Covid outbreak at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital

0414 - Island Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (NRGH). Three patients have tested positive for COVID-19. The outbreak is limited to the High Intensity Rehab unit.

The first patient tested positive on April 12 after becoming symptomatic. Island Health immediately implemented precautions, including enhanced cleaning and contact tracing to protect the health of all patients, staff, medical staff and students. Follow-up testing identified two additional patient cases. 

As part of the outbreak management strategy, all patients and staff on the affected unit will be tested for COVID-19. 

Until further notice, no new admissions will be allowed to the High Intensity Rehab Unit, and staff movement between other units is restricted. No patients from the unit will be transferred to long-term care or assisted living.

It is important to note that this outbreak is limited to the High Intensity Rehab Unit and no other areas of the hospital are currently affected. The hospital is still a safe place and people should not avoid seeking emergency care if they require it. All outpatient services and scheduled procedures will continue as normal.

Island Health has implemented comprehensive strategies to prevent and respond to COVID-19 in long-term care, acute care, assisted living and independent living facilities.

Communication with patients, families and staff is ongoing.

For more information about COVID-19, please visit: www.islandhealth.ca/covid19.

Islanders urged to avoid high-risk activities

Island Health urges people to avoid the high-risk activities that have pushed COVID-19 cases to an all-time high throughout our region.

With the upcoming long weekend and important religious holidays that normally bring friends and family together, Island Health is calling on everyone to closely follow the Orders and guidelines put in place by the Provincial Health Officer.

We acknowledge the global pandemic continues to be an extremely challenging experience for so many and people are understandably experiencing COVID fatigue. However, with daily case counts at current levels and the growing prevalence of variants of concern on Vancouver Island, we cannot afford to let our guard down and undo the progress we have collectively made. 

Island Health’s Public Health team has noted some concerning trends recently, including:

  • A significant increase in the number of close contacts to COVID-19 cases. This includes people reporting non-essential travel, large social gatherings, and multiple social groups;
  • An increase in individuals attending work and social events while symptomatic;
  • All three variants of concern have now been identified on Vancouver Island and the number of presumptive variant cases within Island Health being sent to the BCCDC for confirmatory testing has more than tripled in recent days. These variants have shown to be more easily transmissible and can lead to more severe illness;
  • Contact tracing has shown the variants were brought to the Island Health region through non-essential travel to other areas of B.C. and beyond;
  • The average age of COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital within Island Health has dropped to 55.7 years so far in 2021. This is down from 68.6 years throughout 2020;
  • Throughout March 2021, cases in individuals aged 19-39 represent 45 per cent of all COVID-19 cases within Island Health;
  • Indoor gatherings with people outside your immediate household present an unacceptable risk at this time. Throughout March 2021,more than 60 per cent of COVID-19 cases within Island Health have been linked to a known cluster. In the majority of situations, these clusters can be linked to an indoor gathering;
  • Throughout March 2021, approximately 20 per cent of COVID-19 cases can’t identify where they acquired the virus.

 We know that social connection with family and friends is critical to people’s well-being, and there are many safe ways to maintain these connections. Choose thesame 10 friends or family members to gather with outdoors. Some outdoor activities to consider include walking, hiking, biking, golfing, beachcombing, picnicking, horseback riding, playing at the park, canoeing, kayaking, Frisbee golf, or having an Easter egg hunt. 

Please continue to:

  • Wash your hands often;
  • Wear a mask in public settings;
  • Not travel outside your city, unless it is essential for work or medical reasons. This virus moves with people;
  • Stay home from work or school and get tested if you develop any sign of illness, even mild. 

Island Health is making good progress with its vaccination program, with more than 16 per cent of the population immunized with a first dose of vaccine. While the end is in sight, it is too early to let our guards down. Let’s all continue to do our part to protect our families, loved ones, friends and our communities. Making exceptions and bending the rules gives the virus the edge and will make it that much harder to get to the brighter days ahead. Let’s all do our part and be COVID smart! 

For more information on COVID-19 within Island Health, including information on case numbers and how to access testing, visit www.islandhealth.ca/covid19

The latest information on B.C.’s three-week circuit breaker, Provincial Health Officer Orders and guidelines is available here.

Vaccine scams are targetting some seniors

Some seniors have been getting phone messages inviting them to register for coronavirus vaccinations and asking for detailed personal information. Do not reply – nobody will call you, you must call in. You will be asked the following.
• Confirm you are in the age group eligible for booking
• Your Legal Name
• Your Date of Birth
• Your Postal code
• Your Personal Health Number (if you have one)
• Your phone number (or phone number for family/support member)
• Your Email (or email for a family/support member)
The agent will provide you with information and together you will choose an appointment time. The call centre agent will confirm your appointment time and location and you will receive a confirmation by text or email if you’ve provided that contact information. To register for an appointment call 1-833-348-4787 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. seven days a week. The Beban site is now inoculating 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily until Oct. 31. The Cedar site will open March 31 until Oct. 31, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.

Appointments for coronavirus vaccinations

Branch 257 Lantzville Royal Canadian Legion is assisting seniors in arranging vaccination appointments. Here's what they will require before setting up appointments on your behalf:

-  First and last name
-  Date of Birth
-  Postal Code
-  Care Card Number
-  Email and Phone Number
-  your availability and schedule

Phases
Phase 2: February-April 2021 (80 years+)

Phase 3: April-June 2021 (60-79 years of age)
Phase 4: July-September 2021 (18-59 years of age)

Bookings for March
Born in 1931 or earlier (90+): please call the week of March 8

Born in 1936 or earlier (85+): please call the week of March 15
Born in 1941 or earlier (80+): please call the week of March 22

Telephone: Island Health: 1-833-348-4787

Island Health details vaccination clinic details

0307 – Island Health has announced the 19 community clinics where more than 40,000 eligible residents will receive their first COVID-19 immunization over the next month. 

The locations of community clinics spanning island communities from Sooke to Port Hardy are now listed at www.islandhealth.ca/covid19vaccine

When planning community clinic locations, Island Health focused on key principles including:

  • Ease of access - in more urban areas we strived to establish a travel time of approximately no more than 15 minutes; 
  • Accessible by individuals with mobility challenges, including but not limited to wheelchair and walker access;
  • On or close to major transportation routes and bus routes;
  • The availability of functional clinic space and space to support appropriate physical distancing.

Island Health is also working closely with Indigenous partners to help support a culturally safe experience for Indigenous people in all clinics. Immunizations will also be offered at Friendship Centres, including in Port Hardy, Victoria and Port Alberni.

As we move into Phase 2 of the B.C. Immunization Plan, Island Health will continue to build on a successful vaccination program that has seen more than 60,000 doses administered in the past several weeks. This included providing protection for our most vulnerable residents in long-term care and assisted living, over 7,000 members of First Nations communities, and 25,000 health care workers. 

Tomorrow begins the registration process for B.C.’s first age-based population cohort – Indigenous individuals age 65 and older, along with Elders, and non-indigenous individuals age 90 and older – with vaccination appointments starting on March 15.

After this week we will then move to register the 85 and older population, and then the 80 and older population. Island Health plans to have all of these populations vaccinated by April 12.

To register for an appointment, eligible individuals or a representative should call 1-833-348-4787 between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. seven days a week.

The call centre agent will: 

  • Confirm you are in the age group eligible for booking;
  • Ask you for:
  • Your Legal Name
  • Your Date of Birth
  • Your Postal code
  • Your Personal Health Number (if you have one)
  • Your phone number (or phone number for family/support member)
  • Your Email (or email for a family/support member)
  • The agent will then provide you with information of clinics located in the area where you live and together you will choose an appointment time that works for you;
  • The call centre agent will confirm your appointment time and location and you will receive a confirmation by text or email if you’ve provided that contact information.

Approximately 30 smaller and remote communities without immunization clinics listed at this time will be vaccinated in a whole of community approach.Depending on the size of the community this may result in the entire adult population of the community having the opportunity to be vaccinated during a single visit to the community (in one day or on consecutive days), or over two visits.

For residents age 80 and older who live in these communities, if the whole community approach clinic is not scheduled prior to April 12, Island Health will ensure you have the opportunity to be vaccinated in or close to your community prior to April 12. Please contact the Island Health call centre during the week that you are eligible for your age group.

For some communities, this will occur after April 12, however, Island Health will also visit the community before April 12 to provide vaccine to all interested and eligible individuals.

Island Health has brought on additional staff to help support the volumes of calls we expect to receive beginning tomorrow. Our teams have done a lot of planning and have prepared for a number of contingencies.

We appreciate your patience and your continued kindness, as you have shown health-care teams through the past year. This is the largest immunization rollout any of us has experienced, and it will not be without challenges. We will get through those challenges together, as we move closer to a time when we can be together with our loved ones and friends once again.

Clinics in Nanaimo will be at Beban Park and Chase River Community Centre. The Beban site will begin inoculating March 15 with the clinic open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily until Oct. 31. The Cedar site will be open March 31 until Oct. 31, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.

Clip and save - vaccination appointment process

03/02 - British Columbians have been given a timeline for when they can book their appointment for coronavirus vaccinations. First doses are now being given to those living and working in independent living centres and seniors' supportive housing. Health authorities are contacting them directly for appointment details. On March 8, registration for seniors aged 80 and older and Indigenous people 65 and older will begin. Unlike the above group, you must phone in to make an appointment.

Registration dates for Phase 2 are:

March 8: Seniors born in or before 1931 (90 years and older) and Indigenous peoples born in or before 1956 (65 years and older) may call to book their appointment;

March 15: Seniors born in or before 1936 (85 years and older) may book their appointments;

March 22: Seniors born in or before 1941 (80 years and older) may call to book their appointments.

Here’s how to register for an appointment.

Starting on the day listed above, those eligible can call their regional health centre to book an appointment. Call centres are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.

The Island Health number is 1-833-348-4787. Please do not call if you are not eligible for that time period.

Resident tests positive at Eden Gardens

02/15 - Island Health’s outbreak response has identified one additional case of COVID-19 related to the outbreak which was declared at Eden Gardens long-term care home in Nanaimo. 

One elder[1] has tested positive. The new case was detected through testing performed yesterday. The new elder case is in an individual who was identified as a contact to the original positive staff case and is now isolating. Communication with residents, families and staff is ongoing. 

The outbreak has been expanded to the entire facility. All elders will be on droplet and contact precautions. All 127 elders and 246 staff will be tested.

The following steps are underway as part of the outbreak response at the home:

  • All elders have been isolated to their rooms;
  • Congregate dining has been stopped and residents will be served meals in their rooms;
  • Staff movement through the facility is restricted;
  • Only essential visits with extra precautions are allowed;
  • All admissions and transfers have been stopped;
  • Enhanced cleaning protocols and use of personal protective equipment;
  • Island Health continues to have a presence at the home to support the outbreak response;
  • Staffing levels and supply of personal protective equipment are being closely monitored and Island Health is supporting where needed, to ensure safe care continues

Eden Gardens is owned and operated by the Nanaimo Travellers Lodge Society. Island Health will continue to work with Eden Gardens leadership and staff to respond to this outbreak and protect the health of all elders and staff.

Covid-19 vaccine deliveries ramp up this week

02/15 – Canada’s Coronavirus vaccination drive will get a shot in the arm this week. The federal government is gearing up for delivery of vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech following a month-long lull.

The Public Health Agency of Canada expects nearly 450,000 doses per week until the beginning of April, when Pfizer and BioNTech will have delivered four 4 million shots.

For the first time the number of doses is based on six shots per vial rather than the previous five.

The federal government has been accused of mismanaging what amounts to the largest mass-vaccination effort in Canadian history.

Moderna has confirmed its next shipment on Feb. 22 will be only 168,000 doses, two-thirds of what had been promised.

Covid-19 outbreaks reported at two seniors facilities

02/14 – Island Health has declared two separate COVID-19 cases at Wexford Creek and Eden Gardens long-term care homes in Nanaimo. 

One staff person has tested positive for COVID-19 at each site. At this time, no residents are experiencing symptoms. Communication with residents and families is under way.

Wexford Creek is owned and operated by Park Place Seniors Living. The staff member who tested positive is self-isolating at home. The outbreak is limited to one floor within the facility. Admissions, transfers and visitation to the entire site have been stopped.

Eden Gardens is owned and operated by the Nanaimo Travellers Lodge Society. The staff member who tested positive is self-isolating at home. The outbreak is limited to staff and elders who participated in activities on specific days. Admissions, transfers and visitation to the entire site have been stopped.

Enhanced control measures have been put in place at both sites. Island Health is working with Wexford Creek and Eden Gardens leadership and staff to identify anyone who may have been exposed and is taking steps to protect the health of all residents and staff. 

The following measures have been proactively implemented at both sites:

  • Staffing levels will be maintained to provide resident care.
  • Visitors are restricted throughout the facilities.
  • Staff and resident movement in the facilities has been restricted.
  • Cleaning and infection control measures have been enhanced.
  • Residents, families and staff are being notified.
  • Twice a day screening of all staff and residents. 
  • At Wexford Creek, all residents on the affected floor are being tested for COVID-19 and all staff who worked on the affected floor with the confirmed case are being tested for COVID-19.
  • At Eden Gardens, all staff and elders who participated in activities on specific days are being tested for COVID-19.

Island Health will have additional presence at both sites to take any further actions required, support the facility and answer questions from staff, residents and family members.

Island Health has implemented comprehensive strategies to prevent and respond to COVID-19 in long-term care, acute care, assisted living and independent living facilities. 

For more information about COVID-19, please visit: www.islandhealth.ca/covid19.

Stay local, stay small this Family Day weekend

 Island Health is reminds people to show your family and friends that you care by not giving COVID-19 the opportunity to spread this long weekend.

 We acknowledge everyone throughout the Island Health region who has and continues to make difficult sacrifices during this global pandemic. We understand the urge to gather with loved ones, especially on Family Day, however even small gatherings present a significant risk. Contact tracing investigations continue to show that COVID-19 is spreading on Vancouver Island in places and situations where people gather.

Social interaction and getting together with others in person and online is important to our wellbeing. There are many options to do so safely. The outdoors has been a refuge for many during the pandemic, and despite the winter weather expected on Vancouver Island this weekend we encourage you to safely take advantage of the many outdoor recreation opportunities within your local community.

You can go for a walk with someone outside your household, as long as it does not turn into a group of people meeting outside. Pick a family member or friend and connect safely this long weekend.

Show kindness and respect for your friends, family, and those you don’t know by:

  • Staying local – do not travel outside of your community, unless it is necessary for work or medical appointments;
  • Socializing only with your household, or core bubble if you live alone – don’t invite friends or family over to your home or go to someone else’s home for a social visit, games, dinner, or a backyard hangout;
  • Wearing a non-medical mask;
  • Maintaining physical distance of 2-metres with people outside your immediate household;
  • Staying home if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or feeling sick or unwell (except to seek testing or medical care);
  • Practicing good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.

You can find free Family Day activities here. For more COVID-19 information, visitwww.islandhealth.ca/learn-about-health/covid-19. Thank you for continuing to do your part, and enjoy a restful Family Day weekend.

Nanaimo the Vancouver Island hotspot for Covid-19

 

Greater Nanaimo is the latest hotspot for Coronavirus in the Island Health region with the total number of new cases increasing for four consecutive weeks. January 31 to February 6, the 93 new cases in Greater Nanaimo were nearly double the number from the previous week.

The risk is present in every community on Vancouver Island, but the Central Island region continues to see the highest number of active cases. As of February 10, 157 of the 230 (68%) active cases were in the Central Island region, including Greater Nanaimo, the Cowichan Valley, Oceanside, and Alberni-Clayoquot.

Contact tracing investigations are generally not finding widespread community transmission, meaning Public Health is able to identify where people acquired their infection and in the large majority of situations it is linked to known cases or clusters. Public Health teams have noted an increase in the number of contacts being reported by cases, and references to larger and more frequent social gatherings.

COVID-19 spreads when people have close contacts with others and this continues to drive transmission across Vancouver Island.

It is imperative that people:

  • Stick to their household. Even small gatherings can increase the risk of transmission;
  • You can go for a walk with someone outside your household, as long as it does not turn into a group of people meeting outside;
  • Outdoor gatherings involving multiple households without masks or appropriate distancing do not represent a safe way to socialize;
  • Do not share things like vape pens or pods, cigarettes, drinks, or food;
  • If you have symptoms, stay home and get a COVID-19 test;
  • Even if you have a negative test, it is important to stay home while symptoms are present.

If you require testing, call 1-844-901-8442 between 8:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., seven days a week to book an appointment. 

Get informed about COVID activity in your region and community.

Island Health’s daily COVID-19 Data Dashboard, outbreaks, and public exposure information is available here

BC Centre for Disease Control data, including weekly case counts broken down by Local Health Area, is available here.

Two schools report Coronavirus cases

The school board has reported COVID-19 exposure at two Nanaimo schools – at Bayview Elementary School on Jan. 27 and Jan. 29 and Qwam Qwum Stuwixwulh School Jan. 28. Families are advised not to send their students to Qwam Qwum Stuwixwulh Monday or Tuesday, while a deep clean is conducted. Check here for the Island Health has a school exposures web page. A list of schools with exposures in the Island Health region is hereMORE

Seven more flights listed for coronavirus exposure

0130 – The BC Centre for Disease Control has added seven more flights its list of COVID-19 exposures, warning travellers on those flights to monitor themselves for symptoms of the coronavirus.

Details of the most recent flight exposures came as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday that there are new measures to restrict non-essential international travel ahead of spring break.

The most recent flights added to the exposure warning list are:

January 19, Air Canada 128, Vancouver to Toronto (rows 1 - 4)

 January 20, Air Canada 234, Vancouver to Edmonton (rows 12 - 17)

 January 20: Air Canada 128, Vancouver to Toronto (rows 30 - 36)

 January 23, Air Canada 551, Los Angeles to Vancouver (rows 18 - 24)

 January 24: Aeromexico 696, Mexico City to Vancouver (rows not reported)

 January 24: WestJet 186, Vancouver to Edmonton (rows 15 - 19)

 January 26: Air Canada 255, Kelowna to Vancouver (rows 20 - 26)

Anyone who was on one of the affected flights should self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, seeking testing and self-isolating if any develop. Those seated on the rows listed are at higher risk of having contracted the virus, than those elsewhere on the plane.

More vaccine delivery problems encountered

The Coronavirus vaccination rollout continues getting derailed.

At her daily briefing, Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Friday she said the expected Moderna vaccine delivery will be short of expected. B.C. is getting only aboyut 20 per cent of the allotment due to difficulties at the Moderna processing plant.

No shipments of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine arrived in B.C. this week due to production issues in Europe, which is expected to significantly affect the next two weeks of shipments.

Dr. Henry is optimistic allocation for the third week of February will return to promised levels. She said public health remains confident the vaccine program will be able to open up to all B.C residents in April.

“All long-term care residents and people who care for them have been offered vaccine in all health authorities around the province. We have very high uptake.”

She announced 514 new COVID-19 cases across the province, as well as five additional fatalities.

More flights listed for Covid exposure

0128 – More flights have been added to the province's COVID-19 exposure list. The B.C. Centre for Disease Control posted details about the recent flights on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The most recent flights added to the exposure warning list are:

  •  Jan. 15: Air Canada/Jazz flight 8622 from Vancouver to Winnipeg
  •  Jan. 21: Air Canada flight 224 from Vancouver to Calgary
  •  Jan. 22: WestJet flight 141 from Edmonton to Vancouver
  •  Jan. 23: Air Canada flight 254 from Vancouver to Kelowna
  •  Jan. 24: WestJet flight 139 from Calgary to Vancouver
  •  Jan. 24: WestJet flight 3315 from Calgary to Comox
  • Eight other flights were added to the warning list on Monday. 

Domestic travellers are not required to quarantine, but health officials have advised against non-essential travel within Canada. While Manitoba announced earlier this week that non-essential visitors will soon have to self-isolate for 14 days.

 

26 flights added to Coronavirus exposure lists

0116 – More than two dozen flights have been added to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control list of Coronavirus exposures.

The centre added 13 flights to the list on Thursday evening and 13 more Friday. None landed or took off from Nanaimo Airport.

Details of the affected flights.

 Jan. 2: Swoop flight 107 from Hamilton to Abbotsford (rows 11 to 17)

 Jan. 5: Air Canada flight 201 from Calgary to Vancouver (rows not reported)

 Jan. 5: Air Canada flight 218 from Vancouver to Calgary (rows not reported)

 Jan. 5: Air Canada flight 234 from Vancouver to Edmonton (rows not reported)

 Jan. 5: Air Canada flight 241 from Edmonton to Vancouver (rows not reported)

 Jan. 5: WestJet flight 3170 from Kelowna to Calgary (rows two to eight)

 Jan. 5: Air Canada flight 127 from Toronto to Vancouver (rows not reported)

 Jan. 5: American Airlines flight 1539 from Dallas to Vancouver (rows not reported)

 Jan. 6: Air Canada flight 551 from Los Angeles to Vancouver (rows 33 to 40)

 Jan. 6: American Airlines flight 1539 from Dallas to Vancouver (rows nine to 13)

 Jan. 7: Air Canada flight 107 from Toronto to Vancouver (rows one to six)

 Jan. 7: Air Canada flight 344 from Vancouver to Ottawa (rows 16 to 22)

 Jan. 7: Air Canada flight 244 from Vancouver to Edmonton (rows not reported)

 Jan. 7: Lufthansa flight 492 from Frankfurt to Vancouver (rows not reported)

 Jan. 8: WestJet flight 3176 from Abbotsford to Calgary (rows 15 to 20)

 Jan. 9: Lufthansa flight 492 from Frankfurt to Vancouver (rows 23 to 25)

 Jan. 9: Air Canada flight 115 from Toronto to Vancouver (rows not reported)

 Jan. 9: WestJet flight 725 from Toronto to Vancouver (rows not reported)

 Jan. 10: Air Canada flight 123 from Toronto to Vancouver (rows 18 to 21)

 Jan. 10: Pacific Coastal Airlines flight 344 from Bella Coola to Vancouver (rows not reported)

 Jan. 10: WestJet flight 122 from Vancouver to Calgary (rows 10 to 16)

 Jan. 10: Air Canada flight 106 from Vancouver to Toronto (rows not reported)

 Jan. 10: Air Canada flight 241 from Edmonton to Vancouver (rows not reported)

 Jan. 11: Air Canada flight 305 from Montreal to Vancouver (rows 14 to 20)

 Jan. 11: WestJet flight 3231 from Calgary to Abbotsford (rows 15 to 20)

 Jan. 11: Air Canada flight 311 from Montreal to Vancouver (rows 29 to 35)

International travellers to B.C. are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Domestic travellers are not required to quarantine, but health officials have been advising against non-essential within Canada travel for months.

Earlier this week, B.C. Premier John Horgan indicated the province was looking at legal options for limiting travel to B.C. by non-residents. 

Anyone who was on any of the affected flights should self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, seeking testing and self-isolating if any develop.