Union repeats demands that AHS take over Good Samaritan Southgate
EDMONTON – Alberta Health Services is putting the lives of even more seniors at risk by exempting the Good Samaritan Edmonton Southgate Care Centre from the order limiting workers to only one facility during the pandemic, says the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE).
“The single-site rule saved the lives of the vulnerable residents in continuing care,” says AUPE vice-president Susan Slade. “To exempt the facility that has seen the most deaths in the province increases the danger that COVID-19 will infect and sweep through other facilities.”
Almost two weeks ago, AUPE called on Alberta Health Services (AHS) to take over operations at the Good Samaritan Edmonton Southgate Care Centre, where 27 residents have now died. The centre, staffed by AUPE members, currently has 17 active COVID-19 cases among residents and another 18 among staff.
“It’s clear they should have listened to us then,” says Slade. “It’s not too late. We call on Healthy Minister Tyler Shandro to act now to save lives. Putting this home under the control of the public health system is the only acceptable solution to the crisis in staffing and care. Public facilities have a much better record of keeping residents safe.”
During her COVID-19 update on Monday, July 27, 2020, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw claimed AHS had taken over operations of the facility to help control the outbreak after 12 residents had died. But AHS was later forced to issue a statement clarifying that it had not taken over the facility.
“We were alarmed back then when it appeared the Chief Medical Officer of Health wasn’t being given timely information, and we were further alarmed when we discovered AHS had changed the official transcript of her remarks,” Slade continues.
“We are now being told that this is the first exemption to the single-worksite order, but this is not true. Four facilities in Vegreville were given exemptions at the end of May because AHS and private providers were having difficulty recruiting staff to private facilities.”
Slade said the confusion coming from the Alberta government and AHS is worrying.
“Albertans need clarity, they need swift and responsible decisions. They need this government to acknowledge that private care has failed our seniors during the pandemic and to use the public system to step in and save lives,” she says.
“How many more deaths need to occur before AHS decides it’s appropriate for them to step in? How many more families have to suffer? How many more of our members have to take ill and wonder if they’ve brought COVID-19 home to their families? Why won’t the Minister do his job?”
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Terry Inigo-Jones, Communications Officer 403-831-4394