New outbreak of COVID-19 in B.C. care home where 82% of residents were already vaccinated


A new outbreak of COVID-19 has been declared at the Cottonwoods Care Centre in B.C.’s Interior Health region where staff and residents had already received vaccines, the provincial health officer announced Monday

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has confirmed on its website that 82 per cent of residents had been vaccinated as of Feb. 15. The centre does not provide information about how many staff were immunized.

In a live news conference, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said being vaccinated doesn’t mean transmission will be stopped and that precautions must remain in place for seniors and care homes.

“You can have transmission even when people are fully vaccinated,” she said. “The illness seems to be milder and doesn’t transmit as much [and we] won’t see rapid explosive outbreaks.”

Two staff members and 10 residents have tested positive at the Cottonwoods long-term care facility in Kelowna, which has 221 publicly funded beds. Henry said that all staff and residents at the home were offered immunizations and that there was very high uptake of the vaccine. She said some of the cases were among people who had received two doses of the vaccine.

“This serves to remind us that, while we are confident vaccine is very effective and prevents severe illness and death, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all transmission will be stopped.”

Henry added the province will give new guidance by the end of the month that will allow for increased visits at long-term care centres.

She announced 11 deaths associated with COVID-19 over the weekend and 1,462 new cases. Since the pandemic began, 1,391 British Columbians have lost their lives to the virus.

Health officials also confirmed 144 additional cases involving variants of concern among the new cases recorded over the weekend, most of them the variant first seen in the U.K., bringing the total number of cases linked to concerning COVID-19 variants in B.C. to 394.

A total of 240 people are currently being treated in hospital with 66 of those in critical care.

B.C. call centres opened Monday to receive COVID-19 vaccine appointments for some of the province’s oldest residents.

So far, 333,327 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in B.C.

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