Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Family and friends come out to show support of residents and staff in the McKenzie Towne Long Term Care Centre, where there are 35 confirmed COVID-19 cases, in Calgary, on April 2, 2020.

Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

The company that runs Calgary’s McKenzie Towne Continuing Care Centre, where about 100 residents and workers are infected with COVID-19, says staffing levels at the seniors facility are stabilizing.

But there are still concerns from the union representing workers about the workload for staff on the job, especially in parts of the facility affected by the outbreak. Almost 40 staff have tested positive for the disease, and Canadian Union of Public Employees has said in recent weeks that some other workers are scared to come into work.

Revera Inc., which owns and operates McKenzie Towne, says it’s still recruiting for jobs including food preparation, cleaning and clinical care.

Story continues below advertisement

“Staffing levels at McKenzie Towne are stabilizing, but we need to be able to provide relief for our staff, who have been working extra hours,” said Larry Roberts, a spokesman for Mississauga-based Revera.

“We know that a lot of people are temporarily out of work because of the pandemic,” he added. “We can use more staff to respond to the pandemic.”

Alberta Health Services announced Friday the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths at McKenzie Towne jumped by four to 17, from the previous confirmed number of 13. About 58 residents and 39 staff at the 150-bed home have tested positive for the disease. Mr. Roberts said a dozen residents are considered recovered.

Lou Arab of CUPE, which has about 160 members working at the centre, said the facility is still short-staffed in wards where residents are suffering from COVID-19. “They are relying on temporary agency staff, who don’t always show up.”

Mr. Arab added that as of Thursday, staff were given access to N95 respirator masks. They did have personal protective equipment before, but not N95s. Mr. Roberts said Revera has “N95 masks on hand, to be used by our staff when appropriate.”

The McKenzie Towne Continuing Care Centre accounts for a significant portion of Calgary’s 900 COVID-19 cases, and is the province’s worst outbreak at a continuing care facility. Across Canada, seniors facilities have suffered some of the deadliest consequences of the pandemic. Residents are often frail and already suffering from chronic ailments that put them particularly at risk.

Renee LaBoucane’s mother Doreen Gauvreau, 81, was a resident at McKenzie Towne but died as a result of a COVID-19 this month. Her father, Sylvio, 89, is also a resident in the facility, and is bedridden with the disease.

Story continues below advertisement

Ms. LaBoucane said when a number of workers were sent home as a result of exposure to coronavirus or COVID-19 illness weeks ago, it created a significant staffing shortage. She’s unsure of the current staffing situation, but said those employees still able to work “are doing an amazing job.”

She said she and other family members would have benefited from better communication about the health of loved ones, and what was happening in the facility earlier in the outbreak. Ms. LaBoucane added long-term care centres with COVID-19 outbreaks need to use technology or other means for family members to have regular opportunities to interact with one another, “even for our own peace of mind.”

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health also announced Friday that continuing care facility workers can now only work at one site.

Mr. Roberts said the centre has hired 37 temporary staff since the outbreak. There is also about 10 staff from an agency that provides temporary certified health-care workers. He added that some staff that had been in isolation have recently returned to work.

Mr. Roberts said Revera is trying to support staff. “For example, we are providing hotel rooms and meals for staff who have been asked to self-isolate, but cannot do so in their home environments.”

Alberta Health Services has also sent a clinical nurse specialist, a registered nurse, and a respiratory therapist to provide services at McKenzie Towne. An AHS spokesman said health officials are also reviewing the centre’s measures before the outbreak.

Story continues below advertisement

Sign up for the Coronavirus Update newsletter to read the day’s essential coronavirus news, features and explainers written by Globe.

Coronavirus information
Coronavirus information
The Zero Canada Project provides resources to help you manage your health, your finances and your family life as Canada reopens.
Visit the hub

In the interests of public health and safety, our coronavirus news articles are free for anyone to access. However, The Globe depends on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe to globeandmail.com. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.

Your subscription helps The Globe and Mail provide readers with critical news at a critical time. Thank you for your continued support. We also hope you will share important coronavirus news articles with your friends and family. In the interest of public health and safety, all our coronavirus news articles are free for anyone to access.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies