Family members say they’re being called to help at Edmonton Chinatown Care Centre during staff shortages

There are mounting concerns from families with loved ones living at the Edmonton Chinatown Care Centre. The death toll from COVID-19 has climbed and dozens of staff have also become sick. As Lisa MacGregor reports, families said it's affecting the level of care.

There are growing concerns for families who have loved ones living in the Edmonton Chinatown Care Centre.

The facility is dealing with staffing shortages and a COVID-19 outbreak, including five deaths announced Sunday.

As of Monday, 46 residents have come down with the virus and 11 have died, according to Alberta Health Services.

There’s also a total of 44 staff cases. Only four are recovered.

READ MORE: Alberta identifying ‘unconventional ICU spaces’ as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations rise

The situation is so bad, family members are being called in to help.

Sing Wong has gone to the Edmonton Chinatown Care Centre to help his mother in her 90s at least four times already in the last week.

“They said they need me to come feed my mom because they’re short staffed,” Wong said.

Wong isn’t the only one. Melanie Mai has also been asked to come help her mother as well, which worries her since the facility has been on lockdown for months.

“I feel like they totally keep us in the dark so we don’t know what to do. We are just worried sick about out family members,” Mai said.

She’s grateful her mother has a cellphone since it’s been challenging getting a hold of anyone at the facility.

“The most frustrating thing is that you phone so many phone numbers and nobody answers the call. You can’t even leave a message when you have problems, when you have questions,” Mai said.

The care centre has been dealing with a major outbreak. It was added to the provincial outbreak list on Oct. 20.

Read more:
Coronavirus: Where Alberta’s COVID-19 outbreaks are

The Chinatown Care Centre is a stand-alone facility and has nowhere else to draw staff from and staffing agencies are also strapped right now.

Chinatown Multi-Level Care Foundation, which runs the facility, said in a statement to Global News: “As you can appreciate this has been extremely difficult given the unprecedented number of outbreaks in the Edmonton area.

“Residents continue to receive care and services including meals and hydration.

“There have been times when meals have been delivered later than expected but residents have not gone without meals.”

READ MORE: Alberta records 1,608 COVID-19 cases Sunday, 9 seniors die including 5 at Edmonton care centre

Alberta Health Services said “it is working with the operator to ensure residents are safe and is providing some staff.”

“We acknowledge that this temporary service change may be difficult for some residents, and the site hopes to be able to return to regular services as staff recover and are able to return to work,” AHS said in a statement to Global News.

The vice president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) representing staff at the facility, Susan Slade, said the government needs to step up with a centralized staffing model with AHS.

“There was no plans in place for the pandemic, we’re what, eight to nine months in now and there still seems to be no plan,” Slade said. “It’s upsetting that it’s come to that.

“But also the reality is that there’s just not enough staff, there’s not enough anywhere right now.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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