Feel good about your information and become a local news champion today

Coronavirus daily briefing – March 31: Third death at McKenzie Towne long term care

Coronavirus outbreak protocols at a Calgary long term care facility may not have been put in place immediately, as a third death at that location was reported.

That’s information from Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, as she provided her daily briefing Tuesday.

Sixty-four new cases of COVID-19 were added to Alberta’s total, bringing it to 754 province-wide. Of those 754 cases, Dr. Hinshaw said they believe that 75 of them are due to community transmission. Twenty-six of the cases are currently in hospital, with 11 in intensive care units.

So far, 120 Albertans have recovered.

Dr. Hinshaw said that currently, there are 77 cases of COVID-19 involving healthcare workers, including staff at continuing care facilities.

In addition, one more death was reported – this one at the McKenzie Towne long term care centre in southeast Calgary. It’s the third death at that location so far.

Long term care centre outbreaks are ‘worrisome,’ said Dr. Hinshaw

Dr. Hinshaw said they would have a better breakdown in the number of cases in long term care centres around the province but did confirm a new case at the Carewest Glenmore Park location in Calgary. As of Monday’s briefing, 36 residents and five staff were confirmed or probable cases at the McKenzie Towne long term care location.

“These outbreaks remain worrisome,” she said.

“We know seniors and those with chronic health conditions are at greatest risk of severe illness related to COVID-19.”

Dr. Hinshaw said there are guidelines for the control of these types of outbreaks at long term or continuing care facilities. If any resident or staff member are showing symptoms, the worker shouldn’t be coming to work and the resident should be isolated, she said.

“In the case of McKenzie Towne, unfortunately, that outbreak protocol seems to not have been implemented immediately,” Dr. Hinshaw said.

“So, there does seem to have been a significant amount of exposure.”

Right now, the critical piece of response, Dr. Hinshaw said, was to prevent the further spread. Right now, residents aren’t allowed to group together, dining hall meals are separated and common use items are not allowed to be touched.

“It’s really about making sure that residents are separated as much as possible and this is extremely difficult,” Dr. Hinshaw said.

“We know that the ability to socialize is an important part of our overall health.”

Revera’s message to families

In a message to residents and family members updated Tuesday, Revera, the company operating the McKenzie Towne long term care centre, outlined the steps they’re taking to keep residents safe.

“If an area of our home has a resident whose COVID-19 test returns positive, that home area is then in isolation, with strict protocols to try to keep the virus from spreading,” the message, posted online, reads.

Revera said they have been able to add staff and are continuing to recruit more staff to help.

“We are working with AHS to accommodate the extra demands of residents in isolation, which include individually feeding residents in their rooms on overbed trays, engaging residents in one-to-one recreation activities and supporting the enhanced cleaning measures,” their message read.