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Ottawa father denied access to delivery room for son’s birth due to COVID-19 protocols, despite negative test result

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OTTAWA — Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, Ontario hospitals have had strict protocols in place for visitors across their campuses and birthing units.

For one Ottawa family, the screening process and restrictions meant the mother would have to give birth alone, without her husband.

“I was speaking to my son directly,” said father Jeff Lewin-Coudriau on Friday.

“I said. ‘I’m sorry Raphael, daddy should be there.'”

Lewin-Coudriau said when his wife Pascale begun displaying cold symptoms, each of them went to get a COVID-19 test, and both the results came back as negative.

“Because she was still experiencing some symptoms, they wanted to retest her,” Lewin-Coudriau told CTV News Ottawa.

“I followed everything and remained calm and patient through this entire process, only to be shut out at the last minute.”

Due to confidentiality reasons and patient privacy, the Ottawa Hospital does not comment on specific cases, but says in a statement to CTV News Ottawa:

“In order to protect patients, staff and essential visitors, The Ottawa Hospital screens everyone entering the hospital for symptoms of COVID-19. Anyone who presents with symptoms will not be allowed to enter the hospital. For birthing mothers, both they and their support person are screened for symptoms. Only support persons who pass the screening will be allowed in during labour. Birthing mothers who do not pass screening will be placed on COVID-19 precautions, and their support person would not be able to enter the hospital. This is to protect them, their baby, and other patients on the unit.”

Lewin-Coudriau returned to the couple’s home, and watched his wife give birth to their son through his cellphone.

“It was very devastating to not be there in person to hold him, so he could have both his mom and his dad when he joined us.”

It’s a reality many expectant parents have faced in the year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I have some personal experience with this, my baby was born during the pandemic and I wasn’t allowed in either, so it hurts,” said University of Ottawa Epidemiologist Dr. Raywat Deonandan

“This is the reality right now, and especially given the threat of the new variants, which are hyper transmissible, possibly more lethal, we are in a particularly dire time, and we can’t really risk introducing a new infection either inside or outside the hospital. “

According to Deonandan, it is still unclear how vulnerable newborn babies are to the virus, but it is best to be cautious.

“You don’t want to introduce that level of complication, especially in a maternal-infant dynamic that is particularly complicated,” said Dr. Deonandan.

“We don’t know what the possible outcome will be, so let’s not introduce a new threat to this new life.”

Lewin-Coudriau understands the policy is there to protect patients, and told CTV News Ottawa, although it is difficult to accept, the father of four, is grateful for a healthy baby boy.

“Nothing can tear us apart,” said Lewin-Coudriau.

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When Ontario declared a COVID-19 health emergency last spring, the first instinct of Ottawa entrepreneur Peter O’Blenis was to preserve cash.

“We basically stopped our discretionary spending,” said O’Blenis, the co-founder and CEO of Evidence Partners, which makes software for accelerating the review of scientific and medical literature, using artificial intelligence. “We cut investments in things meant to help us grow.”

It was a defensive posture born of experience. O’Blenis had 12 years earlier nearly been crushed by the global financial crisis. Another looked to be on the way.

In 2008, O’Blenis and his colleagues, Jonathan Barker and Ian Stefanison, hit a brick wall with their first venture, TrialStat, which helped hospitals manage patients’ electronic data. While TrialStat had secured $5.5 million in venture financing just a couple of years earlier, the founders had burned through most of it during a rapid expansion. When the financial world collapsed, so did their firm.

The trio played things far more conservatively with Evidence Partners, which has relied almost exclusively on customer revenues to finance expansion.

The caution proved unnecessary. Like so many other businesses, O’Blenis underestimated the government’s willingness to keep the economy afloat with easy money. Nor did he anticipate that COVID-19 would prove a significant catalyst for the firm’s revenues so soon.

Evidence Partners is hardly the only local firm with technology particularly suited for the war against COVID-19. Spartan Bioscience and DNA Genotek adapted existing products to create technology for identifying the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Ottawa-based units of Abbott Laboratories and Siemens Healthineers make portable blood analyzers that diagnose patients afflicted by the virus.

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Shepherds of Good Hope wants to expand ByWard Market operation with eight-storey housing complex

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The Shepherds of Good Hope plans to build an eight-storey building near its current shelter for the homeless in the ByWard Market that would include supportive housing for up to 48 people, a soup kitchen and a drop-in centre.

The organization says it wants to be part of the solution to the housing crisis that has fuelled a rise in homelessness in Ottawa.

People would be moved out of the emergency shelters and into their own tiny apartments in the complex, which would include a communal dining hall and staff available to help with mental health, addiction and medical problems, said Caroline Cox, senior manager of communications for the Shepherds.

Some residents in the neighbourhood are opposed, saying services for the homeless and vulnerable should not be concentrated in one area of the city.

“I was flabbergasted,” said homeowner Brian Nolan, who lives one block from the development proposed for 216 Murray St., where currently a one-story building houses offices for the Shepherds of Good Hope.

Nolan said that, in the 15 years he’s lived in the area, it has become increasingly unsafe, with home and car thefts, drug dealing, loitering, aggressive and erratic behaviour, urinating, defecating and vomiting on sidewalks and yards and sexual acts conducted in public on his dead-end street. Before he lets his son play basketball in the yard, he checks the ground for needles and his home security camera to see who is nearby.

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Carleton University Hosts the Forum Lecture: Towards a Feminist Post-COVID City

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evehe Carleton University Forum Lecture: Towards a Feminist Post-COVID City given by Leslie Kern launches Ottawa Architecture Week. Urban geographer, author and academic, Kern will discuss how the pandemic has highlighted long-standing inequalities in the design, use and inclusivity of urban spaces. The talk will share some of the core principles behind a feminist urban vision to inform a wider vision of justice, equity and sustainability.

When
: Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.
Registration: https://alumni.carleton.ca/event-registration-architecture-forum-series-with-leslie-kern-2/.

About the Speaker

Kern holds a PhD in Women’s Studies from York University. She is currently an associate professor of Geography and Environment and director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Mount Allison University.

Kern is the author of two books on gender and cities, including Feminist City: Claiming Space in a Man-Made World (Verso). The book discusses how our cities have failed in terms of fear, motherhood, friendship, activism, the joy and perils of being alone, and also imagines what they could become.

Kern argues, “The pandemic has shown us that society can be radically reorganized if necessary. Let’s carry that lesson into creating the non-sexist city.”

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