WINNIPEG -- The Manitoba government has appointed an expert advisor to review the situation at Maples Long Term Care Home.

Health Minister Cameron Friesen made the announcement at a news conference on Friday, one week after paramedics treated several residents at the care home. Over 48 hours, eight people died.

Friesen said the Maples care home examination will be led by Dr. Lynn Stevenson, the former associate deputy minister in the British Columbia Ministry of Health. Stevenson is also a senior healthcare executive in healthcare operations, quality and safety, human resources, and research, as well as a registered nurse.

Earlier in the year, she took part in the review of a COVID-19 outbreak at a facility in Halifax, where there were 360 cases of the disease and 53 deaths.

“I have complete confidence that Dr. Stevenson will be able to provide the answers that all Manitobans are waiting to have,” Friesen said.

The review at Maples care home will include:

  • Determining the level of care provided by the care home’s operator for all residents and those that tested positive for COVID-19;
  • Determining the policies and procedures the operator had and has in place for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, seeing if they align with federal and provincial guidelines, and how the staff follows the policies;
  • Determining if there were measures in place that had a negative impact on patient care or safety;
  • Determining if appropriate staffing levels were in place, and are in place now;
  • Identifying any takeaways from this situation that can help long-term care in Manitoba during the pandemic and afterward.

The preliminary findings will be submitted in mid-December, and a final report will be submitted to the minister in January.

“In essence, it is an engagement that will seek to look back and establish what happened,” the minister said.

“It will look forward and ask ‘what more can be done?’ But also ask ‘what’s being done right now?’ and what advice we can receive that would strengthen the care for residents in those facilities and give confidence to their loved ones.”

 The province noted the following measures are now in place to help deal with COVID-19 outbreaks at Manitoba care homes:

  • Winnipeg Regional Health Authority staff have been sent to directly oversee management at Maples;
  • The Paramedic Rapid Response Team has been activated;
  • Nurse practitioners have been added;
  • Doctor visits and virtual visits have been increased;
  • The Red Cross will be on-site at Maples on Saturday; and
  • Facility overseers have been added to four long-term care homes in outbreaks.

The investigation will begin as early as next week.

“What transpired at Maples is devastating and Manitobans deserve answers,” Friesen said.

“With today’s announcement we are that much closer to getting those answers for Manitobans.”

 - With files from CTV’s Mason DePatie and Charles Lefebvre.