Three more COVID-19 deaths at Edmonton care centre devastated by outbreak

Three more residents have died at an Edmonton senior care facility that has been devastated by an outbreak of COVID-19.

At total of 18 residents have now died from the illness at the Good Samaritan Southgate Care Centre, the facility said Wednesday on its website.

Another 56 residents are sick with the respiratory illness, an increase of eight cases since Tuesday.

Sixteen staff members have also tested positive.

The news came as Alberta Health reported another 133 new cases across the province. As of Wednesday, 87 people were being treated in Alberta hospitals for COVID-19, with 17 of them in ICU beds.

The total number of active cases on Wednesday was 1,430, back up to the level it was at on Monday.

Liz Greenaway, whose mother was a resident at the centre for the last five years, said she doesn't blame the care centre or the staff.

"It's an older building; a bit of a maze inside," said Greenway, whose mother, Mary Lou Greenaway, died on Saturday. "But I couldn't believe how good the care was … incredible care, devoted staff.

"It was just a nice place to be."

She said she was aware that people at the centre had tested positive in early June.

"And then last Thursday I got called to come in, that she was very unwell, high fever and respiratory problems — those are classic COVID-19 — but we didn't know for sure. We just knew that she wasn't going to live a lot longer."

Greenway said she understands why some families are angry.

"But let's not direct it at the centres," she said. "The centres were never prepared for COVID. Nursing and support workers are underpaid, and if they have to work at more than one home to make a living, that was one of the big factors in COVID exploding."

Eight employees are Good Samaritan Southgate have recovered from the disease.

The three most recent deaths at the centre involved two women in their 70s and a woman in her 90s.

The centre, at 4225 107th St., has about 180 residents.

On Tuesday, the centre said it has cancelled outdoor visits, brought in additional cleaning staff, and now screens employees and residents twice a day.

Alberta Health Services considered taking over day-to-day operations of the Southgate care centre last week, but decided the move was not necessary, Tom McMillan, assistant director of communications for Alberta Health, said Monday in a statement.

AHS will work with the centre to provide oversight and leadership and ensure that all processes and procedures are up to standard, including securing necessary staff, McMillan said.

In partnership with AHS, the centre completed swabs on all asymptomatic residents for a second time last week. It is currently waiting on results, Michelle Bonnici, interim president and CEO of the Good Samaritan Society, said in written statement Tuesday.