PUBLIC Health is taking an important step to address recent breakthrough COVID-19 cases in long-term care facilities, making it mandatory for all health care workers in care homes to be fully vaccinated from COVID-19 by October 12, the Province announced on Thursday.
“We’ve made vaccination a top priority for long-term care and assisted living, with the vaccine campaign starting in December 2020. We saw an immediate and dramatic impact on COVID-19 cases in those living and working in these settings, showing the value of vaccination. However, in some situations, we are continuing to see COVID-19 cases in long-term care homes,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “We must take every precaution to protect our most vulnerable, and that means every person who works in long-term care and seniors’ assisted living must be fully vaccinated.”
The Province said that early in the pandemic, public health officials identified people living in long-term care and seniors’ assisted living as particularly vulnerable to severe outcomes from COVID-19. In response, the Province took action to protect seniors and keep people safe and healthy. New public health requirements around vaccinations will add protections for people in long-term care.
* A new provincial health officer (PHO) order will:
– require employers to provide information collected from all staff in long-term care and seniors assisted living facilities to the PHO, to allow public health to confirm vaccination status of staff.
– until October 12, require all unvaccinated staff to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and be tested regularly for COVID-19.
* All staff will be required to be vaccinated by October 12.
* Volunteers and personal service providers entering long-term care settings must be fully vaccinated.
“Rising case numbers, the prevalence of the Delta variant and the trend we are seeing of health-care workers not yet fully vaccinated getting COVID-19 means that we must take this step to protect them, those we care for and the broader community through vaccination,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer. “B.C.’s high vaccination rates are helping keep people safe, but we must continue to do all that we can to keep our most vulnerable people safe – together.”
People living and working in long-term care and seniors’ assisted living were among the first to receive first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccinations in B.C.’s vaccination rollout. All long-term care and assisted living residents and workers have now been offered both doses of COVID-19 vaccine.