News release

Province Announces Reviews of COVID-19 Response for Northwood, Long-Term Care Sector

NOTE: Biographies of the committee members follow this release.

Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey announced today, June 30, a review of the COVID-19 outbreak at Northwood’s Halifax campus.

The Northwood review is being done under the Quality-improvement Information Protection Act. Mr. Delorey has appointed infectious disease consultant Dr. Chris Lata and former British Columbia associate deputy minister of health Lynn Stevenson to a quality-improvement committee. They will analyze the outbreak and the response to determine what factors contributed to the spread of COVID-19 at Northwood.

“Like all Nova Scotians, we are very concerned and saddened about what happened at Northwood and want answers for the families and friends who lost loved ones to this terrible virus,” said Mr. Delorey. “The recommendations will help Northwood and other long-term care facilities better prepare for future waves of this virus.”

The Northwood review will consider:

  • whether the preparedness for and response to COVID-19 infections were appropriate and timely during each stage of the outbreak, as revealed by interviews with staff, physicians, administrators and others
  • staff scheduling practices and processes
  • best practices in effectively controlling and preventing the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in long-term care settings

Government will also do a separate, internal review of broader infection prevention and control within the long-term care sector. It will consider overall infection prevention and control practices in long-term care facilities and review actions taken during the first wave of COVID-19.

Both reviews will make recommendations to help avoid or contain future outbreaks.

The recommendations will be delivered to the minister by Sept. 15 and will be made public after the review period.

Quotes:

COVID-19 has disproportionately affected seniors both locally and nationally. The long-term care system and its safe and efficient function is critical to serving our elderly population and to the overall delivery of health care. The investigation into Northwood will help identify areas of improvement and safety factors that may prevent serious outcomes at all of our long-term care facilities in the future. Dr. Chris Lata

Quick Facts:

  • the terms of reference for the Northwood review and the project charter for the internal infection prevention and control review are available at https://novascotia.ca/dhw/ccs/
  • there are 485 beds at Northwood’s Halifax campus
  • a total of 246 residents and 99 staff tested positive for COVID-19 at Northwood; the first five resident cases tested positive on April 7; 53 residents have died due to COVID-19
  • there were 392 cases of COVID-19 reported in nine licensed long-term care facilities (259 residents and 133 staff)
  • there are 132 licensed long-term care facilities in Nova Scotia

Additional Resources:

Information on COVID-19 in Nova Scotia: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus

Information on long-term care in Nova Scotia: https://novascotia.ca/dhw/ccs/long-term-care.asp

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Biographies:

Dr. Chris Lata is an infectious disease and internal medicine specialist at Cape Breton Regional Hospital in Sydney and an assistant professor in the department of adult infectious diseases at Dalhousie University’s School of Medicine in Halifax.

Lynn Stevenson is a strategic advisor on home support services to the British Columbia Ministry of Health and former associate deputy minister of health in British Columbia, responsible for acute and seniors care. She is a registered nurse and has a PhD with a research focus on organizational change, practice and leadership.