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Retired nurse wants review of Oliver care home that had worst COVID outbreak in region

McKinney Place had 78 cases and 17 deaths before outbreak declared over in 2020
McKinney Place in Oliver had one of the most challenging COVID outbreaks due to its four to a room facility. (File photo)

A retired nurse wants a review of McKinney Place, the long term care home in Oliver where one of the most challenging COVID-19 outbreaks took place.

Betty Lou Trimmer Bahnsen said the aging building (constructed in the late 1970s), the antiquated design of the facility which sees four people to a room and one toilet to share among them does not allow for good infection control, proper care or livability of the residents.

Trimmer Bahsen’s letter was was on the Oliver council’s agenda last Feb. 28 and taken into consideration at the meeting.

She suggests that it is timely that the Town of Oliver formulate a letter to concerned levels of government like the Ministry of Health, chairperson of Interior Health board, CEO of Interior Health, RDOS Health Board and the director of care at South Okanagan General Hospital where McKinney Place is located.

In her letter, she asks that the present and future needs of the facility and the communities involved be reviewed as well as looking at up to date practices and designs for such types of facilities, a cost-benefit analysis for renovating the present building or constructing a new building on the SOGH site.

The retired nurse suggests that the repurposed building could include a Public Health Unit, Home Care nursing, LTC Nursing Assessment, Home Support, MD’s offices together with exam rooms and teaching areas.

There were 78 COVID-19 cases linked to the first McKinney outbreak: 55 residents and 23 staff. Of those cases, 17 residents passed away due to their illness.

In January 2021, McKinney residents were given some of the first vaccines available in B.C.

Since then there has been an outbreak at the home this January but was minor in comparison to the previous years.

READ MORE: Outbreak at McKinney declared over

At the time, Mayor Martin Johansen also said they would push for a review of the aging facility.

Interior Health’s chief medical health officer said at the time, that McKinney Place fast spread of the virus was the most challenging in the region.

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Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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