JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)

Rapid COVID tests in long-term care key during vaccine rollout: B.C. care providers

‘Getting kits into the hands of care providers should be a top priority,’ says former Health Minister

Seniors’ care providers in B.C. are urging the province to provide rapid COVID-19 tests for staff, residents and caregivers who have not yet been vaccinated.

B.C. has access to the antigen tests, made available by Health Canada, but that tool to combat COVID spread isn’t being used in non-government long-term care homes, says BC Care Providers Association CEO Terry Lake.

“It’s now time,” the former B.C. MLA urged in a statement Tuesday (Jan. 19).

A rapid testing strategy is crucial in detecting asymptomatic healthcare workers providing care to populations more susceptible to complications from the virus, Lake added.

“With 1.3-million rapid test kits purchased by the federal government currently warehoused in B.C. and ready for use, getting the kits into the hands of seniors’ care providers should be a top priority for preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2.”

READ MORE: One of Canada’s oldest seniors, at 110 years old, gets COVID-19 vaccine at Surrey care home

A localized rapid test pilot, launched in December, saw long-term care providers in five Vancouver facilities tested for COVID-19.

As a result, the program identified “multiple asymptomatic COVID-19 positive healthcare staff,” Lake said.

Provinces such as Nova Scotia have implemented a COVID-19 antigen rapid test strategy in long-term care environments.

During the pandemic, Health Canada purchased nearly 11 million Abbott Panbio antigen tests, distributing them to each province on a per capita basis.

“We know that rapid antigen testing two-to-three times per week among care staff that has not been vaccinated can be managed effectively,” Lake said.

So far, Fraser Health has completed 151 vaccine clinics for long-term care and assisted living in the health region, as part of first phase in B.C.’s vaccine rollout plan.

WATCH: Health-care workers receive COVID vaccine in B.C.



sarahleonagrochowski@gmail.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

BC HealthCoronavirusSeniorsvaccines

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Eaglecrest Golf Club plans to operate as a nine-hole course starting April 1. (Eaglecrest Facebook photo)
Eaglecrest Golf Club in Qualicum Beach still plans to have course layout reduced to 9 holes

Town council continues to negotiate lease for 18-hole operation

A rendering of a proposed housing development located across from the beachfront in Qualicum Beach. (Submitted photo)
Multi-residential development planned across from Qualicum Beach waterfront

Residents raise variety of concerns about project

Proprietor of Sweet Truck, Morgan Ray, as she hands off her baked goods to a customer. (Photo courtesy of Avrinder Dhillon Photography)
COVID-19: Qualicum Beach baker eyes move back from food truck to bricks and mortar

Storefront offers more stability amid growth in sales: Ray

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

1957 photo shows Six Mile House-sponsored #4 1932 Ford stock car with Frank Morris (from left), Ted Mackenzie, Bill Sim and driver Gerry Sylvester. (Bud Glover/Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame)
Memories race as Western Speedway approaches its finish line

‘It was life to us:’ Vancouver Island racers, crew will never forget what the track gave them

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

A crossover utility vehicle smashed through the front of a business on Bowen Road on Friday evening. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Vehicle smashes all the way inside business in Nanaimo

No serious injuries reported after incident at Venue Financial Centres on Friday

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Most Read