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B.C. care homes prepared for COVID-19 outbreak: provincial seniors advocate

Last Updated Mar 5, 2020 at 11:25 am PST

FILE PHOTO. (iStock Photo)

While there hasn't been an outbreak in B.C. care homes, the province's seniors advocate says they are prepared

Most of the virus deaths in Washington state happened in a nursing home

Care home staff are on high alert this time of year and see outbreaks of the flu and norovirus in normal years

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Care workers are ready, the shelves are stocked, and plans are in place if a COVID-19 outbreak happens at a B.C. care home, according to the province‚Äôs seniors advocate.

While there hasn’t been an outbreak in B.C. care home, most of those who died from the virus in Washington state lived in a nursing home.

Seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie acknowledges the virus isn’t something they’ve dealt with, but explains staff are always on high alert this time of year.

“It’s not unheard of for care homes to close to visitors because they’ve had an outbreak of flu, norovirus, pneumonia and they’re trying to contain it. So, we have a whole disease management protocol policy in place,” she says.

And if an outbreak were to happen, she says the protocols would be similar to that of the flu.

“We would close the care home to, obviously, new admissions, we would close it to visitors, and we would isolate as much as possible (the) residents in their room to contain any of the spread within the care home. Those are out normal protocols in place.”

Mackenzie says those protocols also include staff wearing gowns, gloves, and masks.

She adds some care homes may be requesting people not come for at least 14 days if they’ve returned from a place where there is a large number of COVID-19 cases.

There are 13 cases of the virus reported in B.C. with more than 90,000 people infected worldwide.