Fraser Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak for the third time at an assisted living facility run by a church, members of which are well-known to oppose vaccinations on religious grounds.
Fraser Health declared the outbreak at Sunset Manor on Friday (April 9) with three residents and four staff members testing positive for COVID-19.
Sunset Manor is an assisted living facility that is owned and operated by Netherlands Reformed Congregation of Chilliwack.
Residents and staff members are currently in self-isolation at their homes or in their rooms.
A family member of one resident of Sunset Manor told The Progress that most care aides and residents are refusing COVID-19 vaccinations for religious reasons.
“Those handful that are vaccinated are locked in their rooms with everyone else.”
The outbreak declared April 9 is the third in six months.
In October, a staff member tested positive at the 30-bed assisted living facility on Broadway Avenue, and then two staff members tested positive in November.
In a statement Friday, Fraser Health said staff are on site working with the facility to implement a number of measures:
• Staffing levels are being supported to maintain resident care;
• Visitors are restricted throughout the facility;
• Staff and residents 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 is taking place.
“During this time, Fraser Health has additional presence at the site to take any further actions required and support the facility. This includes dedicated people to address quality, answer questions from staff, residents and family, and provide active checks of symptoms with staff and residents.”
Many members of the Reformed Congregation churches are well-known to refuse vaccinations.
Several years ago cases of measles turned out at Mount Cheam Christian School, a school connected to the Reformed Congregation of North America.
“We leave it in (God’s) hands,” Rev. Adriaan Geuze of the church said in an interview with a Vancouver Sun reporter in 2014 after that outbreak. “If it is in his will that somehow we get a contagious disease, like in this case the measles, there are other ways, of course, to avoid this. If (we get sick), he can also heal us from it.”
The Progress asked a Fraser Health spokesperson about vaccinations of employees at Sunset Manor but did not get a response before this story was posted online before 2 p.m. on Friday.
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