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Interior Health confirms death of resident in Okanagan care home due to COVID-19 complications

Click to play video: 'Interior Health confirms death of resident in Okanagan care home due to COVID-19 complications' Interior Health confirms death of resident in Okanagan care home due to COVID-19 complications
Everyone's worst fear at McKinney Place in Oliver has come to fruition. Interior Health confirms one senior has died of COVID-19, as the virus continues to ravage the long-term care home in the South Okanagan. As Shelby Thom reports, 12 additional cases surfaced over the weekend, bringing the total to 53 infected residents and staff – Dec 15, 2020

A resident at a long-term care home in Oliver, B.C., where more than 50 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed, died from COVID-19 complications over the weekend.

Interior Health confirmed the death to Global News on Tuesday. IH would not release the person’s identity, but said a woman in her 70s died inside the care home.

“We are sad to report a COVID-19-related death in Interior Health of a resident in long-term care at McKinney Place in Oliver,” IH President Susan Brown said in a press release.

“This has been our most challenging long-term care outbreak and we offer our condolences to the family and the caregivers.”

The death was the seventh in the Interior Health region.

Read more: Coronavirus: Interior Health reporting community cluster at Big White Ski Resort

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One week ago, on Dec. 6, eight residents of McKinney Place had tested positive. Then the outbreak more than quadrupled, and it’s now at 53 cases: 38 residents and 15 staff members.

The 38 residents represent more than half of all people living in the long-term care home.

The town’s mayor says the grim situation is devastating.

“Heartbreaking for the community,” said Mayor Martin Johansen. “Our heart goes out to the residents that are impacted here.”

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

Fifteen staff have also tested positive, and Interior Health says it is bolstering its resources from nearby facilities.

With four residents to a room, self-isolating test-positive cases is also proving to be a challenge.

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“We are trying to cohort them,” said Dr. Albert de Villiers, Interior Health’s chief medical health officer.

“So that means we are moving people that are positive to the same room and then the people that are not positive, put them in different rooms.”

Click to play video: 'B.C. reports 522 new COVID-19 cases, 21 additional deaths' B.C. reports 522 new COVID-19 cases, 21 additional deaths
B.C. reports 522 new COVID-19 cases, 21 additional deaths – Dec 15, 2020

Interior Health’s top doctor says there is light at the end of the tunnel.

McKinney staff could be among the first in Interior Health to get the Pfizer vaccine in the coming weeks.

“Unfortunately, at this stage, it is only going to be available in Kelowna,” said de Villiers, “so we are trying to get the people to Kelowna to make sure they can get the vaccine.”

Long-term care workers will be at the front of the line, he says, followed by care home residents.

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Click to play video: 'B.C. officials will be ‘beefing up enforcement’ on COVID-19 public health orders: Horgan' B.C. officials will be ‘beefing up enforcement’ on COVID-19 public health orders: Horgan
B.C. officials will be ‘beefing up enforcement’ on COVID-19 public health orders: Horgan – Dec 15, 2020

In related news, Interior Health reported 56 new cases of COVID-19, along with 818 active cases. There are also 25 people in hospital, with eight in intensive care.

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