3 more outbreaks at B.C. care homes as province rolls out COVID-19 booster shots
Three new outbreaks of COVID-19 have been declared at care homes in the Lower Mainland this weekend.
On Saturday, Vancouver Coastal Health announced that two residents of Amica Lions Gate in West Vancouver had tested positive for the coronavirus.
The private care facility is owned and operated by Amica Senior Lifestyles, but the health authority is assisting with its outbreak response.
Then, on Sunday, Fraser Health announced new outbreaks at Heritage Village in Chilliwack and Queen's Park Care Centre in New Westminster.
Both facilities are owned and operated by Fraser Health.
One resident and one staff member at Heritage Village and two residents at Queen's Park have tested positive.
All three care homes are now closed to admissions, and enhanced infection control measures have been put in place at each location.
This is the first time an outbreak has been declared at Amica Lions Gate.
Heritage Village saw a COVID-19 outbreak declared on Aug. 17 of this year. It ended a few weeks later on Sept. 4. According to data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, five people tested positive during that outbreak, four of them staff members. No deaths were associated with the outbreak.
Queen's Park Care Centre is now on its third outbreak of the pandemic, having seen a single staff member test positive in October 2020 during its first and 14 cases - 10 residents and four staff - during its second outbreak in November of that year. Four residents died during the second outbreak, according to the BCCDC.
The latest outbreaks bring B.C.'s total to at least 22. There were 19 ongoing outbreaks in the province's health-care system as of Friday.
The outbreaks come as B.C. rolls out booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines for care home residents, and as the death toll from a major outbreak in Burnaby increases.
As of last week, 90 people associated with Willingdon Care Centre - 69 residents and 21 staff members - had tested positive.
On Thursday, Health Minister Adrian Dix called the outbreak the "most significant" in the province, and noted that at least 10 deaths had been recorded.
"That's a significant tragedy at the Willingdon Care Centre and for everyone involved there," Dix said. "What that tells us is all the steps that (provincial health officer) Dr. (Bonnie) Henry has described are needed to continue to protect long-term care."
Those steps, according to Henry, include booster shots for residents, vaccine mandates for staff and visitors, and non-immunization precautions such as masks, distancing and avoiding large gatherings in close proximity with others.
Willingdon Care Centre has 95 beds, according to the Fraser Health website, meaning more than 70 per cent of residents are infected.