Families say West Island residence with 64 COVID-19 deaths has kept them in the dark

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 Families of residents in a West Island long-term care home said that information has been scarce on what's happening inside, even as the COVID-19 death toll climbs.

The Vigi Home in Dollard-des-Ormeaux has logged 64 deaths related to COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

Jessica Berendt’s 79-year-old grandmother Rita Armstrong lived at the home for four years.

"I feel for those families, I really do," she said. 

According to Berendt, Armstrong tested positive for COVID-19 during an outbreak in late April.

Berendt says she learned through social media that all the staff had left the site on April 22 as a result of the outbreak.

“The fact that we had to find out through Facebook… I was dumbfounded by it,” Berendt told CTV News.

Armstrong passed away five days later.

The Vigi Home’s director didn’t respond to an emailed request for comment.

The regional health authority said Vigi’s management asked for help in late April, and the Red Cross and the McGill University Healthcare Centre (MUHC) sent reinforcements.

“It’s discouraging,” said Pierre Ross whose mother lives at the Vigi Home.

Still, Ross insists that his mother receives good care at the home despite the death toll.

Berendt is urging relatives of residents to voice their concerns to staff.

“If you’re not getting information, you need to push,” Berendt said.

Authorities say the situation is now stable at Vigi, adding that reinforcements were sent elsewhere this past week.