Provincial Ombudsman to investigate Parkside Extendicare COVID-19 outbreak

The provincial government has formally requested an investigation into the Parkside Extendicare COVID-19 outbreak by the provincial Ombudsman.

The request was made by Seniors Minister Everett Hindley, who says the outbreak resulted in over 200 infections and 38 deaths.

Minister Hindley is asking the Ombudsman to investigate and report on pre-outbreak infection prevention and control practices, adherence to provincial public health orders, identification of the initial positive cases and how that was relayed to resident’s families, and more.

Ombudsman Mary McFadyen will have the cooperation of the Saskatchewan Health Authority, Extendicare, and the Ministry of Health, according to the letter from Hindley.

NDP continues call for public inquiry into Parkside outbreak

Health critic Vicki Mowat issued a statement on the request for an Ombudsman investigation into the Parkside Extendicare outbreak, saying the request doesn’t go far enough.

Mowat says the request does not include any reference to the financial arrangements of Extendicare — the only for-profit long-term care provider in Saskatchewan — which is something Seniors’ critic Matt Love has called for in recent weeks. The letter also does not ask the Ombudsman to investigate the Saskatchewan Health Authority and Ministry of Health’s involvement in the outbreak’s handling after the SHA took over day-to-day operations of the facility back in December.

Mowat concluded her statement by saying the provincial government has a track record of not following the Ombudsman’s recommendations and that the need for a full public inquiry is “increasingly clear.”

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