Park Manor care home in Transcona dealing with large-scale COVID-19 outbreak

WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) is helping a personal care home in Transcona fight an outbreak of COVID-19.

Park Manor Personal Care Home is dealing with a large-scale outbreak, according to a recent update provided by the WRHA.

There have been 92 cases of COVID-19 at the facility, according to data provided Tuesday by Manitoba Public Health. So far, 29 staff members and 63 residents have tested positive for the disease. There are 75 active cases, and nine residents have died of COVID-19.

Shirley Bird’s 96-year-old mother has lived in the care home for one year and tested positive for COVID-19 13 days ago.

“Of course I’m very concerned about it. It’s very upsetting,” Bird said, following a regular window visit with her mom from outside the care home. “Some aren’t as bad as others and my mom’s been asymptomatic so she hasn’t been too bad at all.”

Bird said the diagnosis makes the visits with her mom all the more important. Because they’re separated, Bird communicates by showing her mom pictures and writing messages to show through the window.

“I just talk to her about everything that’s going on with our grandchildren and with Christmas coming, all those kinds of things,” said Bird.

Nello Altomare, the NDP MLA for Transcona, said the situation at the care has been hard on staff and has many families concerned.

“We’ve been hearing that staff are overwhelmed,” said Altomare. “Staff can’t keep up with the pace and we’re also hearing that family are being asked to come in, look after their loved ones.”

One man who asked not to be identified said his wife has been going to the care home to help feed his 94-year-old mother, who tested positive for COVID-19. He’s concerned about the virus spreading in their household because they live with children and grandchildren.

Altomare said the Canadian Red Cross or the military is needed to help out, rather than asking families to step in.

“I think sometimes we have to admit that we need support,” said Altomare.

The WRHA said it has sent in additional help.

“WRHA has an on-site clinical lead currently providing support to Park Manor Care Home,” a WRHA spokesperson said in an email.

“This site lead works with the management of the facility to provide oversight and guidance on resident/clinical care aspects, staffing resources, infection prevention and control practices including outbreak management, and family communication.”

Redeployed home care workers and agency staff have also been filing shifts in recent days, according to the WRHA.

“The facility has been advised to contact the (Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service’s) rapid response EMS team if emergency resident care needs emerge at any sudden time. Standard protocols for PCHs to contact EMS for resident care when required also remain in place, as per usual process.”

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