Cindy E. Harnett / Times Colonist – Feb 11, 2021 / 10:21 am | Story: 324816
Photo: Darren Handschuh
Outbreaks in long-term care homes have fallen to fewer than half the number in December, suggesting vaccinations for COVID-19 are working, says B.C.’s seniors advocate.
On Monday, there were 22 active outbreaks in long-term care and assisted-living residences, involving 786 residents and 441 staff, said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. On Dec. 21, there were 55 outbreaks affecting 1,424 residents and 792 staff.
“We’re seeing a dramatic drop,” said seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie. “That was predicted and it’s always reassuring when what we predict happens.”
The province announced 469 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. That brings the total number of active cases in B.C. to 4,305, of whom 230 are in hospital, including 66 in intensive or critical care.
Two more deaths were reported in Interior care homes on Wednesday, bringing the total COVID deaths in the region to 83.
Another resident at Vernon’s Noric House has died from the virus, bringing the total deaths there to 10, while Kamloops’ Westsyde Care Residence recorded its first death. Fifty-two of the people who’ve died from COVID-19 in the Interior have been care home residents.
Since December, all residents and staff in long-term care and assisted living have been offered a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. About 87 per cent of residents and more than 80 per cent of staff have been immunized.
The effectiveness of the vaccines is more than 90 per cent after a first dose. Vaccines are less effective in frail seniors with compromised immune systems, so it’s critical that residents get a second shot, said Mackenzie, but so far, the first doses seem to be working.
The province is also seeing fewer COVID-19 deaths, she said. On Wednesday, six new deaths were reported, for a total of 1,269 COVID-related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, most of them residents of long-term care and assisted living.
To date, 157,797 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., 14,316 of which are second doses.
Later this month, health authorities are expected to reach out to seniors 80 and older and Indigenous elders 65 and older with information on how to pre-register for immunization.