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Hilltop House outbreak


Update

As of Saturday, February 6, 2021, the outbreak at Hilltop House has officially been declared over. For more information, please click here.


On January 13, 2021, an outbreak was declared throughout the entire Hilltop House home. Outbreak measures have been implemented and we are taking critical steps to ensure the safety of residents, staff and their families and mitigate transmission of COVID-19. Unfortunately, visits to Hilltop House will not be possible until the outbreak is declared over; the exception is compassionate visits at the end-of-life.

We acknowledge this is a very difficult and stressful time for everyone. The health and safety of residents and staff remains an utmost priority as we manage the outbreak and we appreciate your patience and support.

Communication to families

Click the + symbol below to find the most recent and archived communications to Hilltop House residents and families. 

Support for families 

For families with outstanding questions, requiring emotional support or needing assistance navigating the health-care system, please contact the Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH)/Providence Health Care (PHC) Long-term Care (LTC) Family Support Line at 1-844-824-2219 or 604-875-4953. Please note that the PHC/VCH LTC Family Support Line cannot provide specific resident status reports.

For information regarding the status of a resident at Hilltop House, please directly contact the social worker on site at 604-892-6024.

Frequently asked questions

What is the criteria for an outbreak?

An outbreak is declared when a resident tests positive for COVID-19 and there is a likelihood of transmission to other residents or staff.

How did this outbreak happen?

COVID-19 is still prevalent in our community at this time. Public Health is currently investigating to determine how the virus transmission occurred in the home.

What steps are you taking to address the situation?

We have strict infection prevention and control protocols that are implemented when a COVID-19 outbreak is declared in a long-term care facility.

A VCH Medical Health Officer leads the outbreak response closely through daily on-site meetings with facility staff and several VCH leaders to ensure appropriate infection prevention and control precautions are in place for the safety of residents and health care providers.

Outbreak measures include preventing potential resident exposures outside of their rooms, including during mealtimes, and cancelling group activities and non-essential services, in addition to enhanced cleaning, and appropriate use of personal protective equipment by staff.

To help reduce further spread, we are doing proactive and low-barrier COVID-19 testing of both residents and staff who may have been exposed to the virus, even if they have mild or no symptoms. Early identification of cases, prompt isolation, testing, monitoring and execution of proper infection, prevention and control practices are key to managing an outbreak.

What is the breakdown of outbreak numbers per wing?

To protect patient confidentiality, we will be sharing overall site outbreak numbers during our virtual family town hall meetings. The situation can change rapidly and we want to ensure you have the most up-to-date information. If you have specific concerns about your loved one, please contact us directly.

How long will this go on? What is the criteria to declare the outbreak over? When can I see my loved one?

To ensure the safety of all residents and staff in the home, outbreaks are typically declared over 28 days after the last infection was discovered, but timing may vary depending on the situation and at the discretion of the Medical Health Officer. Until the outbreak is declared over, all outbreak precautions, including suspended in-person visitation will remain in place. We will let you know when the outbreak is over and these restrictions are lifted.

In the meantime, virtual visitation is still available for all loved ones. If you would like to arrange a virtual visit, please contact our Recreation/Rehab office at 604-892-9337 ext. 5, Monday through Friday.

How will we receive updates on our family member’s health? How often will we receive updates?

While our current primary focus is providing care to your family member and responding to the outbreak, we will always notify you of any changing conditions to your loved one's health. For information regarding the status of a resident at Hilltop House, please directly contact the social worker on-site at 604-892-6024.

Can we bring an iPad or cell phone for our family member so we can do virtual visits?

Connection between residents and their loved ones is very important for both their emotional and physical well-being. While we do have some on-site tablets to support virtual visitation, if your loved one is able to manage a cell phone or tablet on their own, you are encouraged to drop it off and we will bring it to them.

If any residents have specialist appointments (eye specialist and hearing to get replacement hearing aide) can we take them out?

Residents will not be allowed out for any appointments until the outbreak is declared over. The exception would be if they required urgent care in hospital.

When will Hilltop residents be allowed out for visits, under what circumstances?

Residents will not be allowed out for visits until the outbreak is declared over.

What are the rules for removing a resident temporarily now that there is an outbreak?

Families are welcome to take their loved ones home. However, residents would not be able to return to Hilltop House until the outbreak is declared over.

Are family members who are designated essential visitors still allowed to enter the facility?

Yes, family members providing essential care and support are still allowed to enter Hilltop House.

What is the definition of an “essential visitor”?

VCH continues to support visitors for essential visits. Essential visits are limited to one visitor per patient/client within the facility at a time (except in the case of palliative/end-of-life care). Essential visits include, but are not limited to:

  • Visits for compassionate care, including critical illness, palliative care, hospice care, end of life and medical assistance in dying (MAID)

  • Visits paramount to the patient, client or resident's physical care and mental well-being (mental and emotional support). This includes:

    • Assistance with feeding, mobility, personal care

    • Communication assistance for persons with hearing, visual, speech, cognitive, intellectual or memory impairments

    • Assistance by designated representatives for persons with disabilities, including emotional support

    • Visits for supported decision-making

    • Visits for pediatric care, labour and delivery

  • Existing registered volunteers providing the services described above.

  • Visits required to move belongings in or out of a patient/client or resident's room.

  • Police, correctional officers and peace officers accompanying a patient/client for security reasons.

  • Spiritual care providers of all denominations are considered part of the care team. The single visitor guideline does not apply to them

Review of decisions about essential visits: Families and visitors can ask for a review of a decision about what is considered an essential visit by contacting the VCH Patient Care Quality Office.

Are residents being kept informed about what is happening?

We continue to provide updates to all residents on the outbreak and protocols being implemented to keep them safe.

Above the basics of care, is there a strategy to provide emotional support to each resident?

We know it is difficult for residents to stay in their rooms and be isolated. Our initial response to the outbreak is to focus on meeting needs such as hydration, feeding and personal care. We are working on a plan to provide additional support to residents during the outbreak period and will share details of the plan with you as soon as possible.

How and how often can families expect updates regarding the outbreak at Hilltop - specifically case numbers: when the last new case was identified, active cases, recovered cases, and if they are staff or residents?

We will now be sharing numbers with you two times per week, on Mondays and Thursdays, and will continue to hold weekly family calls. You can be assured if your loved one develops COVID, you will be notified immediately.

Are the six cases considered linked (i.e. originating from one or two sources) and if so have the staff and management identified the specific practices within Hilltop House that contributed to spread?

We have identified how the cases in Hilltop House are connected and as part of our outbreak response have initiated a number of measures to prevent potential resident exposures and lessen possible points of transmission.

Are you able to tell us where in Hilltop House the cases are – what wings or floors?

For confidentiality and privacy reasons, we are not able to identify the specific locations, but can share that so far we have been able to contain the cases to a small group.

How long do residents need to be quarantined to their rooms after the identification of the last positive case? 14 days? 28 days?

Outbreaks are typically declared over 28 days – two infectious periods – after the last infection was discovered, but timing may vary depending on the situation and at the discretion of the Medical Health Officer.

Can families do window visits during the outbreak?

Yes, but the window will need to remain closed. Please contact us if you would like to arrange a window visit with your loved one.

As a family member can we come in and wash a resident’s hair and help them with care? Two weeks is a long time to not have your hair washed even if it is bathroom sink.

Please be assured we have plenty of care staff on site and as part of the bed bath/sponge bath there is a “dry wash” washing cap we use to keep your family member clean.

If a resident is displaying mental health deterioration and his health care providers determine that a family visit would help, is there any way during a long-term care outbreak that a family member could come in to support their loved one?

Information about essential visits can be found here. You can also get in touch with the social worker on site at 604-892-6024 to find out about the process for being designated an essential visitor.

Was the added infection still within the original module area/is the infection on the same general area as previous residents?

For confidentiality and privacy reasons, we are not able to identify the specific locations, but can share that so far we have been able to contain the cases to a small group.

When was the actual date of the [most recent] positive test? This information is of interest as this date determines the date of clearing the outbreak. Whilst understanding that family visiting has to stop for two 14-day periods – when does that mean that the 28th day will be? Is it 28 days from January 13, when the first case was identified, or if not 28 days from which date? If another case is identified what impact will that have on when we can expect visiting to re-commence?

We can’t share dates as that is personal information. Previously there was a wait of two full 14-day periods before an outbreak could be declared over, but with the immunity provided by immunizations, these criteria have changed. Now a LTC outbreak can be declared over if there hasn’t been a new case in 14 days and it’s been 14 days since residents were immunized and there are no more active cases in the home. Hilltop House is coming close to meeting these criteria and once all residents are cleared, the outbreak can be declared over. However, if there is a new resident case, we will need to re-start the clock.

Are any of the COVID [cases] at Hilltop the variance type?

This is not yet known. The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is looking at a certain proportion of cases in BC, but they are not testing all cases for variants and are focusing mainly on travellers who may be importing these variants.

What is the date of the most recent confirmed case? I am guessing that the lockdown will now be extended to four weeks from the identification of this recent case? Have you an idea of how the new transmission occurred and can we prevent it happening again?

We can’t share dates as that is personal information. Following discovery of this new case, the person was re-tested and was found to be negative meaning this was a historical case, related to the earlier cases. Onset of infection in the newly discovered case likely occurred a number of weeks ago, but the person did not display obvious symptoms at that time. We are not concerned about further transmission in the building related to this case.

Previously there was a wait of two full 14-day periods before an outbreak could be declared over, but with the immunity provided by immunizations, these criteria have changed. Now a LTC outbreak can be declared over if there hasn’t been a new case in 14 days and it’s been 14 days since residents were immunized and there are no more active cases in the home. Hilltop House is coming close to meeting these criteria and once all residents are cleared, the outbreak can be declared over.

Is the new COVID case linked to the others and in the same area? Is the new case linked to the others? Did it occur within two weeks of the last positive diagnosis? Is the newly COVID diagnosed resident’s room in the same area as the others?

For confidentiality and privacy reasons, we are not able to identify the specific locations, but can share that so far we have been able to contain the cases to a small group. All cases are linked to one another and we can draw clear lines of transmission between the cases.

How are the affected residents?

The residents are doing well. Almost everyone has been cleared, which means they are no longer infectious, and are returning to their normal state of being.

What is the situation with staff working in the facility?

The majority of Hilltop House staff are assigned to work in a single unit and to not move between units. There are, however, some exceptions, such as the spiritual care provider, as there is only one spiritual care provider for the entire facility. Any staff that are required to work across the facility are provided with PPE to help keep both staff and residents safe and to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19.

What kind of care is provided with a shortage of staff available?

During outbreaks, Vancouver Coastal Health works to ensure that the home has enough staff to provide the appropriate level of care to all residents. This is done through a number of ways such as hiring of new staff, giving extra hours to part-time and casual staff, and existing staff from within VCH who volunteer to work in long-term care facilities during outbreaks. In some cases, retired health care workers have also returned to assist.

Have public health actually given you the extra staff you require?

Yes, we are receiving extra support to ensure residents are well cared for.

What personal protective equipment (PPE) are the nurses and care aides are wearing?

Staff members who are providing direct care to residents are wearing medical-grade masks, gloves, gowns and eye protection.

What daily measures are being taken to ensure staff are self-assessing for COVID symptoms before they start their shift?

In addition to self-monitoring for symptoms, staff are assessed on arrival at work. Their temperature is taken and they answer a series of questions to determine if they can proceed to their shift or should seek testing.

What is the staff ratio at this time?

There are currently 20 per cent more staff on site than normal to assist with direct resident care as well as to support the outbreak response. There are no staff shortages at this time.

Have you received any more staff from the city to help with residents care?

Yes, we have had additional staff come to help. There has been no reduction in care. 

Are nurses/care aids/workers allowed to work at other facilities during the COVID outbreak?

No, during an outbreak staff are not able to work at other sites. As well, within Hilltop staff are assigned to specific units and cohorts and only work within those designated areas to lessen the risk of transmission within the facility. 

Why are the workers who have COVID allowed back to work so soon? It seems like they didn’t self-isolate for the minimum period.

Most COVID cases can be cleared 10 days after their symptoms began, unless the person has certain immune conditions or ongoing symptoms. Residents of long-term care homes are generally older and are typically cleared 20 days after symptom onset because their immune systems may not be as strong as younger adults and children.

Why are residents who are a positive and negative for COVID-19 placed in the same room?

During an outbreak in a facility, we want to reduce the risk of potentially infecting those who have not yet been exposed. If two residents are already sharing a room, and one person tests positive, there is an increased likelihood that the other resident will also test positive. Each of the bed spaces in are a room are kept separate and staff don new PPE in-between treating residents.

As part of outbreak protocols, residents remain in their rooms at all times. All laundry is cleaned in industrial machines so there is no risk for lingering viral bacteria.

Staff monitor all residents on a regular basis for symptoms and continue to provide the care our residents need.

Are the residents now to stay in the rooms until the lockdown is over and there are measure to ensure they stay in their rooms for their protection?

At this time, it's important for us to reduce the spread of COVID-19 throughout the facility in order to protect other residents and staff. All residents at Hilltop House have been asked to stay in their rooms during the outbreak so that we can reduce their potential exposure to the virus outside of their room.

It is important that while residents are being asked to stay in their rooms, that they remain active, rather than staying in bed. Hilltop House staff are working closely with residents to ensure they get some movement throughout their day, while remaining safely in their rooms.

We are looking at options to safely keep residents in their rooms and are having staff redirect patients who are venturing outside their rooms.

What are the meal arrangements for residents?

All residents are currently eating their meals in their rooms as we have suspended all dining room activities as part of our outbreak control measures.

Will we be able to drop off packaged food, treats personal items, or mail for family members?

At this time, unfortunately, we are not allowing any food or drink, personal items, including mail, to be brought into the facility to comply with our infection prevention and control protocols. You can let staff know if there is a food item that your family member may enjoy and they will do their best to provide it to them.

What is the bathing situation – is it still the same? 

No, we are not using the tubs and showers at this time. Residents will be receiving regular “bed baths”, more commonly known as sponge baths, until the outbreak is declared over.

Are the residents wearing masks to protect themselves and others?

Based on provincial health orders, residents in long-term care facilities are not required to wear masks while in their rooms. Masks are required in communal areas, where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is higher. At this time, we are limiting the amount of time residents spend in these settings to further reduce this risk.

How would you know if a resident who is non-verbal is not feeling well?

The health and safety of all our residents is of the utmost importance. Care staff are experienced in assessing residents who are non-verbal. All residents are assessed twice daily for symptoms and note any changes in their usual behaviour.

If a resident becomes ill with COVID, what are the accommodations planned for family to visit? Which family members?

We will always grant access to families when a resident becomes unwell and at the end-of-life. However, families will have to comply with our PPE standards.

Do residents have a dedicated physician looking after them?

There is a physician on-call to support Hilltop House and our residents 24/7.

Will residents who test positive be transferred to hospital?

Not all residents who receive a positive COVID-19 test result require hospitalization. Our team of nurses and physicians monitor all of our residents to ensure they receive the appropriate level of care. Many residents are able to recover from COVID-19 without requiring hospitalization.

Are there enough ventilators?

We do not have any ventilators on-site at Hilltop House. A resident’s physician would need to make a determination if being placed on a ventilator is recommended. If a resident's condition declines, they will be transferred to Lions Gate Hospital where they will receive the appropriate level of care from expert clinical staff.

Will residents who are ill be automatically transferred to Lions Gate Hospital (LGH)? At what point in the illness does this occur? If not eligible for ventilators, are they still taken to LGH? If sent to hospital with COVID, are families given the same visitation outlined in this memo for Hilltop? Can the resident/family choose not to go to hospital? If so, are they treated in their own room at Hilltop? If not, where?

Residents who have COVID are not automatically transferred to hospital. We are able to treat and isolate them in their rooms at Hilltop House and provide the same level of care as they would receive in hospital. If a resident with COVID did require transfer to hospital, this decision will require the input of the resident’s physician and the Medical Health Officer depending on the degree of intervention required and the advanced directives for the resident.

Will physio be taking residents for a walk and helping them keep their mobility? 

After an incubation has passed and it is clear that the situation is stable, these services will be resumed at the direction of the Medical Health Officer.

For residents who wander, are they allowed to walk outside of their rooms?

One-to-one monitors are being arranged for those who wander in order to ensure they remain safe and do not expose themselves to others and vice versa.

Is there ever a situation you would resort to locking a resident in their room?

No. Please refer to the answer above on the use of one-to-one monitors for those who wander and may put themselves at risk while doing so.

How can family members arrange a window of time that someone will assist my mom in using her cell phone to call family members?  

Virtual visitation is available for all loved ones. If you would like to arrange a virtual visit, please contact our Recreation/Rehab office at 604-892-9337 ext. 5, Monday through Friday.

Are non-COVID infected residents still confined to their rooms entirely or are they getting out for communal dining room or other activities?

All residents are required to stay in their rooms while Hilltop remains on outbreak to protect residents, staff and reduce potential spread of COVID-19 throughout the facility. Residents are still eating their meals in their rooms as dining room activities are suspended as part of our outbreak control measures. Unfortunately these measures will remain in place until the outbreak is declared over. Staff are working closely with residents to ensure they get some movement throughout their day, including visits to the garden, when possible.

Isolation will be taking its toll on residents as time goes on. I would like to send my mom some books to help her pass the time. Can you say when you will be allowing mail and other items to enter the facility again? Why can we not drop off packaged, wipeable snacks for loved ones?  Snacks have never been found to bring COVID into LTC?

Unfortunately while the outbreak remains underway, we are not allowing any food or drink, personal items, including mail, to be brought into the facility to comply with our infection prevention and control protocols. Please let staff know if there is a food item that your family member may enjoy and they will do their best to provide it to them.

Can I be classified as an essential visitor as I feel my loved one’s mental health is suffering from the effects of not having visitors?

Information about essential visits can be found here. You can also get in touch with the social worker on site at 604-892-6024 to find out about the process for being designated an essential visitor.

Who is considered to be an essential visitor? Apparently some essential visitors were given the COVID-19 vaccine and are allowed to see their loved ones. Why can I not be an essential visitor since [my mother] is totally immobile and is dependent on help? Her dementia is progressing quickly and I feel I am losing precious time with her. Please let me know how I can be considered an essential visitor?

VCH continues to support visitors for essential visits. Essential visits are limited to one visitor per patient/client within the facility at a time (except in the case of palliative/end-of-life care). Information about essential visits can be found here. You can also get in touch with the Hilltop House social worker at 604-892-6024 to find out about the process for being designated an essential visitor.

Essential visits include, but are not limited to:

  • Visits for compassionate care, including critical illness, palliative care, hospice care, end of life and medical assistance in dying (MAID)

  • Visits paramount to the patient, client or resident's physical care and mental well-being (mental and emotional support). This includes:

    • Assistance with feeding, mobility, personal care

    • Communication assistance for persons with hearing, visual, speech, cognitive, intellectual or memory impairments

    • Assistance by designated representatives for persons with disabilities, including emotional support

    • Visits for supported decision-making

    • Visits for pediatric care, labour and delivery

  • Existing registered volunteers providing the services described above.

  • Visits required to move belongings in or out of a patient/client or resident's room.

  • Police, correctional officers and peace officers accompanying a patient/client for security reasons.

  • Spiritual care providers of all denominations are considered part of the care team. The single visitor guideline does not apply to them.

Families and visitors can ask for a review of a decision about what is considered an essential visit by contacting the VCH Patient Care Quality Office.

Which test is being used for COVID-19 testing? Are resident receiving the anti-body test?

We are currently using nasal swab and gargle tests for COVID-19 – this is in line with provincial guidelines. Residents are not currently receiving the anti-body test.

Have all residents and staff been tested at least once? How often are they being tested?

As part of our outbreak measures, all residents and staff at Hilltop House were tested for COVID-19 when the outbreak was first declared. Since then, we continue to actively monitor for symptoms in all residents and staff.

Should anyone who has not tested positive develop symptoms, even mild ones, they will be re-tested. The Medical Health Officer may also request testing of a resident at any time if they are a close contact of another resident or staff member that has tested positive.

Do you notify a family member when a resident tests positive?

Yes. It is our priority to ensure the family members are notified of any changing conditions to their loved one's health. We do not notify families if a resident tests negative.

Are you going to do another round of screening tests next week to catch the “incubators”?

We will not be doing another mass testing of residents and staff, but any residents or staff who develop COVID-19 symptoms, even mild symptoms, will be retested.

Could the recent vaccinations induce any false positive test results?

The COVID-19 vaccine will not give a false positive result for those who are tested after having received their immunization

Should those of us who visited Hilltop House in the past two weeks be self-isolating or get tested?

No, as long as you followed the visitor protocols, the risk to you should be very low. You do not need to self-isolate unless you are showing symptoms.

We do encourage you to self-evaluate frequently and to keep your bubble small. Please monitor yourself for symptoms and get tested if you develop any. An online COVID-19 self-assessment can be done at https://bc.thrive.health.

Will family members receive emails regarding test results when their loved one is tested? It would be a huge stress reliever on all of us to know if our loved one is negative on the COVID test.

Unfortunately we do not have the capacity right now to let people know about negative tests, but please be assured that if your family member tests positive or if showing symptoms we will let you know immediately.

Has the outbreak at Hilltop House been checked to investigate if a variant of the coronavirus is involved?

This testing is being completed by the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and does take some time to sequence virus samples. At this time, we are not aware of the any the positive staff or residents having been infected with a variant, and the epidemiology does not suggest increased transmissibility at this time.

Are the residents still getting vaccinated and what is the time line?

We continue to work with Public Health and Vancouver Coastal Health to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to residents, eligible staff and essential visitors, in line with provincial guidelines. Ninety-nine per cent (99%) of our residents have been vaccinated.

How long does it take for the body’s immune system to respond to the COVID vaccine and provide protection against the virus?

Typically the vaccine starts to work fairly quickly. However it can take up to 10 to 14 days for it to be effective fully. At the 10 to 14 day mark, the first vaccine has been shown to be up to 90% effective.

When are the residents getting their second dose of the vaccine?

We are currently focused on providing the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to all residents and staff in long-term care. In line with provincial guidance, we aim to administer the second dose within 35 days of the initial dose. We will communicate with you once an immunization clinic is scheduled for second doses at Hilltop House.

If resident receives first dose of vaccine, then tests positive, will they get the second dose?

Those who have a lab-confirmed positive diagnosis for COVID-19 are not eligible to get vaccinated at this time – even if they have already received their first dose. This is in line with national guidelines for vaccinations.

Will family members who are designated visitors be able to get vaccinated through Hilltop House?

No, the current vaccine allocation is going to the areas and people where there will be the greatest impact. Everyone in BC who would like to be vaccinated will have the opportunity to be vaccinated in the weeks and months ahead.

How long does it take between being jabbed and enjoying reasonable immunity from COVID?

While this may vary from person to person, immunity of approximately 90% is expected after 14 days.

Re: First dose vaccination. While the peak is expected in the 14-21 day period, how long does the level of the response stay at this level, or does it drop off?

Unfortunately, as it is still early in the days of this vaccine’s use, we do not know how long the immunity persists.

When will you be delivering the second dosage?

The current expectation approximately 35 days after the first dose. Long-term care remains a priority for vaccination and we will let you know when we know more about the timing of the second dose.

Can residents who have had COVID get the second vaccine?

Residents who have had COVID-19 in the last three months are not candidates for COVID-19 vaccine at this time as it is in short supply and these residents are expected to have immunity from natural infection. They will get the vaccine later in the campaign when it is more available.

Does the vaccine mean that after a few weeks Hilltop residents will be able to leave the building with very limited risk?

The vaccine will afford a level of immunity to the residents. This immunity is expected to shorten the duration of the outbreak by limiting further transmission. Once the outbreak is declared over, normal operations will resume as they were prior to outbreak declaration.

Is the response of seniors to the vaccine in terms of efficacy the same as the general adult population or is their rate lower as in general seniors’ health is on the decline and healing, recovery etc. takes longer in general and also their general health is less. Basically I’m asking is the response to the vaccine at a less effective rate in seniors due to all the various health and age factors?

The efficacy for seniors has shown to be quite good and seniors appear to be developing a good immune response to the vaccine.

Can we assume that the fact that all HTH residents were vaccinated over ten days ago, that will already much improve residents’ resistance to COVID already?

The vaccine trials showed that immunity starts around 12 days after immunization. We don’t know the effect on immunity if someone who has been vaccinated is exposed to the virus during this 12-day period. At Hilltop, we are not seeing a lot of transmission which is a really good sign.

Why is Dr. Harding saying the first Pfizer vaccine provides up to 90% immunity when everything online indicates up to 52% immunity until the second booster which then takes it up to 95%?

This has to do with how the trial data has been analysed. These studies included data from the moment of immunization with the first dose; however, it is not expected that the vaccine will offer much immunity in the first 12 days, which is similar to most other vaccines. Once a person gets to day 12 – when immunity is expected to kick in – the first dose of the vaccine offers up to 90% protection.

Why are we waiting 90 days for the second booster when we have an active outbreak and they can receive it after 28 days?

The delay in providing second doses of the vaccine has more to do with the scarcity of vaccine as there has been an unexpected interruption in the supply of vaccine to Canada. The provincial recommendation for second doses was 35 days which had been extended to 42 days and may be extended further. The current priority for vaccination is to provide first doses to sites with active outbreaks. The second dose of the vaccine takes people from 90% to 95%. We will try to provide second doses as close to 35 days as we can.

Are you monitoring the buildup of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the residents?

We are not. At this point in the pandemic, we don’t know what the presence of antibodies means for a person or what level of antibodies may mean someone is immune, or for how long any immunity may last. We hope to have this information in the future.

When will the residents and staff at Hilltop House in Squamish get their second vaccine?

The provincial recommendation for second doses was 35 days which had been extended to 42 days and may be extended further. The current priority for vaccination is to provide first doses to sites with active outbreaks. The second dose of the vaccine takes people from 90% to 95% immunity. We will try to provide second doses as close to 35 days and are aiming to have all residents, staff and essential visitors receive their second dose by the end of February.

 

Resources

SOURCE: Hilltop House outbreak ( )
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