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2 care home outbreaks linked to 'silent' cases at Mission Memorial Hospital, officials say
VANCOUVER -- Health officials are blaming "silent" cases of COVID-19 at Mission Memorial Hospital for at least one, and possibly two outbreaks at long-term care facilities in the Lower Mainland.
Fraser Health said a resident at the Maple Hill care home in Langley developed symptoms days after being transferred from Mission Memorial, which prompted officials to investigate whether anyone at the hospital was sick.
Dr. Martin Lavoie, chief medical health officer for the region, said they traced the patient's contacts at Mission Memorial and couldn't find anyone with COVID-19 symptoms – but testing determined that four patients were carrying the virus.
"That's how we discovered we had silent, or asymptomatic, cases at Mission Memorial Hospital," Lavoie said.
Officials also suspect the hospital is linked to B.C.'s newest care home outbreak, which was announced Wednesday at Tabor Home in Abbotsford. One resident fell ill after being cared for at Mission Memorial, but officials said the connection is less obvious because more time had passed before the patient developed symptoms.
Fraser Health is hopeful that the outbreaks were caught early, and that staff can effectively contain the spread. Lavoie said it is standard practice for new long-term care home residents to be quarantined for 14 days when they arrive, and that protocol was followed in these cases.
Enhanced cleaning and other outbreak response measures have been implemented at all three locations.
Tabor Home, which is operated by the Tabor Home Society, has placed the sick resident in isolation and is screening staff and residents for the virus twice per day. For the time being, only essential visitors are being allowed into the facility.
In their daily virus update, B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also noted that Mission Memorial Hospital, a small community hospital, is currently only providing urgent care and emergency care.
"Public health teams are working hard to contain further spread. While we are monitoring the situation closely, we are hopeful that we have caught these outbreaks in the early stages," Dix and Henry said in a joint statement.
They said the outbreak highlights how much trouble can be caused when COVID-19 pops up in small communities – a timely message as people consider summer travel plans
"As a result, we ask British Columbians to continue to take all measures to ensure you are safely increasing your social interactions, you are being respectful of communities you may be visiting when on the road and that you are always, without question, staying home and staying away from others if you are even mildly ill," the health officials added.
There are currently seven active outbreaks in health-care facilities across B.C.