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Workers at 2 seniors' communities in B.C. diagnosed with COVID-19
Published Friday, March 27, 2020 1:18PM PDT Last Updated Friday, March 27, 2020 6:46PM PDT
The Elim Village retirement community in Surrey, B.C. is seen in this image from its website. (ElimVillage.com)
VANCOUVER -- Workers at two seniors' communities in B.C.'s Lower Mainland have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, officials announced Friday.
Fraser Health said a staff member at Elim Village in Surrey and a community health worker at Chartwell Langley Gardens in Langley have both been infected with the virus and are at home in self-isolation.
Officials described both facilities as retirement communities that have "long-term care, assisted living and independent living."
There are now 11 seniors' homes and long-term care facilities where residents or staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 across the region – a major concern, as older people are said to be more susceptible to severe symptoms.
Most of the 14 coronavirus deaths recorded in B.C. so far have been residents of the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver.
Fraser Health said enhanced control measures have been put in place at both Elim Village and Chartwell Langley Gardens, and that staff are working to identify anyone who might have been exposed to COVID-19.
"At this point there is no transmission that we've identified in any of our facilities in our region," said Dr. Martin Lavoie, chief medical health officer for Fraser Health.
Those measures include a ban on non-essential visitors and increased cleaning protocols. All residents and staff are also being screened twice per day.
Workers at both facilities are also being barred from working at any other seniors' homes for the time being. Health officials have said care workers taking shifts at multiple facilities has been a major factor in the spread of the virus.
Dr. Lavoie said Fraser Health is still working to determine whether the infected workers from Elim Village and Chartwell Langley Gardens have been working at any other facilities.
"If that's the case, then we will institute the same measures (at those homes)," he added.
Elim Village is owned by the Elim Christian Care Society, while Chartwell Langley Gardens is owned by Chartwell Retirement Residences.
As of B.C.'s last daily virus briefing on Thursday, there had been a total of 725 cases of COVID-19 recorded across the province. Of those, 186 patients have fully recovered.