Almost half the staff and 39 nuns at residence in Quebec City test positive for COVID-19

In this handout photo released by the University of Oxford blood samples from coronavirus vaccine trials are handled inside the Jenner Institute in Oxford, England Thursday June 25, 2020. (John Cairns, University of Oxford via AP)

A Quebec City residence for nuns is grappling with a major COVID-19 outbreak that has affected over 10 per cent of the nuns who live there and almost half of the staff.

The health and social services centre (CIUSSS) in Quebec City confirmed that 39 of the 300 nuns and 43 of the 110 staff have tested positive for the novel coronavirus at the Soeurs-de-la-Charite.

CIUSSS spokesperson Mathieu Boivin said a team was deployed to assist the community Wednesday and put "rigorous infection prevention and control measures" in place. 

"These are different teams with different skills and expertise to meet the needs, whether in terms of care, infection prevention and control, logistics, supplies, hygiene and sanitation, day-to-day-management and improvement follow-ups," he added.

Boivin said isolation protocols have also been implemented to limit personnel movement. 

"CIUSSS staff will be on site for as long as necessary to ensure the safety and care of users," he said. "This is the mandate of our teams wherever the CIUSSS has been called in for reinforcement, and this, since the start of the pandemic."

Quebec City Cardinal Gerald Cyprien Lacroix sent out a message of solidarity on his Facebook page.

"More than 300 religious sisters live there from four different communities. We want to assure them of our prayers, our solidarity and we ask the Lord to bless them so that they may go through this difficulty with hope and with courage," he said. "May the Lord bless you all."

  Boivin said an update on the situation will be issued Monday.    COVID-19 CASES IN QUEBEC
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