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‘Incredibly lethal’ outbreak at Vancouver long-term care home raises questions of transparency

Click to play video: 'Public kept in dark about one of B.C.’s deadliest care home COVID-19 outbreaks' Public kept in dark about one of B.C.’s deadliest care home COVID-19 outbreaks
Dr. Bonnie Henry is responding to concerns that the public is being kept in the dark about one of B.C.'s deadliest long-term care home outbreaks. John Hua has more on why the local health authority is not releasing the most recent COVID-19 case data, and what it's doing to address a devastating situation – Jan 4, 2021

B.C.’s top doctor responded to concerns that health officials are not releasing enough information about one of the province’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreaks.

Vancouver Coastal Health declared an outbreak at Little Mountain Place, a 117-bed long-term care facility for seniors in Vancouver’s Riley Park neighbourhood, back in November.

The health authority confirmed on Monday that 98 of the facility’s 114 residents had confirmed cases of COVID-19, along with 69 staff. There have also been 38 deaths due to complications linked to the virus at the facility.

Click to play video: 'B.C. officials report 2,211 new COVID-19 cases, 45 deaths over four days' B.C. officials report 2,211 new COVID-19 cases, 45 deaths over four days
B.C. officials report 2,211 new COVID-19 cases, 45 deaths over four days – Jan 4, 2021

 

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Speaking on Monday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry called the outbreak at Little Mountain “incredibly lethal.”

Read more: COVID-19 outbreaks declared at care homes in Surrey, Port Coquitlam and Qualicum Beach

In a statement to Global News, Vancouver Coastal Health said outbreak control measures have been adjusted to protect the safety of residents and staff and families of residents are given regular updates to ensure they have accurate information.

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B.C. used to send out a daily list of all long-term care home outbreaks, including the number of cases and deaths, but that stopped a couple of months ago.

Read more: COVID-19 outbreaks declared at two long-term care homes in Vernon, B.C.

Henry said as the number of cases in long-term outbreaks grew, health officials had to supply aggregate numbers on long-term care outbreaks on a daily basis and then periodically provide more detailed statistics.

“It’s not a policy change,” Henry said. “It was merely trying to keep up with the amount of data that we were trying to collect.”

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