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Montreal families worried about loved ones at Verdun General Hospital following outbreak

Families worried about loved ones at Verdun Hospital
WATCH: The Verdun Hospital is experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak. The hospital has been hit with 34 cases since last week. As Global's Phil Carpenter explains, the family of one patient is wondering why patients and staff are not being tested regularly.

More health professionals in Montreal have been diagnosed with COVID-19, increasing calls for more-health care workers to be tested.

At Verdun General Hospital, where LaSalle resident Franco Caputo’s father is a patient, several health-care workers including two doctors have been tested positive for the virus as of April 3.

Caputo said he’s worried.

His 83-year-old father was admitted as a patient at the hospital in February.  According to Caputo, the family took turns visiting the elder Caputo until the provincial government prohibited visits to health care centres across the province, in order to help limit the spread of the virus to seniors who are more vulnerable.

“Obviously because of the virus, we weren’t allowed to attend him any more,” said Caputo.

READ MORE: Coronavirus outbreak: Patient attendants want testing protocols at Montreal hospital to change

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But he claimed that when they stopped visiting, his father’s condition deteriorated.  So on March 28, he said the family made the decision to bring him back home.

“The condition I saw my father, my heart came outta my body,” Caputo said, fighting back tears. “I cannot express how he was.”

Caputo said by Monday, his condition had further deteriorated and his father stopped breathing.

“I put his back on the bed and I started compressing him,” he told Global News.  “My sister was on the phone with 911 and they guided us.”

Coronavirus: Family concerned with Verdun long-term care facility amid Covid-19 outbreak
Coronavirus: Family concerned with Verdun long-term care facility amid Covid-19 outbreak

The father was rushed to the hospital that day, and two days later he tested positive for COVID-19.

“They put us in danger,” Caputo fumed.

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He explained that a doctor at the hospital was diagnosed with COVID-19 while his father was still a patient there, but his father was never tested before the family picked him up.

“Why would you not test him?  You gonna put us in danger also,” the son reasoned.

READ MORE: First COVID-19 screening clinic opens on the West Island

Furthermore, he thinks if medical staff at the hospital were being tested more often, his father wouldn’t have caught the virus.

Up until April 3, the hospital had at least 34 cases of the virus among patients.  Other health institutions are also seeing outbreaks and unions are calling for testing of asymptomatic workers, as well as those who are ill.

“Because what happens is if it takes a week before symptoms show, that whole week people are interacting with patients who are vulnerable and other coworkers,” explained Jeff Begley, president of the CSN’s Health and Social Services division.

According to hospital officials, testing is now performed on any employee who comes in contact with anyone who has tested positive.

But Caputo, whose father is now in intensive care, thinks testing should go even further, to include all workers.

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