Province should consider evacuating Parkview Place, NDP leader says

Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew called on the province to remove residents from the Parkview Place long term care home Friday as the death toll in Manitoba’s worst outbreak of COVID-19 continues to climb. 

As of Friday, 15 residents have died since the outbreak began in mid-September. 

In an interview with CJOB Friday morning, Kinew said the province should keep all options on the table. 

“I mean, if we think back to March, April, early on during the pandemic, there were plans in place to open field hospitals, to take over hotels, you know, maybe even sites like the convention centre, what have you,” he said. 

“I think it’s time we come up with a plan to move the seniors out of that space and get them somewhere where they get the dignity that they deserve, but also the health care, the quality care and attention that they require.”

Asked to elaborate on how such an evacuation plan might work, a spokesperson for the Manitoba NDP referred back to the CJOB interview. 

24 active cases among residents

A letter sent to family members of residents Friday said there were now 24 active cases of COVID-19 among residents at Parkview Place, with 40 residents who have recovered. 

The letter goes on to say that all residents were being tested for COVID-19 to help stop the spread and end the outbreak at the care home. 

In addition, the letter said 13 staff members are currently self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19; and another 13 staff cases are now considered resolved.

The total cases listed in the letter, including the 15 deaths, falls three short of the 108 reported by the province on Friday.

Manitoba’s Liberal leader said the idea of moving Parkview Place residents is “reckless,” and would only spread COVID-19  instead of containing it.

“Moving people to new homes happened in Italy and New York. It spread contagion and led to many more deaths,” said Dougald Lamont in a statement. 

Lamont also criticized the Progressive Conservative government for not doing enough to stop the outbreak. 

The province did not respond to a request for comment late Friday. 

But Manitoba’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said Thursday the province does not have any immediate plans to take over management of the long term care home, saying the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority is actively involved in the situation. 

A team of health officials from the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority visited the care home last weekend, and found that a slew of changes were needed immediately. 

The review identified the need for more medical and clinical staff, which could include doctors, nurses, health care aides and physiotherapists, to care for residents. Staff also need more training on outbreak protocols, a WRHA spokesperson said.