Calling the novel coronavirus the “invisivirus” for the best way it may be handed from individual to individual earlier than the service has proven any signs, a medical well being officer with Vancouver Coastal Well being says “large and lethal” outbreaks are usually not “inevitable” at long-term care houses.
In a in a Twitter thread published Saturday, Dr. Michael Schwandt mentioned the well being authority has developed a spread of measures that might assist different jurisdictions keep away from massive outbreaks of COVID-19 in long-term care houses.
Lengthy-term care houses for seniors have confirmed particularly weak to novel coronavirus outbreaks, with nearly half of all COVID-19 deaths in Canada linked to care homes. Twenty-one care houses in B.C. are nonetheless within the midst of ongoing outbreaks
Some outbreaks have been notably devastating: in Bobcaygeon, Ont., the Pinecrest Nursing Home lost over a third of its residents, whereas in Montreal, a police investigation is now underway after 31 residents died and others had been present in excessive neglect at one other residence, Maison Herron.
Vancouver Coastal Well being — which works in Vancouver, Richmond, the North Shore and the Sea to Sky area — has managed 17 of B.C.’s long-term care residence outbreaks, Schwandt says.
In March, the well being authority was coping with two of the earliest and largest outbreaks, at Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver and Haro Park Centre in Vancouver. Schwandt mentioned classes discovered from these outbreaks are the rationale different outbreaks have been a lot smaller.
“No different outbreak since has come shut in numbers, and a number of other have been halted,” he mentioned.
The important thing, Schwandt mentioned, has been the belief of simply how simple it’s for the virus to unfold, typically via brief and fleeting contact. For example, transmission has occurred via a care employee altering a resident’s stockings, or workers consuming in the identical lunchroom.
That is why testing early and broadly — together with those that have had even transient contact with contaminated folks — and supporting employees to remain residence even when they are not exhibiting signs, or could also be exhibiting delicate signs that don’t appear to suit with COVID-19, is so necessary, Schwandt mentioned.
“Don’t watch for contacts to change into symptomatic; ‘watchful ready’ isn’t your buddy with the invisivirus,” he wrote.
“We are actually doing asymptomatic checks of total flooring/buildings/items, and all the workers of a LTC when transmission is suspected. This has routinely recognized instances who in any other case would have gone undetected.”
Well being care employees have additionally discovered that, particularly for older folks, a spread of signs — together with “diarrhea, fatigue, confusion, or ‘they only did not look like themselves’ have all led to constructive checks and profitable prevention of unfold,” Schwandt wrote.