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

RDKB issues evacuation alert for 1,100 Boundary properties

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

RDKB launches survey to address housing needs in the district

Communities in the district include Trail, Grand Forks, Rossland and Fruitvale

Possible Kermode Bear spotted near Castlegar

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run on May 27

Stolen truck found in Christina Lake

Family happy the vehicle was found

Two more Johnson Flats properties given evacuation alerts

Forecast graphs for Boundary rivers show another spike for week of June 1

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Man recalls black bear chasing him up tree in Slocan Valley

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Minneapolis cop who knelt on man’s neck charged with murder

Arrest comes after three days of protests, which escalated in violence as demonstrators torched a police precinct

Most Read