Easing of restrictions at private supportive-living facility during variant outbreak questioned

·2 min read
An outbreak of COVID-19 at Churchill Manor, a private care facility in Edmonton, is linked to a highly contagious variant of the coronavirus. (Trevor Wilson/CBC - image credit)
An outbreak of COVID-19 at Churchill Manor, a private care facility in Edmonton, is linked to a highly contagious variant of the coronavirus. (Trevor Wilson/CBC - image credit)

A family is raising concerns about decisions made at a private living facility dealing with an outbreak of a COVID-19 variant and a mouse infestation.

Rose Zennick's 94-year-old father lives at Churchill Manor in southeast Edmonton.

She says restrictions were loosened too soon. Her father tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday — the same day he received the vaccine.

"With them knowing that the vaccine was coming within a two-week period, they should have waited," Zennick said Thursday at a news conference hosted by the NDP.

"I'm so angry and frustrated and disappointed. I'm very concerned for my dad. He's scared right now. He has no symptoms, but his doctor told me to get ready."

Emails shared with CBC show residents were informed the facility eased safety measures on Feb. 16, allowing residents to gather in groups of five, though with masks and social distancing. Residents were also allowed to visit with two family members indoors.

Four days later, families were informed residents would receive their vaccinations on March 1.

On Feb. 26, a resident tested positive for the coronavirus.

Since then 32 residents and 4 staff have tested positive with at least 19 of those people infected by a highly contagious variant, the operator Atria said.

The patients are being cared for by nurses with Alberta Health Services who are on site.

NDP labour critic Christina Gray raised concerns about the mouse infestation at the facility at the news conference. She showed photos taken by a family member of mouse droppings and torn shavings.

"We're asking for the government to make sure that the seniors in our community are being cared for, that they are living in hygienic condition [and] getting the support they need during this outbreak," Gray said.

Health officials say they have been supporting Churchill Manor since Monday but, as an independent residence, the facility is not contracted to Alberta Health Services.

AHS is working with the operator Atria to bring in pest control, the department said.