19 residents, 10 staff now have COVID-19 at Maples care home, site of Manitoba's deadliest outbreak

A new coronavirus outbreak at Maples Long Term Care Home has infected at least 19 residents and 10 staff members, says a letter sent to families on Tuesday. 

Visits suspended in affected areas of care home where 56 died in outbreak earlier in pandemic

Maples Long Term Care Home has suspended in-person general visitation in several wings due to a COVID-19 outbreak. (Lyzaville Sale/CBC)

A COVID-19 outbreak at Maples Long Term Care Home has infected at least 19 residents and 10 staff members, says a letter sent to families on Monday.

A letter sent a day earlier said there were 17 resident cases and 10 staff.

Monday's letter said the residents are in good care and receiving daily assessments. The care home's staffing levels were at baseline, the letter said.

Maples was the site of the deadliest COVID-19 outbreak in Manitoba, from Oct. 20, 2020, to Jan. 12, 2021, during the second wave of the pandemic.

During that time, 74 staff and 157 residents tested positive for COVID-19. Fifty-six people died, including eight deaths within a 48-hour period.

The outbreak led to an external review, which made 17 recommendations to prevent another outbreak from happening.

Eddie Calisto-Tavares's father was one of the Maples residents who died during the outbreak. Since his death, she has been advocating for seniors care in Manitoba.

She's hearing from families with loved ones at Maples who say the care home is short-staffed — an issue she says she saw the home deal with while her dad was sick.

"We need to change the way we're doing things," Calisto-Tavares says.

"They need to recruit. They need to pay staff more. We need to reward [staff] to keep them in the profession."

Revera — which owns the Maples home — did not respond to an interview request.

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The province says it's implementing the 17 recommendations from the Maples review report.

It also says the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority confirmed that immediate actions were taken to implement appropriate infection prevention and control guidelines in response to the latest outbreak.

Outbreaks at 3 Actionmarguerite homes

The Maples letter to family on Monday said current outbreaks are in 1 East (yellow and blue wings), 1 West (green, brown and red wings) and 2 West (green, brown and red wings) on the second floor. 

In-person general visitation to the affected sections of the care home and hairdressing services have been suspended, although virtual visits are available. Visits for palliative patients are still permitted.

"We know this is very difficult for residents and families who very much wish to see one another," the letter said.

Maples isn't the only care home with an active outbreak. Actionmarguerite has cases at all three of the care homes it runs in Winnipeg.

A Tuesday update on Actionmarguerite's website says that three residents died over the weekend. 

Between the three homes, there were 67 resident cases associated with the latest outbreak and 29 staff who are positive and currently isolating, another update said.

The province wasn't able to say how many long-term care homes in Manitoba are currently dealing with outbreaks, but the Long Term and Continuing Care Association of Manitoba (LTCAM) suspects that number is around 50 per cent.

"We've heard from the government very clearly that they're not interested in putting mandates back in place … so what we're doing now is appealing to the public," Jan Legeros, executive director of LTCAM said.

Legeros urges people to continue wearing masks as much as possible.

"When you make a decision to wear a mask, or not wear a mask, it's not just your health and comfort that you should be thinking of. You should be thinking of all your friends and loved ones, and family and the vulnerable folks that could be around you," Legeros said.