Fraser Health cites enhanced protective measures after leaked report on deadly Langley Lodge outbreak
Health authority says it adopted some of the recommendations in the report but not all
Fraser Health says it has adopted some of the recommendations in a 30-page internal report about the deadly outbreak at the Langley Lodge long term care facility — but not all of them. The COVID-19 outbreak was among the deadliest in B.C., killing 25 residents at the facility before it was declared over in early July.
The internal report was drafted by Debra Hauptman, the CEO of Langley Care Society, which operates Langley Lodge and leaked to a Glacier Media reporter.
According to Glacier's reporting, the document outlined issues with staff avoiding COVID-19 screening, the lack of widespread testing early on in areas where the outbreak occurred and challenges with isolating the elderly residents.
Norm Peters, the vice president of Fraser Health, said the authority's main priority in dealing with outbreaks like the one at Langley Lodge has been prevention, resourcing and education.
"We identified when we were on site that there were procedures and protocols that were not being fully complied with," said Peters in a teleconference with reporters on Thursday.
"We haven't approached it with a punitive point of view," he said, adding that at Langley Lodge there were issues with donning and doffing of personal protective equipment.
The facility experienced two outbreaks, but it was the second that brought a serious death toll. Fraser Health reports that as of July 3, when the outbreak was declared over, there were 51 residents who tested positive for the virus, along with 17 staff members. All of the 25 people killed by the virus were residents.
Widespread testing in outbreak areas adopted
Peters told reporters that since the outbreak, Fraser Health has implemented widespread testing in areas where outbreaks have taken place, including testing asymptomatic residents on a weekly basis.
"We have modified our experience, not only at Langley Lodge but also with other sites," he said. "We've adopted some, but not all recommendations and have looked to the medical experts to guide us."
Peters said one recommendation that hasn't been adopted, and wouldn't have helped during the Langley Lodge outbreak, is isolating the residents who test positive.
He said by the time the virus was detected at the facility's behavioural stabilization unit, a large percentage of the unit had already been infected. Peters added that isolating and displacing residents with dementia can have negative health outcomes.
Peters said there have been 35 outbreaks at long-term care facilities, assisted and independent living centres in the Fraser Health region, and the "vast majority" have had limited spread due to the authority's "proactive approach."
In the Fraser Health region, there have been 3,937 COVID-19 cases and 99 deaths. Across the province, there have been 7,663 cases and 220 deaths.