Private Regina care home accounts for nearly two-thirds of COVID deaths in Sask. nursing homes
40 residents of Regina's Parkside Extendicare home have died COVID-related deaths
The Saskatchewan government says it's aware of 65 deaths among long-term care or personal care home residents who were infected with COVID-19 since the pandemic arrived in the province last March.
One home run by a private company under a contract with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) has accounted for nearly two-thirds of those deaths.
In Saskatchewan, special care homes are statistically classified as long-term care homes. In some cases, special care homes are operated by a company that has a contract with the SHA, which inspects and monitors the homes.
Extendicare's Parkside facility in Regina is one such care home.
As of Monday afternoon, 40 of Parkside's approximately 200 original inhabitants had died after becoming infected with COVID-19, including three who had been moved to a separate Regina seniors complex. The outbreak began in late November and has proved the most deadly in any Saskatchewan nursing home, although no new cases among residents were recorded as of late last week.
There have been 59 COVID-related deaths in Saskatchewan long-term care homes. Another six COVID-related deaths have been recorded at privately owned and operated personal care homes or other facilities outside of acute care, bringing the total to 65. Parkside's 40 deaths account for 62 per cent of these.
The provincial totals were current as of Thursday and represent the most up-to-date information available from the health ministry on Monday.
"Saskatchewan did not see the number of cases in long-term care or personal care homes that some other jurisdictions experienced in the spring," a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health said in a note accompanying the statistics last week.
"The [ministry] began enhanced surveillance reporting regarding these outbreaks in October and included outbreaks that were underway on that date."
Public/private breakdown of cases
From Oct. 14 to Dec. 30, there were 329 cases of COVID-19 diagnosed among residents or staff at Saskatchewan long-term care homes, according to the ministry.
Of those, 100 were in homes directly operated by the SHA while the remaining 229 were in homes operated by affiliates or contracted care providers.
Another 135 cases were among residents in personal care homes or other privately-owned assisted living facilities and seniors residences.
'This is a real concern'
Nazeem Muhajarine, an epidemiologist at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, said he's surprised the provincial government has not made more of the recent deaths.
"I would have thought that that would be a cause for real concern, that our political leaders will be standing up and saying this is a real concern," Muhajarine said.
"It's not enough to acknowledge and to offer condolences for loved ones who have lost a member, who lost their grandmother or grandfather. But we have to be able to say, you know, one of these deaths could be prevented."
Some health care unions and the Saskatchewan NDP have called for a public inquiry into the Parkside outbreak.
The province has not ruled an inquiry out or committed to one.