Manitoba health officials now say Maples Personal Care Home was significantly understaffed when city paramedics and multiple ambulances were called in to help deal with the critical COVID-19-related health concerns of several residents Friday night.
Paramedics were first called to the Revera-owned private facility at 500 Mandalay Dr. around 7 p.m. and stayed for nearly seven hours, assessing at least 12 patients.
Two who died that night were part of a 48-hour span that saw seven COVID-19 deaths at the personal care home.
During an emergency press conference Saturday — called by the province after reports of the problems Friday were made public on social media — a spokesperson for Revera denied Maples had been understaffed.
The company has said it had a full complement of nurses Friday evening, and a 65 per cent staffing level of health-care aides. The company said the overnight shift was fully staffed at all levels and 13 of 19 scheduled health care aides were on duty.
But on Monday, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority president and CEO Vickie Kaminski said Revera had not provided accurate numbers.
She said 19 health care aides had been scheduled for the evening shift, but only seven were there for a large duration, after others called in sick or had to self-isolate.
“It’s really unfortunate that we’re here today to have to correct that record,” Kaminski said at a Monday afternoon press conference.
“We’re extremely concerned that the information we got and the information that we gave, both to the minister and the residents of Manitoba, was less than accurate.”
The revelation led Opposition New Democrats to call for the province to step in and take over all care homes run by Revera.
At a press conference after Kaminski spoke NDP Leader Wab Kinew said Manitobans need to gather their pitchforks and torches and run Revera out of town.
Global News has reached out to Revera for comment.
At least 177 residents at Maples have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began and 22 have died. Another Winnipeg Revera facility,Parkview Place, has recorded 152 COVID-19 cases and 23 deaths among residents.
On Sunday, Manitoba’s Health Minister Cameron Friesen said the province will hire an independent health expert to look at what has caused spikes at both homes.
Kaminski said she decided to look deeper into Revera’s original numbers for staffing at Maples after the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents health care aides and other workers, took to Twitter over the weekend to say there were only seven aides working the Friday evening shift.
Kaminski encouraged health staff to make concerns known and promised they would be protected from repercussions, provided no personal medical information is made public.
“We are just as interested in resolving the issues that our staff have as they are at seeing them resolved,” she said.
“You should be able to trust what we say, and that’s why we’re here today to correct the record.”
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Kaminski said as of Monday, 23 of Winnipeg’s 38 personal care homes currently have COVID-19 outbreaks.
She said the WRHA is putting together a team that will meet daily and attend personal care homes regularly to gather information and report on the situations inside care homes.
In the meantime Kaminski said a current chief nurse executive from Winnipeg’s Deer Lodge Centre will be taking a permanent spot at Maples starting Tuesday morning.
Three others will be added to the team at Maples in the coming days, she said, adding the team will be augmented by medical staff and nurse practitioners.
Over the weekend, Opposition New Democrats called for the government to take over operations of the two care homes, call in the military to bolster support ranks and recruit more health-care workers.
Earlier Monday, Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman said the province should consider all options — including bringing in the military — to help with the situation at Maples.
Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service Chief John Lane said the WFPS is working with the care home and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority to provide resources through the week.
But he warned the help isn’t sustainable over the long term.
Last week, the province said it had called in the Canadian Red Cross at both Maples and Parkview Place Personal Care Home, with that help expected to arrive Friday.
Over the weekend Gina Trinidad, the WRHA’s chief operating officer of long-term care, said there are no plans to deploy the military.
Meanwhile, Winnipeg police say they’re looking into the Maples Personal Care Home COVID-19 deaths.
Police have told media investigators are working to determine if residents received adequate care or if there was a failure to provide the necessities of life.
— With files from The Canadian Press
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