British Columbia

Residents in care facilities make up nearly two-thirds of COVID-19 deaths in B.C.

Residents in B.C.'s care facilities have accounted for nearly two-thirds of the COVID-19 deaths in the province since the start of the pandemic.

602 residents have died since the start of the pandemic, about 63 per cent of the province's death toll

The Little Mountain Place care home in Vancouver has suffered the deadliest COVID-19 outbreak among care facilities in B.C. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Residents in B.C.'s care facilities have accounted for nearly two-thirds of COVID-19 deaths in the province since the start of the pandemic.

Newly released data from the province on Thursday reveals that 602 residents of long-term care, assisted-living or independent-living homes have died of COVID-19 — about 63 per cent of B.C.'s death toll, which stands at 970. 

Of the care-facility deaths, 336 are in buildings where an outbreak is still considered active.

The worst outbreak so far has been at the Little Mountain Place care home in Vancouver, where 99 of 114 residents have tested positive, 41 of whom have died since an outbreak was declared Nov. 22.

Seventy of the facility's staff have tested positive.

The data comes after weeks of questions over how outbreaks have been handled in B.C.'s care facilities.

The province stopped disclosing individual case and death counts at long-term care homes in October, after providing daily numbers during the spring and summer. 

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said earlier this week that the province lacked a system to collect numbers efficiently and that it had taken up too much staff time to obtain the data.

Vancouver Coastal Health said releasing daily counts had resulted in too many families contacting care homes with questions. 

The province, however, changed course Thursday. Health Minister Adrian Dix said case counts in individual facilities will be shared every Thursday, one of several changes to how the province collects and releases data around the pandemic.

"The losses have been terrible for families and for friends and caregivers," Dix said. "We wanted to provide this information."

Dix said the numbers show why the province has focused the first phase of its vaccination efforts on long-term care staff and residents. 

The province has also updated its visitor policy to clarify essential and social visits in care facilities.

"This will provide more consistency across care homes because there has been justifiable concern about that," Dix said. 

"It also provides a clear pathway when a family or person disagrees with the decision not to allow an essential visit." 

Dix noted that B.C.'s long-term care homes have fared relatively well compared to other provinces. 

"But I don't think people going through any of these outbreaks ... is really that concerned about how they're doing in Ontario or Quebec. They're worried about their family, their loved one." 

Here are the 10 deadliest current outbreaks in B.C. care facilities: 

  • Little Mountain Place (Vancouver): 41 resident deaths among 99 cases; 70 staff cases. 
  • AgeCare Harmony Court (Burnaby): 29 resident deaths among 73 cases; 45 staff cases.
  • Tabor Home (Abbotsford): 26 resident deaths among 93 cases; 63 staff cases.
  • Capilano Care Centre (West Vancouver): 24 resident deaths among 74 cases; 66 staff cases. 
  • German-Canadian Care Home (Vancouver): 23 resident deaths among 61 cases; 54 staff cases.
  • Lakeshore Care Centre (Coquitlam): 19 resident deaths among 42 cases; 32 staff cases.
  • George Derby Centre (Burnaby): 14 resident deaths among 32 cases; 12 staff cases.
  • McKinney Place (Oliver): 13 resident deaths among 54 cases; 23 staff cases.
  • Renfrew Care Centre (Vancouver): 13 resident deaths among 41 cases; 21 staff cases.
  • Arbutus Care Centre (Vancouver): 12 resident deaths among 64 cases; 2 staff cases.

With files from Justin McElroy