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Updated: 'Bracing for each day,' says family member, as COVID-19 cases grow to 11 at Coquitlam seniors' home

Retirement Concepts has confirmed on its website that 11 residents on the second floor of Dufferin Care Centre have tested positive for COVID-19 and protocols are in place to prevent the spread of the virus
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At least five residents have tested positive for COVID-19 at Dufferin Care Centre — a second outbreak for the Coquitlam care home.

At least 11 residents at a Coquitlam care home have tested positive for COVID-19 as an outbreak declared Tuesday grows from a single case.

The new cases come just two weeks after provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry allowed each resident visitations with up to two adults and one child at a time.

Now the facility at 1131 Dufferin Street is back to earlier protocols that keep families from visiting their loved ones — even virtual visits may be restricted because of staff limitations, according to Retirement Concepts’ website.

The outbreak is currently limited to 11 people on the second floor of the facility, which means residents on that floor can no longer go to the dining room for meals or participate in group recreation programs, according to the home's website.

For family members, the news is devastating and comes a year after a COVID-19 outbreak swept through the facility, infecting 22 people, with four people dying of the disease.

VACCINATION CONCERNS AS CASE COUNTS RISE AT COQUITLAM CARE HOME

One family member told the Tri-City News that she’s worried the outbreak will expand to the first floor, where her mother resides, and that cases will mount as the days go by.

The family member described last year’s outbreak as “something creeping down the hallway,” that could enter her mother’s room at any time, and worries that the current outbreak could spread to more cases even though 95% of the 155 residents received at least a first dose, and her mom got a second jab 35 days later.

The rise of new variants could jeopardize what on the service seems to be a high level of protection. According to the BC Centre for Disease Control, variants of concern now make up more than half of all reported cases, and the rise of the P.1 variant, first reported in Japan but later identified in Brazil, has now been identified in 1,529 cases, 555 since April 9. 

The P.1 variant, warns the BCCDC “may be able to re-infect people who have had COVID-19” and “some current treatments and vaccines may not work as well on cases of this variant.”

The implications of such mutant strains of the coronavirus only add uncertainty for families, residents and workers coping with another outbreak at the Dufferin facility. 

“Now to see this happening again is more than I can handle,” said the family member. “I’m bracing for the day to day because I have a feeling we haven’t seen the end of this.”

According to the family member, an email sent to families yesterday said that six people had been infected, one more than publicized on the Retirement Concepts website.

She said she would hope all staff members have been vaccinated and wants the province to make vaccinations a job requirement for people working in vulnerable sectors.

VACCINATION STILL AVAILABLE FOR NEW RESIDENTS, STAFF WHO HAVEN’T GOT A COVID-19 SHOT

Fraser Health has not provided an explanation for the outbreak — except to say that it’s part of community spread — but has been supporting the facility, which has protocols in place to control the virus.

The outbreak at Dufferin is one of seven current outbreaks in B.C. long-term care facilities in B.C. 

Fraser Health confirmed to the Tri-City News it conducted initial clinics at care homes as part of Phase 1 of B.C.’s COVID-19 immunization plan and continues to vaccinate new residents at clinics established in partnership with facilities.

Any staff at long-term care or assisted living facilities who haven’t received a dose can register by telephone at 1-833-838-2323, (identifying themselves as a health care worker.)

Fraser Health also noted that residents who have not participated in on-site clinics also have the option of registering online at getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca, by telephone at 1-833-838-2323, or in-person at a BC Services Centre.

This story has been updated to include the most recent case count reported by the care home. (Friday, April 16)