After escaping the first wave of the pandemic, Excelsoins, the long-term care facility – formerly Knowlton House – was hit hard by COVID’s second wave in February.

At one point, 30 of the 44 residents and 21 of the 30 staff had tested positive for the virus. “It’s so hard to find out that so many residents are sick. It happened so suddenly,’’ says Geneviève Quintin who is usually in charge of residents’ activities. Now she works non-stop to help in any way possible amid the critical shortage of staff. “We were scrambling to find help from the CIUSSS and agencies,’’ she says. Members of the Red Cross were called in to help with providing security and care.

Right now, residents and staff are tested a few times a week and the staff is housed in the adjacent building (formerly Knowlbanks) so there is no travelling back and forth to Montreal” adds Quintin.

Some 16 residents and members of staff received the first dose of the vaccine on January 27, three days before the start of the outbreak. Quintin, who has repeatedly tested negative, was one of them.

The staff on duty is working extremely hard to provide care amid tight restrictions of movement within the residence and added protective gear.

Officially, it is not known how the virus entered the building. A persistent rumour points to a visitor who may have removed the protective mask in a resident’s room.

As of mid-February, three residents have died since the beginning of the outbreak.