VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — An East Vancouver care home is the site of what appears to be the province’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreak since the pandemic was declared.
Thirty-one residents at Little Mountain Place have now died since the outbreak was declared Nov. 22, according to an update shared with families on Dec. 21.
Tabor Home in Abbotsford and Langley Lodge, which were previously reported to have the highest number of fatal cases, with 25 and 26 deaths respectively.
Angela Millar, the director of the long-term care home, detailed the devastating spread of the virus among staff and residents during a Zoom town hall.
A video recording of that call was shared with NEWS 1130 by a concerned family member.
“I’m going to get right to the hardest part of all of it,” said Millar, fighting back tears at the beginning of the update.
“And I’m sorry I do still get emotional sometimes, but I’m going to do my best.”
She explained that of the 114 residents in the home, 93 have been infected. However, fourteen people have recovered.
The virus has also spread widely among staff, Millar explained.
“For staff, we’ve had 63 total positive,” she said. “Fifteen are still active at home in isolation. We’ve also had 48 cleared staff, many of whom have returned.”
Since this #COVID19 outbreak was declared Nov. 22nd, 93 of 156 people who’ve tested positive were residents and 63 are staff.
Little Mountain Place Exec. Dir. Angela Millar told families 2 of the 116 beds are not occupied, so 31 deaths represent 27% of all residents.#bcpoli
— Marcella Bernardo (@Bernardo1130) December 23, 2020
Updates on numbers are not provided in writing to families, but only through weekly Zoom calls. Several family members who have contacted NEWS 1130 say they are concerned about what they describe as a lack of transparency.
A written update on Dec. 17 describes how the outbreak is being handled but does not specify the number of cases or deaths.
“We have been teaching and practicing strict discipline and vigilance for all our protocols – PPE adherence, testing, hand hygiene, environmental cleanliness, tidying up areas of the site, putting non‐essential equipment and furniture into storage, etc. We are fully and completely committed to ending this outbreak as soon as possible,” it reads.
“Each day, we see a slowing of the spread and it gives us hope as everyone works to their utmost to ensure the care and attention that our residents need is provided. With each day, we see a bit more hope that we will soon get through this.”
A spokesperson for Vancouver Coastal Health says the authority does not disclose the number of people who have contracted or died from the virus during an active outbreak.
“The circumstances surrounding each outbreak — including the number of active cases — can evolve rapidly, and it causes unnecessary stress to the families of residents and patients to have information publicly misreported. To avoid causing unnecessary concern, and out of respect for the privacy of residents and their families, we do not disclose specific numbers for active outbreaks,” according to an emailed statement.
“Our immediate priority is to lead the outbreak response, which includes early identification of COVID-19 cases; prompt isolation of cases; testing and monitoring of all staff and residents; execution of proper infection, prevention and control practices; and direct communication with the families of those affected.”
With files from Marcella Bernardo and Renee Bernard