Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen at LifeLabs after being logged upon receipt at the company's lab in Surrey, B.C., on March 26, 2020. A COVID-19 outbreak at the South Terrace Continuing Care Centre in Edmonton has seen 66 residents contract the infection. Ten have died. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Edmonton long-term care facility has 10 COVID-19 deaths, dozens of cases

Edmonton long-term care facility has 10 COVID-19 deaths, dozens of cases

EDMONTON — Alberta Health Services says it is working closely with an Edmonton long-term care home to manage a COVID-19 outbreak.

The agency said in a statement Wednesday that South Terrace Continuing Care Centre, which is owned and operated by Revera, has had 66 cases among residents and has 66 active staff cases.

It said 10 residents have died.

The numbers were among 8,090 active cases — including 3,255 in Edmonton — reported Tuesday in Alberta. Another 672 cases were added Wednesday, but no details were provided on how many people have recovered from the disease.

A total of 383 Albertans have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic started.

The Alberta Health website also shows there are at least 20 long-term care homes and many other supportive living facilities dealing with outbreaks across the province.

No one from Revera returned a request for comment about the South Terrace outbreak Wednesday, but the company told CBC there are 90 residents in the home.

Revera also owns a Winnipeg care home that called paramedics on the weekend to deal with a crisis of sick and dying patients during a COVID-19 outbreak.

The company initially said there were 13 of the normally scheduled 19 health-care aides working the evening shift on Friday, but the Winnipeg Health Authority determined that seven people were working in the 200-bed facility.

Revera, which operates long-term care homes across Canada, said the erroneous information was a mistake.

Susan Slade, vice-president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, said she doesn’t want to see a similar situation at the Edmonton care home.

“We are monitoring it very closely,” she said Wednesday.

Slade said a total of 70 staff at South Terrace have contracted COVID-19 and four have recovered in the last few weeks.

The union, she said, has reached out to its local at the home and is offering support to the 146 health-care aides and other support staff who work there.

“We will make sure the staff are getting the resources that they need.”

Slade said South Terrace has been given an exemption to a rule that prevents long-term care employees from working at more than one facility. The rule was brought in by the province during the pandemic’s first wave last spring to try to stem spread of the COVID-19 virus by staff moving between care homes.

“There just isn’t enough staff,” said Slade, who noted that Revera is expected to bring in workers from its other facilities and has promised to reinstate incentive pandemic pay during the outbreak.

Alberta Health Services, which delivers health care in the province, said it has also been working with South Terrace to monitor staffing levels and is adding to the workforce as needed with nurses and other health professionals.

AHS said in its statement that it is meeting daily with the care home to provide direction for and support with outbreak management, resident and staff swabbing and testing, and care.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 11, 2020.

Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press

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