Winnipeg family 'on edge' as Parkview Place care home outbreak soars

A Winnipeg family shares concerns about a relative living in Parkview Place, which is battling the largest COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility to date.

Lisa Muswagon is concerned about her 72-year-old father's safety, and delays in his care

Isabel Scribe and Lisa Muswagon are raising concerns about staffing levels and communication at Parkview Place, a long-term care facility dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

Every day, Lisa Muswagon and her mother try to reach her 72-year-old father, Charles Scribe, by phone.

Charles is isolating in his fourth floor suite of Parkview Place — the site of Manitoba's largest and deadliest COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care home to date.

"As a daughter, we're on edge," she said. "There's so much uncertainty. Like, is he going to get sick? If he gets sick, what's going to happen?"

Revera, the company that manages the Winnipeg facility on Edmonton Street, confirmed Wednesday that at least 67 residents and 22 staff have been infected by the virus to date.

Nine residents have died, including a man in his 80s and a woman in her 70s, whose deaths were announced on Wednesday. 

Questioning care home decision

Muswagon's father moved to the facility in March and her mother is now questioning the decision. 

"It's pretty stressful. I can't sleep, [I'm] worried all the time, knowing what's going on in there and how he's feeling," Isabel Scribe said.

The long-term care facility was moved to critical on the pandemic response system on Sept. 16, after a staff member tested positive.

It's one of seven personal care homes currently dealing with outbreaks in the province.

To stem further spread, 205 Parkview Place residents living on Floors 3 through 12 were put into isolation on Oct. 6. Residents are monitored for symptoms twice a day, meals are delivered to rooms on trays and staff are screened at the beginning and end of each shift, the company said in a letter to residents. 

Staff also wear masks, gloves and eye protection when interacting with residents, the letter added.

Meanwhile, residents who have contracted COVID-19 are cohorted on to two separate floors to mitigate transmission.

No answer from nurses, worrisome reports from Charles

However, Isabel said she and her daughter have felt left in the dark about what is happening inside, adding they have been relying on news reports.

"You can't even talk to the nurses because there is never an answer on the fourth floor," she said.

However, what the family is hearing from Charles — on his cell phone — is deeply concerning.

Lisa Muswagon and her daughter visiting her father Charles at Parkview Place, earlier this year. (Submitted by Lisa Muswagon)

Muswagon said her father has told them he is not being changed or checked on regularly and they are concerned about staff levels.

"Like they're laying around in their feces for a couple of hours at a time because nobody can come change them," she said. "It upsets us because my mother is the one paying for him to stay there, right, and so you'd expect some kind of level of care."

She also said her dad fell in the middle of the night recently, on his way to the bathroom, but was not tended to for hours.

"These are elders, these are our seniors of our province," she said. "They need more support in there."

Public health to allow new workers into Parkview Place

At a news conference, Manitoba's chief provincial public health officer said he is monitoring the outbreak at Parkview Place closely. 

"We've been in touch with the operators," Dr. Brent Roussin said. "Inspections are going to be done."

Dr. Roussin said an exemption is being made to the one-site rule, to allow new workers in to supplement staffing at the long-term care home.

"It's concerning. It just goes to show that again we have to protect these facilities," he said. "There are so many vulnerable people in those facilities. The ultimate best way to protect those facilities is to limit community-based transmission."

Daily calls to WRHA

In an email Tuesday, a spokesperson for Revera said pandemic protocols are continually reviewed.

"We review our plans and their implementation daily through calls with our colleagues at the WRHA. Testing for residents and staff for COVID-19 is ongoing," the spokesperson said.

"We are making every effort to communicate with families. Family contacts receive phone calls from staff with updates on their loved ones, as always. We are also sending emails to the primary family contacts."

The company also said recreation staff are interacting with residents one-on-one and facilitating video calls with families.

Back at Muswagon's home, the waiting and worrying continues.

Charles has a sore throat and received a COVID-19 test three days ago.

The family is waiting on the results, Isabel said.

"I don't know if he's going to make it out alive," she said. "That's what I'm thinking right now."

74 cases of COVID-19 tied to an outbreak at Parkview Place

2 years ago
Duration 2:05
Residents at Parkview Place, a long-term care home in Winnipeg's Central Park are in isolation, as they work to stem the spread.