An outbreak is declared when a resident tests positive for COVID-19 and there is a likelihood of transmission to other residents or staff.
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.
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.
Droplet precautious are an infection prevention and control intervention that is used to prevent the transmission of pathogens, including viruses that are spread via respiratory secretions. This transmission could occur if an infected individual coughs or sneezes while in close contact with another person.
Contact precautions are used to prevent transmission of microorganisms that may be transmitted easily by contact with an individual’s intact skin or a contaminated surface, for example, a light switch or a bedside table.
For both interventions, staff wear appropriate PPE to prevent the potential transmission of the virus while they are providing essential care to residents.
There are 250 beds at Minoru and we have 226 residents. With our recent number of cases, this means that roughly 26 percent of residents at Minoru have been diagnosed with COVID-19 during this outbreak. (*As of January 12, 2021).
VCH and Minoru are doing everything we can to control the outbreak at Minoru and reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in the home. We have received support from every level of our organization including Medical Health Officers from Public Health, Infection Control and Prevention physicians, additional staffing and housekeeping resources, and much more. The week of January 11, we began rapid testing for staff entering the home. This will allow us to test staff and determine if they have COVID-19 within 15 minutes—even if they are not showing symptoms. While this test is less accurate than the nasopharyngeal swab, it is another tool we can use in addition to regular testing to screen those who may be infected.
While every outbreak and every long-term care home is different, we have incorporated learnings from our colleagues at Little Mountain so that we can control the outbreak at this stage. The implementation of the rapid testing for staff is one example of this.
While we have implemented all of the outbreak measures and protocols, some residents may have been incubating the virus prior to some of these measures being implemented.
We believe the peak was somewhere around January 1 and that we are now coming down the other side of the curve. We are now seeing a slower amount of new cases coming in than we were before. We are also now two weeks past when we first began immunizations at Minoru, so residents will now be more protected against COVID-19 than they were two weeks ago. While we might still see some new cases over the coming weeks, we hope that symptoms will be milder and will hopefully have less severe outcomes.
We know that get the latest information and updates is important to everyone throughout this outbreak. 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.
The Ministry of Health is also sharing numbers from long term care outbreaks to the public once a week. You can access the report from the Ministry of Health here.
When we discovered the first case on the first floor, we did lock down the entire floor immediately. Our hope was that cases would be contained to that single floor so that we wouldn’t have to impose these difficult outbreak protocols on all residents and families. As soon as we discovered that there had been transmission on another floor, we made the difficult but necessary decision to implement outbreak measures throughout the entire home.
The UK variant of COVID-19 has been detected in BC, but not at Minoru Residence. That being said, not all samples from COVID-19 tests are being examined to see if they contain this variant. Priority for these tests are being given to high-risk samples—such as those who returned from travel. Even if the UK variant were to be detected at Minoru, our medical management of the resident and treatment would remain the same as it is still the COVID-19 virus.
Evidence does not show that the new variant results in more severe illness following infection.
When an outbreak is declared, there are multiple communications pieces that happen at once. Our process is to ensure that families and loved ones are notified of the outbreak declaration before the public is notified. We apologize for the delay in getting this important communication out to you in a timely manner. We are committed to providing you with regular updates on the health and wellbeing of your loved one.
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. We also have tablets available at the facility that we can use to facilitate a virtual visit with you and your loved one. If you would like to arrange a virtual visit, please contact our Recreation/Rehab office at 604-244-5304, Monday through Friday.
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.
Once all of the outbreak measures have been lifted, in-person visitation will be able to continue at Minoru.
Yes—families can reach out to our social workers if they would like to drop off things such as cell phones or tablets for their loved ones. We would be happy to help facilitate your requests. The social workers can advise how to package and label the items you want to provide a Minoru resident.
We continue to provide updates to all residents on the outbreak and protocols being implemented to keep them safe.
When a resident tests positive for COVID-19, it is part of our process to inform the family as soon as possible. Families are always updated when a resident’s health status changes. If you do not hear from nursing staff, which means your loved one’s health status has remained the same. Families can of course always contact social work for more regular updates and health statuses.
We will also offer a once-weekly update on the total number of residents and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19. This information is then published on the Ministry of Health website. You can access this information here.
Public Health has recently changed the criteria required to declare an outbreak over. The criteria is now:
There must not be any new cases of COVID-19 in staff or residents for 14 days
All resident cases must be cleared (ie: are no longer infectious 20 days after symptoms started)
There must have been 14 days passed since residents received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine
With each outbreak, we learn more about what measures and protocols we can implement to keep our residents and staff safe. We will bring the learnings from the outbreaks before ours, as well as the one at Minoru, and apply them to our current practices to prevent a future outbreak.
Additionally, now that most of our residents have been vaccinated and there is more immunity at Minoru, there is a lower risk of future outbreaks.
We are making all efforts to ensure that VCH receives timely allocation of doses, with LTC outbreaks being considered as the highest priority.
Minoru was one of the first in VCH to get first dose and will likely be one of the first to get the second. No one will get before 35 days, most benefit is from the first dose.