The provincial seniors advocate says long-term care homes like Mountain Lake Seniors Community seen here in Nelson are already prepared to handle any possible outbreak of COVID-19. Photo: Tyler Harper

B.C. care homes well equipped to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks: seniors advocate

Isobel Mackenzie downplays concerns seniors are at risk

The provincial seniors advocate says she believes B.C. care homes are properly equipped to protect residents from outbreaks of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The World Health Organization has said elderly people and those with pre-existing conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes are more likely to develop a serious illness if they are diagnosed with COVID-19.

But to date, there have been no cases of coronavirus in any of B.C.’s 294 long-term care homes. Seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie expressed confidence in facilities to manage the virus.

“Care homes are accustomed to these types of outbreaks,” said Mackenzie. “An outbreak of influenza, pneumonia or norovirus are all frankly equally as serious as an outbreak of COVID-19 would be in a care home, and we handle those outbreaks.”

VIDEO: B.C. premier, health officials unveil response plan for COVID-19

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and health minister Adrian Dix said Thursday there are 21 confirmed cases of coronavirus in B.C. One of those cases is a woman in her 80s who is in critical condition after returning from a trip to India.

In an update Friday, Dix said over 2,000 people in B.C. have been tested for the virus.

Mackenzie said families shouldn’t be concerned about loved ones in care. Controls, Mackenzie said, are in place to limit or prevent the spread of coronavirus among senior residents.

ALSO READ: Morneau says Ottawa will announce support for those quarantined due to COVID-19

“I think perspective is important,” she said. “There has been no reason to think anything other than we are handling this as best we can. I know there’s a lot of people running around saying we aren’t prepared for a pandemic, go stock up on toilet paper and cans of beans. I think we need to be careful here and we need to look at the facts and perspective.”

That perspective might need to include use of medical supplies.

On Monday, the World Health Organization warned of global shortages to personal protective equipment such as gloves, aprons and masks.

SafeCare BC is a non-profit association focused on safe working conditions for continuing care givers. The organization’s CEO, Jennifer Lyle, said she is concerned about the equipment supply chain and, if shortages begin to affect Canada, the health of care givers.

“In B.C., if you are a healthy individual and you are just going about your day in the community, you do not need a surgical mask,” said Lyle. “We really need to be asking ourselves some hard questions about if you are using a mask and you may not necessarily need it, who are we taking that mask away from?”

READ MORE: B.C. vet stresses need for pet hygiene despite COVID-19 risk being low

READ MORE: Okanagan apple exports to Asia seeing big dip as COVID-19 spreads



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusHealthcare and MedicineSeniors

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

Just Posted

Better COVID-19 testing results needed in the north

Former senior Northern Health official also wants work camps shut down

City of Terrace calling on Province to take stricter social distancing measures

The City sent the Province a letter earlier this month with a number of recommendations

Northern Health preparing ‘for a changing situation’ in response to COVID-19

The health authority is taking a number of measures to free up hospital capacity where possible

Rio Tinto donates masks to Kitimat RCMP officers

Providing safety glasses as well

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

‘Community is amazing’: Williams Lake woman organizes drive-by birthdays

With self-isolation the norm due to COVID-19 children are missing out

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

Most Read