Tsawaayuus Rainbow Gardens is located on Russell Place in Port Alberni. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Tsawaayuus Rainbow Gardens is located on Russell Place in Port Alberni. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Island Health declares region’s first COVID-19 outbreak in long-term care

Positive test occurred at Tsawaayuus Rainbow Gardens in Port Alberni

Island Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Tsawaayuus Rainbow Gardens long-term care home in Port Alberni, marking the first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care home on Vancouver Island.

According to an Island Health press release dated Tuesday, Nov. 17, one staff member has tested positive for COVID-19 to date, but no residents are currently experiencing symptoms. With COVID-19, it is a provincial standard to declare an outbreak if at least one staff member is at work during their infectious period, said North Island Medical Health Officer Dr. Charmaine Enns.

“It’s a very concerning word,” she said during a virtual press conference on Tuesday. “But we’re talking about a single case. By definition, we expect zero cases of COVID-19 in our long-term care facilities. [One case] exceeds the number we are aiming to have in a particular site.”

READ MORE: B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 11 deaths, 717 new COVID cases

Rainbow Gardens is a not-for-profit facility operated by WestCoast Native Health Care Society. At this time, there are 44 residents in long-term care, said Enns.

“There have been three residents identified as close contacts, based on their interactions with staff,” she said. “All are asymptomatic.”

She said the outbreak is considered a “low-risk exposure” because the staff member did not have symptoms on the days they were working and immediately stayed home and started self-isolating when symptoms occurred.

“This staff member did everything right,” Enns explained.

Communication with residents and families is underway. The outbreak is confined to the long-term care building and no other areas of the site are affected. The entire site is closed to admissions, transfers and visitors.

In the meantime, Island Health is working with Tsawaayuus Rainbow Gardens leadership and staff to identify anyone who may have been exposed. During this time, Island Health will have additional presence at the site to take any further actions required, support the facility and answer questions from staff, residents and family members.

The outbreak is not linked to any other outbreaks on the Island, Enns said. With COVID-19 cases increasing on Vancouver Island, Enns explained that it is becoming harder to identify where cases have originated.

“The fact that we are seeing ever-increasing numbers, it’s going to spill over into places,” she said. “I’m just hoping we don’t feel discouraged. We’re still doing good. Let’s just regroup and get refocused on all of our efforts. Let’s keep our circles as small as possible, let’s stay home as much as possible…so that these facilities are not impacted.”

She encouraged people to limit travel—including inter-Island travel—to essential trips only.

READ MORE: Stop non-essential travel B.C.-wide, Dr. Bonnie Henry urges

According to a press release, Island Health has put “enhanced control measures” in place at Tsawaayuus Rainbow Gardens, including the following measures:

  • Staffing levels will be maintained to provide resident care.
  • Visitors are restricted throughout the facility.
  • Staff and resident movement in the facility has been restricted.
  • Cleaning and infection control measures have been enhanced.
  • Residents, families and staff are being notified.
  • Twice a day screening of all staff and residents.


elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusPORT ALBERNISeniors

Just Posted

Victoria Truth Centre and Long-term Inmates Now in the Community (L.I.N.C.) Society are hoping to replicate in Langford the format used on Emma’s Farm in Mission, pictured here. (Patrick Penner/Black Press Media)
Victoria Truth Centre hopes to grow transformative justice in Langford

Purchase proposal would see offenders, survivors and families work on organic vegetable farm

The stretch of trail north of Royal Bay Secondary connecting to Painters Trail at Murray’s Pond will be closed temporarily this week for invasive species removal. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood trail behind Royal Bay Secondary temporarily closed for invasive species removal

Cloure in effect from 9 a.m. Wednesday to 10 a.m. Friday this week

Mural artist Paul Archer will soon begin work on a piece on the rear of a building at 100 Burnside Road West. (Gorge Tillicum Community Association)
Back of Burnside building in Saanich to feature mural of hope and positivity

Artist Paul Archer says subject will inspire memories, depict children’s future, sunshine, flowers

Tyson Muzzillo, regional manager of BC Cannabis Store, welcomes shoppers to their Uptown location, opening on June 16. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Government-run cannabis store opening at Saanich’s Uptown

BC Cannabis Store the first for government in Greater Victoria, 27th in province

Colin Davidson won $100K on a Set for Life scratch ticket in Sooke. (BCLC photo)
Sooke man does ‘happy dance’ after scratching a $100,000 Set for Life win

Colin Davidson plans to renovate his home and invest in his daughter’s education

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Most Read