Wakaw's Pioneer Lodge 'hit hard'

·4 min read

Wakaw’s Lakeview Pioneer Lodge residents and staff have been ‘hit hard’ by COVID-19. The speed of the spread of the virus within the Lodge took everyone by surprise. Interim administrator Wayne Nogier reported the outbreak started between Christmas and New Year with two residents testing positive. Those first two residents isolated in their rooms but within a short time more residents tested positive. By New Year’s all residents and staff had been tested.

While the majority of those who have tested positive are not experiencing symptoms, but for those that are it is as bad as others have reported it is. Of the 70 staff members of the Lodge, half are either waiting out their isolation period at home or are at home due to testing positive for the virus. Members of the local EMS and paramedics with the fire and rescue have been supporting the staff and filling in where they can, but as of today, January 7, the Saskatchewan Health Authority is reportedly going to be providing extra staff.

Lakeview Pioneer Lodge private care home that is an affiliate of the Saskatchewan Health Authority. It is owned and operated by the by the Town of Wakaw and the surrounding rural municipalities. “We are trying our best to keep the loved ones informed, but our priority at this time is the health of our staff and our residents,” said Board Chair Gilles LeBlanc. Things started happening so fast yesterday, LeBlanc added, that updating the media fell right off the priority list. The Board of Lakeview Pioneer Lodge provided a statement which follows below:

It is with sad hearts that Lakeview Pioneer Lodge Wakaw, SK announces that we are in COVID 19 outbreak. At the time of writing this press release, we can confirm that 43 out of 44 residents have tested positive for Coronavirus, we have lost 50% of our staff due to self-isolation and out of this 25 are testing positive for the virus.

This is a very scary time for our residents, families and loved ones of our residents and our very hard working staff and support staff. No matter how many plans and contingency plans are in place to combat this deadly virus and protect our vulnerable populous, it has proven once again to be deadly in its spread within a communal living environment and it does not discriminate against anyone. Once the first case was confirmed it spread like wildfire through our home. We have lost three residents to this virus, one more is in hospital in intensive care and two others are under surveillance in our home. Our hearts go out to the residents and their families at this time.

It has made us realize that our most treasured resources are our people. Our residents, the staff, the families and our countless volunteers are what makes our home functional, and with the current restrictions of no visitation, the cohorting of staff, our residents where certainly feeling the effects of the virus emotionally, physically and spiritually even before the outbreak occurred. The outbreak has put a strain on our precious resources, our staff. We know the staff want to be with the residents to help care for them at this time but are force to be home to take care of them and self-monitor or self-isolate until they are well enough to come back to work and help fight this virus. When the pandemic first came into place, we prepped and planned for the worst but this is far worse than what we could have even imagined it to be.

With the current CEO, Michael Lummerding and Director of Care, Bridgette Vey being away from the home because of the need to self-isolate, former CEO, Wayne Nogier, has stepped back into the lodge in order to maintain operations of the home. Mr. Nogier is working closely with the Board of Directors, the SHA and partners to monitor and combat the situation at the lodge. With the continuous efforts made by the frontline workers, admin staff, family members and volunteers we hope to reach a turning point in the next week.

Gilles LeBlanc

Chair of the Board

Further updates will be forthcoming as the situation can change at any time.

Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder