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

Trevor Davis, base manager of the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation in Sidney, stands in front of the Hecate Sentinal, an oil skimming vessel based at Sidney’s Van Isle Marina. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Oil spill response base taking shape on Saanich Peninsula

Enhanced base with elements in North Saanich and Sidney to be fully operational in fall 2022

The Santa’s Forest tree sale has taken place in the Braefoot Park lacrosse box every holiday season since 1996. (Photo courtesy Torsten Schulz)
Santa’s Forest tree sale in Saanich implements one-way perusing, curbside pick up

Christmas tree, wreath sales in Braefoot Park through Dec. 24

(Black Press Media file)
Webinars help Greater Victoria residents affected by dementia prepare for the holidays

COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions can add additional challenges for people living with dementia

Masks are mandatory for passengers on board BC Transit buses and for those waiting at covered bus stops. (BC Transit/Facebook)
Masks now mandatory on BC Transit buses, at covered bus stops

Face shields no longer meet face-covering requirements per updated policy

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

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

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

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

Most Read