Immediate improvements needed at site of deadly COVID-19 outbreak, Parkview Place review finds

A weekend review by a team of health officials from the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has found improvements are needed immediately at Parkview Place, the site of the deadliest COVID-19 outbreak at a Manitoba care home to date.

On Saturday, the five-person team inspected residents’ living quarters and commons areas in the 12-floor Edmonton Street facility, where a COVID-19 outbreak has now led to 11 deaths. Team members also spoke with residents, staff and management at the facility. 

In a statement Wednesday, a WRHA spokesperson said the review found more medical and clinical staff are needed at the home to care for residents, and staff also need better training on outbreak protocols.

The home also needs more cleaning staff, the review found.

“We are working with the operations team at Parkview to ensure these improvements are made immediately,” the spokesperson said.

CBC reported earlier this week that the most recent provincial inspection of the care home found major concerns with cleanliness and infection control, including evidence of cockroaches and filthy washrooms that smelled of urine.

The WRHA inspection comes nearly a week after the health authority, which provides funding and oversight to Parkview Place, admitted it had not sent a single staff member inside the privately owned, for-profit care home since March.

Instead, the authority said it has relied on virtual communication and daily calls since the outbreak was declared in mid-September.

At the time, the health authority said this was to reduce the number of individuals in the building to limit the transmission of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

As of Wednesday, 106 people, including residents and staff, have tested positive for COVID-19 at the care home, according to Revera, the company that owns the home.

There were 47 active resident cases and 21 residents who have recovered, while 17 staff cases are active and 10 staff have recovered. A total of 11 Parkview residents who had COVID-19 have died since the outbreak began in mid-September. 

Staffing challenges 

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority spokesperson said Wednesday the facility is experiencing staffing challenges during the outbreak, and staff who remain at work are in need of relief support. 

Parkview Place and the WRHA are now looking at various initiatives to address that issue, including using “general workers” who can help with operations across the facility, and potentially offering on-the-job training and practicum opportunities for some new hires, the spokesperson said.

In addition, the site will be able to access the provincial callout that was launched this week for casual health-care staff to assist during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, the union representing staff at Parkview Place filed a grievance over what it describes as unsafe working conditions during the care home’s outbreak.

“We are beyond an emergency, and staff are completely overwhelmed and frightened for themselves, their families, and the residents they care for,” Shannon McAteer, the health-care co-ordinator for the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 2039, said in a news release.

On Wednesday, McAteer said she was glad to hear that the care home and WRHA are looking at ways to bolster staff, but said she hasn’t had any discussions with them yet. 

“That’s exactly what we’re asking for,” she said. 

“I’m glad to hear that they are looking at it because that’s what we want. We want them to look at it. There’s a staffing crisis and we need them to address that.”