Extendicare Parkside care home nearing 200 COVID-19 cases
REGINA -- A total of 199 people at the Extendicare Parkside care home have tested positive for COVID-19, as of Wednesday morning.
Dr. Saqib Shahab, the province’s Chief Medical Health Officer, said 141 of those cases are residents while the other 58 are staff. An additional 30 staff are currently in isolation as close contacts of COVID-19 cases.
The death total at the facility remains at 11, with no new deaths reported on Wednesday.
“This underscores why it’s so important to keep COVID out of these facilities in the first place,” Shahab said.
Last week, 25 residents who initially tested negative for COVID-19 were transferred to Regina’s Pioneer Village. Shahab said five of those transferred residents have since tested positive.
SHA, EXTENDICARE PARKSIDE ENTER INTO CO-MANAGEMENT AGREEMENT
The Saskatchewan Health Authority has entered into a temporary co-management agreement with Extendicare Parkside.
In a release Wednesday, the SHA said it will take control of day-to-day operations at Parkside. The agreement is effective immediately and continues until Jan. 15, 2021. The health authority has the option to extend the agreement 30 additional days, based on an assessment of the situation.
SHA CEO Scott Livingstone said the health authority is currently providing additional staff to help the facility manage the outbreak.
“We’ve been supporting on the ground with staff inside the facility, both for infection control, making sure the PPE is there and being used appropriately to care for the patients,” Livingstone said.
He added the health authority also has respiratory therapists, some paramedics and physicians inside the facility supporting care.
“We requested additional assistance from the Saskatchewan Health Authority when it became clear that our team at Extendicare Parkside needed more help to manage the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Ron Parent, Extendicare Regional Director for Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
“We welcome and deeply appreciate the support we are receiving from the SHA and are grateful that they have agreed to engage with our home more directly. Together we will be in a stronger position to deliver the level of care our residents need while we clear the virus from the home as quickly as possible.”
To increase testing speed, the SHA has implemented its rapid COVID-19 testing pilot program at Extendicare Parkside.
“That pilot actually started at Parkside Extendicare and we will be spreading that out to other facilities including some of the other extended care facilities,” Livingstone said.
The agreement enables the SHA to deploy clinical and operational staff, adjust policies and procedures and revise care plans.
“One of the challenges, as you’ve already heard is the number of staff that have been impacted by this. [Extendicare] is really struggling bringing it in and so we will be bringing in our teams to help support the work there," Livingstone said.
The SHA will be conducting audits and reviews at Extendicare’s other facilities in Saskatchewan.
REGINA FIRE AND PROTECTIVE SERVICES ASSISTING
The Regina Fire Department was called in to assist with medical care at Parkside on Sunday, and will remain there until Friday. More than a dozen members are taking part, with four off-duty members attending the facility each day.
“It is an urgent community need and that’s what those firefighters do every day,” Regina Fire Chief Layne Jackson said. “When there’s an emergency, when there’s a crisis, we’re there to help.”
Jackson said crews already have the emergency medical skills and training needed, so this is just “putting it to very good use.”
Jackson added that he is very proud of the members who stepped up to help.
HOLIDAY VISITATION AT CARE HOMES
Due to high community transmission in Saskatchewan, Dr. Shahab called the situation in care homes "challenging."
He said people need to be cautious about visiting loved ones in care homes over the holidays.
”I think the risks are very high and I think we just need to think through very carefully,” he said. “My recommendation from a public health perspective is that we [be] very cautious about visitation, really support the staff and residents in staying COVID-free as much as possible.”
Shahab noted that visiting with loved ones remotely is never the same as in person, but said the COVID-19 risk in Saskatchewan is “as high as we’ve ever had.”