Maxime Du Pont, who works as an orderly at Maimonides in Côte Saint-Luc, claims he and his co-workers are being put in a dangerous situation.
According to him, he has observed a few instances where his colleagues have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and were told to return to work six to eight days after their diagnosis — without a negative result.
“None of the employees here are to blame,” said Du Pont. “Management is going through a shortage — we are in an emergency situation.
“Legault’s government has sent Maimonides — there’s these papers that say none of the employees can take vacation. You got a kid? You gotta come back to work.”
At the end of August, the province announced it was shortening the quarantine for people who have had COVID-19 or have come into contact with a confirmed case to 10 days.
Families with loved ones at the long-term care home say anything shorter than that is outrageous, and they argue it puts the lives of everyone who lives and works there at risk.
“It’s not just about the residents of Maimonides,” said Joyce Shanks, whose father lives at the residence. “The other staff members are at risk, their families are at risk, their loved ones are at risk, the schools that their kids go to are at risk.
“This to me, is probably one of the most dangerous things I have heard in the past couple of weeks and I’ve heard a lot.”
Shanks says if management is in fact asking their employees to return to work in such a short period of time, they must be in dire need of staff.
“That is the reason,” she said. “We have seen it, first hand and we have heard it from the staff themselves.”
During a press conference on Wednesday, Quebec’s Health Minister Christian Dubé said he is looking into the matter.
“They’re saying no, this is not the case of what’s happening there, but I have asked for written confirmation that the usual rules are being followed, especially at Maimonides,” Dubé said.
“There’s no way we want to take the risk right now.”
Global News reached out to the regional health authority for comment on its policies and heard back late Wednesday. In a statement, the CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal said it “follows all Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) and public health protocols.”
“Employees can return to work after 10 days if, and only if, they are symptom-free for 24 hours and have no fever for 48 hours,” the CIUSSS said. “A negative test is not required to return to work.”
On Monday, it was announced that Maimonides will be one of the first long-term care residences in Quebec to get access to a novel coronavirus vaccine, with the roll-out set to begin as early as next Monday.
According to the government’s latest figures, 14 Maimonides residents have died as a result of the virus.