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So many Parkview Place staff members are isolating because they have tested positive for COVID-19, or are refusing to come to work due to an outbreak at the Winnipeg facility, pleas are being made to family members of residents to volunteer assistance.

The move comes amid news a licensing inspection of the privately run long-term care home by the province earlier this year found cockroaches, broken bathroom tiles and other repairs needed.

A relative of one Parkview resident says she received three calls last week asking to help the facility look after clients.

"I haven't seen him for weeks, the last time was a 15-minute visit in September, and then I get a call from three different people asking if I'd like to come in and volunteer," the woman told the Free Press, asking her name not be used.

"They say, 'We're short-staffed now because of COVID, so we're asking family members to come help by keeping them company, feeding them, and giving them help getting dressed.' But they don't want us helping (our family member), they want us to help others. They said, 'If there is time, you can go see (the family member).

"I would go in to help (her family member), but with COVID there, I wouldn't want to do anything else."

The woman said she is disappointed with the lack of care and conditions, even before the coronavirus outbreak, especially since the bill isn't cheap. "We're paying close to three grand a month; it is $98 per day."

The woman said her family member has seen cockroaches and a mouse in their room, and conditions elsewhere in the facility are dirty.

"I haven't seen him for weeks, the last time was a 15–minute visit in September, and then I get a call from three different people asking if I'd like to come in and volunteer."

"It is disgusting," she said.

It echoes what was found during a licensing inspection of the facility by the province, and reported Monday by the CBC.

The facility, which is owned by Ontario-based Revera Inc., passed the inspection but a separate notice was issued after problems were found with its "state of repair, cleanliness and sanitation practices."

Paul Turenne, a spokesman for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, said Revera has until the end of the year to fix the deficiencies but, because COVID-19 restrictions are preventing any remedial work from taking place except for exterminators, it will likely get an extension.

Turenne said the WRHA is contacting the facility daily to help it deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

Larry Roberts, Revera communications director, said he wouldn't be able to get back to the Free Press about any issues at Parkview until Tuesday.

As for the reported call for volunteers, Roberts said Monday night the family member may have misunderstood information put in a newsletter or email.

Roberts, noting the death of a Parkview Place resident announced Sunday, and the death of two Heritage Lodge residents over the weekend, said: "We offer our most sincere condolences to the families and friends of the people who passed away."

"Our teams are working very hard to care for our residents and to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our homes," he said.

On April 8, Revera announced a staff member at Parkview had tested positive for COVID-19, and all staff and residents would be wearing face masks, with staff screened when reporting for work.

"It is disgusting." – A woman said after a family member reported cockroaches and a mouse in their room

The WRHA announced April 17 the outbreak at the long-term care home was over.

On Sept. 16, the WRHA confirmed another employee at Parkview had tested positive for the novel coronavirus and an outbreak was declared at the facility. By Sept. 21, seven residents had tested positive; a day later, the province reported a resident had died.

On Oct. 14, Revera announced there had been nine deaths, 49 active cases, nine resolved cases, and a total of 67 residents who had tested positive since the outbreak began. As well, 22 staff had tested positive.

"Our teams are working very hard to care for our residents and to stop the spread of COVID–19 in our homes." – Larry Roberts, Revera communications director

Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, said Monday there were currently 84 cases of COVID-19 at the long-term care home: 73 are residents.

Ten residents have died of COVID-19 in recent weeks.

Revera also owns seven other long-term care facilities and retirement homes in Winnipeg, including Beacon Hill Lodge, Charleswood Long Term Care Home, and Heritage Lodge.

There have been 15 cases of COVID-19 at Heritage, with four deaths.

According to its website, Revera has 500 senior residences across the country. In Ontario, there had been 230 COVID-19 deaths in Revera-owned homes by mid-June.

Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.

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