CUPE members have been asked to volunteer to cover staffing shortfalls at private, for profit Parkside Extendicare facility. The facility is experiencing a serious outbreak of COVID-19 that has seen over one hundred residents test positive and many staff have tested positive or are off self-isolating due to exposure.

“We have had many conversations with the SHA over the past few days on how we can help in this crisis situation while ensuring that our members are safe,” said Sandra Seitz, President of CUPE 5430. “Our members are in the trenches everyday working hard to care for our patients and residents and will continue to do so throughout this pandemic. We believe that there will be CUPE members who step in to help out at Parkside Extendicare, but the Saskatchewan Government needs to stop turning a blind eye to CUPE’s ongoing concerns with staffing levels in long-term care.”

The COVID-19 pandemic is putting serious strain on a health care system that has already been burdened by understaffing.

 “Our members have gone above and beyond to provide quality hands on care to residents under extraordinary circumstances since the start of the pandemic – now we are being asked to do more with even less resources,” added Seitz. “If the Saskatchewan Health Authority continues to understaff long term care facilities, health care workers are going to burn out at record levels.”

At least 25 patients from Parkside Extendicare have been transferred to Pioneer Village – a facility that has been partially shuttered due to environmental safety concerns.

“There is now an influx of new patients at Pioneer Village, 19 of whom have tested positive for COVID, with no increase in staffing,” said Seitz. “We have received reports from exhausted and frustrated members who want to provide exceptional care to residents – but are unable to do so because there is simply not enough staff.”

Despite the challenges with staffing levels, CUPE 5430 is committed to continuing to provide quality, hands on care to patients and residents throughout the health care system.