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

Elk Valley municipalities send out 2020 property taxes

2020 property tax payments, annual utility payments, and homeowner grant applications are due July 2

ERA seeks to enhance local wetlands

The ERA proposed a new project at the lastest Committee of the Whole meeting

Pay guarantee removed for some Kootenay on-call paramedics

Guarantee phased out as BCEHS introduces a new “scheduled on call” model

No active confirmed COVID-19 cases in Interior Health: BCCDC

Numbers from the BCCDC’s dashboard show 193 of the 195 COVID-19 cases in the region have recovered

RDEK urges residents to be prepared for emergencies including flooding, wildfire

The East Kootenay region has been placed on a high streamflow advisory

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Kelowna Mountie on desk duty following ‘aggressive’ arrest

The officer involved in an arrest that took place on May 30 in Kelowna has been placed on administrative duties

Most Read