At least two dead in COVID-19 outbreak at Gladstone care home

GLADSTONE, MAN. –

A COVID-19 outbreak in a western Manitoba care home has family and community members concerned.

Officials have identified 68 cases and at least two people have died in the outbreak at Third Crossing Manor in Gladstone, Man., about 150 kilometres west of Winnipeg.

“Well, I’m very concerned about it,” said Gladstone resident Ernie Tester.

Inside the care home, residents have been living under a heightened state of precaution with the outbreak sweeping through the facility.

“I feel real bad for the residents because the care home’s been basically shut down for two years,” Tester said. “You know you couldn’t go and visit people, you had to do it outside or in that trailer they have now.”

Southern Health said the outbreak was declared Nov.4. Public health officials announced Thursday two people – a man and a woman both in their eighties — have died in the outbreak.

Loretta Hopkins said her 87-year-old mom who had been living in the care home and chose not to get vaccinated due to medical concerns died two days after testing positive for COVID-19.

“The situation progressed quite rapidly from there and she passed away on Friday (November) the 12th,” Hopkins said.

According to Southern Health, 39 people live in the care home and as of Friday there were 41 active cases including 23 residents and 18 staff.

Officials wouldn’t provide a detailed breakdown but they said the majority of staff and residents have been vaccinated, with booster doses to consenting residents completed in early November.

“A number of the individuals who have tested positive were fully vaccinated demonstrating the ongoing risk associated with these highly transmissible COVID-19 variants in congregate settings and the need for ongoing vigilance,” Southern Health said in an emailed statement.

Southern Health said standard infection protection and control measures for outbreaks have been implemented, including isolation for positive and symptomatic residents, testing of all residents and staff and enhanced visitor restrictions.

Officials also said multiple staff members from other health service programs in the region have been brought in to assist, with some employees forced to isolate after testing positive.

The source of the outbreak hasn’t been identified but Southern Health told CTV News Winnipeg increased COVID-19 activity in the community and the province likely played a role.

Vaccine uptake in the health district Gladstone’s in is sitting at 72 per cent, that’s below the provincial average but higher than other parts of Southern Health where uptake in Winkler and the surrounding R.M. of Stanley sits below 50 per cent.

Third Crossing Manor isn’t the only care home dealing with an outbreak. Eight cases have been identified among residents at the care home in Arborg and six people have died so far in an outbreak at the personal care home at Benito Health Centre.

“Our heartfelt thoughts and condolences go out to the family and friends of these residents,” said Glenda Short, Prairie Mountain Health’s regional lead for community and continuing care. “Prairie Mountain Health is pleased to advise that we are seeing significant improvements at Benito Health Centre. Additional staffing is still in place at Benito and staff remain diligent in all infection prevention and control protocols.”

A total of 19 residents and 8 staff members tested positive. There are no remaining active cases, all are considered recovered, however, the care will remain in outbreak status for at least another week as per provincial guidelines.

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