COVID-19 is in 13 B.C. seniors' care homes – two of which are unidentified

The B.C. government had identified all seniors' care homes with outbreaks until March 28

Lynn valley care - rk
Lynn Valley Care Centre had 70 cases of COVID-19 among residents and staff as of March 25, when the province last provided numbers for the outbreak | Rob Kruyt

What happened: For the second press conference in a row the B.C. government has identified an outbreak of COVID-19 at a seniors' care home in the province and not revealed which home had the outbreak. 

Why this matters: Many residents in seniors' homes and their families are anxious to know where outbreaks have occurred and knowing that there are outbreaks but not knowing the home amps up that anxiety. 

Provincial health officer Bonnie Henry on March 30 announced that a thirteenth seniors' care home in B.C. has recorded a case of COVID-19, the infectious coronavirus that has caused a global pandemic and which is particularly deadly for older people. She did not reveal which home has the new outbreak. On March 28, when she announced that a twelfth such home had an outbreak, she similarly did not reveal which home it was, although she said that it was in the Fraser Health region. It is unclear in which region the latest identified care home is located but she said that all affected care homes are in the Vancouver Coastal Health, and Fraser Health regions. 

Business in Vancouver was on the phone in the queue with other reporters keen to ask Henry questions, but was not called upon to ask her to identify where the two most recent seniors' care home outbreaks occurred.

Henry was asked at the press conference if one of the new homes that had an outbreak was Riverbend Manor in Kamloops, and she said that she did not know any details about that property. She then said that she has a protocol to report outbreaks when they are in a seniors' facility even though she did not reveal the most recent two seniors' care homes that have outbreaks. 

Her most announcement of which seniors' care homes have cases was March 27, when she said that Surrey's The Harrison at Elim Village and Langley's Chartwell Independent Living at Langley Gardens each had cases, and that it was workers who were infected. 

The last detailed breakdown of the exact number of cases in each home was March 26, when Henry said that North Vancouver's Lynn Valley Care Centre had 70 infections of 46 residents and 24 employees. That was up by seven new cases compared to the day before.

Haro Park Centre, in Vancouver's West End, on March 26 had 58 cases, including infections in 30 residents and 28 workers. That count was up by three compared with the day before.

Seven other seniors' homes had outbreaks in the province at the time.

That includes two cases – one resident and one worker – at West Vancouver's Hollyburn House, as of March 26.

The other six homes all had one case as of March 26, and they are:

•Broadway Pentacostal Lodge;

•Vancouver's German Canadian Care Home;

•Vancouver's Little Mountain Place;

•Delta's Good Samaritan Delta View Care Centre;

•Coquitlam's Dufferin Care Centre; and

•White Rock's Evergreen Heights Assisted LIving.

BIV on March 25 had asked Henry why her order that care home staff only work at one facility was taking so long to implement and she explained that it was very complex to execute because of many different kinds of workers, with various workers having different contracts, including some union and some non-union. She said having the order take immediate effect could have caused worker shortages at some homes. 

Henry was asked March 30 if the government was making sure that care workers who were forbidden to work at more than one care home were not financially penalized.

"That's been occupying a good deal of our team's time over the last couple of weeks, once we recognized how important it was, and as you know we've had a number of outbreaks, particularly two quite large ones in Vancouver Coastal Health, at Lynn Valley [Care Centre] and at Haro Park [Centre,]" she said. 

"The challenge has been to try and track healthcare workers and as we know many of them work not only across facilities but also across acute care and long-term care. Yes, we've been working with the unions, with [the Health Employers Association of British Columbia] and the bottom line is everybody will be employed by the ministry at a specific rate so they will not be penalized, and they will all be at the same rate and there will be a central assigning body that works essentially under my direction, under the order, to ensure that each facility has sufficient staff."

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom