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

Hugh Dobbie’s South Surrey-based tech business Yare Media was recently acquired by California’s Visaic Inc. (SFU photo)
South Surrey tech company acquired by California business

Hugh Dobbie founded Yare Media in 2016, and ‘will remain involved’

Fraser Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Newton Elementary School in Surrey, according to an information bulletin Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. (Image: Google Street View)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at second Surrey elementary school

Newton Elementary closed for two weeks, set to reopen Dec. 14

Joy Johnson, seen here during an installation ceremony on Oct. 22, is Simon Fraser University’s 10th president and vice-chancellor. (Submitted photo)
SFU’s Surrey campus tackling COVID-19-related research

‘We can learn now,’ SFU president Joy Johnson said, ‘so should something like this happen again we’ll be prepared. We have to learn from this current pandemic’

Mayor Darryl Walker gives a welcoming hug to Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Harley Chappell at the inaugural meeting of the current White Rock council in 2018. (Alex Browne photo)
White Rock council under fire for inaugural prayer

BC Humanist Association charges city violated Supreme Court ruling two years ago

Chief Robert Gladstone of Shxwha:y Village at a federal flood funding announcement April 24, 2019. (Jenna Hauck/Chilliwack Progress file)
Consortium of Indigenous chiefs seeking a way to participate in cannabis economy

All Nations Chiefs from the Shxwha:y, Cheam, Soowahlie and Sq’ewlets holding online forum Dec. 2

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

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

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

Chilliwack school board trustee Barry Neufeld is taking heat over using a ableist slur to refer to three Black Press employees. (Paul Henderson/ Progress file)
BC School Trustees Association president keeps heat on Chilliwack Trustee Barry Neufeld

In a news release, Stephanie Higginson called on voters to take careful note of Neufeld’s behaviour

Most Read