COVID-19 cases surge among Sask. seniors 80 and older as virus hits growing list of care homes

Saskatoon's Luther Special Care Home, the long-term care home hit hardest by the virus in the province, saw its caseload rise to 34 Sunday night. More than 20 staff members have needed to self-isolate.

Saskatoon long-term care home hit hardest by virus sees caseload rise to 34

The long-term care home hardest hit by the virus, Saskatoon's Luther Special Care Home, saw its caseload rise to 34 Sunday night. (GagliardiPhotogra/Shutterstock)

The number of COVID-19 cases among Saskatchewan seniors aged 80 and older is surging far more rapidly than in any other age group as health officials grapple with a growing list of outbreaks in care homes. 

According to the latest provincial update on Sunday, the cumulative number of cases among people aged 80 and over is 213. 

That's a 69 per cent increase from only one week before, when cases among that age group numbered 126.

By comparison, the average week-over-week increase in the four younger age groups measured by health officials was 30 per cent. 

On Monday, the number of seniors 80 and older in the province with known COVID-19 infections increased to 231.

20 care homes in the province, including Saskatoon's Luther Special Care Home, now have outbreaks of COVID-19. (Guy Quenneville/CBC)

This surge among the population most vulnerable to COVID-19 comes as health care workers deal with active outbreaks in seven long-term care homes.

The latest long-term care home added to the province's daily list of active outbreaks, Parkside Extendicare, is in Regina. 

When other care homes (including privately owned ones), seniors residences, assisted living facilities and group homes are factored in, 20 homes are now dealing with active outbreaks.

34 residents, 4 staff at Luther Special Care Homes infected

The largest known outbreak at a long-term care home is at the Luther Special Care Home, nestled in Saskatoon's Varsity View neighbourhood.

According to an email update sent to families on Sunday night, 34 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, up from 28 on Saturday. 

Four staff members are also infected and a total of 23 staff members are self-isolating, a care home spokesperson said Monday.

"Staffing at the care home has become strained, however, we are working with our partners within the health system and our staff as we strive to maintain our high standard of quality care," Ivan Olfert, the home's operations lead, said in an emailed statement.  

Staffing ratios were already raised as a concern by a family member during a 2019 inspection of the facility

Seniors complex connected to home

Luther Special Care Home is connected to the residential Luther Tower seniors complex.

Allan Grundahl, head of the tenants board at Luther Tower, said no tower residents have tested positive for the virus and movement between the tower and Luther Special Care Home is restricted.

Luther Special Care Home is connected to Luther Tower, a seniors complex. (Guy Quenneville/CBC)

According to the 2019 inspection, Luther Special Care Home is a spacious facility that includes a secure unit for 49 residents in an older building dating back to 1955 and more than 100 other residents in a newer, three-floor addition. 

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About the Author

Guy Quenneville

Reporter at CBC Saskatoon

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