WINNIPEG -- An extra set of eyes at Maples long term care home has turned up some troubling results. Gaps in care for vulnerable residents have been identified by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

It comes as the care home struggles to get COVID-19 under control amid rampant community spread of the virus.

"I will be candid," WRHA chief health operations officer Gina Trinidad told a media conference. "We have identified a number of issues that concern us."

The WRHA said a clinical rapid response team and Canadian Red Cross personnel are now at the care home, and a senior leader has been on site since Tuesday.

They're working with managers from Revera, the for-profit company that runs the home, to take immediate action on several issues - including proper use of personal protective equipment and making sure residents are eating and drinking.

"We have identified issues with proper recording of resident hydration and nutritional information, and the other area of concern is the need to stabilize staffing," said Trinidad.

It's been one week since multiple 911 calls prompted first responders to treat 12 residents on-site — two people died, and three were taken to hospital.

An anonymous post later shared by a paramedic on social media described the situation as "something out of a nightmare," saying residents were hungry and in need of hydration.

"We do know that there was the need for intravenous therapy for a number of the residents at the maples, which would indicate that, in fact, they were dehydrated," said Vickie Kaminski, WRHA president and CEO. "The period of time over which that occurred is what we're trying to estimate."

The WRHA's patient relations team is currently conducting a safety review of the care residents are receiving. That review is in addition to a provincial investigation.

Manitoba's health minister Cameron Friesen announced Dr. Lynn Stevenson, a former associate deputy health minister in B.C., will be looking into what happened at the care home and reporting back on how the system can be improved.

"Manitobans have questions that have arisen in respect of what happened just a week ago and we're going to get those answers for them," Friesen said.

Across Winnipeg, 357 care home residents have tested positive, and 68 have died. There have been 189 recoveries, while 71 cases remain active.

There are outbreaks, which are declared after just one case, at 25 of the city's 38 care homes.

Health officials said they still don't have a clear understanding of why COVID-19 has hit Maples so hard.

"We went very quickly to a large number of COVID-positive patients," said Kaminski. "Mostly asymptomatic."

A Revera spokesperson said there are many variables and factors that have played a role in why some homes have been hit hard harder than others.

"Objective data and sophisticated studies have shown that ownership is not one of them," the spokesperson said. "The primary drivers of COVID-19 spread have been shown to be the prevalence of the virus in the community around a home and building design. Older homes with shared bathrooms make it more difficult to stop the spread of COVID-19."

The company said more investment is needed in long term care to address ageing infrastructure and staffing challenges.

Revera said the issues raised in the safety review by the WRHA are "serious and important ones" and vowed to work on fixing them with help from the WRHA.