Vaccinations delayed as massive testing operation begins at Laval seniors' residence after major COVID-19 outbreak

Les Residences Soleil, a long-term care home in Laval, suspended a vaccination program after an outbreak infected dozens of residences.

Vaccinations set to take place this week at a Laval seniors' home have been postponed after dozens of residents tested positive for COVID-19.

People living in Residences Soleil, Manoir Laval were expecting to recieve doses of the vaccine on Thursday and Friday this week. But because of the outbreak, health officials are carrying out a massive door-to-door testing campaign instead.

According to a Friday afternoon tally, 63 of the 810 residents and four staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 since the outbreak was detected on Feb. 21. Of those, seven people have been hospitalized, and three have died. 

The local health board, the Laval CISSS, is handing out a saliva testing tube to each resident for self-administration, keeping testers physically distanced at all times. 

Last week, Laval began mass vaccination for those aged 70 and over. Residents in private seniors homes requiring more care were prioritized for vaccination last month, and 24 Soleil residents were vaccinated against the disease.

But even if more people had been vaccinated back then, health experts say the outbreak would still have happened, with antibodies requiring up to three weeks to kick in.  

More testing will be carried out next week in preperation to begin vaccinations once the spread is under control.

"Depending on the result we’re going to vaccinate the units and floors that are most suitable to be vaccinated," said Dr. Olivier Haeck from the CISSS.

- With files from CTV News Montreal's Billy Shields and Matt Gilmour   

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