Coronavirus: Outbreak at Oliver, B.C., long-term care home continues to grow

Click to play video: 'Oliver outbreak expanded; 42 positive cases at care home' Oliver outbreak expanded; 42 positive cases at care home
Oliver outbreak expanded; 42 positive cases at care home – Dec 11, 2020

The novel coronavirus outbreak at McKinney Place, a long-term care facility in Oliver, B.C., has again expanded.

“That brings the total to 27 residents and 14 staff that have tested positive, so that’s a total of 41 people,” Dr. Albert de Villiers, Interior Health’s chief medical health officer.

“We’ve called in extra staff, we’ve also enhanced infection control measures to make sure everything is in place, and everything is cleaned properly. We have tested more as well.”

Initially, only eight residents tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday at the care home attached to the South Okanagan General Hospital.

The health authority has said the outbreak is contained to McKinney Place.

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Read more: Coronavirus: Revelstoke, B.C., community cluster contained, says Interior Health

Global News talked to one resident, who is one of 60 people who call the facility home.

He only wants to go by the name Kim. 

He believes the virus may have entered the facility through visits that he says took place without proper pandemic protocol.

“I’m very concerned,” Kim told Global News over the phone on Friday.

“Here, they just let people run in and out and of course they were taking their mask offs and when the visitors came in they put them in a little glass room with no ventilation.”

Read more: Coronavirus: 99 new cases announced for Interior Health region

The facility is run by Interior Health, whose officials have said it could have been the shared rooms that have contributed to the virus’ spread. 

That’s something the resident believes as well.

“I have my own room and I’m very lucky. The rooms where it spread, they have four people to a room,” said Kim.

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“We have dementia patients that you can’t keep in the room, you can’t tie them down. They wander around the hallways with no masks on, touching everything.”

Oliver mayor Martin Johansen said the outbreak is a major concern for the community and wants to urge the public to do anything they can to stop the spread.

“It’s extremely concerning, and also concerning to see that it doesn’t roll out into the community. COVID is here and it transfers very easily and everybody needs to do their part.,” said Johansen.

It’s believed to be the largest COVID-19 outbreak involving care home residents in B.C.’s Southern Interior since the pandemic began.

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