British Columbians are losing loved ones at an alarming rate, while the government pats itself on the back for a job well-done
Yesterday’s briefing was the most tragic of all, as the 74 deaths announced means a further 441 British Columbians have died in December alone – an average of 15 a day
Yesterday, a visibly shaken Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC’s Public Health Officer, announced the latest figures related to the COVID-19 pandemic; those numbers were disheartening.
For the 5-day reporting period of December 24th to 29, Bonnie Henry noted there had been a further 74 deaths due to complications from COVID-19. She also indicated there had been a further 8 outbreaks in long term, assisted living, and acute care facilities.
“At one of the most special family times of the year”, said Conservative BC leader Trevor Bolin on hearing this news, “Our research shows that in the past two weeks there have in fact been 224 deaths.”
“In addition to that”, Bolin continued, “There are currently 56 outbreaks in our hospitals and seniors care facilities. This is not acceptable.”
Early yesterday the Office of Premier John Horgan announced the province had taken, ‘... unprecedented action to protect seniors and deliver better, faster care in 2020 to keep people safe, healthy and secure’. Part of that announcement also noted the hiring of, ‘... 7,000 new health-care workers in long-term care homes and 1,200 contact tracers to help stop further spread in the community.’
“These numbers I have just noted will have British Columbians wondering as to their accuracy however,” said Bolin. “As do the following numbers relating to the past three months.”
In reviewing the joint statement briefings, regarding the novel coronavirus response in British Columbia, it showed 26 deaths from the end of August and September. By the end of October there were an additional 29 ... and then by the end of November we saw a further 178 deaths.
Yesterday’s briefing was the most tragic of all, as the 74 deaths announced means a further 441 British Columbians have died in December alone – an average of 15 a day.
“British Columbians are losing loved ones at an alarming rate, while the government pats itself on the back* for a job well-done.”
According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, there are just under 300 (293) care facilities** in our province, which they describe as nursing homes, continuing care facilities, residential care homes. With seven thousand ‘new’ health care workers in long-term care, talked about in yesterday’s announcement from Premier John Horgan’s Office, that equates to an average of two dozen workers for each facility.
“If indeed this many workers have been added, why is the death rate steadily climbing? We need to have an accounting of the additional 7,000 health care staff Premier Horgan spoke of.
Further to that, we are once again calling for the provision of safe visits with family for those in long term care.
It is the government's responsibility to ensure enhanced safety measures, along with enhanced cleaning procedures and increased COVID screening and testing to catch potential transmissions before they happen.
Enhancements to improve the quality of life for care home residents will provide an added measure of safety so that we will be able to see our loved ones, hear their voices, see their smiles, and share laughter together.”
Yesterday NDP Premier John Horgan let us know, ‘There’s more work to do, but our investments to deliver better care and support for seniors will help protect people through the pandemic and beyond.’
“We agree, which is why we want to remind Premier Horgan, and Health Minister Adrian Dix, that not only is it important to keep people safe, but to also provide them with the best quality of life possible.
In this situation, the thing that people in care homes and their families want most is to be able to see their loved ones again during the short amount of time that they may have left.
Let’s create the environment where that CAN happen”, Bolin concluded.
* Actions to protect seniors, improve health care helped B.C. fight global pandemic (https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020PREM0112-002144)
** Long-term care homes in Canada (https://www.cihi.ca/en/long-term-care-homes-in-canada-how-many-and-who-owns-them#)
Additional information on COVID-19 related deaths from August 30th to December 29th (Source: BC Ministry of Health), as of the end of each month:
- August 31st ... 208
- September 30th ... 234 (+26)
- October 30th ... 263 (+29)
- November 30th ... 441 (+178)
- December 29th ... 882 (+441)