Advertisement

COVID-19 outbreaks at N.S. facilities for people with disabilities not made public

Click to play video: 'Hundreds of Nova Scotia surgeries cancelled as Omicron surges' Hundreds of Nova Scotia surgeries cancelled as Omicron surges
Since Omicron hit Nova Scotia in early December, hundreds of people have had their surgeries cancelled. There simply are not enough staff in hospitals to continue with normal schedules and that’s expected to continue for weeks. Only people who need urgent or emergency surgery will go under the knife. Alicia Draus has more.

An outbreak of COVID-19 at a large facility housing people with intellectual disabilities in Nova Scotia wasn’t disclosed to the public, because the province says it wants to protect the privacy of residents.

Documents from the facility obtained by The Canadian Press say that in the days after Christmas, two workers at the Kings Regional Rehabilitation Centre in Waterville, N.S., and one resident had contracted COVID-19.

Read more: Most surgeries on hold in N.S. as pressure to health-care system mounts

The centre, which is home to 159 residents, declined all comment, referring the matter to public health.

Health Minister Michelle Thompson said after cabinet Thursday that — unlike nursing homes — the province won’t disclose details about outbreaks at the publicly funded, non-profit centres.

Story continues below advertisement

She cites the privacy of the people who live there and says that family members of those who test positive, and others who are “directly impacted” by the outbreaks, are kept informed.

Read more: For ICU doctor, Omicron is a feeling of ‘continuous, unrelenting pressure’

Leta Jarvis, who has a brother at the facility, says all next of kin of residents and the public should be informed to help raise awareness of the risks people at the centres face.

Cyndi Carruthers, director of disability advocacy group People First Nova Scotia, also says groups such as hers need to be informed so they can better campaign for oversight and resources for people living in those facilities.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2022.

Sponsored content