Rapid response team going to Winnipeg care home as 8 new deaths reported

A rapid response team is being sent to Maples Long Term Care Home on Saturday evening after eight people died there in the last 48 hours, including two on Friday night, according to the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

2 residents died Friday night, including one person with COVID-19, says Revera

Several people were treated Friday night by paramedics at the Maples Long-Term Care Home in Winnipeg. (Lyzaville Sale/CBC)

A rapid response team is being sent to Maples Long Term Care Home on Saturday evening after eight people died there in the last 48 hours, including two on Friday night, according to the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

On Friday evening, 12 residents were treated by emergency medical staff because their status was deteriorating, said Gina Trinidad, the WRHA's chief operating officer of long-term care, who was on site at the time and into the morning.

"The nurses did their assessment and they felt that they could not manage the medical care, the clinical care for these residents and certainly called EMS," Trinidad said.

"Two residents who were receiving end-of-life care had passed between calls to the EMS and their arrival."

According to Revera, the company that runs the home, one of the patients who died did not have COVID-19, but the other did.

Three of the 10 remaining residents were taken to hospital because they needed higher-level medical care, Trinidad said.

The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service was called to the facility at 7:10 p.m. Within minutes, they received another call from the care home and a second ambulance was sent, as well as a district chief, the City of Winnipeg confirmed earlier on Saturday.

Crews were at the care home until 2 a.m. Saturday, the city said.

Trinidad said there were staff on every floor on Friday night, attending to patients.

Jason Chester, who is the vice-president of long-term care operations for Revera's operations in western Canada, says there was a full roster of 50 staff there to care for 169 residents.

The patients who died were checked on every hour before their death, Trinidad said.

The current state of the COVID-19 outbreak at the care home has family members like Daron Nimchan worried.

His 77-year-old mother Miranda has been living at the care home for the last five years.

Miranda Nimchan has lived at Maples Long-Term Care Home for the last five years. Her son is worried for her in light of the growing number of COVID-19 cases there. (Submitted by Daron Nimchan)

"I'm very nervous for my mom and for the other people here, it's very disturbing to think about what you don't know," he told CBC News.

Nimchan said he's afraid people in the home are being left to die and that outside intervention is needed.

The health authority has no plans at this point in time to take over control of the care home, Trinidad said.

Rapid response team, Red Cross to support care home

Support is coming for those residents, though.

The rapid response team that is going to the care home on Saturday is made up of community paramedics, Trinidad said. It will provide ongoing enhanced medical monitoring and assessment.

Trinidad doesn't know how many people are on that team.

The Canadian Red Cross is also set to provide additional support at Maples Long Term Care Home starting on Friday.

About 20 people will be providing that support, Trinidad said.

Although the WRHA is well-equipped to deal with the pandemic, Trinidad said, officials didn't plan for the impact on health-care workers and how many would be at home sick or self-isolating.

"That planning, I will be the first to say, that could have been improved to manage this," she said.

Some family and staff have raised concerns about the level of care at Maples, worried the care home is understaffed. In response, Chester said that's an optics issue.

WATCH | Update on Maples Personal Care Home:

Winnipeg health care officials update public on Maples Personal Care Home

2 years ago
Duration 47:20
Officials from the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and the company that oversees the personal care home provide an update on the COVID-19 outbreak.

"It is not the norm," he said. "We do not generally have all of our residents isolated to their rooms, so that's making the staff look like they're not present because they're actually in resident rooms caring for them."

Chester acknowledged that it has been a challenge keeping the care homes staffed as people need to self-isolate.

"There is an opportunity to look at that more closely and look at the staffing requirements," he said.

Province to address situation at Maples

Meanwhile, Manitoba's health minister, Cameron Friesen, plans to address the public on Sunday at 11:30 a.m.

On Saturday afternoon, Friesen tweeted that he had met with officials following the situation at Maples and is "devastated to learn today about the situation."

He said he had just come out of an "urgent meeting" with Revera, department officials and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, adding that he had directed health leadership to provide an explanation to Manitobans.

Mayor Brian Bowman tweeted that city staff "have been in contact with the WRHA and Shared Health identifying concerns for their attention and action."

As of Friday, a total of 176 cases of COVID-19 had been reported in connection to the Maples facility — 55 involved staff and 122 involved what the province called "non-staff." Of the 176 cases, 166 were considered active as of Friday.

The province announced three deaths connected with the Maples outbreak earlier on Saturday — a woman in her 60s, a man in his 70s and a woman in her 80s. It is not known whether those deaths were in any way connected with Friday night's call to the facility.

At Saturday's news conference, the WRHA said there are 22 deaths in total in connection with Maples since the pandemic began.

With files from Holly Caruk, Donna Lee and Joanne Levasseur