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Manitoba Liberals call for a rapid response team to be ready in case of any future outbreaks of COVID-19 in our personal care homes


Yesterday, May 22, Manitoba Liberals put out a press release calling for the province to get ready for the Second Wave of COVID-19 infections and put together a rapid response team to address any outbreaks in personal care homes.  One of the reasons that the outbreaks in personal homes in other provinces became so severe is that they did not have such a rapid response team.   When there is an outbreak in a personal care home, there can be many staff who have been exposed to the resident or staff member who develops a COVID-19 infection.  This means that many of the staff may have to isolate or quarantine for two weeks which leaves the staffing in the care home short.  To compensate for this short term staff are brought in who may or may not have specific experience or training in dealing with an outbreak in a personal care home.  As a result of the shortage of staff in Ontario and Quebec, they have had to bring in the Canadian military to help.  Manitoba needs to have a rapid response team which has received additional training in looking after an outbreak in a long term care home.   It will be much easier to assemble such a team now and to provide them the training rather than wait until the emergency occurs. Our press release is below. 

Ready for the Second Wave? Get Rapid Response Medical Team Ready Now

WINNIPEG - Manitoba Liberals say the Pallister government needs to start preparing a Rapid Response medical team that could be deployed to personal care homes or other hotspots before the expected second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

While the PCs have released a vague “Phase II” plan for reopening the economy, the government should be preparing now to ensure that Personal Care Homes remain infection free until a vaccine is developed.

That’s why Liberals say a rapid response team with the capacity to staff three personal care homes at once should de developed now. 

“Manitobans have done a great job of working to keep COVID numbers down, and we should be using this time to make sure that personal care homes stay COVID-19-free for good,” said Jon Gerrard, MLA for River Heights and Manitoba Liberal Health Critic. “The time to start preparing a medical rapid response team is now.” 

Manitoba Liberals first called on the PC government to release a COVID-19 plan on March 2, including detailed measures to protect personal care homes. 

Personal care homes have seen a terrible death toll during the pandemic across Canada and around the world. One major reason is that when COVID-19 strikes a personal care home, staffing can be drastically reduced because workers have to self-isolate. That was the reason the Canadian military had to be called in when outbreaks occurred at homes in Ontario and Quebec. 

Manitoba Liberals say the PCs should take long-overdue measures to improve services at personal care homes, including a COVID-19 risk benefit for staff, increasing staffing levels, and ensure that containment measures are in place. 

“When Manitoba Liberals called on the PCs to bring back 90-day prescriptions, they realized they made a mistake and changed it,” said Cindy Lamoureux, MLA for Tyndall Park and Manitoba Liberal Seniors' Critic. “So long as there is a risk of coronavirus, we need to do everything we can to keep every senior and health care worker safe and healthy.”

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