Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

‘Challenging’ COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home nears three months

Dr. Bonnie Henry said the outbreak at Cottonwoods Care Centre has been one of the most difficult to manage

Health officials are describing the COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna’s Cottonwoods Care Home as one of the most challenging to manage in B.C.

The outbreak, the facility’s second, has been going for nearly three months, being declared on Aug. 4. It has since had 70 cases — 55 residents and 15 staff — and 17 deaths. The first outbreak, which made its way through the facility in April saw 29 cases — 26 residents and three staff — and two resident deaths.

During a Monday, Nov. 1 press conference, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the current outbreak at Cottonwoods was declared as cases started to rise in Kelowna as a whole, with transmission spilling over into the care home.

“It has been a very difficult outbreak, as it was the first time,” said Henry.

READ MORE: 2 operating rooms at Kelowna hospital reduced as unvaxxed workers placed on leave

Henry said most of the residents at the facility have been vaccinated and booster shots have been offered to those who are eligible for them. Staff vaccination rates, on the other hand, were lacking before the province began enforcing its mandate.

Another complication for managing the outbreak at Cottonwoods is that residents are often in shared rooms, Henry said.

Health officials announced a new outbreak at another Kelowna care home on Monday, with three staff members and six residents testing positive at Sun Pointe Village.

READ MORE: B.C.’s new COVID-19 cases decline over weekend, 25 more deaths

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