Ottawa’s West End Villa faces $15M class-action lawsuit over coronavirus outbreak

An Ottawa long-term care home facing a deadly coronavirus outbreak is now also being hit with a class-action lawsuit on behalf of the facility’s residents and their family members.

Toronto-based law firm Thomson Rogers said Thursday it is launching a $15-million class-action suit against Extendicare’s West End Villa long-term care home.

A coronavirus outbreak was declared at the facility on Aug. 30.

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Since then, more than 100 people linked to the home have tested positive for the virus and 15 residents have died in relation to COVID-19, according to Ottawa Public Health.

The Ottawa Hospital has since taken over patient care at the long-term care facility.

Thomson Rogers, which has also filed a class-action lawsuit against Carlingview Manor in Ottawa, alleges West End Villa failed to provide its staff with proper personal protective equipment (PPE), ensure adequate staffing levels, and implement screening procedures to effectively keep the virus out of the home.

A spokesperson for Extendicare told Global News on Thursday it has not received documentation or notice of the lawsuit.

West End Villa has had a program in place to test staff since early June, the spokesperson said, “to identify and isolate cases as early as possible.”

The spokesperson also said the home has an “ample supply” of PPE to meet provincial directives.

We continue to work closely with public health and the Ottawa Hospital to ensure our infection control practices are informed by the latest available evidence, and we will continue to test rigorously so that we can combat the virus effectively and remove it from our home as soon as possible,” the spokesperson said.

In previous statements to Global News, Extendicare’s spokesperson has also pointed to Ottawa’s delays in processing tests as a barrier to effective infection management and control.

“It is unacceptable that six months after the COVID-19 pandemic was first declared and after we have lost so many elderly victims, that the same issues continue to repeat themselves at some homes,” said Thomson Rogers partner Stephen Birman in a statement.

“The families of the West End Villa residents are frustrated and upset that their loved ones are suffering and deserve answers.”

Extendicare’s statement expressed sympathy for the families of residents who died in connection with the outbreak.

“Our focus at this time is solely on providing quality care to our residents, keeping our families informed and supporting our staff. Our hearts are with our community and those who have lost loved ones to this virus during this immensely challenging time.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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