Daughter left with questions after mom dies in COVID-19 outbreak at Man. care home

WINNIPEG — A Winnipeg woman is remembering her mom, who died after contracting COVID-19 in a long-term care home.

Margert Kotelo, 71, who many knew as Marge, had been living for the past two-and-a-half years at Maples long term care home – the site of a deadly COVID-19 outbreak and the focus of an investigation launched by the Manitoba government.

“She was so much more than this sad ending, she was a beautiful, wonderful person and I would like her to be remembered as such,” Niki Kotelo said in an interview with CTV News.

Marge Kotelo worked as a teacher and is being remembered for her love of singing and her devotion to her family, especially her two grandchildren.

Revera, the company which runs the home where she was living, provided an update Sunday saying 42 people who lived at the care home have now died of COVID-19.

Kotelo, who had been living with dementia, died Nov. 3 — just one day after Niki found out her mom had tested positive for COVID-19.

“It was an enormous shock and a completely devastating loss for us,” said Niki.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority is conducting patient safety and chart reviews at Maples personal care home. That’s in addition to the investigation launched by the province to examine the care residents had been receiving.

Niki said staffing shortages that were announced at the care home have left her concerned about the level of care her mom got, due in part to significant weight loss.

“I have many questions as to whether she was adequately fed and hydrated even leading up to this point,” said Niki.

A spokesperson for Revera said in an email the company can’t comment on the specifics of a resident’s care for privacy reasons.

In total, 147 residents have tested positive and there are 24 active cases at the care home. The company said Sunday 18 staff members have active cases of COVID-19 and are currently self-isolating at home.

Revera, which is getting assistance from the WRHA and Canadian Red Cross at Maples, is now dealing with outbreaks at six of its seven care home locations in Winnipeg.

In an update posted to its website on Nov. 21, the company said one resident has tested positive at Charleswood long term care home. Four residents have died since an outbreak began at Heritage Lodge on Sep. 23 and there is now one active case. At Parkview Place, there are five active cases among residents and there have been 27 deaths, according to Revera.

The questions Niki Kotelo’s left with about her mom’s care at Maples have added an extra layer of grief at a time when saying goodbye to a loved one is already difficult enough.

“She deserved so much better than this and we are completely, completely heartbroken,” said Niki.

“I don’t know how I’ll ever get over this. People will say this pandemic will be over for them in the next year or two. It will never be over for me and my family.” 

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