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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum speaks at a press conference in August about provincial government approval of the city’s change to a municipal force, joined by councillors (from left) Mandeep Nagra, Allison Patton and Doug Elford. Members of the National Police Federation claim there is still no transition plan in place although Surrey RCMP’s contract with the city is due to end March 31.(File photo)
National Police Federation members slam Surrey police transition to Surrey Board of Trade

During virtual meeting, bargaining unit representatives say municipal force ‘not a done deal’

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia’s (CFSEU-BC) Uniform Gang Enforcement Team (UGET) has arrested a man who was on the run for nearly a decade. (File photo)
9-year search for international drug trafficking suspect ends with arrest at YVR

Khamla Wong, charged in 2012, taken into custody Feb. 24 by BC-CFSEU

Pixabay image
Surrey council moves to update city’s telecommunication antennas policy

But councillor says health and safety protocols are nearly 40 years old

Eagle watchers are celebrating the first egg of the season, captured on video in South Surrey. (Hancock Wildlife Foundation photo)
LIVE VIDEO: South Surrey nesting eagles welcome first egg of the season

Parents ‘Sur’ and ‘Res’ to share incubating duties

Boosh Food founder Connie Marples (right) delivers some Boosh Food items to Christine Mohr, CEO of Options Community Services, in December, 2020. Boosh Food has just moved their operations to Cloverdale. (Photo: Moonraker PR)
Boosh Food moves to Cloverdale

‘Plant-based comfort food’ company moving to 65A Avenue

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Shaelene Keeler Bell. (Facebook)
Candlelight vigil planned for Chilliwack mother missing for four weeks

Virtual event to ‘spread some light’ for 23-year-old Shaelene Bell of Chilliwack

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

The booklet roots present day activism in the history of racist policies, arguing the history must be acknowledged in order to change. (CCPA)
New resource dives into 150 years of racist policy in B.C.

Racist history must be acknowledged in order to change, authors say

Most Read