Pallister PCs Complacency Resulted in Single-Site Exemption for Workers During December Code Red Outbreak

March 3, 2021

Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg, MB - Manitoba Liberals say the PCs need to explain how Revera-owned Kildonan Personal Care Centre sought and obtained an exemption to the "single-site rule" two days after a Covid-19 outbreak, in the middle of Code Red in December.

The "single-site rule" was introduced in a public health order months before, on May 1, 2020, with the goal of ensuring a worker would not carry Covid-19 between homes.

On December 5, 2020 an outbreak was declared at the Kildonan Personal Care Home. Two days later, December 7 2020, Executive Director Matthew Braun requested an exemption to the single site rule from the WRHA.

Writing to Gina Trinidad, Chief Health Operations Officer for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, Braun said, "in order to take a proactive approach ahead of staffing shortage" & "we are struggling in recruiting agency nursing staff, and this would assist us greatly in these efforts."

The email was forwarded to Dr. Brent Roussin at 9:35 pm and by 9:39pm, Dr. Roussin wrote "I support this exemption for 4 weeks."

Liberals say the emails show the Pallister PC's complacency and lack of preparation continued well after the tragedy at the Maples Care home.

"If we don't know what happened and all the same people are running the show, how can we seriously expect it to get better?" said Lamont. "Our system broke, and people died as a consequence. That demands answers and recommendations that only an independent inquiry can deliver."

The PCs have tried to argue they were surprised by the sudden surge in cases that happened in late October and November, or that it couldn't be expected. That's indefensible, said Dr. Jon Gerrard, Manitoba Liberal Health Critic and MLA for River Heights.

Manitoba Liberals called for protecting personal care homes March 2, 2020, and in May called for rapid response teams to protect and staff personal care homes in event of a multi-site outbreak. The province of Quebec spent the summer training staff to work in PCHs.

"The idea that personal care homes would be facing a shortage of staff when outbreaks begin to happen is not a surprise. We warned them, not once, not twice, but many times," said Dr. Gerrard. "Pallister responded by taking the summer off."



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