Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

People wait to be screened before entering Little Mountain Place in Vancouver on Jan. 3, 2021.

DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

A Vancouver long-term care home where more than one-third of residents have died from COVID-19 in the past six weeks will be the subject of an investigation by British Columbia’s independent watchdog for seniors.

Isobel Mackenzie, the Seniors Advocate, says she is concerned for the welfare of the remaining residents at Little Mountain Place, and is calling on Vancouver Coastal Health to provide a full accounting of its response to the outbreak that has been, to date, the most lethal in the province.

As of Tuesday, 41 of 112 seniors have died since the outbreak was declared at the non-profit facility in late November. Seventy-one staff and 99 residents in total have been infected with the coronavirus, and families want better oversight.

Story continues below advertisement

Bernadette Cheung, whose grandmother Yuet Wan died of COVID-19 at Little Mountain, has been calling for an investigation to show how the care home responded to the outbreak. Ms. Mackenzie said there is frustratingly little information about conditions in the home.

“I am concerned,” Ms. Mackenzie said in an interview. “When your outbreak is affecting 70 of your staff members, what kind of care is being delivered to the people who are still living there?”

Bernadette Cheung poses for a photograph outside Little Mountain Place, where her grandmother who passed away was a resident, in Vancouver on Jan. 7, 2021.

DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

The majority of deaths owing to COVID-19 in British Columbia have been among seniors in long-term care facilities, and homes in every region of the province have recorded COVID-19 outbreaks. At six B.C. care homes, more than 20 residents have died of the disease. Ms. Mackenzie said her review will look at those few instances in which containment efforts have failed.

Her review will look at whether personal protective equipment is being used effectively, whether better screening for COVID-19 could have limited the spread of the virus, and whether families who have largely been kept out of care homes during the pandemic should be allowed in to provide essential care.

“We need to understand exactly why these outbreaks spread so rapidly in these care homes, when it didn’t happen in every care home,” she said.

Ms. Mackenzie said she wants answers, not just from the care-home operators, but from the health authorities that have the power to step in and take control if residents are not being safely cared for.

“Are we going to find that some things could have been done more quickly, that we could have been more aggressive on our testing, that we could have been more aggressive on our contact tracing? These are all questions we don’t know the answers to, and until we do, we can’t say whether or not they’ve done everything they can,” Ms. Mackenzie said.

Story continues below advertisement

Vancouver Coastal Health, as the regulatory agency, has not imposed an outside administrator at Little Mountain, but it sent in a support team on Nov. 22, the day the COVID-19 outbreak was declared.

Patricia Daly, the Chief Medical Health Officer for Vancouver Coastal, said in an interview Tuesday the virus appears to have spread widely through Little Mountain before it was identified. “If we can identify it early enough, our guidelines work very well,” she said. “If there’s evidence that the virus was already widespread in a facility by the time we declare an outbreak, it can be much harder to bring it under control.”

She said the health authority has provided administrative support, and sent in more than 60 staff to help with patient care and cleaning. Currently there are 34 full-time staff from the health authority working to fill in for staff who are off sick, including an infection prevention and control practitioner to provide training and ensure staff are following appropriate precautions.

Dr. Daly said Little Mountain has higher staffing levels than the required minimums, because of the additional requirements such as feeding residents in their rooms rather than in the usual communal setting.

She said Vancouver Coastal will co-operate with the watchdog’s investigation. “We want to learn as much as we can from every outbreak, whether it’s one that was brought under control very quickly, or ones that were not so quick, and certainly we will co-operate with any questions from the Seniors Advocate.”

We have a weekly Western Canada newsletter written by our B.C. and Alberta bureau chiefs, providing a comprehensive package of the news you need to know about the region and its place in the issues facing Canada. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Coronavirus information
Coronavirus information
The Zero Canada Project provides resources to help you manage your health, your finances and your family life as Canada reopens.
Visit the hub
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies