Health unit caught off-guard by cluster of COVID-19 cases at apartment: deputy

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None of the COVID-19 cases connected to the Maple Ridge apartment complex are in hospital, Summers said. None of the 92 new cases reported by the health unit Wednesday are connected to the outbreak.

The investigation into the outbreak is ongoing, but the cause of the spread is unlikely to be a “smoking gun explanation,” such as ventilation in the building, Summers said.

“The outbreak was declared . . . because there were so many cases associated with that specific location. It’s above what I would expect in that population without evidence of transmission,” he said.

“Just like we’ve seen clusters of outbreaks in social communities, in many ways this apartment complex is just an address-based social community.”

Karoline Feagan, whose parents have lived at 112 Arbour Glen for 29 years, is upset by how her mom and dad learned of the outbreak at the 259-unit complex.

“They found out on the news,” Feagan said Wednesday. “There was nothing posted. . . . I am just really angry about it. It’s scary.”

Feagan’s father is 70 years old and has a heart condition and her mother is a 69-year-old breast cancer survivor. Feagan has offered to take them in at her home, but her parents plan to remain in their apartment.

The health unit is working with the apartment complex to ensure there are capacity limits in elevators and masks worn in common areas, Summers said.

But individual adherence to public health regulations is of paramount importance, he added.

“The key thing in all of this, whether you live in an apartment building, in a townhouse or in a detached home, is what you do within your living environment,” Summers said.

“Once you close the door of your apartment, you should only be having people who live in your apartment with you.”

jbieman@postmedia.com