Manitoba investigating respiratory outbreak at personal care home

By | April 2, 2020

WINNIPEG — Manitoba health officials say they are investigating a respiratory outbreak at a personal care home after an employee tested positive for the COVID-19.

On Thursday, Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, announced that currently nine people at the Betel Personal Care Home in Gimli, Man., are showing symptoms of respiratory illness. He said the site has tested all symptomatic clients to determine the cause of the outbreak.

The care home has taken precautions to isolate affected patients and prevent the further spread, Roussin said, adding health officials will be monitoring the situation closely.

Roussin said he was made aware of another case of COVID-19 at the Riverview Health Centre, but said because of the very strict physical distancing strategies that were in place, there were no other clients exposed.

Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer for Shared Health, said there are several new cases at healthcare facilities involving staff, both at Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg and at the Betel Care Home in Gimli.

Siragusa said 30 to 34 healthcare workers have been in contact with COVID-19 at HSC. All are now in self-isolation.

“These cases cause us all a great deal of concern, and we cannot emphasize enough the responsibility that all Manitobans have to do what we can to slow the spread of this virus,” Siragusa said.

She said healthcare workers at hospitals, long-term care facilities, access centres, and COVID-19 testing sites will now begin wearing procedure masks and other personal protective equipment during all contact with patients.

Siragusa said HSC, Grace Hospital and Saint Boniface Hospital are working to create dedicated COVID-19 wards. She said health officials are having conversations with other sites as well.

“The concept is we can’t really have them all on one site, but we can certainly have them all united on one unit so that the staff are concentrated there,” Siragusa said.

Roussin announced 40 new cased of COVID-19 in Manitoba on Thursday. This brings the total to 167 cases.

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