3 more COVID-19 deaths, no remaining infected residents at Parkside Extendicare home

·3 min read

For the first time since the deadly outbreak at Parkside Extendicare was declared in late November, there are no known infected residents at the Regina private care home.

According to Extendicare's latest update to families — issued early Tuesday — there are no active cases of COVID-19 at the facility, where the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) temporarily took over day-to-day operations earlier this month.

Three residents remain in hospital and 17 staff members are infected and remain at home until they recover and can return to work.

The promising numbers coming out of Parkside arrive on the heels of three new deaths among residents who were infected with the virus, bringing the total number of COVID-related deaths at Parkside to 36. In just one month, those deaths made up nearly one-quarter of all 151 COVID-related deaths recorded in the province since the pandemic first arrived in early March.

The new numbers come with a further caveat. They do not reflect the conditions of the 25 Parkside residents who were moved to another Regina facility, Pioneer Village, or those of the dozen residents moved to Broadview Union Hospital east of the city to help contain the spread of the virus, which at its worst had infected 160 of Parkside's original 200 inhabitants.

"While these residents are still members of our community, Pioneer Village is the best suited to provide updates on their care at this time," Extendicare stated in its Tuesday update.

Pioneer Village is operated by the SHA. CBC News has reached out to the health authority to ask how many Parkside residents now living at Pioneer Village and the hospital are currently infected or have died.

Soon after 25 residents were moved to Pioneer Village, the health authority reported that 23 of them had become infected with COVID-19.

Both Parkside, where 122 residents remain, and Pioneer Village are still on the province's list of active outbreak sites.

Rooms now limited to 2 people

Scott Livingstone, the health authority's CEO, has cited Parkside having rooms of up to four residents as a potential reason for why the outbreak proved so severe.

The crowded rooms have also come up in government inspections of the site. According to the 2019 inspection report, "the current design, with a large number of four-bed rooms, does not meet current standards of care or resident and family expectations for a home environment."

In its update on Tuesday, Extendicare said it is continuing to return residents to their original rooms and that "occupancy will be limited to two residents per room."

Brian Albert, whose 98-year-old mother Marie lives at the home and has recovered from COVID-19, said she's now in a room with only one other person, down from the three roommates she had originally.

She's not as active as she once was, he said.

"She doesn't get out of bed by herself into her wheelchair and can't get to the bathroom," Brian said on Monday.

Marie doesn't have a TV or phone yet, he added.

"I'm hoping if it's COVID-free they will get things hooked up again,"he said. "I hope there's no [Phase] 2 in there."

Brian Albert
Brian Albert

Brian said he hopes he can soon visit Marie. He's only been able to glimpse through her window.

"When they say you have to have faith, this must be why," he said.

In a note to residents' families a week ago, Extendicare said people's mental health is always a concern in an outbreak, "especially when a large number of residents are in isolation."

The company reported it was talking to public health officials about possibly setting up recreational activities for residents who are considered resolved.

"Our immediate priority is addressing the needs of residents and keeping them safe. In the coming days, we will look into how we can provide additional TV access."