coronavirus cases. And it was at a long-term care facility in Kirkland, in Washington state, that Americans first got a glimpse of the horrors to come after residents fell ill with Covid-19.

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The phenomenon has been seen across Europe as well. In Spain, soldiers sent to disinfect nursing homes found people abandoned, or even dead, in their beds. Italy, Britain and France have acknowledged that their official statistics have overlooked many virus-related deaths in long-term care facilities.

The deaths in Canada were discovered late last week at Résidence Herron, a private home for seniors in Montreal, after the local health authority, alarmed by staff shortages and the spread of coronavirus at the home, took control of the residence.

They found dehydrated residents lying listless in bed, unfed for days, with excrement seeping out of their diapers.

“I’d never seen anything like it in my 32-year nursing career,” said Loredana Mule, a nurse on the team. “It was horrific — there wasn’t enough food to feed people, the stench could’ve killed a horse.”

A skeleton staff of two nurses had been left to care for a private residence with nearly 150 beds, she said. The remaining staff had fled amid the outbreak of the coronavirus, leaving patients, some paralysed or with other chronic illnesses, to fend for themselves.



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