Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 3/5/2009 (4392 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A West Kildonan seniors’ complex is the latest apartment building grappling with a bedbug problem like the one plaguing hundreds of suites in Winnipeg.
The biting critters were first noticed at Luther Home at 1084 Powers St. in early March, and executive director Ray Koop said an exterminator arrived the next day.
The bedbugs are mostly a problem in just one of the complex’s 48 suites, though adjoining suites must be sprayed to stop the critters from spreading.
No bedbugs have been seen for the last two weeks, but Luther Home’s aggressive eradication program has had an unintended side-effect: home-care workers pulled their services late last week, complaining the pesticides used in the suites made them ill.
That affects 13 seniors in the complex, though only three of those were receiving essential services like meals. The three have either gone to stay with family temporarily or home care has arranged to deliver bulk meals until a safe work protocol can be developed with Luther Home.
A provincial review done of Luther Home two years ago found the building and units in excellent condition and management performance to be "quite satisfactory."
But Koop said bedbugs can infiltrate an otherwise clean and well-maintained complex through one piece of secondhand furniture or one visitor who may carry the bugs on their person.
"It’s a significant challenge," said Koop. Bedbugs have plagued apartment buildings in Winnipeg, especially Manitoba Housing units, for years.
However, no one at the provincial government — including Manitoba Health, Family Services and Housing or even the landlord tenant branch — keeps data on exactly how many units are known to be lousy with bedbugs at any given time in Winnipeg.
The province says 95.5 per cent of its Manitoba Housing buildings are bedbug free, meaning about 101 buildings reported problems as of this month.
But it’s unclear how many seniors homes, private apartments or other non-profit housing complexes might be infested since the data is only anecdotal.
Last month, at a bedbug symposium in Winnipeg, health officials said homecare workers have seen a spike in the number of homes they visit with bug problems.
They said some suites are so bad that bugs fall from the ceiling or crawl on workers while they care for housebound patients. Home-care workers have been issued protective gowns and booties and some have begun to exercise their right to refuse service, even though bedbugs don’t pose a direct health risk.
And the province has launched a big awareness campaign in Manitoba Housing units and recently temporarily evacuated residents at 260 Nassau St. to spray every suite in an effort to blitz the bugs.
Since then, a dwindling number of suites have required subsequent rounds of spraying.
Now, only four of the 121 units still report bedbugs, and they are about to be sprayed once more.