"Our priority continues to be to protect the health and safety of all residents and staff in our long-term care and assisted living facilities."
Fraser Health tells the Tri-City News that more COVID-19 cases have been confirmed among the latest outbreak at Lakeshore Care Centre.
Six tests have since come back positive for the virus for a new total of 21 infections at the Coquitlam long-term facility, which now includes 18 residents and three staff members.
In a statement to the Tri-City News, Fraser Health spokesperson Dixon Tam says the strategy is changing, especially with the rollout of booster doses of vaccine against COVID-19.
The ultimate goal remains the same: to ensure seniors get the support they need.
"With this current phase of the pandemic, we have adjusted our approach to balance resident well-being with mitigating transmission," said Tam.
"While measures such as restricting social visits in affected areas of the facility, enhancement of cleaning and infection control measures, and twice-a-day screening of all staff residents takes place when an outbreak is declared, we no longer routinely require asymptomatic residents on an affected unit to isolate in their rooms for weeks at a time."
Between Dec. 4, 2020, and Jan. 8, 2021, 21 people died due to complications with COVID-19 at Lakeshore of 75 total cases found — on paper, it's the deadliest outbreak in the Tri-Cities since the pandemic began.
There were no outbreaks reported at the property before the latest alert was declared Jan. 19 when 15 cases were initially reported.
Tam explains health officials have taken into the account the lessons learned over the past two years in reducing the likelihood of the severe COVID-19 outbreaks.
"We have also done analyses to understand when it may be appropriate to implement interventions, such as improving ventilation systems, to mitigate transmission at a site," he adds.
"We are able to do this today because long-term care and assisted-living facilities in the Fraser Health region have very high vaccination coverage among residents and staff. COVID-19 vaccination continues to be our best defence against the virus, and those who are vaccinated experience less severe illness, hospitalization, and death."
The following measures have since been implemented at Lakeshore Care Centre:
- Staffing levels are being supported to maintain resident care.
- Social visits are restricted in the affected areas of the facility. Essential visits can continue.
- Staff and residents movement in the affected areas of the facility has been modified to minimize exposure to others.
- Cleaning and infection control measures have been further enhanced.
- Residents, families and staff are being notified.
- Twice a day screening of all staff and residents is taking place.
- Additional testing and screening is in place to support monitoring of disease control.
As of this publication (Jan. 26), 78 per cent of eligible seniors 70 years and older in the Tri-Cities have received a third dose of vaccine against COVID-19 according to the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).
Meanwhile, 57 per cent of regional kids aged five to 11 have been vaccinated with their first dose against COVID-19 — the third-highest in Fraser Health.
The Tri-Cities also has a 91 per cent double-vaccination rate among those aged 12 and up, as well as a 93 per cent single-dose rate.