Langley Lodge has been closed to outside visitors after a staff member was confirmed positive for COVID. (Langley Advance Times files)

Langley Lodge has been closed to outside visitors after a staff member was confirmed positive for COVID. (Langley Advance Times files)

Langley Lodge visitation halted by new COVID case

The long-term care home has been closed to outsiders after staffer diagnosed with coronavirus

A Langley long-term care home plagued by COVID-19 in past, has been hit again.

Langley Lodge had to suspend outsider visitation with its residents for a few days early in the week after learning one of its staff tested positive for the coronavirus. Some floors in the centre are still restricting access.

It’s not an outbreak, Fraser Health was quick to clarify, with only one person testing positive.

And the new CEO of Langley Lodge, Aly Devji, confirmed there are no cases involving the approximately 140 residents.

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“We have become aware that a member of the care staff at Langley Lodge tested positive for COVID-19. This staff member has most likely acquired the virus in the community, but has worked at the lodge in the past week,” Devji said.

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Langley Lodge, site of one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in a B.C. care home since the start of the pandemic, lost 26 people to the virus. The centre has been slowing returning to more normal visitation procedures, until the news early this week.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, communal dining and activities for all residents carried on unaffected. But only fully vaccinated essential visitors were allowed in for the two days.

The restrictions were lessened Thursday, when Devji confirmed there were still no cases among residents or other staff. That’s when he announced visitation would be allowed to resume on the first three floors of the building.

“Fully vaccinated visitors are permitted to visit floors 1, 2, and 3 only, and the courtyard area,” he said, noting regular rules apply including hours and the ability to take residents off site.

“Unfortunately, floors 4, 5, and 6 will remain on enhanced monitoring at this time, which means no social visits…” Devji explained.

That means for now residents on those floors can’t travel outside the centre, unless for essential medical appointments, they will continue to be screened twice daily for signs and symptoms, and only fully vaccinated essential visitors are permitted in to see them.

He hopes, provided there are no other cases, that these restrictions could be lifted as soon as Sept. 4, but clarified that the lodge will have to wait for direction from public health.

Also, as part of the “enhanced monitoring” protocols in place, and in accordance with public health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s announcement earlier this week about mask wearing inside, Devji said the care home is back to a full mask mandate.

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“As the cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in the province, we at Langley Lodge will continue to implement precaution measures to ensure safety of residents and staff,” he said, noting that will also include compliance with the new provincial health officers order that all staff working in long-term care be vaccinated by Oct. 12.

“Given the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community, we must recognize that these situations may occur. However, going forward we hope that it is limited to short interruptions and minor inconveniences,” Devji said.

“As you are aware, vaccination is an important step towards ending this pandemic. We strongly encourage all families and visitors to receive their COVID-19 vaccination,” he added.

Vaccination rates at Langley Lodge are “high,” the CEO detailed, noting 96 per cent of residents and 90 per cent of staff vaccinated.

“Despite this, you can still acquire COVID-19 if vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccine is effective in preventing severe illness,” he concluded, promising a further update on Monday, Aug. 30.

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