There are no immediate plans for the province to take over day-to-day management of Parkview Place long-term care home, even as the COVID-19 death toll at the Winnipeg facility continues to rise.
On Thursday, Manitoba's chief provincial public health officer said the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority had been in daily contact with Parkview Place management for some time. However, public health was not seeking to follow in the footsteps of counterparts in Ontario and Quebec, which have at various times used orders to transfer operational control of private care homes to provincial authorities.
In a recent example, in late September, the Ottawa Public Health chief medical officer ordered the Ottawa Hospital to take over operations of two area care homes amid novel coronavirus outbreaks.
"Further details, I would direct to the region, the long-term care program that’s following it. But we don’t have any immediate plans for me to order any place to be taken over," Dr. Brent Roussin said at Thursday's COVID-19 Manitoba media update.
Two new pandemic-linked deaths were announced at Parkview Place — a man in his 70s and a man in his 80s — bringing the total to 14 at the Edmonton Street care home.
Roussin stressed the importance of proper personal protective equipment practice and distribution, when asked what could be implemented going forward to prevent a similar outbreak.
"The long-term care program at the region has been working quite closely, so I’m sure we’re going to be receiving some of this information over time," he said. "I mean, the big thing is with these is the importance of not introducing this virus into these settings. We can’t have any issues with PPE."
A recent in-person review of Parkview Place by the WRHA has revealed a number of challenges faced by staff during the largest COVID-19 outbreak at a long-term care home in the province.
The resources Parkview Place needs — and will get immediately — include additional housekeeping, staff training and medical aid, according to the findings of the review and a WRHA spokesperson.
"Although Parkview Place has onsite management around the clock to provide additional support and monitoring, the facility is experiencing challenges to maintain staff resources during the outbreak, and existing staff who remain at work are in need of relief support," a WRHA spokesperson said Thursday in an email.
A five-person team conducted an inspection of the 12-floor building and spoke with management, staff and residents Oct. 17.
The WRHA is working with Parkview Place owner, Ontario-based Revera Inc., to provide additional staffing through utilizing general workers to assist with operational requirements, a wage premium, and possibly providing on-the-job training for new hires, the report says.
The Revera communications department told the Free Press no one would be able to speak on the review Thursday. Company director Larry Roberts gave an emailed statement saying Revera "appreciates the support and guidance that the WRHA has offered to Parkview Place."
"We welcome the inspection process, as it confirms the areas in which we have made progress, as well as identifying opportunities for further improvement," Roberts wrote.
Meanwhile, Revera announced one resident had tested positive for COVID-19 at its Maples long-term care home in Winnipeg.
"We are working with Winnipeg Regional Health Authority officials to implement our pandemic outbreak protocols and enhanced infection control practices," Revera chief medical officer Dr. Rhonda Collins said in a statement.
Malak Abas is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.