Three additional long-term care outbreaks

Steve Crabb photo

220121 – Island Health has declared three additional long-term care outbreaks.

New outbreaks:

Mount St. Mary Hospital long-term care home in Victoria
Two resident cases have been identified related to this outbreak. The outbreak declaration is limited to the Cedar House.
Mount St. Mary Hospital is owned and operated by Marie Esther Society.

Echo Village long-term care home in Port Alberni
Seven resident cases have been identified related to this outbreak.
Echo Village is owned and operated by Alberni-Clayoquot Continuing Care Society.

Arrowsmith Lodge long-term care home in Parksville
Two resident cases have been identified related to this outbreak. The outbreak declaration is limited to the Cottonwood and Dogwood units.
Arrowsmith Lodge is owned and operated by Arrowsmith Health Care Society.

The case numbers reportedare cases that have been confirmed via PCR testing or follow up from Island Health’s case and contact management team.

In general, the following outbreak response protocols have been implemented at the sites:

  • No admissions or transfers to affected units;
  • Essential visits can continue in outbreak units and sites;
  • Staff movement will be limited wherever possible;
  • No congregate dining or group activities for residents of affected units;
  • Enhanced cleaning and infection control measures will continue;
  • Residents, families and staff are being notified;
  • Enhanced screening of all staff and residents for symptoms;
  • COVID-19 testing as determined by the Medical Health Officer and Infection Prevention and Control.

During this time, Island Health will support the sites to take any further actions required 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 licensed care facilities.

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

Island Health COVID-19 outbreak updates

220120 – Island Health has declared three additional long-term care outbreaks and updated the status of an existing outbreak at Dufferin Place in Nanaimo. 

The outbreak declared at Dufferin Place has been expanded to include the entire site in the outbreak declaration. A total of 27 resident cases have been identified related to this outbreak. Residents are being closely monitored and, in general, are experiencing mild symptoms at this time.The case numbers reported in this bulletin are cases that have been confirmed via PCR testing or follow up from Island Health’s case and contact management team.

New outbreaks:

Fir Park Village long-term care home in Port Alberni
Three resident cases have been identified related to this outbreak. The outbreak declaration is limited to the Blue and Yellow units at this time. Fir Park Village is owned and operated by the Alberni-Clayoquot Continuing Care Society.

The Summit long-term care home in Victoria
Four resident cases have been identified related to this outbreak. The outbreak declaration is limited to the Eagle unit at this time. The Summit is owned and operated by Island Health.

Parkwood Court long-term care home in Victoria
Four resident cases have been identified related to this outbreak. The outbreak declaration is for the first and second floor at this time. Parkwood Court is owned and operated by Revera.
In general, the following outbreak response protocols have been implemented at the sites:

  • No admissions or transfers to affected units;
  • Essential visits can continue in outbreak units and sites;
  • Staff movement will be limited wherever possible;
  • No congregate dining or group activities for residents of affected units;
  • Enhanced cleaning and infection control measures will continue;
  • Residents, families and staff are being notified;
  • Enhanced screening of all staff and residents for symptoms;
  • COVID-19 testing as determined by the Medical Health Officer and Infection Prevention and Control.

During this time, Island Health will support the sites to take any further actions required 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 licensed care facilities.

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

Rules on dining and visiting seniors facilities

Indoor and outdoor dining is allowed, with physical distancing requirements

  • A maximum of 6 people at a table
  • Two metres or physical barriers between tables
  • Customers must stay seated and cannot move between or visit other tables
  • No dancing
  • Normal liquor service hours
  • Masks are required when not seated at a table

Restaurants, cafes and pubs must scan proof of vaccination QR codes for entry.

LONG-TERM CARE AND SENIORS LIVING FACILITIES

Only essential visitors are allowed at long-term care facilities.

  • Essential visits include visits for compassionate reasons, such as end-of-life care or those essential to a resident’s care and mental well-being
  • Contact the long-term care facility to find out if you qualify as an essential visitor

All visitors are allowed at seniors' assisted living facilities.

Larger, facility-wide social events or gatherings, adult day programs and in-facility respite are allowed.

  • Indoor gatherings may include residents and staff across units of a facility
  • Outdoor gatherings may include family and friends

PROTECTING LONG-TERM CARE RESIDENTS

All visitors must show proof of full vaccination before visiting a long-term care or seniors' assisted-living facility. The easiest way to show proof of vaccination is using your BC Vaccine Card.

All visitors who are 12 years of age and older must also complete rapid point-of-care testing at the entrance.

Safety precautions like hand hygiene and physical distancing will continue.

Before your visit, review BCCDC information for Visitors in Long-Term Care and Seniors’ Assisted Living (PDF, 661KB).

  • All visitors must wear medical masks in hallways and common areas
  • You can only remove your mask when visiting residents in their living area if you're fully vaccinated

Island Health adjusts services to strengthen patient safety

220118 – Island Health has implemented several temporary service adjustments to strengthen patient care during Omicron-related COVID-19 staffing challenges. 

“Omicron-driven COVID-19 staffing challenges significantly impact the ability of Island Health staff and medical staff to provide safe, quality care for those whom we are responsible to support. While temporarily pausing or changing services has a real impact on those who have to wait longer for care, we recognize it is necessary at this most extraordinary time,” said Kathy MacNeil, Island Health president and CEO.

Service adjustments include: 

Surgery and Ambulatory Care:

  • Elective, scheduled surgeries were postponed at the majority of hospitals in early January, and will continue to be postponed until the end of the month at our three largest sites (Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (NRGH), Victoria General Hospital and Royal Jubilee Hospital) while remaining sites begin restarting where staffing levels support. The reduction of inpatient surgical services has reduced demand on inpatient beds and staffing requirements.
  • A number of ambulatory care services have been slowed down, with services maintained for those with greatest need.
  • Staffing levels at larger acute care sites is also being improved through the redeployment of ambulatory and surgical staff to areas in critical demand.  This is helping to stabilize daytime staffing hours and enabling other staff to move to weekend shifts to enhance staffing during times when it is most challenging.

Ambulance Diversions:

  • At Saanich Peninsula Hospital, Island Health recently diverted ambulances from the emergency department over five days to allow the site to have fewer inpatients to ensure a manageable staff-to-patient ratio.
  • Island Health has implemented rotating ambulance diversions at the emergency departments at Port Hardy Hospital (PHH) and Port McNeill Hospital (PMH) as required based on hospital staffing to ensure that we can support inpatient care at each site and provide emergency lab access in Northern Vancouver Island.

Staff Deployment and/or Adjusting Care Location(s):

  • Staffing levels are being adjusted on a day-to-day and shift-by-shift basis, and in advance whenever possible, to balance risk and help utilize human resources most efficiently across the system. For example, psychiatric emergency services (PES) are assessed on a shift-by-shift basis and, when necessary, new admissions to the service may be temporarily paused and patients may be temporarily cared for in the main emergency department or moved back to the main emergency department for safe care if they are already admitted to PES.

Community Health Service Appointment Contingency Planning:

  • On a daily basis, the Community Health Services program assesses services and implements contingency plans, such as rescheduling non-critical visits, for example, laundry and linen services, as necessary. This process will continue in the weeks ahead. 

Amalgamation of Satellite Lab Service:

  • In order to ensure reliable, consistent acute and outpatient laboratory service, Island Health has made the decision to temporarily close the Admirals Walk outpatient lab located at 1505 Admirals Rd. effective January 17 until April 1, 2022. Patients who routinely access this location can access services at the Victoria General Hospital outpatient lab.
  • Hours have been reduced at the Sidney outpatient lab located at 2357 James White Blvd to 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. weekdays and closed the lab temporarily Saturdays. The Saanich Peninsula Hospital outpatient lab will re-instate Saturday hours 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Long-term Care Service Adjustments:

  • Staffing at sites is being monitored on a daily basis and contingency plans are in place to support long-term care homes, including re-scheduling activities or services to support clients and residents and shifting our staff across LTC sites as needed.

Enhanced Leadership Support:

  • This pandemic and recent Omicron wave has understandably added complexity and stress to an already overtaxed health care team. To support staff and patients during these exceptional times, additional leadership supports have been put in place on weekends, evenings and through the on-call structure to ensure teams have the supports in place to make decisions to support safe patient care during this challenging time.

“These are not actions we want to take, and we don’t take them lightly knowing the impact they have on those we serve”, said MacNeil. “We are grateful to the residents of the communities of Vancouver Island for their understanding and continued support of our health care teams during this challenging time. We also acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of our teams who continue to work tireless to ensure patients receive the highest quality care possible despite these challenges.”