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COVID outbreaks declared at 5 long-term care homes in B.C. Interior

The Interior Health Authority has declared COVID-19 outbreaks at five long-term care homes in its jurisdiction in B.C. 

Facilities in Kelowna, Oliver, Revelstoke, Fernie and Salmon Arm are impacted, according to the health authority's website.

An Interior Health spokesperson told CTV News the latest data shows Bastion Place in Salmon Arm has the highest number of people infected with 20, while the outbreak with the lowest number of infected residents was at McKinney Place in Oliver with six.

Interior Health did not provide additional details including the severity of the symptoms or if those infected were staff, residents, or both.

There is currently just one other active COVID outbreak in the province, at Burnaby General Hospital.

The Vancouver Coastal Health website currently lists one influenza outbreak at Broadway Pentecostal Lodge in Vancouver. In Victoria, Island Health is reporting one influenza outbreak at Veterans Memorial Lodge at Broadmead.

According to the Vancouver Coastal Health website, an outbreak is determined by the Medical Health Officer if three or more cases involving patients and/or staff occur within a designated time frame and in a specific area or unit.

Dr. Brian Conway, medical director of the Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre says these outbreaks should serve as a wake-up call.

“It is the fall and winter is coming,” he said. “I think we can expect a respiratory virus season again. There was one in Australia in their winter -- which is coming to an end -- and we can expect such another season here in the western hemisphere."

Conway says it’s particularly concerning considering BC’s overloaded health-care system.

“Our health-care system is still operating at or near capacity, with little flexibility to absorb any increased demand.”

Earlier this month at a news conference in Surrey, Health Minister Adrian Dix spoke about extraordinary demand at emergency rooms across the province.

Conway says in addition to COVID, he expects cases of RSV and influenza to rise in the near future.

“We need to set up vaccination programs to get the COVID shot and the flu shot at the same time,” said Conway.

He says vaccination -- particularly for the elderly and those with comorbidities -- and staying home when sick remain the best forms of protection. Top Stories

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