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Coronavirus: Baie d’Urfé senior home dealing with COVID-19 outbreak

Coronavirus: Baie d’Urfé senior home dealing with COVID-19 outbreak
WATCH: It’s been a roller-coaster of emotions for staff and residents at the Maxwell long-term care home in Baie d’Urfé, Quebec. Quebec eased restrictions on seniors in private residences just a few weeks ago, but as Global's Felicia Parrillo reports, the residence is seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases in the past week.

It’s been a roller-coaster of emotions for staff and residents at the Maxwell long-term care home in Baie d’Urfé.

Just a few weeks ago, Quebec eased restrictions on seniors in private residences.

That meant residents at the Maxwell were able to go outside and interact with family and friends, at a distance — but things changed quickly.

READ MORE: Quebec private seniors’ homes have mixed feelings about easing of restrictions

“It was like Titanic hit the iceberg,” said Farzad Shodjai, Maxwell’s owner and manager. “The day after, we had one case, he tested positive.”

As of May 6, the Maxwell had 110 residents. At the time, there were zero confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The next day, the first case was confirmed in the assisted-living division. The residence says the local health authority moved in and tested everyone in the residence.

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READ MORE: Quebec adds 202 COVID-19 deaths due to data transmission problem

The assisted-living division went into lockdown on May 11.

On May 25, there were then two cases reported in the autonomous living division and it went into lockdown.

As of Sunday, 19 cases and two deaths have been reported. Six staff members from the residence have also contracted the virus.

READ MORE: Staff infected at Vigi Mont-Royal seniors’ residence after ventilation system malfunction

Maxwell’s owner says they suspect the virus could have been transmitted into the assisted-living division through a newspaper, but at the moment, it’s only a theory.

As for the autonomous side, the owner says, the COVID-19 outbreak could be attributed to the loosening of restrictions.

“We are quite certain that there is a good possibility they got it from outside,” said Shodjai.

READ MORE: Canadian Forces arrive at Montreal seniors’ residences, health authorities rushing to train volunteers

At the moment, residents living in both divisions are on lockdown at least until June 16.

In an effort to lift their spirits, Baie d’Urfe’s mayor came up with an idea to gather volunteers to help spruce up the nursing home’s garden.

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“We all know people in the Maxwell — if they’re not family, they’re people who we worked with — neighbours and volunteers,” said Mayor Maria Tutino.

“It breaks our hearts.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Quebec premier takes ‘full responsibility’ after situation in nursing homes ‘deteriorated’

Many of those who showed up to help on Sunday have relatives who live at the residence.

“Every day I think, is she safe here? said Gillian Bennett of her mother. “Would she be safer somewhere else? We came to the decision that this was safest, but it’s a roller-coaster ride every day.”

The owner says the lockdown will be lifted as soon as those who have tested positive are cleared of the virus.