Advertisement

Class action lawsuit filed against Northwood for handling of COVID-19 pandemic

Coronavirus outbreak: Class action lawsuit filed against Northwood
WATCH ABOVE: A proposed class-action lawsuit has been filed against Northwood after widespread covid-19 infections resulted in the deaths of 53 residents. Alicia Draus has more.

A proposed class-action lawsuit has been filed against Northwood Care Group Inc. in Halifax after widespread infections of the novel coronavirus resulted in the deaths of 53 residents.

The lawsuit against Northwood and its seven subsidiary and associated companies was announced by Wagners Law Firm in a news release Tuesday.

READ MORE: Calls for Northwood inquiry heightened after concerns raised at Ontario, Quebec care homes

The suit alleges Northwood breached its legal obligations to its residents due to inaction and inadequate response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s just tragic what so many families have gone through, and the grieving process is still ongoing,” said Raymond Wagner, counsel for the class, in a statement. “There are lots of questions about how this happened and how it was handled.”

Story continues below advertisement

The lawsuit alleges that Northwood Halifax’s practices, policies, and procedures “caused the viral spread of COVID-19 through elderly and vulnerable residents as well as staff, causing untimely death to residents, and harms, losses, and damages to their surviving family members.”

Premier Stephen McNeil speaks about the situation at Northwood in Halifax
Premier Stephen McNeil speaks about the situation at Northwood in Halifax

The suit also alleges that Northwood had “full knowledge and advance warning” of the risks associated with COVID-19 but it “maintained the status quo at the cost of numerous individuals’ safety and lives.”

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

“In mid-March, residents continued to share rooms and bathrooms with one or even two others, common areas were not restricted, and visitors and staff were not closely regulated,” the release reads.

Wagner said behaviour modification, a policy goal of the class action process, will be especially important with an expected second wave of COVID-19 on the horizon.

Story continues below advertisement

“Our most vulnerable and at risk, and those treating them, need to be adequately protected,” he said.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia health minister breaks silence on Northwood coronavirus outbreak

As of Monday, Northwood has seen a total of 345 facility cases, with 246 connected to residents and 99 to staff.

There are currently three residents and two staff members with active cases.

In a statement, Northwood said they have received notification of legal action and we will “carefully review and vigorously respond.”

“Northwood remains committed to the care and safety of our residents and employees as we continue to manage active cases of COVID-19 at our Halifax Campus,” the statement reads.

“We appreciate the support and understanding we have been receiving from our healthcare colleagues, residents, and the community.”

Story continues below advertisement