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

COVID-19: ER nurse from Qualicum Beach self-isolates in travel trailer, apart from family

Marcia Kent says situation is difficult but worth it to keep twin boys safe

Errington Farmers Market to go ahead with planned May opening

Strict safety measures to be put in place

COVID-19: Qualicum school district to start at home learning initiatives April 15

Last week, teachers reached out to families to discuss individual needs

COVID-19: Latest message from Qualicum Beach

Town officials conducted spot inspection on re-opened farmers market

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

Controls can keep Canadian COVID-19 deaths under 22,000, health agency says

With poor containment measures, the death toll could be much, much higher, the agency says

People needing addictions services feel ‘abandoned’ during pandemic, B.C.’s ex-top doctor says

Widespread job losses and more homelessness due to physical distancing at shelters have added hurdles

Canada lost 1,011,000 jobs in March, unemployment rate up to 7.8%: StatCan

Unemployment rate hits levels not seen since 2010

COVID-19 world update: 6.6 million U.S. jobless claims; alcohol sales banned in Bangkok

Comprehensive digest of coronavirus news items from around the world

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

COVID-19 PQB business update: looking for takeout food?

Email messages to editor@pqbnews.com

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

Most Read