MONTREAL -- The Résidence Les Floralies LaSalle long-term care home was warned months ago to be ready for the possibility of a virus outbreak, and that warning tragically came true after 21 residents contracted COVID-19 and 18 residents have died.

“Every day there’s at least six ambulances here, and I’ve seen at least two hearses or vehicles to take away people who have passed away,” said a LaSalle resident who lives nearby.

It is not the first time the residence has been in the news. By February of last year, three seniors died after a Group A Streptococcus outbreak, and Accreditation Canada warned the home’s management afterward that it needed to create a plan for detecting infection and have a pandemic protocol.

This is something the ownership disputes.

“I haven’t found in my tools a specific report regarding the potential pandemic,” said Les Floralies director Benoit Lellouche.

The sobering news is not something that surprises patients advocate Paul Brunet.

“Most of these health establishments should have a contingency plan in the event of a crisis,” he said. “Especially a sanitary or health crisis.”

The management at Les Floralies disputes this and points to updates sent to families Monday.

“Neglected? No, not at all,” said Lellouche. “I totally refute this comment. We are in daily communication with the CIUSSS, and have been several times inspected, evaluated and we’ve never had any negative major correction.”

The home sold along with Floralies Lachine to Maisons Vivalto in December for $80 million.

For Brunet, the COVID-19 pandemic has uncovered a mountain of issues for the elderly that need to be improved.

“You’re not smelling what it smells like in the corridors,” he said. “You don’t know how much people are left alone, especially in a crisis without food, without proper hygiene.”

He hopes that those that care for the elderly learn from the situation wrought by the pandemic so that it doesn’t happen again.