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B.C. to release third-party report into COVID-19 in care homes, Monday

Click to play video 'B.C. government to release a report on pandemic impact at long term care homes' B.C. government to release a report on pandemic impact at long term care homes
The province is getting set to release a report assessing the COVID response in long term care homes. The B.C. Care Providers' Association was among the groups involved in the consultation process. CEO Terry Lake discusses their role in the review – Jan 23, 2021

The British Columbia government is slated to release a third-party report Monday into its handling of COVID-19 in long-term care homes.

The report was commissioned through Ernst & Young last summer, but has not been made public thus far.

Read more: B.C. health officials open door to mass COVID-19 testing for long-term care staff

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the reviewers consulted with 40 groups, and characterized its findings Friday as “overwhelmingly favourable” of the government’s actions.

Click to play video 'Challenging visitation rules in B.C. long-term care homes' Challenging visitation rules in B.C. long-term care homes
Challenging visitation rules in B.C. long-term care homes – Jan 19, 2021

Terry Lake, CEO of the BC Care Providers Association, and former BC Liberal Health Minister, said his group was consulted, but has yet to see the report.

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“It may be that they just have so much … person-power to devote to it,” he said.

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“But as I said, the more information you have the better. So it would have been nice to have this sooner. I can’t really understand why it’s taken this long.”

Lake said he hopes that the review spurs action on using rapid tests as a screening measure for staff at long term care homes.

Read more: Visitation restrictions in B.C. long-term care homes could ease by mid-March: province

The province has more than a million of the tests and Lake’s group, along with the B.C. Seniors’ Advocate, Isobel Mackenzie, have both been pressuring the government to implement them as an additional layer of protection.

“We know that’s how the virus is getting into nursing homes, we know we’ve separated families from their loved ones in a bid to keep the virus out, but its been the workers that have inadvertently brought it in with asymptomatic transmission of the virus,” Lake said.

Click to play video 'What is the B.C. government doing to help long-term care fight the second wave of COVID-19?' What is the B.C. government doing to help long-term care fight the second wave of COVID-19?
What is the B.C. government doing to help long-term care fight the second wave of COVID-19? – Jan 14, 2021

Dix said Friday the goal of the report is to determine how the province could do a better job of delivering services and all the recommendations in the report have been implemented.

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Mackenzie is also conducting her own review of long-term care during the pandemic, with a focus on some of the deadliest outbreaks.

According to the latest situation report from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, 72 per cent of the province’s COVID-19 deaths have been associated with long-term care outbreaks.

As of Jan. 16, there had been 262 outbreaks in care home settings in B.C.

With files from the Canadian Press

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