“It is clear that staff are contracting COVID-19 at work, and we need all safety measures in place at all times,” McAteer said.
Union representatives met with management of the personal care home on Wednesday to demand that all staff on COVID-19 units receive N95 masks, which previously were only provided following a risk assessment by a nurse.
After the union filed its grievance, management agreed to start supplying N95 masks to these employees, the union said.
At a press conference Thursday, Manitoba’s provincial public health official, Dr Brent Roussin, said staff should have the necessary personal protective equipment, but N95 masks are not needed except during “aerosol-generating medical procedures”.
Although he acknowledged that the situation at the nursing home is “concerning,” Roussin said there was nothing to report that would explain why the outbreak at Parkview Place was far worse than at any other facility in Province.
“We knew in the first wave that we have to do whatever we can to keep the virus out of these situations because once it got in we could see transmission easily and serious consequences in this population,” he said. said Roussin.
Parkview Place also offered a bonus of $ 2 per hour for staff. The extra pay is retroactive to September 15 and will last until the nursing home outbreak is declared over.
“However, this bonus does not negate the employer’s responsibility to provide a safe working environment and permanent improved compensation for all staff,” the union said.
The outbreak is leading to burnout among staff members, who are sometimes unable to take breaks due to a shortage of employees as an increasing number of workers have been forced to self-isolate due to the exposure to COVID-19, the union said. The union is also asking Parkview Place to hire more people to make up for the shortage.
The province has relaxed regulations preventing personal care home staff from working at more than one facility, to allow staff from other sites to move to Parkview Place. Workers who leave Parkview to work at another facility must still self-isolate for 14 days before returning to work, Roussin said.
Although he did not personally visit the facility, Roussin said public health officials, as well as the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, were helping.
“There are a lot of hands on the bridge in Parkview right now,” he said.
In order to stop the spread of the virus, the focus must be on the identification and isolation of cases, the universal use of personal protective equipment, and staff members who do not come to work while they are. sick, Roussin said.
Government insists it is doing all it can
The outbreak and staffing issues at Parkview Place were the subject of another tense exchange Thursday in the Manitoba legislature.
In Question Period, Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew and NDP Health Critic Uzoma Asagwara called on the Conservative government to commit to recruiting more staff and resources to do this. in the face of the epidemic.
“Residents and their families deserve answers and they deserve a plan for how they are going to keep residents safe,” Asagwara said.
Health Minister Cameron Friesen has dismissed claims that his government has not done enough to prevent such an outbreak.
After the question period, he told reporters that Revera, the company that runs the house, now has a full-time doctor on site and directors are on-site 24 hours a day.
“Incredible resources are being mobilized every day to respond,” he said. “No one is quite sure where things are at right now and we will continue to respond very carefully. ”
He also said that Parkview goes to great lengths to communicate well with the families of the residents.
“It is not an easy position for families and they are looking for answers,” he said.
“I would tell them this: We are doing everything that can be done to ensure the safety of the people inside this personal care home.