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Quebec long-term care home hit with class action after 69 residents die of COVID-19


MONTREAL — The son of a 94-year-old Quebec woman who died of COVID-19 at one of the province's hardest-hit long-term care homes has filed a class action lawsuit application against the government-run residence, where at least 68 others have died from the virus.

Jean-Pierre Daubois is alleging the Montreal-area long-term care home acted negligently by forcing two employees with COVID-19 symptoms to remain at work, by improperly isolating residents, and by failing to provide protective equipment to employees.

The lawsuit, filed on Monday and whose claims have not been tested in court, says the plaintiff's mother, Anna Jose Maquet, died on April 3, after being in the care of a nurse who later tested positive for COVID-19.

Maquet was one of at least 69 residents of CHSLD Ste-Dorothee who died of COVID-19 as of April 21.

The application also targets the regional health authority responsible for the Ste-Dorothee public long-term care home, located in Laval, Montreal's northern suburb.

Daubois' lawyer, Patrick Martin-Menard, said he has witnesses and documents that support the allegations in the class action.

"The personnel was negligent," Martin-Menard said in an interview Tuesday. "The authorities at the CHSLD made their sick employees work. As they kept working, they infected other patients."

Daubois' application is on behalf of his deceased mother and all residents of the long-term care home who have been living there as of March 13. Residents' spouses, caregivers, children, grandchildren or heirs are also listed as members of the group seeking authorization for the class action.

The lawsuit alleges that two workers — an orderly and a nursing assistant — were forced to work for several days after telling their employer on March 22 that they had symptoms of COVID-19. Both later tested positive for the virus.

The suit alleges that the long-term care home did not implement government-mandated protocols to isolate patients and protect workers.

By the end of March, nine employees had been placed in preventative isolation, 15 patients had tested positive for COVID-19 and three had died of the virus. And by April 6, the residence counted 107 infected patients, eight COVID-19-related deaths, and another 50 confirmed cases among the staff.

"We have good evidence of what went wrong in the CHSLD," Martin-Menard said.

A spokesperson from the CHSLD Ste-Dorothee said they could not comment on the lawsuit at this time while the regional health authority did not make a representative available for an interview.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 21, 2020.

Julian McKenzie, The Canadian Press

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