COVID-10 outbreak reaches 20 cases at Regina's Santa Maria Senior Citizens Home

·3 min read

An outbreak of the COVID-19 virus continues to grow at the Santa Maria Senior Citizens home in Regina.

On Dec. 18, the outbreak was declared by the Saskatchewan Health Authority after two confirmed cases on the second floor. As of Dec. 29, there were 20 confirmed cases in the home.

"My biggest concern is a lot of patients on that floor have dementia," Beverly Hartnell said. "It's extremely hard to get them to stay in their room and not mingle because they don't understand."

Hartnell's father, 88, one of the residents on the 2nd floor, has tested positive for the virus. He is one of many who has dementia, she says.

"I can appreciate that the staff there have a tremendous responsibility and such a challenge on their hands because it is a dementia unit and there could be 40, 50 people on that floor," Hartnell said.

The executive director of the home says of its 140 residents are currently stable.

Kelly Chessie says they are still in the early phases of the outbreak and are working with the SHA and public health to contain the spread, ensure safe staffing levels and ensure adequate supplies of personal protective equipment.

CBC
CBC

Chessie says SHA staff inspected the home and found no significant issues.

"We remain in extremely critical days in our fight against the pandemic, especially in vulnerable sectors like a nursing home, and so each of us needs to keep stepping up and doing our part to stop the spread. What you do out there matters in here," Chessie said.

Hartnell says she's worried the situation could turn into what's been happening at other care homes in the city. The largest outbreak is currently at the Parkside Extendicare Home with 33 deaths and a peak of 160 cases.

It's very scary and very sad because those people are just so elderly, they're so frail, they're so vulnerable and it's just a tragedy. - Beverly Hartnell

Hartnell says she believes staff are doing their best but she wants to see their numbers rise as the outbreak grows.

"They pretty much need one-on-one staff right now to keep them safe because they can't look after themselves," Hartnell said.

"[The staff] are definitely working on it, but it's very scary and very sad because those people are just so elderly, they're so frail, they're so vulnerable, and it's just a tragedy," Hartnell said.

Submitted by Beverly Hartnell
Submitted by Beverly Hartnell

Hartnell received the call on Boxing Day that her father had tested positive but is asymptomatic so far.

"He's still a fighter and he's my hero," she said. "I think he's going to be OK."

Hartnell says rapid testing has been crucial to finding the cases in the home, including her father's, and hopes it can be prioritized in more long term care homes.

"Those people are just the most vulnerable and they've built a legacy and great families," she said. "There's a whole bunch of priorities, but I think our long-term care residents should also be a priority."