Grandview hospital closes temporarily as staff sent to fight COVID-19 outbreak at care home

A western Manitoba hospital will temporarily close Thursday morning, as staff are pulled away to help fight a COVID-19 outbreak at a personal care home.

Hospital and emergency services at Grandview Health Centre will be suspended starting at 8 a.m. Thursday, Prairie Mountain Health said in a statement Wednesday.

“The temporary suspension, in effect until further notice, is being implemented to support ongoing human resource needs at Grandview Personal Care Home … while the PCH remains in COVID outbreak status,” the health authority wrote in the statement.

“Staff from the Grandview Health Centre are being temporarily reassigned to the Grandview PCH to assist in providing care and support for the residents and their families.”

The personal care home in Grandview, about 290 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg near Dauphin, is on the red, or critical level on the province’s pandemic response scale due to an outbreak of COVID-19.

Two staff members and two non-staff members at the home had tested positive as of Nov. 24, provincial data shows.

People in Grandview and surrounding areas who need urgent or emergency care should call 911, Prairie Mountain Health said in its statement. Emergency response services will still be available and patients will be taken to the nearest open emergency department.

Patients who need health advice are encouraged to call Health Links at 1-888-315-9257.

“PMH sincerely appreciates the efforts and understanding of our staff, physicians, our Shared Health partners and the community as we go through this temporary service transition and work to keep staff and residents safe,” Prairie Mountain Health said.

‘This is what health care has come to in Manitoba’: union

A union representing staff at the hospital is calling on the province to reassure residents the closure is temporary and that they’ll get their hospital back.

“The province neglected rural hospitals to the point that they were struggling even before the pandemic,” Michelle Gawronsky, president of the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union, said in a statement Wednesday.

“And now, this is what health care has come to in Manitoba — closing a hospital in the middle of a pandemic because staff are needed elsewhere.”

Gawronsky said workers at the hospital are already drained, physically and emotionally.

The union also called on the province and Prairie Mountain Health to make sure all workers sent into the care home have access to full PPE when caring for COVID-patients, including N95 masks, gloves, gowns, booties and face shields.

“Eight months into a pandemic, this essential safety gear shouldn’t even be in question, but we have already seen health workers forced to go without in other Prairie Mountain facilities,” Gawronsky said. 

“We have already filed a grievance on this issue, but we need the employer to act now.”

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