Interior Health has deemed the outbreak of COVID-19 over at West Kelowna’s Bylands Nurseries. (Contributed)

COVID-19 outbreak declared over at Okanagan agricultural business

A total of 23 migrant workers tested positive for the virus at West Kelowna’s Bylands Nurseries

The outbreak of COVID-19 at a West Kelowna agricultural business among a group of temporary foreign workers has been declared over.

Interior Health (IH) announced today that the 23 migrant workers who tested positive for the virus while residing in housing at Bylands Nurseries were cleared of the virus and the quarantine order has been lifted.

The outbreak was declared on March 28, when two of the 75 workers on-site — 63 Mexican migrant workers and 12 local — went to Kelowna General Hospital after becoming ill. All of the workers were immediately put under a quarantine order.

All of the people who tested positive were migrant workers.

IH health officer, Dr. Silvina Mema, is firm on her stance that community contact was minimal and no community transmission was reported as a result of the outbreak outside of the workers’ cohort.

Mema said there were a few outings in the first couple of days, while workers got paperwork sorted, but these were determined to be low-risk.

However, she said the source of the outbreak is still unclear.

“We believe some workers who came into Canada (on March 12) had been incubating the disease when they came in,” she said, adding that this was before the 14 isolation periods for people entering the country were being recommended.

Mema said though the workers were in quarantine, those who didn’t have any symptoms were allowed to continue working the fields — though conditions were in place to ensure safety.

The workers at Bylands Nurseries are the only temporary foreign workers in the Interior Health region that have tested positive.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry thanked West Kelowna for supporting both the Bylands family and the temporary foreign workers.

“I know the community rallied together and brought food and other necessities to people in self-isolation. That’s what we do in B.C., to support our neighbours and help keep our communities safe and healthy,” said Dr. Henry.

Bylands is continuing its usual operations in compliance with the measures laid out for all businesses by the B.C. provincial health officer.

READ MORE: Three more cases of COVID-19 at Bylands Nurseries in West Kelowna

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