A quarter of the people infected with the novel coronavirus while at a hospital or personal care home has died from COVID-19.
A Free Press analysis of provincial data and reports from long-term care home operators shows that since March, 36 people have acquired SARS-CoV-2 while being treated at a hospital or while residing in a personal care home.
Twenty-three were residents of personal care homes and 13 people acquired the virus at a hospital. Nine of those patients and residents died.
In the same period, 88 health-care workers in the province were diagnosed with COVID-19, with nurses and health-care aides most likely to get the virus, according to available provincial data current as of Sept. 12.
Cases among health-care workers have been increasing, especially in the past six weeks, as personal care homes across the province coped with consecutive outbreaks.
Fifty health-care workers were diagnosed with COVID-19 from Aug. 2 to Sept. 12.
The fatal outbreaks
Personal care home operator Revera Inc., which has seven facilities in Manitoba, is managing its second deadly outbreak in six months.
Parkview Place Long Term Care Home in downtown Winnipeg has gone into lockdown after it announced an employee was diagnosed with the virus on Sept. 15.
Five days later, COVID-19 tests in seven residents returned a positive result, and on Sept. 22, Revera said a resident, a woman in her 90s, had died from the disease.
"The team at Parkview Place is heartbroken and offer their most sincere condolences to the person we have lost to the pandemic," Revera chief medical officer Rhonda Collins said in a statement.
As of Sept. 24, the outbreak at Parkview Place had grown to 11 residents and two staff members, both of whom are isolating, Revera said.
With 11 seniors battling COVID-19 at the 277-bed home, the outbreak has the potential to surpass the province’s most fatal outbreak so far at Bethesda Place Personal Care Home in Steinbach.
While case counts climbed outside the Perimeter Highway in mid-August — driven by outbreaks on multiple Hutterite colonies and clusters in Brandon connected to the Maple Leaf Food processing plant — seven cases of COVID-19 were discovered at Bethesda Place.
The first case was reported on Aug. 17, with six subsequent cases announced on Aug. 23. As the week wore on, additional cases in residents and staff cropped up. And then, a death: a woman in her 90s who lived in the home.
Two days later, another woman in her 90s died from the virus. Six days later, on Sept. 3, it was announced two more women, in their 80s and 90s, succumbed to the disease.
In all, nine staff and six residents (four of whom died) at Bethesda Place came down with COVID-19, as of Sept. 24, with infections identified in both wings of the 60-bed home.
The severity of the Bethesda outbreak, which has yet to be resolved, eclipsed even the 25-person outbreak at the Health Sciences Centre, which lasted more than a month.
Manitoba Health said the outbreak at HSC was declared on March 30 and was resolved on May 8.
By the first week of April, four patients and 10 staff had tested positive for the virus with the cluster, adding six more cases in workers, one patient and four household contacts over the course of the outbreak.
Two patients, who had been in a medicine unit, died after becoming infected.
In all, 40 nurses, 30 allied health professionals, 20 support staff, 15 security guards and an untold number of physicians were off work for two weeks while self-isolating due to potential exposures.
The province’s first COVID-19 outbreak at a long-term care facility was reported on April 2 at Poseidon Personal Care Home in Winnipeg.
Revera published details of the outbreak and said a man in his 70s, whose death was announced on April 10, had lived at the home and died in hospital. A second resident tested positive for the virus on April 6 and was put into isolation. By May 5, Revera said the case was resolved.
And a ninth COVID-19 death has been connected to the Brandon Regional Health Centre, where public health announced five cases were linked to the second floor of the Assiniboine Centre on Aug. 30.
The province said two health-care workers and three patients were diagnosed with COVID-19; the first patient was infected while at the facility.
On Sept. 21, the patient of the Assiniboine Centre died of COVID-19 while in hospital.
Personal care home outbreaks involving staff
On Friday, nine health-care facilities and personal care homes were listed as "critical" under the province’s pandemic response system and slapped with additional restrictions.
Most sites have reported one or two cases among staff, but have taken the extra step of bringing in outbreak protocols to control the spread of the contagion to co-workers and residents.
A request for up-to-date data on personal care home outbreaks Friday was not provided by the province.
In Winnipeg, the current COVID-19 hot spot of Manitoba, the infections in staff members have prompted outbreaks at five long term care homes, including Beacon Hill (one employee, as of Sept. 2), and Actionmarguerite (one employee, as of Sept. 15).
A single case in a staff member at St. Amant Health and Transition Services, which provides support and housing for people who have developmental disabilities, was reported on Sept. 15, sparking outbreak protocols. Subsequently, a volunteer who last worked at the building on Sept. 18 tested positive for COVID-19, extending the outbreak for 28 days.
In Steinbach, Maplewood Manor, about 500 metres away from Bethesda Place, had two cases of the virus among employees as of Sept. 22.
Meanwhile in Brandon, the Fairview Personal Care Home and Hillcrest Place Personal Care Home have declared outbreaks. The latest information from the province indicates Fairview has two cases among employees (as of Aug. 31), as does Hillcrest.
Outbreaks that were brought under control include: Rideau Park Personal Care Home in Brandon (one health-care worker, announced Aug. 27), Donwood Manor in Winnipeg (tenant at neighbouring assisted living facility, Sept. 6), Fred Douglas Lodge (one employee, as of Sept. 2, declared ended on Sept. 25), Concordia Place (one employee, as of Sept. 5, declared ended Sept. 25), and Parkview Place (one staff member, declared over April 17).
Other instances of COVID-19 in health-care settings
On Sept. 23, Revera said a resident at its Heritage Lodge Long Term Care Home, in Winnipeg's Crestview neighbourhood, was asymptomatic, but had a positive test result. On Friday, the province declared an outbreak at the home.
In some circumstances, a positive COVID-19 case in a health-care worker won’t trigger an outbreak at their workplace or require additional restrictions to be put into effect.
Manitoba Health defines a personal care home COVID-19 outbreak as one or more cases among staff, volunteers, or residents, who have been in the home while infectious, and is only declared if the person was in the home while infectious, or in public health terms, during the period of communicability.
In mid-September, an employee at Deer Lodge Centre was diagnosed with the virus, but no outbreak was declared. A case was also reported in Riverview Health Centre in April and did not require a formal outbreak to be announced.
On Sept.12, Carberry Plains Health Centre in Carberry was forced to close after infections in an employee and an outpatient sent most other staff into self-isolation. The centre was reopened to acute and emergency care on Sept. 23.
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.