COVID-19 Leads to voluntary closure of Bylands Nursery in West Kelowna | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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COVID-19 Leads to voluntary closure of Bylands Nursery in West Kelowna

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March 31, 2020 - 2:35 PM

Bylands Nurseries and Garden Centre has been shut down voluntarily by the owner after an outbreak of COVID-19 amongst temporary foreign workers staying in housing nearby.

The housing they are living in works well for self-isolating so they will remain on site for now, a news release from Interior Health states.

“The MHO (Medical Health Officer) is confident that the risk of exposure to the general public is low,” the release states. “None of the workers were in roles that interact with customers and members of this group had very minimal contact in the community.”

The order was issued March 27 but the news release just came out today, March 31.

“The cases may be linked to a group of workers who arrived in Kelowna from outside of Canada on March 12,” the release states.

Bylands has also been directed to undertake several measures, including enhanced cleaning of all nursery, housing, sanitary and other facilities accessed by employees as well as denying access to all visitors to the site.

Interior Health's initial news release indicated that the nursery was ordered closed but, in a later release, said the order to isolate the workers was issued for Byland Nurseries Ltd. but not the garden centre itself. The owner choose to close the garden centre, Interior Health said in its second news release.

During her daily COVID-19 update, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the foreign workers arrived in Canada before there were travel restrictions but they were isolated on the farm because they had come from a foreign country. That means they were not out in the community. They were tested over the weekend after some showed signs of a respiratory illness.

It will be two to four weeks before officials fully understand the outbreak, Henry said.

According to Interior Health, there are 75 workers who are self-isolating, including 63 foreign workers and 12 local people. Fourteen tested positive to COVID-19.

 — This story was corrected at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 31, 2020 with new information from Interior Health to clarify why the nursery was closed and the number of people affected.

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