Winnipeg man’s mother and father both test positive for COVID-19 after hospital outbreak

A Winnipeg man is dealing with two elderly parents who tested positive for COVID-19 while being treated at Victoria General Hospital. 

John Dobbin’s parents, both 82, were both patients in two separate family medicine wards last week when the outbreak at the hospital was declared. 

“I mean, it’s just kind of shocking,” he said.

“I thought the worst-case scenario would be that they got moved to a long-term facility and that they would be hard to control based on how many people come in and out of the out of long-term facility. But the hospital with masks and gowns, protocol one visitor, it’s really shocking.”

As of Tuesday, the outbreak linked to the 5N and 5S family medicine units, which was first announced last Thursday, involves 19 patients and 19 staff.

One of the patients connected to the Victoria outbreak died after being transferred to St. Boniface General Hospital, according to a statement posted Tuesday afternoon on the St. Boniface website.

Dobbin’s mom tested positive a few days ago, while his dad got his positive test result on Monday. 

Now, he’s left wondering how this possibly could have happened. 

“They certainly didn’t get it at their senior home, which is still COVID-free,” he told Information Morning host Marcy Markusa 

Until mid-October they were residents at the Brightwater assisted living facility in Tuxedo, which has zero covid cases. 

His father had to go to Grace Hospital for a bacterial infection, but when he was discharged, the home wasn’t equipped to care for him because he was too weak.  

His mom’s mental state also had also diminished; she was falling and constantly escaping. By Oct. 12 they were both deemed unable to live at Brightwater anymore. 

Both ended up going to Victoria General Hospital’s urgent care unit on the morning of Oct 13. 

By Oct. 14, Dobbin’s parents were in 5N and 5S family medicine units — the site of the hospital’s outbreak. 

It was late last week that Dobbin and his family found out his mom had tested positive. They found out after calling the hospital when they found out about the outbreak. 

“I wanted to have some certainty that she was OK. She certainly, with all the rest of the issues that sent her to the hospital, COVID was not one of the ones that was on my mind in the medicine ward,” he said. 

“Like, how did it happen? And why were we so late to finding out anything?” 

No one reached out and told him and his brother, who had both visited his parents before then to get tested either. Dobbin said he decided to get tested on his own. It came back negative but he’s still in self-isolation until next week. 

So far, his parents are doing OK but they are struggling with being in separate hospitals and away from each other. They’ve been married for 57 years.

“It’s not easy keeping them apart,” he said.