Unvaccinated staff blamed for COVID-19 outbreaks at Kelowna care homes

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In the Central Okanagan, the fourth wave of the pandemic continues to hit the area hard, with six long-term senior facilities now experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks.

Perhaps more concerning are the vast majority of residents inside these facilities are vaccinated, according to Interior Health.

“The vast majority of care home residents are vaccinated, but what we are seeing is lagging rates with care-home staff,” said Dr. Carol Fenton, an Interior Health medical officer.

Staff vaccination rates are not available according to Interior Health, but recently the province announced it will mandate that all healthcare workers at care homes will be fully vaccinated.

“Public health is taking an important step to address recent breakthrough COVID-19 cases in long-term care facilities, making it mandatory for all health-care workers in care homes to be fully vaccinated from COVID-19 by Oct. 12, 2021,” The Ministry of Health announced on Aug. 12, 2021.

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Currently, Brookhaven Care Centre in West Kelowna has 30 cases: 10 residents and 20 staff, with two deaths connected to an outbreak.

Cottonwoods Care Centre long-term care in Kelowna has 27 cases: 17 residents and 10 staff, with three deaths.

Hawthorn Park in Kelowna has five cases: one resident and four staff.

David Lloyd Jones long-term care in Kelowna has 49 cases: 38 residents and 11 staff, with three deaths.

Village at Mill Creek in Kelowna has three cases: two residents and one staff.

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And Sun Pointe Village in Kelowna has three cases, all residents.

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“No one wants to be in this position, we were all hoping we were past the hump in the pandemic but the Delta (Variant) caught us off guard,” said Dr. Fenton.

“Its really hard to not have access to social visitation when we are in an outbreak. We are building the plane as we fly it, so not everything is going to be perfect but we are doing everything we can to keep people safe.”

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Hospital Employees Union (HEU) spokesperson Mike Old did provide a statement to Global News, “High rates of infection in the community puts care home residents and workers at greater risk. We must improve vaccination rates right across the province, and especially in those areas where vaccination rates are low. We continue to encourage health care workers and all members of the public to get vaccinated.”

HEU represents more than 50,000 health care workers across B.C. including more than 20,000 workers in long-term care and assisted living.

Click to play video: 'B.C. First Nation offering fully vaccinated members $1,000'

B.C. First Nation offering fully vaccinated members $1,000

B.C. First Nation offering fully vaccinated members $1,000

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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