Soap needed to fight virus, says Maple Ridge resident

But tenants responsible for personal supply, said Alouette Heights operator

Alouette Heights

Everyone needs to be involved in the COVID-19 fight, so that should include all of the residents at Alouette Heights supportive housing on Brown Avenue, according to one resident.

Jacqueline Kaszas said that most of the people in the 46-unit building are not getting the soap they need in order to stay clean and safe during the current health crisis.

“Some of us are quite responsible in looking after ourselves, but some don’t. I’d say a lot more don’t, than do,” she said Thursday.

“We need to do whatever we can – to not contract the virus.”

Kaszas said that residents used to be provided laundry, dish and body soap several years ago, but those are no longer provided.

And there’s also only one hand sanitizer on the main floor of the building, she said.

“At this time, it’s an essential service. A lot of people in here have respiratory problems,” said Kaszas, who’s lived there eight years.

READ MORE: B.C. declares state of emergency, recalling legislature for COVID-19

Coast Mental Health spokesperson Susan Hancock, however, said that all of its facilities have hand sanitizers in high-traffic areas.

“The hand sanitizer pumps are being monitored and they’re always full,” she said. As well, signage and information has been ramped up to raise awareness of the importance hygiene during the oubreak.

Residents though, who are in apartments, are responsible for buying their own personal soap, Hancock said.

Coast Mental Health also has an infection control committee that monitoring the outbreak through various sources including BC Centre for Disease Control.

It’s also educating staff and clients on coughing and sneezing etiquette, including the importance of regular use of hand disinfectants.

READ MORE: Vancouver bars, restaurants to close for St. Patrick’s Day to limit COVID-19 spread

It’s also ramping up its cleaning schedules to ensure high traffic spaces, common areas and all surfaces are cleaned repeatedly.

The Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries, is also doing extra cleaning of surfaces and touch points and is talking with staff and clients on how to prevent and recognize COVID-19 and is working with provincial agencies to ensure they’re following best practices, said Lt. Col. Jamie Braund online.

So far, they do not have any cases that they know of. “However, we do work with two very vulnerable populations: the homeless and the elderly. These two groups are more susceptible to catching the virus because of several factors … so we are being extra vigilant, while still serving with respect and dignity,” Braund said.

The COVID-19 pandemic however has caused the Maple Ridge location to close this week, its community meals program, that offers lunch and dinner throughout the week, to non-residents. Community meals however are still available for residents of the shelter.

Executive director Mark Stewart said that it’s just a temporary step to slow the flow of people into the building so that people can be monitored, adding that the numbers showing up for a meal, had already dropped as the outbreak developed.

The decision will be re-evaluated next week.

People can also get food hampers from the Army’s administrative office on 227th Street, while there are also other meals being offered on some nights throughout Maple Ridge.


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Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE NEWS – files

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