An earlier version of this article said that there were outbreaks at different Sherbrooke facilities. Two of the outbreaks are in different communities that are in the same building. The article has been updated to reflect that.
The fourth wave of the pandemic looks a lot like the others, as, despite a high vaccination rate, long-term care residents are contracting COVID-19 again.
Sherbrooke Community Center, a Saskatoon nursing home, began reporting more cases in early September.
There were only a few, but last week staff reported that 17 residents had been infected at two facilities: Kinsmen Village and Veterans Village.
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On Monday, in another statement posted on its website, staff said residents of a third facility were also infected.
Sherbrooke communications leader Eric Anderson told Global News that two people were infected at Central Haven Special Care Home.
He said Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) staff are testing residents in all buildings.
“While we wait for the results and receive the results, we will obviously contact the families of our residents when we get that information,” he said.
He said 96 percent of Kinsmen and Veterans Village residents are fully vaccinated and 97% of Central Haven residents have received both vaccinations.
But he could not say whether the infected residents were vaccinated.
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“Vaccines are not 100 percent effective,” said University of Saskatchewan epidemiologist Nazeem Muhajarine.
He said vaccinated people rarely experience symptoms or die, but that it also depends on what other medical vulnerabilities they have.
Muhajarine said it is important to know what percentage of the staff is fully vaccinated.
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Anderson said he did not know how many staff members are fully vaccinated and directed Global News to SHA or the Ministry of Health.
When asked about the staff’s vaccination status, a SHA spokesperson said the health authority would not release the information to employers.
Sherbrooke is a SHA affiliated care facility, but is not operated by the health authority.
The provincial government will require all government employees to be vaccinated by October 1, in addition to a previously announced measure that requires all frontline healthcare workers to be vaccinated.
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Global News asked Anderson what measure applied to workers at SHA-affiliated call centers.
“We are still waiting for that information,” he said.
Global News contacted a spokesman for the provincial government and the Health Ministry, but received no response before the deadline.
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Anderson said the staff is working very hard and is assigned to specific buildings. Said they never enter a different facility.
“It just wouldn’t be safe for caregivers in one part of the building to work on an outbreak and then go back to their original area,” he said.
When asked where the infections came from, he said he did not know, but suggested that the high rates of COVID infections in the city mean further spread in the community, making it more likely that a staff member has. brought.
“The … intensity and prevalence level of COVID-19 Saskatoon is very high,” he said, adding that those factors make outbreaks more likely to occur in any setting where people gather.
But those are not the only factors.
A government website for all long-term care homes shows that more than 60 residents and staff have been infected in the past two weeks.
Muhajarine said the provincial government should have instituted a vaccination test system and public health measures long ago to prevent COVID from spreading as it has done.
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