Multiple cases of COVID-19 have been detected at Kamloops Seniors Village following a fully vaccinated staff member testing positive for the virus.
On the afternoon of Aug. 27, an outbreak was declared by Interior Health.
Meanwhile, an internal memo obtained by KTW on Aug. 27 noted there are potential COVID-19 exposure events at three long-term care homes in Kamloops, none of which had as of then resulted in a declaration of an outbreak. The memo did not specify locations.
The situation at Kamloops Seniors Village has unfolded over the past two weeks, with staff posting regular updates online. So far, five people — two staff members and three residents of a long-term care unit — have tested positive for the virus.
On Aug. 25, the assisted living facility announced three residents of its long-term care neighbourhood (1C Complex Care) tested positive for COVID-19, two of whom were asymptomatic. The three individuals remain isolated in their rooms and contact tracing with their families was initiated, but an outbreak was not declared by IH until Aug. 27 following an afternoon call with IH and a medical health officer.
Upon review of the cases and facility information, IH declared an outbreak on the 1C and 1B complex care neighbourhoods, and contact tracing investigations are ongoing. The outbreak will remain in place until 28 days have passed from the last detected case of COVID-19.
KSV will undertake a second round of nasal, COVID-19 testing for all residents of its 1C and 1B neighbourhoods this week and will be in communication with IH three times a week to provide further updates on the outbreak.
On Aug. 25, five days after KSV learned two staff members had tested positive for COVID-19, IH requested the residents of 1C, as well as two unvaccinated residents of the 1B neighbourhood, be tested for COVID-19 as the units share a kitchen, updates from Kamloops Seniors Village stated. No other cases were found and, as of Aug. 28, no other residents or staff appear to be showing symptoms.
However, the two unvaccinated residents from 1B are considered exposed and are also isolated to their rooms while the rest of the 1B neighbourhood remains confined to their unit and will be monitored for symptoms.
Both staff members who tested positive remain isolating at their homes with minimal sypmtoms and regular wellness checks, according to KSV.
Group recreational activities and visitations remain cancelled for the 1C and 1B neighbourhoods.
Essential visits can continue in 1B and 1C, but only with fully vaccinated individuals.
The outbreak does not affect the other four complex care units or the independent and assited living side of the building, according to KSV. Visitation and group recreation activities will continue for the unaffected units with standard safety protocols in place. All residents, however, continue to be monitored for symptoms, but are only tested if they show signs of the virus.
All staff who worked in 1B of 1C between now and Aug. 3 are considered exposed and must receive a rapid COVID-19 test, which, if positive, will lead to a nasal COVID-19 test. Staff who receive the nasal test will need to isolate until the results come back.
The cases began emerging on Aug. 19, when KSV learned a fully vaccinated staff member, who last worked the night shift in 1C on Aug. 17, had tested positive for COVID-19.
On Aug. 20, KSV learned another staff 1C staff member, who last worked in 1C Aug. 18 during the day shift, tested positive for COVID-19.
A call with Interior Health and one of its medical health officers on Aug. 20 determined the two staff cases to be unrelated as they each developed symptoms the same day, but hadn’t had contact with each other; therefore, an outbreak wasn’t declared at that time, according to the KSV release. Instead, the facility was directed to operate in a "heightened precaution" mode.
The health authority is the only approved body to officially declare a neighbourhood/community on an outbreak, according to the KSV release.
Following another call with IH on Aug. 24, the day before testing was recommended, social visits and recreational activities on 1B units were cancelled as a precaution as they share a kitchen area. Visitation and recreational activities has been cancelled since Aug. 20 for 1C, which has also been isolating since that date.
Restrictions on visitations to care homes were lifted this past spring by the province, with all visitors — including those not immunized — no longer needing to schedule or book in advance to visit loved ones. The limit on the number of visitors for each resident was also removed.
Despite the circumstances, neither delivery of services for KSV independent-assisted living tenants nor the residents in its other complex care neighbourhoods has been affected, according to the release.
The current health order stipulates that the COVID-19 vaccine is encouraged, but not mandatory, for care home staff.
However, as of Oct. 12, all staff at long-term care homes and assisted-living facilities must be fully vaccinated.
Michael Potestio, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kamloops This Week