New Brunswick

Manoir Belle Vue slow to comply with COVID rules during outbreak, WorkSafeNB reports show

Documents obtained by Radio-Canada reveal that management at Manoir Belle Vue, a special care home in Edmundston where a COVID-19 outbreak was declared on Jan. 20, took weeks to comply with all rules to prevent the spread of the deadly infection.

Documents reveal it took Edmundston home nearly 6 weeks to meet COVID regulations

The outbreak at Manoir Belle Vue adult residential home in Edmundston was declared on Jan. 20 and wasn't over until April 1. (Bernard LeBel/Radio-Canada file photo)

Documents obtained by Radio-Canada reveal that management at Manoir Belle Vue, a special care home in Edmundston where a COVID-19 outbreak was declared on Jan. 20, 2021, took weeks to comply with all rules to prevent the spread of the deadly infection.

A WorksafeNB officer was asked by EMO and Public Health to visit the home, which had 141 residents and approximately 70 staff.

According to the summary in the inspection report dated Feb. 2, there were problems with ventilation, proper use of personal protective equipment, unsanitized equipment and employees in break rooms not following physical distancing requirements.

"On the second level there is only a line of tape on the floor to separate the dirty side from the clean side and I observed [name redacted] going from one side to the other with dirty PPE's on him," the report said.

Violation reports related to break room, PPE

On Feb. 2, just 13 days after the outbreak was announced, the Department of Health announced there were 55 COVID-19 infections and one related death connected to Manoir Belle Vue.

That same day, an inspector issued two violation reports for the special care home.

The first cited employees sitting in a break room without recording their names in a log, and without complying with the physical distancing requirement of two metres. According to documents, no one was supervising employees in the common area to ensure they were following the guidelines.

Manoir Belle Vue, a special care home in Edmundston, was hit hard, with 89 infections and nine deaths related to a COVID-19 outbreak that lasted for 10 weeks. (Bernard LeBel/Radio-Canada file photo)

The second violation found that employees of Manoir Belle Vue were not complying with the same prevention and inspection control requirements as outside employees who were there to care for COVID-positive patients.

The WorkSafeNB officer said the problems were discussed with a manager at Manoir Belle Vue the day of the inspection, and the home was asked to revise the operational plan and re-send it by email, but that hadn't been done as of Feb. 9, which was a week later.

Followup inspection found no improvement

The report also found there was no negative air pressure for the COVID-positive wing of the home, which would have prevented air from the infected area of the home from circulating throughout the rest of the building.

The officer also noted that two employees in charge of pills for residents did not disinfect their medication carts and "seemed to go back and forth" between the infected wing and the rest of the building without changing their personal protective equipment.

On March 9, a followup inspection report was completed and the officer found none of the changes regarding break-room rules or infection control had been implemented. The orders were reissued to Manoir Belle Vue with a note that the home must be in compliance by March 12.

The WorkSafeNB officer reported he again discussed the changes needed to the operational plan, noting that the plan sent by the home the day before, on March 8, still didn't meet current requirements.

WorkSafeNB told CBC News in February that it was confident that Manoir Belle Vue 'is now operating with appropriate guidelines in place.' (CBC News)

The final inspection report from WorkSafeNB was issued six days later on March 15, nearly six weeks after the initial site inspection.

The inspector found the operational plan submitted by Manoir Belle Vue finally responded to the orders given and met the requirements set out by Public Health.

The Department of Health declared the outbreak at Manoir Belle Vue over on April 1, but the toll was heavy, with 89 infections and 9 deaths.

Radio-Canada requested interviews with Manoir Belle Vue, and WorkSafeNB but neither have provided anyone.

with files from Pascal Raiche-Nogue, Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon, Jacques Poitras

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