COVID-19 outbreak declared at 'exclusive' seniors' care facility in Vancouver

An entrance to the Vancouver retirement complex Opal by Element is shown in a photo posted on the company's website.

A Vancouver retirement home is dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19 in its licensed care unit, health officials say.

The outbreak was declared on the second floor of the private care facility Opal by Element after one resident tested positive for the disease.

Outbreak precautions are underway at the residence, including that the care unit has been closed to new admissions and transfers. All group activities have also been suspended, and visitors barred from the facility until the measures are lifted.

Exceptions will be made for essential care and compassionate end-of-life visits.

Opal, which bills itself as a "vibrant and exclusive community," is an upscale complex on King Edward Avenue near Cambie Street. Its "boutique suites" are described as being designed "with consideration for luxury, safety and convenience."

It offers independent and assisted living as well as long-term care and options for those with dementia- and memory-related needs.

When announcing the outbreak, Vancouver Coastal Health did not say whether the person known to have COVID-19 was in long-term care, nor did it say whether they had been vaccinated.

Although the facility is private, VCH will be supporting its owner and operator, Element, with the outbreak response.

Staff at Opal also had to deal with an outbreak at about this time last year. The province's top doctor announced it was one of 14 facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 on Sept. 15, 2020.

That outbreak was in assisted living. One staff member and zero residents tested positive during the previous outbreak, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

On Friday, the province was dealing with 22 active outbreaks in addition to the one at Opal. The majority were in long-term care facilities, with another three in acute care and four in independent living.