'He had the biggest smile on his face': Woman plays trumpet for dad outside B.C. care home hit by COVID-19
Published Tuesday, March 24, 2020 8:17PM PDT Last Updated Tuesday, March 24, 2020 8:31PM PDT
VANCOUVER -- It was a familiar sound in Samantha Monckton's household growing up and she knew it would provide her father comfort during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Admittedly, she called her trumpet playing "terrible," but that didn't stop her from having an impromptu concert on the sidewalk outside her father's care home.
"I knew that was something that my dad was familiar with in terms of the sound – he's blind and has dementia – so there aren't a lot of things that could provide him that comfort, and this did," she told CTV News.
"It may not have sounded super good at that time, but it definitely got to him and he heard it and he laughed and he had a big smile on his face."
Her father, Garry Monckton, is a resident at Haro Park in Vancouver's West End, which has now recorded the second highest number of coronavirus cases for long-term care homes in B.C.
There are now 15 residents and 25 staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19, behind North Vancouver's Lynn Valley care home, which has 42 residents and 21 staff members infected. Ten residents from Lynn Valley have also died from the virus.
Samantha hasn't been able to visit her father since the first person tested positive for the virus earlier this month and the physical distance has been proving challenging.
"It's been very, very difficult to have that separation," Samantha said. "I really, really miss giving him a hug and a kiss."
The distance is even more difficult this week as she has learned her 78-year-old father is one of the new COVID-19 cases.
She said she became speechless when she learned the test results.
"It kind of paralyzed me for a few minutes," she said.
She said her father has a mild fever. Through this challenging time, she has full confidence in the staff, whom she praises.
"It's full marks to the staff who are doing an incredible job under these circumstances," she said.
During a press conference Tuesday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonny Henry said the rapid spread of COVID-19 in care homes is linked to staff members who often work in more than one facility.
"We're doing a concerted effort across the province to now sort that out, so that we can assign people to a specific long term care home, particularly through this outbreak and this pandemic, and that is something that is being undertaken as an urgent issue," Dr. Henry said.
She said those assignments will be arranged by the end of the week.
COVID-19 has now spread to another two care homes in the Lower Mainland: Little Mountain Place Residential Care & Housing Society in Vancouver, where a staff member has tested positive, and the Evergreen Heights assisted living facility in White Rock, where a resident has been infected.
The new numbers bring the total number of long-term care homes and assisted-living facilities up to eight.