The Jean-Talon hospital struggling with an outbreak of COVID-19

L’hôpital Jean-Talon aux prises avec une éclosion de COVID-19

Photo: Marie-France Coallier The Duty
A patient with the COVID-19 brought by ambulance to the hôpital Jean-Talon, last week.

The Jean-Talon hospital is facing an outbreak of COVID-19, at least six people, including a nurse, having been infected by the virus. An outbreak which could have been avoided if the situation had been taken seriously and if the protocols were quickly put in place, according to what have been reported by members of the nursing staff on Duty.

According to our information, five patients in the surgery unit of adjoining rooms have received a positive diagnosis at the COVID-19 at the beginning of last week.

Hospitalized in the week of march 16, two of them had symptoms, but had rather been tested for influenza. Since their tests had come out negative, they were able to move freely in the hospital and no additional precaution had been taken.

One of them had even been able to go home for three days before returning to the intensive care unit on Monday, 23 march last, and to finally receive a diagnosis of COVID-19.

Other diagnoses positive all fell in the days that followed, for a total of six. So much so that last Thursday, the leadership of the CIUSSS of the North-of-the-Island-of-Montreal has given new directives, including the obligation to wear a mask at all times in the hospital and to isolate any patient.

“I believe that the situation has been taken a little too lightly. The direction of the CIUSSS did not expect to have a wave too fast and also wide case. They have been caught short, ” said the Duty Alexandre Paquet, acting chairman of the Union of workers of the CIUSSS of the North-of-the-Island-of-Montreal. According to him, the management was too busy to manage the outbreak at the CHSLD Notre-Dame-de-la-Merci, one of the largest ltc facility in Montreal, where 20 cases have been reported a few days ago.

“Their attention was there and they have not seen the Jean-Talon come. The transmission was not formalized as community-based. It took everyone by surprise. “


According to our information, the public Health is conducting an investigation in connection with the nurse of the surgical unit who has been infected. People who have been in contact with them during his shift would have been withdrawn until further notice.

Employees of the Jean-Talon hospital wishing to remain anonymous, complained about the lack of professionalism and transparency of their bosses, who will advise them not always in a timely manner when patients with which they have been in contact are positive.

The CIUSSS of the North-of-the-Island-of-Montreal has recognized the lips that there has been “a home for hatching” at the Jean-Talon hospital and has ensured that all the sick of the COVID-19 had been transferred to other hospitals designated. He has not been able to confirm the Duty the number of patients and staff infected at this establishment. “We follow scrupulously the guidelines formulated by the Institut national de santé publique du Québec [INSPQ],” said the spokeswoman, Emily Jacob.

Too little, too late

For some members of the nursing staff, it is too little too late. Even if the situation has stabilized in the last few days, the protocols are not always clear and employees receive several e-mails full of information of all kinds and attachments that they do not have the time to read. Several of them relate to a situation is still quite chaotic, confirms the union’s president, Alexandre Package.

“There are still a lot of misunderstanding on the part of nursing staff. The protocols are not super clear it, ” he said. He said that he has reported that the inputs and outputs are well controlled, but that once in the hospital, the patient is rather free in his movements. “Some of our members have concerns, because of the patients wander around. “

According to him, in addition to the port of the mask, the INSPQ recommends that the port of the visor when there are confirmed cases. “But this visor is not automatically provided. Some must insist, ” says Mr. Pack.

Same thing for the antibacterial soap, kept under lock and key, and masks (two per shift of 8 h), which are very rationed. “The people newly hired fall so quickly in the network that they do not have a uniform, and work dressed in civilian clothes. The procedure is straightforward, the uniform is mandatory. “

According to the union, the CIUSSS of the North-of-the-Island-of-Montreal must now deal with a problem of absenteeism because he was not able to reassure his staff.

“People have not been super aware of what he had to do when it was going to happen,” added Mr. Paquet. He deplored the fact that the direction of the CIUSSS should apply the ministerial decree, which allows him to suspend certain provisions of the collective agreement to extend the shifts or modify the timetable at its discretion. “If the employer had managed the crisis to a more preventative, people would have had the impression of being able to do their work in a safe manner and the ministerial order would not be necessary. “

The most recent report of the public health status of 1991 confirmed cases on the island of Montreal.

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