Outbreak deaths at Youville Home rise to 19

·3 min read

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate senior and care homes in the city, with 19 deaths now reported at the Youville Home in St. Albert.

On Monday, Youville reported that 74 of the 189 residents in the home had contracted COVID-19 since the outbreak began, as well as 55 staff members. Eleven residents and five staff members were still considered active cases, while 44 residents and 50 staff members had recovered. Nineteen residents have died, according to the home.

"As we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we remain focused on doing all we can to ensure the health and safety of our residents and staff at Youville Home. Since the outbreak began in December, we have worked diligently to reduce transmission of COVID-19 within our facility," said Cecilia Marion, the facility's senior director of operations, in an emailed statement.

"On behalf of the entire Covenant family, we offer our deepest condolences to the residents’ families and loved ones at this difficult time."

So far, 94 per cent of residents have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Marion said, adding they are looking forward to providing the second dose soon. A small number of residents declined the vaccination while another small number will receive their immunization once they recover from COVID-19.

"Most of our staff have also received their first dose of vaccine, and they are looking forward to their second dose, and others are waiting for vaccine to be available for them to receive their first dose," Marion said.

Sixteen of the Youville deaths have so far been recorded by the province, which as of Monday afternoon listed St. Albert's total death toll at 35 residents since then. Official numbers recorded in provincial data sometimes differ from what is provided to the Gazette – last November, at the height of the St. Albert Retirement Residence outbreak, Alberta Health confirmed to the Gazette that a fourth person had died in that outbreak. However, only two deaths were recorded in the online data.

Assistant director of communications for Alberta Health Tom McMillan said they report all deaths that are determined to have COVID-19 as a contributing cause.

"There are multiple reasons that a discrepancy like this can occur. There can sometimes be a delay in a death being reported via the provincial tracking system, or delay in a death being determined post-mortem to have COVID-19 as a contributing cause, or sometimes a facility may be incorrect," McMillan said in an email.

"We continue to update Albertans based on the most current information we have received."

The outbreak at the St. Albert Chartwell Retirement Residence has claimed the lives of 14 residents since it began, according to the facility. Thirteen of these have been recorded by the province.

"Our condolences are extended to the family and loved ones of these individuals," said Sharon Ranalli, VP of marketing and communications at Chartwell Retirement Residences in an email.

Eighty-two residents and 37 staff members have recovered so far. The residence has two active COVID-19 cases remaining, with no staff currently infected.

"Overcoming the COVID-19 outbreak at Chartwell St. Albert remains our highest priority and will continue doing everything possible to protect and support our residents working collaboratively with our health care and government partners. We are grateful to our staff for their commitment," Ranalli said.

To date, there have been 56 designated supportive living (DSL) residents and 28 staff members at Chartwell who have received the vaccine.

The facility said it is continuing to focus on keeping residents safe through enhanced COVID-19 safety, cleaning and screening measures.

In Morinville, the Aspen House Care Residence is currently battling a COVID-19 outbreak, with four deaths associated with the facility. There have been a total of 10 deaths in the town. There have been a total of 47 cases linked to the facility, with five cases still active and another 38 people having recovered.

Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette