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

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley MLA Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

BC Green Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

The city-owned lot at 361 St. Julien St., which has been home to a temporary homeless site for more than a year, will be sold and plans are to build a three-storey mixed-use development there, Peter de Verteuil, Duncan CAO explained at a recent council meeting. (File photo)
New development planned for homeless site in Duncan

Lot on St. Julien Street would see three-storey building

Historian and longtime Citizen columnist T.W. Paterson photographs the historical wreckage of a plane on Mount Benson. Paterson recently won an award from the British Columbia Historical Foundation. (Submitted)
Cowichan’s Tom W. Paterson wins award for historical writing

British Columbia Historical Federation hands Recognition Award to local writer

This electric school bus is the newest addition to the Cowichan Valley School District’s fleet. (Submitted)
Editorial: New electric school bus good place to start

Changing public transit like buses to electric really is important.

CVRD to increase enforcement after audits reveal that curb-side recycling contamination in the district is well above acceptable limits. (File photo)
CVRD reports contamination in recyclables well above acceptable levels

Increased enforcement planned starting this summer

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the two patients, a man and a woman likely acquired the virus in the hospital

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth and Attorney General David Eby attend opening of the first government-run B.C. Cannabis Store, Kamloops, Oct. 19, 2018. (B.C. government)
B.C. government to allow home cannabis delivery starting July 15

Added convenience expected to persuade buyers to ‘go legal’

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

BC Ferries’ newest Island Class vessel is experiencing an issue with one of its thrusters off the Algerian coast. Photo courtesy patbaywebcam.com.
BC Ferries newest vessel having mechanical issues in Mediterranean

Island 4 will be repaired in Spain before crossing Atlantic

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum speaks at a press conference in August 2019 about provincial government approval of the city’s change to a municipal force, joined by councillors (from left) Mandeep Nagra, Allison Patton and Doug Elford. Members of the National Police Federation claim there is still no transition plan in place although Surrey RCMP’s contract with the city is due to end March 31.(File photo)
Elections BC approves petition application for referendum on Surrey policing transition

Application was filed under Recall and Initiative Act by the widow of a Surrey murder victim

There were 255 babies born in Victoria in May 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)
Pandemic baby boom makes for a busier Vancouver Island Father’s Day

Victoria’s 255 babies born in May up almost 10 per cent over last year

Most Read