BREAKING: Kelowna sees first COVID-19 case in long-term care home - InfoNews

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BREAKING: Kelowna sees first COVID-19 case in long-term care home

Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks at a media briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic, Thursday, April 23, 2020.
Image Credit: TWITTER / BC Government
April 23, 2020 - 3:55 PM

Kelowna now has its first confirmed case of COVID-19 in a long-term care facility.

Hawthorn Park – Orchard Manor on KLO Road has one confirmed case, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said today, April 23, at the daily media briefing. The COVID-19 positive diagnosis is for a staff member, not a resident, and the person was identified within the last couple of days. As soon as their place of work was identified, an investigation was started.

"Hopefully we won't see any transmission in that facility but at the moment it's hard to know," she said.

The good news, she said, is that enhanced safety measures have already been implemented. Staff members have to wear masks, Dr. Henry said, and there are more cleaning protocols in place.

Hawthorn Park provides independent and assisted living services and Orchard Manor provides long-term care services. The two sites are connected by a common building and together the facility includes 161 beds, none of which are health authority funded. The outbreak is declared for the full campus of care.

Its case is one of among 29 new cases of COVID-19 across the province, raising the total number of cases to 1,824. The bulk of the cases have been in Vancouver Coastal Health which has had 755 cases and Fraser Health which has had 760 cases.

There have been 111 cases in Vancouver Island Health, 156 in Interior Health and 42 in Northern Health.

There have been three more deaths in the last 24 hours, all in the Lower Mainland and 1,092 people are now considered fully recovered.

While the current number of new cases shows some flattening of the curve, Dr. Henry said B.C. is far from in the clear, though the conversation about what’s next is advancing.

“We will live with COVID-19 for some time and we need to develop way to manage that and live with that,” she said.

Henry said we need to look at how we manage the pandemic in B.C., and that will be done by opening industry and the hospital system but doing it in a way that includes vigilance and careful thinking.

The most important thing is to not trigger another explosive outbreak because restrictions are removed too quickly “that’s when the virus will take off.”

“What we have done by levelling off our curve is we’ve spread it out… it’s not surprising we are still seeing cases and transmission,” she said.

Ideally, down the road, Dr. Henry said she’d like to see zero cases each day, but that’s not happening yet.

“This is not forever, it’s for now,” she said. “Now, may be months or it may be as long as a year. But not forever. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

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