Submitted by the VCH-PHC Holy Family Outbreak Management Team

Although Holy Family Long Term Care (LTC) remains in a COVID-19 outbreak situation, today marks 20 straight days without a resident testing positive for the virus.

Since the outbreak was declared on June 9, there have been a total of 53 residents and 35 staff who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Tragically, 21 residents have passed away. This has been the most heartbreaking aspect of the outbreak and we send our deepest condolences to relatives and loved ones of the residents we’ve lost.

There is one Holy Family resident who remains in hospital (not in the ICU). The total number of residents cleared to date is 30; all 35 staff members that had tested positive have been cleared.  

We continue to be cautiously optimistic by the progress we’re making toward ending this outbreak. We appreciate all staff continuing to be focused on ensuring there’s no let up or complacency in all aspects of our operations. The momentum we’re building is further incentive to focus even more on being vigilant in our strict practices and protocols.

As we hear in the media and from Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix, COVID-19 is continuing to be a risk in the community. From large group parties to unsafe personal interactions to continuing outbreaks in health care facilities, we are seeing the virus take hold wherever people don’t follow the required safety protocols.

We all need to continue to be personally accountable for our actions and behaviours at work and outside of work in our personal lives. Each one of us has to do our part to ensure we remain COVID free and not participate in risky activities. We need to continue to be self-aware if we have symptoms and should not come to work, and not risk re-introducing the virus to Holy Family again or any other care facility.

As part of their ongoing work, our staff have numerous common questions and concerns that we answer regularly. We thought to share some of those with you also, in case you find them helpful, and have copied them below.

When will this outbreak of COVID-19 be called over?

  • The usual timeline is two incubation periods (28 days) after the last resident COVID-19 case is considered non-infectious; fo, for Holy Family Long Term Care, potentially at the end of August if no one else becomes positive. 

  • Dr. John Harding (Medical Health Officer) and VCH Public Health will declare the conclusion of the outbreak.

  • In the meantime, outbreak precautions are still in place, so this is not the time to become complacent.

  • All Infection Prevention & Control (IPAC) measures remain in effect until the conclusion of the outbreak.

What will change after the outbreak?

  • Shared activities for residents will likely change (e.g. bingo, puzzles, cooking, etc.).

  • Physical distancing, where possible, will be required.

  • Hand hygiene will be maintained.

  • Many changes in the environment that have been implemented at Holy Family will be maintained.

  • A transition plan is actively being worked upon.

Could there be a second outbreak at Holy Family Long Term Care sometime in the future?

  • Not all residents are immune, so a second COVID-19 outbreak remains a possibility at any time.

  • The risk of another outbreak is lower due to the interventions in place, and many of these changes will be in effect for an extended period of time; likely for the duration of the pandemic. Many changes to environment and new practices may be undertaken, which will further decrease the risk.

  • If you (staff) feel even the slightest of symptoms consistent with COVID-19, please refrain from coming to work, go and get tested, and then self-isolate at home until you get your results.

  • And if you notice symptoms at work, please notify your supervisor immediately, get tested and go home. 

  • Look after yourself, both your physical and mental health; stay healthy.

Can recovered/cleared staff pass it on? 

  • Recovered/cleared staff are considered non-infectious and cannot transmit the virus.

  • Each health care worker is reviewed by VCH Public Health before being allowed to return to work.

Why is physical distancing important? 

  • It’s an intervention just like personal protective equipment, testing, hand hygiene, etc. 

  • Everyone should maintain good physical distance from co-workers and others while at Holy Family and in the community.

  • Please avoid touching mouth, eyes, nose/mucus membranes even when not at work.

Profiling Holy Family Staff

Holy Family Long Term Care staff, medical staff and contracted services staff are fully committed and engaged in addressing the outbreak, while continuing to provide exceptional and compassionate care to residents. They have been the heroes of this unfortunate and tragic outbreak and we celebrate and recognize their daily contributions, such as those of Elvira below.

What is your name and your current role?

Elvira Santiago, Holy Family Long Term Care (LTC) Rehab Assistant.

What was the hardest or most challenging for you during the outbreak?

The physical distancing and not being able to hold our usual programs. We usually have a lot of physical contact with the residents so it was very hard to not be able to hold their hand or have the ability to have physical closeness.

What’s been the most personal challenge during this experience?

When residents have passed away; it’s always sad to lose someone. I miss our LTC community and my colleagues who have been off. 

What’s been your most rewarding aspect of working during the outbreak?

When we hear that our residents have been cleared and to see them recovered. 

What are the learnings you are taking forward with you when the outbreak is concluded?

The need to remain vigilant even after the outbreak.  We cannot let our guard down and we should never take for granted how hard we have worked to get here.  I do not want to be back in the place we were when the outbreak started.  

This page last updated Aug 13, 2020 5:42pm PDT