by Edson Castilho, President, IWK local of the NSNU
I am a nurse at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax. It is a women’s and children’s hospital that serves the people of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI. This hospital has had no cases of patients with the corona virus. Very few or no staff (it is impossible to know because the bosses cite the confidentiality of occupational health information) have tested positive. This means no staffing shortage caused by the need to have contacts of an infected person self-isolate until they test negative. So, we have been relatively lucky, compared to an institution like Northwood.
Northwood is the largest long-term care facility east of Quebec. Fifty-two (as of May 22) of the total of fifty-eight (90%) deaths that have occurred in Nova Scotia as a result of the pandemic have occurred to residents of this one facility. It is a private, not-for-profit facility that receives government funding (woefully inadequate) for the care of the people who live there. Northwood is a facility that consists of a wide range of elderly residents, from seniors who live independently in their own Northwood apartments, to seniors who require some assistance with medical care or activities of daily living, to seniors who are completely reliant on the care provided by the staff for their medical needs as well as activities of daily living.