Thirty-five per cent of workers at a long-term care residence in Kelowna, B.C., that’s presently battling a COVID-19 outbreak haven’t but been vaccinated for the virus, in accordance with the regional well being authority.
Cottonwoods Care House recorded 13 circumstances of COVID-19 Thursday morning, together with 11 residents and two workers, stated Dr. Carol Fenton, a medical well being officer with Inside Well being.
Fenton stated about 80 per cent of residents on the residence, which homes 221 beds, have acquired a vaccine, versus 65 per cent of workers.
Vaccines not necessary for employees
On Friday, B.C. Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie advised CBC’s Dawn South, that the case exposes a niche in provincial health-care coverage.
“We’re going to have to handle this subject across the steadiness between the rights of employees, but in addition … our obligation to guard [seniors residents],” she stated.
“As we transfer ahead, what are going to be the insurance policies round unvaccinated workers? As a result of that is going to proceed, and it is not nearly COVID but in addition different infectious illness.”
Mackenzie additionally urged B.C. well being officers to extend testing of seniors care workers and residents, so as to establish early an infection. She says eight sufferers who examined constructive have been asymptomatic, but posed an an infection danger.
Mackenzie says, because the outbreak was declared, extra Cottonwood workers have chosen to get vaccinated.
On Thursday, Provincial Well being Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reiterated that vaccines, whereas really useful, aren’t required for care-home employees.
“Not one of the vaccine packages in Canada or in B.C. are necessary, together with COVID vaccines, and I do not consider this one must be both,” she stated.
Henry has stated most long-term care properties in B.C. have seen excessive uptake of the vaccine from residents and workers, who made up the primary part of the province’s immunization plan.
She famous a sure proportion of the Cottonwoods workers was not obtainable the primary time vaccines have been supplied. Others had issues and “legit questions” concerning the new vaccines that the province has labored to handle, she stated.
“Inside Well being is working with the neighborhood and the care residence to verify everybody has the chance to be immunized and get these charges as much as the place we’d like them to be to guard folks.”
Inside Well being faces seniors care workers crunch
“Proper now, if we stated you’ll be able to’t work until you are vaccinated, it will be unimaginable to run our facility,” Inside Well being’s Dr Carole Fenton advised CBC Daybreak South host Chris Walker.
“So we have to give it extra time, so we now have extra of a vaccinated inhabitants and we now have time to additionally formulate these insurance policies.”
Fenton stated throughout typical influenza seasons, workers who aren’t vaccinated are despatched residence with out pay if there’s an outbreak at their facility.
She stated she expects as soon as the province reaches a essential mass of vaccines, it is going to implement an analogous coverage.
She famous workers at Cottonwoods are nonetheless adhering to all prevention measures, together with sporting full protecting gear and bodily distancing.
Fenton stated eight of the confirmed circumstances at Cottonwoods have been vaccinated however have been nonetheless throughout the two to three-week window interval when the physique is creating antibodies in response to the vaccine.
She stated it was too quickly to gauge the severity of the circumstances, noting that may take two to a few weeks however pointed to knowledge that exhibits the vaccines have largely curbed extreme circumstances and deaths.
“We’ll watch this outbreak very intently to see how these outcomes are completely different from earlier outbreaks we have had,” she stated.