Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson told city council Tuesday, Jan. 19, there have been no further cases of COVID-19 amongst the staff at Cariboo Memorial Hospital than the 10 nurses and two doctors who are off work.  (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Cariboo Chilcotin MLA expects health authority to declare COVID-19 cluster for region

Lorne Doerkson updates Williams Lake city council at committee of the whole meeting

MLA Lorne Doerkson said Interior Health is preparing to declare a COVID-19 cluster in the Cariboo Chilcotin, which will allow for the consistent, specific reporting of cases in the region.

“With any luck tomorrow they will declare a cluster and the number of positive cases will be shared,” he told city council and staff during the committee of the whole meeting Tuesday, Jan. 19.

“They will not give out those numbers unless a cluster is declared,” said, adding the numbers will then be shared on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Doerkson confirmed there are presently no patients in the COVID unit at Cariboo Memorial Hospital as of Tuesday evening, Jan. 19 and it has a capacity for five patients.

There are two COVID patients in the 100 Mile House Hospital and it has a capacity to hold 14 patients due to utilizing a part of the hospital that was not being used.

“We know in this riding, 1,065 vaccines will have been given out, including 136 frontline workers in both of our hospitals,” he said, noting another 190 vaccines are en route and will be given to residents in longterm care facilities in Williams Lake and 100 Mile House.

Doerkson said 10 nurses and two doctors at Cariboo Memorial Hospital contracted COVID-19 and are all off work at this time.

“I learned today that no further transmission has occurred over the last two days with the staff,” he said. “Our thoughts and prayers are definitely with the 12 of you. I’m sure the communities join me in wishing you a speedy recovery.”

The MLA’s comments came at the end of a discussion where council members shared their own frustrations about the lack of transparency.

On Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, BC Emergency Health Services deployed the Major Incident Response Team (MIRRT) developed as part of its COVID-19 pandemic response efforts to Williams Lake where there are large levels of COVID-19 cases in multiple clusters in the region. The week before, an outbreak was declared at Cariboo Memorial Hospital, where about a dozen emergency room and second floor staff have tested positive for COVID-19.

Read more: Williams Lake city council demanding specific COVID-19 numbers for the city, immediate area

Read more: Marie Sharpe and Nesika elementary latest schools to have COVID-19 exposures



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