There have been nine COVID-19-related deaths, and 89 people have been infected with the novel coronavirus at the Parkview Place personal care home in downtown Winnipeg — the deadliest outbreak at any long-term care home in Manitoba since the start of the pandemic.
Sixty-seven of those infected are residents, while 22 are staff members.
The union that represents non-nursing staff — health-care aides, cleaners and others — filed a grievance this week over access to personal protective equipment and concerns about staffing.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 2039 demanded access to N95 respirators for staff working in COVID-19 units at the care home during an Oct. 14 grievance meeting.
That demand was successful, the union said, with the employer now providing the requested PPE.
While the issue of staffing in care homes is bigger than just Parkview Place, the situation at the care home on Edmonton Street is dire.
“We’re in a staffing crisis, we need more staff, staff are exhausted, they’re overwhelmed, they’re working short and it’s really difficult in this stressful time.”
“In terms of the staffing, it’s not like they could give us an answer in the grievance hearing, that’s still an ongoing matter,” said CUPE 2309’s health-care coordinator Shannon McAteer in a phone interview.
The company that operates the care home, Revera, said in an emailed statement it’s reviewing the union’s grievance, adding that it’s committed to the safety and wellbeing of its employees.
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On Thursday, the province’s chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, said all licensed personal care homes in the Winnipeg metropolitan region have been moved to red — or critical — under the pandemic response system.
That means all new admissions to personal care homes in the region will have to remain isolated for 14 days upon arrival and no new admissions will be allowed at personal care homes in the region with a suspected or confirmed outbreak unless that new resident is already confirmed to be COVID-19-positive.
McAteer said while infected staff at Parkview Place are either isolating or ill with the virus, that’s left the staffing situation particularly short.
“They’re not getting to take their breaks at all, so they’re working straight through, they’re having to rush through the care of the residents, they’re not able to provide –it’s only the urgent kind of life and limb care– because they’re having to run on to the next resident to take care of them as well,” she said.
“They’re not able to provide the care that they normally would, which is really difficult for them.”