A senior who fell ill as a result of E. coli at South Surrey’s Kiwanis Park Place has died.
Fraser Health spokesman Roy Thorpe-Dorward confirmed Friday that the resident – one of three who tested positive for the bacteria last month – died Nov. 30, six days after an outbreak was linked to the 12850 26 Ave. facility.
Noting the deceased had had other health-related complications, Thorpe-Dorward said tests have yet to confirm if the death was caused by the E. coli infection. He did not know the age or gender of any of the victims, but said they were among 257 residents at the senior-oriented complex.
Thorpe-Dorward said the positive E. coli test results were reported to Fraser Health Nov. 21. They were linked to Kiwanis Park Place Nov. 24, by way of victim address.
The situation and subsequent death were not made public because exposure was limited to facility residents, further illness was not seen and food services operations were suspended, he said.
Investigation determined the three residents were likely exposed to the bacteria at one of two group meals served to a total of 31 people between Nov. 8 and 14. The exact point of exposure remains a mystery.
“We’ll never be able to know for sure because of the gap in time between when they became ill and when the cases were reported and when the link was made to Kiwanis Park Place,” Thorpe-Dorward said.
“It was almost a two-week period, so of course, all of the food that may have been served had long been disposed of, cleaning services cleaned several times…
“It’s probably not going to be possible to say conclusively, but that’s what they think.”
The two other seniors who fell ill have since been released from hospital, and no further cases of E. coli illness related to this outbreak are expected, Thorpe-Dorward said.
He noted Kiwanis Park Place voluntarily closed its food-service operations after the infection was identified and have not reopened. To do so, the facility – which was in good standing with the health authority until the outbreak, and had had no previous E. coli issues – would first have to pass a health inspection and obtain a new health operating permit, Thorpe-Dorward said.
Officials with Crescent Housing Society, which operates Kiwanis Park Place, were not available to comment Friday.