There was a collective sigh of relief on Monday for staff, residents, and their families at McKinney Place in Oliver, B.C., as Interior Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak over.
It was the deadliest outbreak at a long-term care facility in B.C.’s Southern Interior, claiming 17 lives.
In total, 55 residents contracted the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, as well as 23 staff members.
The majority of the residents at the publicly-run facility were infected, with only five residents spared.
“We’ve based this decision today based on a 28-day period, or two incubation periods since our last symptomatic case, so we are very pleased to be able to declare the outbreak over,” Interior Health medical health officer Sue Pollock told Global News on Monday.
Infection control experts were challenged by the complexities caused by an old building that housed four people to a room, in some cases.
Health officials implemented a number of measures to try to control the spread of the virus.
“We had a pause on visitation, we had enhanced cleaning protocols in place, we had extra staff deployed to the facility,” Pollock said.
“We were also able to roll out asymptomatic testing throughout the facility for both staff and residents so we could determine who might have the illness.”
McKinney Place seniors were among the first long-term care residents within the health authority to be offered the COVID-19 vaccine. Negative staff and residents who wanted to get immunized got the shot.
“For those who tested positive, whether they be staff or residents, we know that they are going to have immunity to this virus for probably up to three months, so they will certainly be offered vaccine within the next three months,” Pollock said.
The medical health officer thanked the health community, residents, and their families for mobilizing to respond to the serious outbreak.
“It was a monumental effort to manage this outbreak and certainly a lot of kudos go to our staff, our front line staff who are there at McKinney, from our nursing staff, our managers, our care aides, our house-keepers, infection prevention, and control,” Pollock said.
“We want to thank our families for their support. We know how difficult it is to not be able to see your family member for a lengthy period of time during this outbreak.”
COVID-19 outbreaks remain active at Brocklehurst Gemstone LTC in Kamloops, Mountainview Village in Kelowna, Sunnybank long-term care in Oliver, Village by the Station in Penticton, Noric House, Heritage Aquare and Creekside Landing in Vernon, The Heritage Retirement Residence in West Kelowna, and Williams Lake Seniors Village in Williams Lake.