SASKATOON -- Nearly all the residents at Lakeview Pioneer Lodge in Wakaw, Sask. have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the former CEO who has stepped in to help as most of the staff are self-isolating.

“It is the perfect storm here in Wakaw in the moment,” said Wayne Nogier, who was the CEO at Lakeview Pioneer Lodge for over seven years until August 2020.

“In the 27 years that I’ve been involved in health care, I’ve just not seen anything occur like this ever.”

Nogier said between Christmas and New Year’s Day, health care workers tested residents who were showing symptoms. Then, they decided to test all residents at the end of last week, with 42 of the 44 residents testing positive as of Wednesday — the majority of the positive cases are asymptomatic, said Nogier.

Two residents at the home who tested positive have died.

Nogier explained that residents in the care home are used to being in contact with one another, and staff are doing their best to keep them in their rooms.

“That’s why, in an environment like this, the staffing numbers are crucial in ensuring that we can effectively mitigate this process from ever starting, but now that it’s here, it’s really in our face,” he said.

“We’ve got to deal with an increasing need for one-to-one care, an increasing need for assessing our residents that have COVID-19 and ensuring that we’re responsive to any of the illness that we see and any symptoms.”

About 60 per cent of the staff are self-isolating, he said, either because they have COVID-19 or symptoms of the virus. Staff that are able to work are checking in on residents every hour and can call at any time for care.

The private care home is under contract with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA). The SHA set up an incident command system, which includes recruiting people who are familiar with the facility, said Nogier.

He stepped in to help at Lakeview Pioneer Lodge on Wednesday afternoon, temporarily setting aside his job at the Mont St. Joseph Home in Prince Albert.