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Outbreak of COVID-19 at Okanagan agricultural business, 14 cases confirmed

75 workers at West Kelowna business are in isolation – 63 migrant workers and 12 local workers

Interior Health is investigating the first community outbreak of COVID-19 in the Okanagan, among a group of temporary foreign workers at a West Kelowna garden centre.

Dr. Sue Pollock, Interior Health’s medical health officer, placed a quarantine order on Bylands Nurseries Ltd. on March 27, following confirmation of the virus within the group.

There are 75 people involved – 63 migrant workers and 12 local workers. All are self-isolating.

At this time, there have been 14 positive COVID-19 test results related to the outbreak. Additional results are pending.

The workers are to remain in quarantine on the property until Pollock provides an alternate direction. They live on-site in housing accommodations that allow for safe self-isolation.

The medical health officer is confident the risk of exposure to the public is low. No workers were in roles that interact with customers and the group had minimal contact with the community.

Bylands Nurseries has undertaken several measures under Pollock’s orders including enhanced cleaning of all nursery, housing, sanitary and other facilities accessed by employees as, well as denying access to all visitors to the site.

The Bylands Garden Centre, which is a separate business, is not affected by the order but has elected to close voluntarily.

The cases may be linked to a group of workers who arrived in Kelowna from outside of Canada on March 12, according to Interior Health.

Neither the number of cases nor their severity has been released by Interior Health.

During a press conference on March 31, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said “a number” of workers at the facility tested positive for the virus.

Black Press reached out to Bylands Nurseries for comment.

READ MORE: B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

READ MORE: No laws in B.C. to force businesses to offer refunds, even during a pandemic


@michaelrdrguez
michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

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