Edmonton

South Edmonton care centre reports 3 more COVID-19 deaths, total now 15

A COVID-19 outbreak at the Good Samaritan Southgate Care Centre in Edmonton has claimed three more lives.

AHS working with centre providing oversight and leadership and ensuring all procedures up to standard

The Good Samaritan Southgate Care Centre in Edmonton has reported 15 deaths due to COVID-19. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

A COVID-19 outbreak at the Good Samaritan Southgate Care Centre in Edmonton has claimed three more lives.

The deaths, reported Tuesday, bring the total number at the facility to 15.

Five residents died over the weekend, four women in their 90s and one in her 80s.

The centre, at 4225 107th St. NW, currently has 184 residents. There are now 48 active cases among residents and 16 among staff. Eight employees have recovered from the illness.

"While we currently do not know how the virus entered the building, outbreak protocols continue to be in place, and we are taking all precautions to limit its spread," Michelle Bonnici, interim president and CEO of the Good Samaritan Society, said in written statement Tuesday.

"This includes restricting resident movement throughout the home and employees wearing appropriate personal protective equipment."

The centre has cancelled outdoor visits, brought in additional cleaning staff, and screens employees and residents twice a day.

"I can appreciate how worried our residents and families must be, and I am committed to keeping them up to date with timely information as we deal with this unprecedented situation," Bonnici said.

Last week, Alberta Health Services considered taking over day-to-day operations of the Southgate care centre, but decided the move was not necessary, Tom McMillan, assistant director of communications for Alberta Health, said Monday in a statement.

AHS will work with the centre to provide oversight and leadership and ensure that all processes and procedures are up to standard, including securing necessary staff, McMillan said.

In partnership with AHS, the centre completed swabs on all asymptomatic residents for a second time last week, and is currently waiting on results, Bonnici said.

"AHS currently has nurse practitioners and registered nurses on site," she said. "They are also working with us to bring on social workers, quality consultants, infection prevention and control practitioners, and other staff as needed.

"Alberta Health Services has been working with us to monitor staffing levels since the beginning of the outbreak, and they have been providing us with additional supports whenever necessary."

The Edmonton zone had 276 active cases as of Tuesday and recorded 39 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

Family members say they're anxious about their loved ones' health.

Norm Sacuta's 92-year-old mother has moderate dementia. Last week she and her roommate tested negative for COVID​​​​​​-19.

On Sunday, Sacuta received a letter from the Southgate care centre assuring family members that safeguards have been added to minimize potential exposures to COVID-19.

"With the new restrictions in place, I don't understand why they're still having increases," Sacuta told CBC News Tuesday. "Unless this is a delayed thing where we're finding out results three or four days later."

Dorothy Sacuta, 92, is a resident of the Good Samaritan Southgate Care Centre in Edmonton. (Supplied by Norm Sacuta)

Sacuta said his father also lived in the care centre from about 2007 to 2009 before he died. He said the facility and its staff have been fantastic.

He said he doubts things will get easier for long-term care centres anytime soon.

"The longer COVID's around without a vaccine, I can't imagine there won't be additional nursing homes to get infected," Sacuta said. "How can we stop it? It's very difficult once it's in a place to stop it."

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