As COVID’s third wave continues to sharply drop, Glenwood Care Centre in Agassiz finds itself in the wake of a second outbreak within the first six months of 2021.
Glenwood’s first 2021 outbreak was reported on Jan. 27, in which two staff members tested positive for COVID-19. The outbreak was declared over after 14 days. There has been a total of four outbreaks in Agassiz long term care homes, the first two taking place last October and December, both at Agassiz Seniors Community, in which a total of 11 people – six residents and five staff members – contracted COVID-19.
The Glenwood Care Centre outbreaks have seen a total of five people infected with COVID-19, as of publication – three staff members and two residents, bringing the total of reported infections in Agassiz long-term care facilities to 16.
In recent months, outbreaks in long-term care facilities has become more of a rarity, but according to Fraser Health spokesperson Nick Eagland, it’s still happening in assisted living and long-term care facilities.
Eagland said it’s standard practice that new residents are immunized on-site in clinics run by Fraser Health. He added Fraser Health is in close contact with care facilities across the health region to determine second vaccine dose requirements.
According to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, even after vaccination, “breakthrough cases” of COVID-19 can still occur within a few weeks of receiving either dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Just over 98 per cent of COVID-19 cases from December to May, including among health care workers and those in long-term care facilities, have occurred in people who have had the vaccine for less than three weeks or who have not received the vaccine at all.
Three weeks after the first dose, 1.7 per cent of people tested positive. Within a week of the second dose, that number drops even further to 0.2 per cent of total cases.
The most practical and important way of preventing the spread of COVID-19 in care facilities or in any setting is to continue to the same common-sense steps promoted by health authorities throughout the pandemic.
“It is critically important that people follow public health guidance and always stay home if you feel sick, wash your hands often, keep a physical distance from others and, if you are in an indoor public space or workspace, wear a mask.”
Eagland urged those eligible who have not yet registered for their vaccine appointment to register and book as soon as possible.
“The approved vaccines provide immunity against COVID-19 and are very effective at preventing hospitalization and death from COVID-19,” he said.
– With files from Tom Fletcher