Death at Gemstone care home as outbreak continues

An outbreak was declared at the Brocklehurst Gemstone Care Centre on Jan. 13

A resident at the Brocklehurst Gemstone Care Centre has died due to COVID-19, Kamloops This Week has learned, and care home brass say they remain unclear about the source of infection in an outbreak now nearing two-dozen cases.

In a video conference call with residents' family members on Monday, Trellis Seniors Services president Mary McDougall said the source of infection remains unclear. The outbreak has now expanded to 22 cases, with 16 cases among residents and five among staff.

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"We are really confused by this," McDougall said, noting Interior Health continues to investigate the outbreak. "It is unclear if there is a series of coincidental events or if there is a single source. We do not know how this has happened."

An outbreak was declared at the facility, which is located at 1955 Tranquille Rd. in Brocklehurst, on Jan. 13, beginning with four cases.

An outbreak is declared by a medical health officer when a certain number of people who share a common space are diagnosed with COVID-19 within a 14-day period, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control.

On Saturday (Jan. 16), residents received the COVID-19 vaccine, along with staff who chose to be vaccinated. Care home administrators have also quarantined areas of the home to prevent further infection.

Initially, cases were reported in just one segment of the care home — known as “neighbourhoods” — on the third floor of the facility and quarantine measures were put in place. On Monday, however, administrators reported one case in a second neighbourhood. The affected resident was moved to a room in the previously affected neighbourhood. Quarantine measures are now in place for both areas, where cases have been detected.

All residents and staff have now been tested, although some results are still outstanding for staff who have not returned to the facility since the outbreak was declared. Testing continues at the facility, with a low symptom threshold for new tests. Another update is expected on Tuesday afternoon.

The facility has 125 publicly funded beds and five private beds.

© Kamloops This Week



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