CUPE 3247, which represents most of the employees at the Laurent-Bergevin long-term care home in Île-Perrot, Quebec, is worried about a serious COVID-19 outbreak currently ravaging the institution that is overseen by the Monteregie-Ouest integrated health and social services centre.

Close to 50 of the 73 residents and more than 30 employees have contracted the virus. Three residents have died and the numbers continue to rise.

In the past two weeks, the union has been sounding the alarm and is concerned about possible aerosol contamination.

“In the wake of the worrisome spike in COVID-19 cases, the employer has been questioned numerous times, and the Standards and Equity Commission for occupational health and safety has been asked to intervene to determine the root cause of this outbreak, particularly by examining the ventilation system at the home. We have also requested that N95 masks be provided to employees having to work in these red zones,” said Simon Beaulieu, president of CUPE 3247.

The Laurent Bergevin long-term care home has a negative-pressure “red zone” for positive cases, meaning the air pressure is managed to ensure less air flows out of the red zone.

“Due to the increase in the number of cases, a second red zone has been opened. However, it does not have any negative pressure ventilation. Employees are worried about their health and that of the residents, and it’s understandable,” added Beaulieu.