Questions to the Minister of Health on preparation for the coronovirus Corvid -19 in personal care homes in Manitoba
Earlier today I asked the Minister of Health about the preparation being made with respect to personal care homes in respect to the coronavirus Corvid-19. Corvid 19 is spreading globally. The fatality rate is much higher in those who are older - at an 8% mortality rate for those aged 70 to 79, and a 15% mortality rate for those who are age 80 or older. There is a particular concern with regards to personal care homes because residents in personal care homes are particularly susceptible to the virus, and because there have already been a number of deaths of individuals who were resident in a personal care homes in the United States, in the state of Washington. I asked the Minster of Health to make it clear what his plans are with respect to personal care homes. Sadly, the Minister refused to table the information about his plans for personal care homes.
The Minister's neglect with respect to his oversight of personal care homes is continuing. Personal care homes are a site where people are uniquely susceptible and where the risk of death is higher than elsewhere, yet the Minister in his Ministerial statement on the coronavirus Corvid-19 failed to specifically mention personal care homes. The briefing we received did not mention any plans specific to personal care homes and the government web site does not specifically provide guidelines for personal care homes. One of the important reasons why personal care homes need special consideration - is that we need to avoid a double tragedy. It would be a tragedy if anyone in a personal care homes got seriously ill or died from the coronavirus Corvid-19. It would be a double tragedy if the person who was really sick was completely cut off from any contact with family or friends because of the quarantine procedures. It is very important that there be preparations which will ensure family and friends can stay in touch through video links if either the personal care home resident or the family member or friend were quarantined. Ensuring such video links are available is important.
CORVID-19 Virus Preparation Personal-Care Home Residents
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, under this government personal-care homes have been neglected, but adequate preparedness for the coronavirus, COVID-19, is essential in terms of personal-care homes. Deaths from COVID-19 in the United States are already occurring among personal-care home residents.
Will the Minister of Health continue to neglect personal-care homes, or will he table today the directives he's provided to personal-care homes to ensure the safety of residents and also to ensure that sufficient video links are available so that family and friends can stay in touch with loved ones in the case where residents or family or friends have to be quarantined?
Hon. Cameron Friesen (Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living): Well, Madam Speaker, the assertion made by the member for River Heights is just wrong. [In this the Minister is sadly mistaken. I continue to get daily concerns about care in personal care homes in Manitoba. Personal care homes need more attention.]
Personal-care homes are not neglected, as that member would have known if he was listening during the complementary briefing that Public Health and department officials gave him earlier today, he would have known that personal-care homes forms part of the strategy of public health when it comes to preparedness in respect of corona. [Personal Care homes were sadly not even mentioned in the briefing, which the Minister of Health did not attend and therefore could not know what was said.]
Mr. Friesen: And the member would learn more by listening now than–rather than chirping over the answer I'm providing.
Madam Speaker, we are preparing, we are collaborating with officials in jurisdictions across the country and internationally. If that member knows of things that he would like to add into that preparedness, I would be happy to receive his thoughts because this is not a partisan issue.