Minister Cameron Friesen says he does not know what went wrong on Friday night at Maples Long Term Care Home but will be opening an investigation.
The health minister says they have received reports from staff at came homes that they are "seeing things that they have never seen before" regarding patient deterioration as they near the end of their life.
Sunday morning the Winnipeg Police Service announced they have begun an investigation into the home.
"The Winnipeg Police Service is aware of concerns at the Maples Long Term Care Home, and WPS investigators have initiated a preliminary assessment of the situation," the WPS says in a statement.
Hours later, Minister Friesen announced that the province is also investigating at a press conference.
"I believe Manitobans needed a very quick response that is why I directed that those system leaders and Revera would be here yesterday in room 68 at 5:30. I also knew that essentially, all accountabilities are up to the minister's office."
He says no one is comfortable with the current situation with care homes.
Fresen says that plans have been made since Friday to respond to the incident at Maples. The province will be conducting its own investigation looking at the condition of residents, care provided, and how often care is given.
"If there is something to be learned from this event that took place at Maples we are going to learn that lesson and fast."
He says this will not be a full investigation with the Chief Medical Examiner as it is an independent office but says it is not off the table.
A task force is being created to address the current care home situation. The WRHA will be supervising Revera homes. Care homes will be asked to share what they are experiencing with the WRHA.
A rapid response system will be created like the one put in place at Maples.
Chief Nursing Officer Lanette Siragusa says the province is looking to provide support to care homes across Manitoba like the team of paramedics at Maples.
"We are developing the specifics for a similar team to support northern and rural Manitoban facilities in a similar way.
The teams will also partner with the health region to support additional staffing of the facility while a longer term solution is established.
Siragusa calls the reports from Maples "incredibly distressing" and is asking care homes to bring in more support staff as needed.
When asked if he would be comfortable having his own family members at the care homes being investigated, Friesen changed the subject to visitation.
"We know, from the global experience and we know here in Canada that long term care homes are challenging places to protect during a pandemic."
He says errors occur in homes.
"It is hard to wear PPE exactly correctly and visitation produces risk but not visiting creates risks as well of a different kind."
In September, Friesen spent $17.9 million on separated visitor shelters for care homes. These have not arrived.
Friesen says that throughout the weekend, he has been contacting various organizations such as Doctors Manitoba, the federal health minister, and the paramedic association throughout the weekend to discuss the events that occurred on Friday night.
As of last night, a 24-hour care team of paramedics will be at the facility, and a Red Cross team will be arriving on Friday.
Friesen says the staffing at the facility on Friday night was adequate as it fulfilled the hours of care required for the patient but would not say what the nurse to resident ratio was.
"The nurse complement was meeting and even exceeding what was required," the minister says.
Siragusa says the staffing met normal care requirements, not staff for a COVID-19 outbreak. She says this is part of the investigation.
Friesen says 24 hours before Friday's events he was informed that the care home did not have any concerns that could have led to Friday's events.
The health minister and chief nursing officer say care homes must have enough staff to deal with the growing needs of COVID-19 outbreaks.
Siragusa is asking healthcare staff to take care of each other during the pandemic.