Sask. care homes: COVID-19 outbreak declared at Saskatoon's Oliver Lodge

·4 min read

Health officials have declared the latest Saskatchewan care home outbreak at Saskatoon's Oliver Lodge, a seniors' facility housing more than 100 residents.

The Hudson Bay Park home was added to the province's list of active outbreaks on Tuesday, making it the 19th special care home, seniors residence, long-term care home or assisted living facility in the province currently dealing with two or more cases of the virus.

According to a new weekly update from the province on COVID-19 cases in long-term and special care homes that launched on Wednesday, Oliver Lodge had only one infected person between Nov. 10 and Nov. 24.

Most homes were dealing with fewer than five cases. Some had more, such as Parkside Extendicare in Regina and Providence Place in Moose Jaw, which had 14 and seven cases respectively.

In total, health workers at 29 different homes navigated new working conditions spurred by 88 different positive cases. The data released Wednesday did not indicate the age of infected people nor how many of them were hospitalized. Nor is it known if the infected people were residents or workers.

See the full list here.

Staffing challenges

Oliver Lodge's website says the home has 139 residents. A 2019 inspection stated each room is private and has its own bathroom. The lodge is connected to an apartment building, Oliver Place, that offers assisted living, according to the inspection.

Frank Suchorab, Oliver Lodge's executive director, said updates on the situation are being posted on the home's website.

Suchorab declined to say how many residents have tested positive as of Wednesday, saying it wouldn't make a difference in terms of the home's response to the outbreak. The province only declares an outbreak if two or more cases are present.

Residents in the home's south wing are isolating in their rooms, according to the update.

Other care homes have said they're facing staffing challenges as some workers are required to self-isolate.

"I would say that we're not any different from the other sites," Suchorab said. "We all work together. We all have the same challenges.

Don Somers/CBC
Don Somers/CBC

Rapid tests on order

Luther Special Care Home in Saskatoon, the long-term care home in the province dealing with the largest outbreak, reported to residents' family members on Tuesday night that the number of infected residents remained at 34 for the second day in a row.

Operations lead Ivan Olfert also outlined the steps the home is taking to curb the spread of the virus. Staff working in the affected wing are not mingling with workers from other areas of the home. Supplies are being dropped off outside the complex, located in the city's Varsity view neighbourhood.

"On Sunday we applied for a medical laboratory licence in order to be able to bring an Abbott Panbio Point of Care testing device onsite, which will allow us to test individuals for COVID and have results in about 15 minutes," Olfert wrote.

Olfert noted with concern that the number of staff working in the outbreak unit who are self-isolating continues to grow.

"Other long-term care homes in the city, along with home care, have contacted us and are offering assistance in a variety of ways, including lending us staff on a temporary basis [and] supporting us in the recruitment and training of new employees to help bolster our ranks.

"Also, we have a couple of staff who have temporarily moved from Regina to help support our efforts."

Moose Jaw home's outbreak numbers unknown

Health officials added Providence Place to the list of active outbreak sites on Tuesday. The home declined to specify how many staff members have needed to self-isolate.

"We are taking all the necessary and precautionary measures to ensure the ongoing health and safety of our residents and employees," said executive director Georgia Hutchinson. "The situation at Providence Place is evolving and we are not commenting on specific cases or case numbers at this time."

Saskatchewan reported only three new COVID-19 cases among people aged 80 and older on Wednesday, compared to 12 on Tuesday, bringing to cumulative number of cases in that age bracket to 246.

It's unclear how many of the cases among aged seniors are active.