Regina's Pioneer Village, largest seniors complex in Sask., hit with COVID-19 outbreak

·3 min read
  • As of Wednesday, Saskatchewan's long term came homes were grappling with a total of 76 COVID-19 cases.

  • There are 27 outbreaks in facilities serving seniors or vulnerable clients.

Saskatchewan's largest seniors complex is the latest care home in the province to be hit with a COVID-19 outbreak.

On Wednesday, health officials reported an outbreak at Pioneer Village in Regina. The province reports a confirmed outbreak when at least two or more cases are present.

According to Pioneer Village's website, the facility has 390 long-term care residents, plus housing for 176 independent senior tenants. More than 600 full- and part-time staff work at the centre.

It's not clear how many residents and staff are infected or how many workers have had to self-isolate. CBC News has asked the Saskatchewan Health Authority, which operates Pioneer Village, for that information.

The health authority has used Pioneer Village as a location for COVID-19 testing for the wider public.

CBC
CBC

As of Wednesday, there were 76 COVID-19 cases in long term care homes, according to an update provided Thursday by health authority CEO Scott Livingstone.

He said there have been 27 outbreaks in facilities serving seniors or vulnerable people.

Most of the long-term care homes and special care homes in Saskatchewan with declared outbreaks were dealing with five or fewer infected people as of Nov. 24, according to a new weekly update released by the Ministry of Health.

But even a small number of cases can have a significant impact on care homes.

"One case in long-term care is too many [for] a very vulnerable population, as we've seen from other jurisdictions," Livingstone said.

Providence Place, a care home in Moose Jaw, had seven cases of COVID-19 as of Nov. 24. But in a Nov. 23 email to residents and families, the home said that because any employee who was in close contacted with an infected person has to self-isolate for 14 days, "we have significant staffing challenges over the coming weeks."

Oliver Lodge, a seniors' home in Saskatoon, only had one case of COVID-19 as of Nov. 24, but faced the same staffing challenges, executive director Frank Suchorab said Wednesday.

Largest care-home outbreak in Saskatoon

Luther Special Care Home in Saskatoon is dealing with the province's largest long-term care-home outbreak, with 35 cases as of Wednesday night, according to the latest update to families and residents.

"The number of staff who work on the outbreak unit who are self-isolating has stabilized and we are actively managing each case with support from Public Health and Occupational Health and Safety," the update stated.

"That having been said, the large number of individuals away from work is causing concern. To manage this concern we continue to have regular daily meetings with the Saskatchewan Health Authority to ensure they know what is going on and problem solve."

Infection control experts and public health workers came to look over the home on Tuesday.

"Work took place to implement changes and they are coming onsite again to review our process and make adjustments as required," according to the update.

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Google Street View

At Providence Place in Moose Jaw, the number of cases increased to 11 as of Thursday — four residents and seven staff. As a result of infected workers having to self-isolate, "we have many staff out of the workplace," according to the home's latest update.

Despite the shortfall, "we are managing to shift coverage," the update continued. "We have suspended outpatient programs and are able to redeploy staff to [long-term care] to support the staff shortages. In addition, we are able to access the labour pool within the Saskatchewan Health Authority if it should be required."