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Concerns growing over COVID-19 outbreak at Calgary’s AgeCare SkyPointe care home

Click to play video 'Concerns growing over COVID-19 outbreak at AgeCare Skypointe' Concerns growing over COVID-19 outbreak at AgeCare Skypointe
There is a feeling of helplessness as COVID-19 continues to spread inside a northeast Calgary care home. Families are worried sick after a growing number of staff test positive and loved ones are dying. Jill Croteau reports. – Dec 28, 2020

Some worried family members and residents feel a COVID-19 outbreak at a northeast Calgary care home is getting out of control.

To date, 124 residents and 94 staff at AgeCare SkyPointe have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. One worker testes positive after working on Christmas Day. Officials said the staff member was asymptomatic.

Nineteen deaths at AgeCare SkyPointe have been linked to COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

READ MORE: COVID-19 death toll in Alberta surpasses 1,000 

All visits are suspended, which means Larry Hodgson has to visit his 95-year-old father Frank over the phone and through a window.

“We just want to see him,” Hodgson said.

He has no complaints about the care his dad is getting and hopes he’s able to avoid testing positive.

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“It’s scary,” Hodgson said. “I worry about him. I worry about everyone in there, including the staff, but I know the staff is doing their best.

“I go to bed every night (and) I don’t worry about him because I know he’s in good hands.”

Other families too worried to speak publicly said they’re terrified about the spike in cases. One of the residents, Wayne Hykaway, said more needs to be done to keep them protected.

Wayne Hykaway. Courtesy: Wayne Hykaway

“I tested positive and the only contact I had was staff,” Hykaway said. “What’s being done about that?

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“Staff members here are not putting on and taking off their PPE properly. That might be one of the ways it’s getting spread.

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“It’s the feeling that we are being punished because people are coming into our homes and it’s not even family members — it’s staff. The severity and danger of this doesn’t seem to be having an impact.

On Monday afternoon, AgeCare SkyPointe commented publicly on the concerns being raised.

“We share the concern of residents and families about the COVID(-19) outbreak at AgeCare SkyPointe,” read a statement attributed to AgeCare SkyPointe’s leadership team and medical director, Dr. Simon Dawes.

“Since the onset of the outbreak on Oct. 21, we have been focused on following all the best practices for infection prevention and control, including the use of PPE to minimize the spread of the virus.

“AgeCare collaborates daily with AHS, public health, and the medical officer of health in monitoring the status of outbreak and implementing recommendations as required.”

Concerned families have asked Alberta Health Services to step in and take over.

“AHS is aware of the COVID-19 outbreak at AgeCare SkyPointe,” the health authority said in a statement. “All staff and residents have been offered COVID-19 swabbing as part of the outbreak response at the facility.”

As per protocol, AHS said public health is carrying out contact tracing.

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“AHS is collaborating with AgeCare to ensure the necessary enhanced safety protocols are in place to protect residents and staff,” the health authority said.

“Sufficient staffing resources are available. Alberta Health Services has continued to provide nursing case management and allied health services for supportive living clients at the site during the outbreak.”

AgeCare SkyPointe said it is communicating daily with residents and their families to provide updates on the outbreak and the response to it. The care home added that “staffing levels are critical for care provision.”

“Staffing levels are assessed multiple times a day to ensure sufficient staff to support the needs of the residents,” AgeCare SkyPointe said. “Continuous recruitment and agency staff are used where needed.

“Leadership from the corporate office and Alberta Health Services are onsite daily to support the sites.”

Watch below: Some recent videos about COVID-19 in Alberta.

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