An outbreak at a geriatric psychiatric facility in western Edmonton has a COVID-19 outbreak that is so severe that 85 percent of patients have tested positive since Jan. 9.

The Covenant Health Villa Caritas has 142 patients and 120 recently contracted COVID-19.

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By refusing an interview, Covenant Health wrote that the facility was closed to visitors, except in life-ending scenarios.

“We are doing everything we can to limit transfer,” the statement said. Three patients are already dead.

The Covenant Health Villa Caritas housing facility for seniors with complex mental and medical health issues in Edmonton, Alta. on Tuesday, 25 January 2022.

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In addition, 35 staff members tested positive.

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“Staff remains a challenge and we are putting in place all measures necessary to ensure quality of care is maintained,” Covenant wrote.

Villa Caritas may have one of the most serious outbreaks, but it’s not alone.

In total, Alberta Health signed up 123 acute, long-term and supportive residential facilities in the Edmonton zone in outbreak status, from 25 January. This means at least two positive COVID cases among residents and staff.

This is a big increase from December 21, when there were only seven outbreaks in those facilities.

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Global News has reached out to several care providers with facilities on the outbreak list, including Capital Care, Shepherd’s Care, the Greater Edmonton Foundation, Lifestyle Options, Good Samaritan Society, Salvation Army and Chartwell Residences.

Only the last three agreed to answer questions and only two participated in interviews.

In a statement, Chartwell wrote their “COVID response included the appointment of more than 7,100 new staff and the acquisition of more than 15 million pieces of personal protective equipment, with many protocols previously adopted by public health authorities.


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“The current Omicron variant has necessitated increased efforts to provide extra vigilance for infection control, and assistance and support in response to new public health precautions.”

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Given the high portability of Omicron and the number of active cases in the community, many care homes report only a handful of cases, including the Salvation Army.

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“We were able to limit the spread through strict adherence to the recommendations of Alberta Health Services and Public Health,” said Major Jamie Locke, Secretary of Public Relations’ Division for the Salvation Army in Alberta and Northern Territories.

He said the biggest challenge is staff.

“They are starting to feel tired. There is a feeling of tiredness among the people we have who work for us, and I would suggest myself in all healthcare facilities. ”

Locke, like every other nursing home provider Global News spoke to, expressed his gratitude to those working in all capacities through the pandemic.

He says many take on tasks that are technically not part of their typical duties, such as keeping everyone safe.


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“We have also had great success in partnering with other agencies to hire temporary staff to help us through when there were shortages,” Locke said.

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The Good Samaritan Association also reports outbreaks at 13 out of 49 facilities province-wide.

So far, the numbers are much smaller than in previous waves and, according to the CEO, dr. Katherine Chubbs, less serious.

“We do not see the same impact on people’s health in general, so people generally do not get that sick,” Chubbs said.

She attributes this to vaccinations and also things like ever-changing standards for personal protective equipment.

“The pandemic, if you want to see what good came out of it, really got people’s attention on how to provide safe environments,” Chubbs explained.

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An Alberta Health Services EMS vehicle outside the Good Samaritan Southgate Care Center in Edmonton, Alta. on Tuesday, 25 January 2022.

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The Salvation Army Grace Manor Supportive Residential and Continuing Care Facility in Edmonton, Alta. on Tuesday, 25 January 2022.

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She said, for example, residents and families with Good Samaritans have decided they want to place restrictions on who is allowed inside.

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“All homes have determined that they want visitors who are vaccinated, so that’s what we have in place.”

Good Samaritan has also expanded its range of iPads for virtual visits. Chubbs said it is rarely something they hear complaints about.

She noted that staff are people and do their best to increase everyone’s quality of life despite the rapidly changing protocols of the pandemic.

“Do not make a mistake, it is not normal, it is not as it was before. We are very much looking forward to getting back to where it was before COVID. ”


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