Confirmed case of COVID-19 at Kelowna General Hospital

COVID-19 case in Kelowna

UPDATE 3:30 p.m.

The Interior Health Communications Department has reached out to Castanet to add clarity to when and how they proceed with so-called track and trace protocols when it comes to COVID-19.

Susan Duncan with Interior Health Communications says, "we can't speak about specific cases, but we can tell you that the Communicable Disease Unit does contact tracing with every person who tests positive for COVID-19. They collect information about their contact during the time they were infectious to determine if there are people who need to be notified. If someone is not contacted, the CD Unit will have determined they were not at risk of infection."

Interior Health advises everyone to assume COVID-19 is in their community and everyone should be taking precautions that have been outlined by the provincial health officer and echoed by other health professionals around the world.
Duncan reminds our audience that these measures include:

  • stay home whenever possible
  • practise social distancing when this is not possible
  • cough or sneeze into your elbow
  • stay home especially when you are sick
  • if you need medical attention, please call ahead before going to hospital or your health-care provider.

UPDATE 8:37 a.m.

Interior Health Communications, Susan Duncan has responded to our questions about the safety of concerned Kelowna citizens who feel they have not been adequately warned about potential risks.

"Please be assured that every case confirmed by testing is investigated by our public health officials. When we have a confirmed case of COVID-19, public health does contact tracing and reaches out to individuals who may have been exposed. When we are unable to reach all people in a group, notifications are issued.

When there is a positive case, the patient receives support from the health authority’s public health teams."

Interior Health advises anyone who has concerns that someone who has been told to self-isolate but is not, should call 1-888-COVID19 (268-4319) for direction.

ORIGINAL 4:00 a.m.

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia grew by 42 Wednesday.

During the daily COVID-19 update, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the new cases bring the total in the province to 659, with 46 cases in the Interior Health region.

The Ministry of Health has consistently said it will not release any detailed information about where COVID-19 patients reside, due to privacy concerns.

But one case has been confirmed in Kelowna through multiple sources. Amber Hall made a public social media post on Sunday which indicated one of her family members has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

"Our family member travelled home from Manila through the Vancouver airport within the last seven days and was not told to self-isolate. Because of this, when they arrived in Kelowna (they) decided to pick up groceries at Walmart. They live in a low-income rental building with other vulnerable members of our society. All of these people are at risk," Hall wrote.

Castanet has since been contacted by a family member who tells us his parents live in the same building.
The concerned citizen says building residents have not been contacted by Interior Health about the potential risk.

Since that time, both Hall and our tipster have contacted Kelowna politicians to try to get answers as to why there hasn't been more information on the case.

Dan Albas, MP for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, says he has spoken to both parties and has called on Interior Health via twitter to offer further explanation.

"I am now hearing from a family member whose parents live in this facility who are extremely concerned as they have yet to be formally contacted by Interior Health. They have also been alarmed at the lack of other actions being taken at this facility to protect human health. Interior Health needs to work with these families at this facility. It is vitally important to communicate with these families and to media what corrective actions either have been or will be undertaken for public safety. People have a right to know," said Albas.

Because health officials and the building operator have refused to confirm or deny a resident has been diagnosed with COVID-19, Castanet News is unable to name the building.

Ben Stewart, MLA for Kelowna West, tells Castanet he followed up with IH, who told him they are satisfied that proper protocols were followed.

Meanwhile, Hall added heart-wrenching details to her post, saying: "the ICU doctor has let us know that this will be a long and bumpy ride, and we cannot be certain of the outcome. We cannot visit or even talk to our family member as they are in a medically induced coma and currently intubated to be able to continue to breathe.
Please STAY HOME. I implore you. For all of our sakes and the health of our country, our families and our friends."

Castanet reporter Nich Johansen asked Henry what the criteria for releasing more details looks like. She said: "Where we declare an outbreak, if it's in a setting like a shelter for example or a housing community, there is a longstanding transparent process for where those types of outbreaks are happening and what that looks like, and we are using the same criteria for this as well."

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