WINNIPEG — Three more COVID-19 deaths were reported at Maples Personal Care Home on Saturday, sparking outrage after an anonymous online post by a Winnipeg paramedic describing the situation at the facility went viral.
The paramedic took to Reddit to describe what they called a “nightmare” at the facility, which is now up to 22 coronavirus-related deaths. In the past 48 hours, seven residents from Maples Personal Care Home have passed away from COVID-19, while an eighth death was reported to be an end-of-life situation.
Seven deaths in total were announced provincewide on Saturday, along with 271 new cases of the virus. At Maples alone, there have been 176 cases between patients and staff since the start of the pandemic.
The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service was called to the home Friday evening after multiple residents were reportedly found unresponsive, while others were suffering from medical distress. Two ambulances and a district chief of paramedic operations attended just after 7 p.m. and remained on scene for six hours.
One person was taken to hospital in critical condition, while two others were transported in stable condition. Paramedics assessed another 12 residents on scene.
“While assessing patients the medics where [sic] asked to check on another resident that was described as “not breathing” when the medics went to check they noted that this resident was dead for hours,” the post said.
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority says they have since deployed a critical response team to remain at Maples 24 hours a day to assist existing staff.
Manitoba Health Minister Cameron Friesen said he was “devastated” to learn about the situation at Maples Personal Care Home and urgently met with officials from Revera, the for-profit company that runs the home, and with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.
I am devastated to learn today about the situation at Maples LTC Home.
I have just come out of an urgent meeting with Revera, dept officials and WRHA.
I have directed health leadership to provide an explanation to MBans today. Details on public briefing coming shortly.
— Cameron Friesen (@CameronFriesen) November 7, 2020
Friesen has scheduled at 11:30 a.m. news conference on Sunday to speak on the situation.
Opposition NDP leader Wab Kinew called on Saturday for the province to immediately take over operations of Maples.
“The reports of paramedics providing life saving care to residents of Maples PCH is shocking and deeply concerning,” Kinew said in a statement.
“The good work of paramedics should not be expected to fill in for the failures of the provincial government. It’s long past time for the Province to step in and take over control of Maples and Parkview Place PCHs. The Pallister Government needs to step in today to make sure seniors and residents are receiving the care they need. Lives are hanging in the balance and there is no reason for delay. In addition, the province should call on any resource including the military or Red Cross to help so these residents are safe.”
In a tweet, Mayor Brian Bowman said the city has been in contact with the WRHA and Shared Health “identifying concerns for their attention and action.”
The WFPS attended Maples PCH last night and City staff have been in contact with the WRHA and Shared Health identifying concerns for their attention and action. Thank you to WFPS personnel for ongoing efforts.
— Mayor Brian Bowman (@Mayor_Bowman) November 7, 2020