Deadly COVID-19 outbreak at Edmonton geriatric psychiatry hospital continues to grow

An outbreak of COVID-19 at an acute care geriatric psychiatric hospital in Edmonton has now claimed three lives. 

Covenant Health confirms 120 patients and 35 staff at Villa Caritas, an acute care geriatric psychiatric facility in west Edmonton have tested positive for the virus since Jan. 9.

Karen Diaper, a spokesperson for Covenant Health, said in an email that 47 patients have recovered. Villa Caritas can care for up to 150 people at a time.

Villa Caritas is among the outbreaks listed Tuesday at 25 acute care facilities on Tuesday. Alberta Health is reporting outbreaks at dozens more long-term and supportive living facilities across the province. 

The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) represents health-care aides and licensed practical nurses at Villa Caritas.

AUPE vice-president Susan Slade said staff and management are doing what they can to contain the virus but illnesses among workers means shifts aren’t fully staffed. 

“That’s what happens when people get sick,” she said. “There’s nobody to call in and they are working short.”

Slade is blaming the provincial government for not doing enough to contain the spread of the Omicron variant. She said the province needs to start making tough decisions to preserve the capacity of the health-care system. 

“How many waves do we have to go through?” she asked. “Are we going to go into a sixth wave where it even gets worse? They need to step up.”

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