B.C. to release third-party report into COVID-19 in care homes, Monday

The British Columbia government is slated to release a third-party report Monday into its handling of COVID-19 in long-term care homes.

The report was commissioned through Ernst & Young last summer, but has not been made public thus far.

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Health Minister Adrian Dix said the reviewers consulted with 40 groups, and characterized its findings Friday as “overwhelmingly favourable” of the government’s actions.

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Terry Lake, CEO of the BC Care Providers Association, and former BC Liberal Health Minister, said his group was consulted, but has yet to see the report.

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“It may be that they just have so much … person-power to devote to it,” he said.

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“But as I said, the more information you have the better. So it would have been nice to have this sooner. I can’t really understand why it’s taken this long.”

Lake said he hopes that the review spurs action on using rapid tests as a screening measure for staff at long term care homes.

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The province has more than a million of the tests and Lake’s group, along with the B.C. Seniors’ Advocate, Isobel Mackenzie, have both been pressuring the government to implement them as an additional layer of protection.

“We know that’s how the virus is getting into nursing homes, we know we’ve separated families from their loved ones in a bid to keep the virus out, but its been the workers that have inadvertently brought it in with asymptomatic transmission of the virus,” Lake said.

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Dix said Friday the goal of the report is to determine how the province could do a better job of delivering services and all the recommendations in the report have been implemented.

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Mackenzie is also conducting her own review of long-term care during the pandemic, with a focus on some of the deadliest outbreaks.

According to the latest situation report from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, 72 per cent of the province’s COVID-19 deaths have been associated with long-term care outbreaks.

As of Jan. 16, there had been 262 outbreaks in care home settings in B.C.

With files from the Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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