B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head to their daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, B.C. legislature, April 15, 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head to their daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, B.C. legislature, April 15, 2020. (B.C. government)

Additional visits to senior care homes coming, B.C.’s top doctor says

Seniors Advocate recommends more family access

Allowing more people to help care for elderly relatives in B.C.’s long-term care homes is a high priority, but it takes more staff and protective measures to make it happen, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says.

Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix were asked Thursday (Nov. 5) about an extensive survey of care home residents and family members released this week by B.C. Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie. It shows that a strict interpretation of “essential” visitors has tended to leave only one designated relative with the ability to assist with meals, grooming and companionship, and that even those visits are greatly reduced under pandemic orders.

Henry reported two additional care home outbreaks have been declared in the province in the past 24 hours, bringing the number of active outbreaks in the health care system to 30. But the majority of those in recent weeks have been a single staff member testing positive and being isolated.

The two new care home outbreaks are at Tabor Home in Abbotsford, the second infection for that facility, and Pinegrove Place in Richmond.

“We’ve had ongoing conversations with the Seniors Advocate and her report is well received,” Henry said. “We are making sure that we have appropriate things in place to be able to support increased visitation for those we know who need it and their families. Some of them have to do with the personal protective equipment and the staffing requirements, and those are coming along.”

RELATED: B.C. sees new daily record, 425 COVID-19 infections

RELATED: B.C. seniors suffering COVID-19 depression, isolation

With B.C. setting another daily record of 425 new cases Nov. 5, out of more than 11,000 virus test results, Henry noted that health care staff are being exposed in the community along with the rest of the people contracting COVID-19. A new report on infections among health care workers is coming next week.

“I can say that our percentage of health care workers who are infected has come down over the last few months,” she said.

Dix noted that house parties, weddings and other gatherings that spread the virus to larger numbers of people are infecting people in health care and other essential services, and moving from region to region. While the vast majority of recent cases are identified in Metro Vancouver, people move around the province, and a recent outbreak at a care home in Dawson Creek shows that all regions are at risk of exposure.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Just Posted

Ashcroft hospital emergency closed sign, 2016. Photo credit: Barbara Roden
Ashcroft Hospital emergency department closed this weekend

Closure due to unexpected limited physician availabiliy, says Interior Health

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Heidi Roy of the Cariboo Jade Shop in Cache Creek with the 3,000 jade boulder, which is now on secure display inside the shop. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Massive jade boulder returns to Cache Creek store six months after daring heist

The 3,000-pound boulder was stolen on Dec. 19, 2020 and found abandoned in the bush a week later

Dr. Albert de Villiers, chief medical health officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
Child sex crimes charges against Interior’s top doc won’t impact pandemic response: Dix

Dr. Albert de Villiers is charged with sexual assault and sexual interference

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read