November 19th, 2020

Liberal government leaving long-term care residents in shared rooms as second wave approaches

HALIFAX -- As the number of cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia continues to increase, it is vital that the Liberal government make the safety of those who live in long-term care a top priority. The province is again reporting community spread and many residents are still sharing rooms and bathrooms, one of the key components of the outbreak at Northwood.

“As a public health issue, COVID-19 has been all-consuming and changed a lot about how we go about our daily lives. That is especially true for those who live in long-term care,” said NDP Health and Wellness spokesperson Susan Leblanc. “Unfortunately, what hasn’t changed is the use of shared accommodations and bathroom facilities in our long-term care facilities. Across the country, long-term care residents have faced the worst of COVID-19, and we cannot wait for tragedy to hit again before taking action.”

The NDP has called on the government to make infrastructure investments to make sure that every resident of long-term care has a room of their own. In seven years, the Liberal government has opened only a handful of new long-term care beds, after imposing a six-year moratorium on nursing home construction.

"For the last seven years, the Liberal government has overlooked long-term care in a way that is unconscionable and shameful. We have seen repeated cutbacks, and failures to address the alarms raised about inadequate staffing by a series of reports," said NDP Leader Gary Burrill. "We need to begin immediately with investments in new and redeveloped facilities that will make it possible for every resident to have a room they can call their own, and staffing to provide the care that they deserve."

In the first wave of coronavirus 65 people in Nova Scotia died from COVID-19, 53 in the outbreak at Northwood Manor in Halifax.