Still no COVID-19 cases at Island Health long-term care facilities

Health authority takes ‘robust’ management approach to all illness outbreaks

No cases of COVID-19 have been found at any Island Health long-term care or assisted living facilities, according to the health authority.

The number of non-coronavirus outbreaks are not atypical either, according to the health authority, and each one prompts a ‘robust’ management approach.

Active outbreaks indicate an illness or virus found in two or more patients at a given facility. In late March and early April, tests confirmed an active outbreak of a gastrointestinal or norovirus-like illnesses at two Greater Victoria care homes; Amica on the Gorge and the Lodge at Broadmead.

On April 7 an outbreak of respiratory syncytial virus was found at Victoria’s Mount Saint Mary Hospital.

READ ALSO: Outbreak in Saanich mental health facility not COVID-19, says Island Health

Every person presenting symptoms is immediately tested for COVID-19, says Dr. Paul Hasselback, Island Health medical health officer. Because, as demonstrated by coronavirus cases at care homes across Canada and in Vancouver – such as those at the Lynn Valley Care Centre – the facilities house people who are “medically fragile” and far more vulnerable to the impacts of the virus.

“Certainly we’re well aware of the tragedies that have occurred in our long-term care settings,” Hasselback said. “We were fortunate to have a good foundation for outbreak management.”

“If an individual develops a cough and fever, they are put on isolation even more so than the facility already has people,” he added. “There’s an added layer of protection added in at that point in time so the staff don’t get exposed and carry it to someone else.”

READ ALSO: B.C. screening care home workers as two more test positive for COVID-19

Hasselback said, barring a detailed analysis, the outbreaks have been fairly typical for this time of year.

“I actually think the last couple of months, because we’ve been implementing a variety of restrictions, there’s so much sensitivity to respiratory illness coming into long-term care, we had a bit of a blip initially … now we’re seeing even less illness than we would typically this time of year,” he said.

They’re doing the “right thing” with strict infection prevention and control in place at long-term care and assisted living facilities across the province.

For example, workers who before may have worked at more than one facility, are limited to one care home. Residents are taught hand and respiratory hygiene and personal protective equipment is required for proximity around any symptomatic residents.

And all symptomatic residents are reported to Island Health.

“Because long-term care facilities are being extremely diligent, they are calling us on fairly mild symptoms,” Hasselback said. “We may see a few individuals they might not have called for in the past. But the good news is we’ve not seen any COVID-19 in any of our long-term care facilities yet, here on the Island.”

As of April 15, there are 1,561 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in B.C. including 92 on Vancouver Island. More than 950 British Columbians have recovered from the virus and 75 have died.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Brand new Victoria long-term care home could take pressure off hospitals



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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