Fraser Health has appointed the health authority’s director of pandemic response to give “oversight” to the COVID-19 response at Langley Lodge, where the province’s worst outbreak has claimed 22 lives as of May 27.
The director will have the authority to direct Lodge staff with regards to the outbreak, collaborating with the Langley Lodge’s own management, said Dr. Martin Lavoie, the chief medical health officer of Fraser Health.
The new point-person on the COVID-19 outbreak at the Lodge will be “on the ground” at the site to guide the response to the virus, Lavoie said.
Langley Lodge has seen 22 residents die in the month-long outbreak that started on April 28, the highest total of any care facility in B.C.
The health authority has already been providing support and guidance to the Lodge for several weeks, including sending extra staff to help the workers already on site. That will include extra staff to help with cleaning.
Lavoie said the outbreak has been taking a toll on Langley Lodge staff, who have been working long hours for a month.
He also gave more details about the timeline of the outbreak.
The current outbreak is the Lodge’s second – one in early April affected a single staff member and did not spread to residents.
But the current incident began when a staff member contracted the virus in the community and showed no symptoms for several days. By the time they showed symptoms, the virus had already infected several residents.
The first 10 days saw limited spread, Lavoie said, but then a second wave occurred between May 14 to 19.
“The numbers have slowed down significantly since that wave occurred,” Lavoie said.
However, the Lodge recently announced that the infection had reached three residents on the fifth floor, after several weeks confined to the second and third floors.
Lavoie could not say how the virus umped to the fifth floor.
“COVID spreads extremely easily between people,” Lavoie said.
Fraser Health is also deploying an ultraviolet germicidal irradiation machine, along with infection-control specialists.
In addition to the 22 lives of residents lost, 22 had recovered (one of them a 101-year-old man), there was one active case, and there had been three new cases this week among residents.
A total of 10 workers at the Lodge, including two Fraser Health employees, had also tested positive for COVID-19.
The deployment of extra nurses and care aides will continue.