Dozens die in COVID-19 outbreak at Vancouver nursing home
VANCOUVER -- Inside Little Mountain Place, COVID-19 has taken a heartbreaking toll.
In fact, the nursing home is facing what's believed to be the deadliest long-term care outbreak for the virus that B.C. has seen.
Thirty-eight residents have died.
In total, 98 residents in the 116-bed facility, along with 69 staff, have tested positive. The numbers are for Dec. 29, the most recent that Vancouver Coastal Health made available.
“It’s devastating for families and it’s devastating for our members as well,” said Mike Old, the spokesperson for the Hospital Employees Union. “Our members who work at Little Mountain are anxious, a bit scared. It’s been a long few weeks for them.”
Vancouver Coastal Health says that all “eligible residents” and staff at the nursing home have now been vaccinated.
On Monday, B.C.’s top doctor described the outbreak at Little Mountain as “very challenging” and “incredibly lethal.”
“We don't always know the reason why it seems to spread so quickly in some facilities versus others,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said.
VCH declined an on-camera interview with CTV, but in a statement said in part that it has “…worked closely with Little Mountain to ensure implementation of comprehensive interventions to bring outbreaks under control. These interventions include screening of staff and residents for symptoms of COVID-19, appropriate testing of residents and staff, prompt isolation of cases, monitoring and execution of proper infection prevention and control practices.”
CTV had sent two prior requests to VCH for information on Little Mountain’s outbreak but the health authority refused to provide the numbers until Tuesday.
At the beginning of the pandemic, regular updates on long-term care were provided. That later stopped.
Dr. Henry says it was not due to a change in policy but happened because of time constraints.
"As the numbers increase the actual person power to get that... and correlate it was taking hours and hours and hours of epidemiology time, because we do not have an I.T. system that allows us to do that efficiently,” she said.
But the Hospital Employees Union, which represents many of the workers at Little Mountain, says transparency is crucial.
“We think it’s really important the public has a good view of what’s going on in long term care. It helps provides some confidence that public health is on top of it,” Old said in an interview with CTV.
He says when the pandemic is over, there needs to be an investigation into what happened in long-term care in B.C. and how to make it better.
Meanwhile, VCH has also provided an update on the outbreak at Capilano Care Centre where 26 residents have now died from the virus. As of Dec. 30, there was one active case and 49 residents who had been cleared. Sixty-four staff members have also been cleared while two are self-isolating at home.