VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Coastal Health Authority is taking over operations of a Vancouver care home where dozens of residents died during a COVID-19 outbreak that began last November and took months to contain.

A statement from the health authority says the Ministry of Health has approved the transfer of operations and assets from Little Mountain Residential Care and Housing Society.

The transfer includes Little Mountain Place, a 116-bed long-term care home for seniors, where 41 deaths and many more COVID-19 illnesses were reported last winter.

The statement says the transition, which also includes a 96-unit independent living facility and a 73-bed long-term care home for younger adults with complex needs, is expected to be completed in the next few months.

Society president Bob Breen says the pandemic accentuated some ongoing problems including inadequate access to finance, human resources and general administrative supports, as well as a limited ability to attract and maintain staff.

Bob Chapman, interim vice-president of the health authority, says it has worked with the society to support management of the three facilities, but is now in the process of gathering necessary approvals and consulting with stakeholders in advance of the takeover.

“The transfer of these facilities to VCH will provide long-term stability for staff and help ensure safe, quality care for residents,” Chapman says in the statement.

A health authority inspection of Little Mountain Place in early January found staffing levels were low and cleaning was inadequate, as the virus spread throughout the long-term care home following the outbreak that was declared on Nov. 22.

Ninety-nine of 114 residents living at Little Mountain Place ultimately tested positive for the illness. Figures from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control show 72 staff also became ill, but none died.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 20, 2021.