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B.C.’s deadliest nursing home outbreak frustrates health officials

Death toll climbing day by day at Langley Lodge
Langley Lodge

Two more seniors have died from COVID-19 in Langley Lodge, putting the death toll at 22, thus making it the deadliest outbreak in B.C., a jurisdiction that otherwise has a relatively strong handle on the pandemic.

The outbreak in Langley Lodge is frustrating health officials, who say they are facing “complex factors” such as controlling residents with dementia.

The outbreak has prompted the use of special ultraviolet equipment and a review of procedures by Fraser Health Authority (FHA) and Langley Lodge staff, according to the facility’s May 28 update.

Including staff and residents, 55 people have been infected from Langley Lodge. While 22 seniors have died, 22 have recovered and there are three active cases among the residents, according to Langley Lodge’s website. By comparison, Lynn Valley Care Centre had 20 residents die in what is now the second worst outbreak, although 76 people, including 52 elderly residents and 26 staff, contracted the virus there.

“Unfortunately, there have been two more deaths since our last update,” the Lodge noted in a statement on Wednesday. “Our residents are like family, and we acknowledge the grief and sorrow that their family members are going through,” stated chief executive officer Debra Hauptman and medical director Dr. Mitchell Fagan of Langley Lodge, which has 136 individual resident units for complex care for residents of advanced age and dementia.

“They are in the highest risk group for COVID-19, and there is no vaccine and no treatment or cure. We are providing compassionate end of life care for those who are not recovering from this deadly virus,” stated Hauptman and Fagan.

“Since our last update we have had three new resident cases of COVID-19 on the 5th floor as well as one staff member testing positive. Families of those residents have been notified directly. The 5th floor will remain on droplet precautions and we are cohorting COVID positive residents into one unit (3rd floor), where we can intensify resources and minimize further exposures,” they stated.

“We have welcomed officials from FHA to work with us to review all of our processes to date and to provide recommendations on any additional measures that we will employ. More details will be available in future updates,” added Hauptman and Fagan.

FHA announced Thursday it had appointed its own director of pandemic response to provide oversight of COVID-19 response at Langley Lodge.

“We are deploying our ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) machine to the site with infection control specialists. Additional nurses and care staff are also deployed to ensure resident care needs continue to be met,” stated FHA.

Meanwhile, “A resident has tested positive for COVID-19 at Nicola Lodge, a long term care facility,” reported FHA.

“The site is located in Port Coquitlam and is owned by Sienna Senior Living. The resident is in isolation in their home in long-term care.

“To support this contracted service provider, Fraser Health is taking a number of actions to support and guide the site during their outbreak. With the support of a SWAT team, Fraser Health has implemented enhanced control measures to be followed at this site.”