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Capilano Care Centre is North Shore's deadliest COVID-19 outbreak, with 24 deaths

More people have become infected and died of coronavirus at the West Vancouver seniors home in the last month than at Lynn Valley Care Centre during pandemic's first wave
Capilano Care Centre web
Seventy-five people have now become infected with COVID-19 at West Vancouver's Capilano Care Centre and 24 of them have died. photo Paul McGrath, North Shore News

The coronavirus outbreak at West Vancouver’s Capilano Care Centre has now surpassed the one at North Vancouver’s Lynn Valley Care Centre for the most deadly long-term care outbreak on the North Shore to date, as well as one of the most serious in the province overall.

As of Friday, 75 elderly care home residents at the facility on Clyde Avenue have tested positive for the coronavirus since the outbreak was declared Nov. 9. Twenty-four of them have died.

The sombre statistics come from a statement from Revera, the company that operates the 205-bed seniors home under contract to Vancouver Coastal Health.

Thirty-one residents of the care home have recovered from the virus.

Meanwhile, 60 staff members at the nursing home have also tested positive for the virus. The vast majority of them – 55 have now recovered.

Capilano is one of the older care facilities on the North Shore. Of its 135 rooms, over 50 are shared two- or three-bed rooms, which can make controlling the spread of the virus more difficult.

According to the statement sent by Revera, residents are being monitored for symptoms twice a day.

Elderly residents at the home remain confined to their rooms during the outbreak and visits are not allowed except in cases where residents are dying.

More deaths than at Lynn Valley Care Centre

In March, Lynn Valley Care Centre became the first nursing home in Canada to be hit with an outbreak of COVID-19. A resident there was also the first person in Canada to die of the coronavirus.

By the time the outbreak there was declared, over two months later, over 50 elderly residents and 26 staff had contracted the virus and 20 residents had died.

The news about Capilano Care Centre comes as B.C. recorded its deadliest weekend so far during the pandemic, with 49 deaths in three days. That brings the total number of deaths in B.C. from COVID-19 to 647.

There are currently 55 outbreaks in long-term care facilities in the province, including over 1,300 seniors and over 725 staff. There are also seven outbreaks in acute care hospitals, including North Vancouver’s Lions Gate Hospital, where an outbreak on the fourth floor was declared Nov. 19.

So far, health officials have not released any details about that outbreak, including how many patients contracted the illness while in hospital. In an earlier COVID-19 outbreak at Lions Gate Hospital in April, 16 patients were infected while in hospital and nine of those patients died.

On Monday, Health Minister Adrian Dix described the Lions Gate outbreak as “significant.”

There was also hopeful news this week.

Vaccine rollout to start this week

The first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine arrived in B.C. on Monday and the first vaccinations of health care workers were expected to begin Tuesday at two sites in the Lower Mainland.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province’s chief medical health officer, described that as “momentous news” but urged British Columbians not to let up too soon on efforts to keep the most vulnerable safe by avoiding gatherings that can spread the virus.

While transmission at large gatherings has slowed in recent weeks, the coronavirus is still being spread at small social events at home, warned Henry. These in-home gatherings usually lack the kinds of protections put in place at restaurants and retail stores.

“A few minutes at the grocery store, or shopping in your local retail store is quite different than sitting with your extended family or with friends, or loved ones that you have not seen for a while, in your living room for the afternoon, or for the evening or longer,” she said.