Four-month-old baby Kayden won’t grow up knowing his grandmother.
And that breaks his mom’s heart.
“She was happy when I was pregnant. She was really, really happy,” said Rose Wong.
Wong’s mom, 73, was one of 41 residents at Vancouver’s Little Mountain Place who died in B.C.’s worst COVID-19 long-term care outbreak.
“We have to live our life without her and it’s so hard,” Wong told CTV News in an emotional interview. “I lost my dad already. I didn’t expect to lose my mom.”
Wong believes more should have been done to protect seniors before the second wave hit.
On Monday, the province announced support for a handful of struggling long-term care homes in the form of Canadian Red Cross workers who will help in non-clinical activities such as sanitizing, cleaning and setting up virtual visits.
“We're very grateful to the Red Cross for agreeing to step up and provide a little bit of a break for all of those employees working in long-term care, who have been going, as you know, flat out for months,” Premier John Horgan said.
But as the Red Cross gears up to send the workers in, there are questions about both the timing and the deployment. Some families say it’s too little, too late.
“It’s almost been a year (since COVID outbreaks began) and now you’re doing it? I don’t understand… Why now? Why didn’t they do it earlier?” Wong said.
The Red Cross was deployed last year in Ontario which has seen COVID-19 kill more than 3,200 long-term care residents. The Red Cross has also helped in Quebec.
Meanwhile, B.C. has 24 long-term care outbreaks, half the number from two weeks ago.
“To have those extra hands on deck, even in November, would have been helpful,” says Terry Lake of the B.C. Care Providers Association.
“They’ll be welcome to fill out paperwork because our operators are still being deluged in paperwork when they should be looking after people on the front line,” he added.
Lake says news of the Red Cross support came as a surprise to his association.
“There’s been a lack of communication. Operators are finding out about things at the last minute,” he told CTV News.
The assistance from the Red Cross also has some families questioning why the workers are being allowed inside nursing facilities while families continue to have severely restricted access, many being denied essential caregiver status.
Though Wong believes the Red Cross will be an asset, she wonders if more help in long-term care sooner, could have saved lives.
CTV News requested an interview with Health Minister Adrian Dix Tuesday but was told he was not available. Alternatively, CTV News asked for a statement in response to some of the questions raised but has not received anything.