Cases of COVID-19 are now spread across the “majority” of the 12 floors of Winnipeg’s Parkview Place personal care home, health officials said Monday, and processes to cohort sick residents in certain areas are still in the works.
The privately-owned care home that’s the site of Manitoba’s deadliest COVID-19 care home outbreak is “working towards” cohorting sick residents into dedicated floors or units of the building, said Gina Trinidad, chief health operations officer for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority — but as of Monday morning, it had not yet done that.
“There will be some protocols in place that the facility will be implementing,” Trinidad said Monday during a virtual update on the home where 92 residents have tested positive for COVID-19 so far.
Isolation of residents, including residents with COVID-19, has been a challenge, Trinidad said. Space at the home owned by private company Revera is at a premium, staffing is short and patients are likely to leave their rooms and wander hallways.
When asked how the facility is protecting residents if their roommate tests positive for COVID-19, Trinidad said for the most part “internal moves” will be made. If space limitations prevent that, infection prevention experts will be consulted.
“The infrastructure and the space within most of the personal care homes is already limited in every space is already optimized, particularly with the requirements to physically distance,” Trinidad said.
“It is a challenge for us.”
The update from Trinidad and Revera chief medical officer Dr. Rhonda Collins comes after a surprise inspection from the health authority last week found multiple deficiencies at the home.
The inspection found the biggest issue facing the home is staffing, said Trinidad, and led to 24 recommendations to Parkview management.
The home currently has staffing levels that amount to 3.16 hours of care a day per resident, Trinidad said Monday, compared to a health authority “baseline” of 3.6 staff hours per resident day.
In the fiscal year 2019-20, the care home averaged 3.8 hours of care a day per resident, said a statement from Revera earlier this month.
Doing ‘everything in our power’ to control spread: Trinidad
The WRHA inspection found most residents were generally content with their care, Trinidad said, and identified no major concerns in care delivery.
But it did call for more staff — including cleaning staff — as well as additional education on proper PPE use among staff and resources to make sure regular cleaning and disinfection are taking place.
“No one wants to see a large-scale outbreak, least of all in a personal care home. Once an outbreak does occur, all that we want to do is everything in our power to control and mitigate that as quickly as possible,” Trinidad said.
“The staff at Parkview Place are completely dedicated and very professional, and are doing everything they can under very difficult circumstances, and we want to commend them and the management team. But they are in need of support and relief.”
The care home has completed or taken action on all of the recommendations, she said.
That includes work on staffing that Trinidad called “very innovative,” like the hiring and training of additional security and general workers to help direct staff back to their rooms if they start to wander.
Dr. Rhonda Collins, Revera chief medical officer, said Monday it’s hard to say why the Parkview outbreak grew so large. But Collins said the virus has not behaved the way Revera expected it would based on advice from the World Health Organization and the U.S.-based Centres for Disease Control.
“We were looking for specific symptoms back in the beginning, being cough, fever, shortness of breath,” Collins said. “What we didn’t know in the beginning was that asymptomatic health-care workers could spread the virus, that residents often didn’t have the same symptoms that we were looking for.”
On Friday, Revera said it hired Dynacare to test all residents of the home, in an effort to speed up testing and bolster efforts to control spread.
Parkview spread ‘out of control’: NDP
Official Opposition NDP Leader Wab Kinew said Monday the province needs to step in and take control at Parkview Place.
“This company is clearly failing to manage this home during the pandemic,” Kinew said Monday. “This thing is out of control. The government needs to step in and set things straight.”
Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont called the situation at the home “an absolute disaster.” The party has called for Health Minister Cameron Friesen to resign in the face of the province’s second wave of COVID-19.
“They’ve been warned by experts. They’ve been warned by us. There is absolutely no reason for the level of chaos that we’ve seen up to this point. It’s just been shameful excuses,” Lamont said. “It’s absolutely unbelievable that we have this disaster. But frankly, it’s because the government has been focused on everything else.”
On Monday, Premier Brian Pallister said he’s concerned about the outbreak. He said his government has beefed up inspection capacity at homes and is focused on measures to protect seniors including developing safer visitation practices and visitation centres at care homes, and bringing in appointment-based testing for COVID-19.
“These are measures that will pay off over time,” Pallister said. “There’s no instant results, but this is where we’re focused.”
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