Interior Health confirmed Friday, Jan. 15, there are now six staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19 at Cariboo Memorial Hospital. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Interior Health confirmed Friday, Jan. 15, there are now six staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19 at Cariboo Memorial Hospital. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

UPDATE: Six Cariboo Memorial Hospital staff members test positive for COVID-19

Interior Health said Friday, Jan. 15 testing is ongoing

Interior Health (IH) has confirmed a total of six Cariboo Memorial Hospital staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Friday, Jan. 15.

“Testing is ongoing and we will report as/if more test positive,” an IH media spokesperson told Black Press Media. “Interior Health hospitals work as a network and support each other. The emergency department is running smoothly and people in the community should not hesitate to come to the hospital if they require medical care.”

IH declared an outbreak at Cariboo Memorial Hospital Wednesday afternoon Jan. 13 with four staff members testing positive for COVID-19.

Read more: COVID-19 outbreak declared at Cariboo Memorial Hospital by Interior Health

To date there has been no confirmation medical staff working at CMH have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Part of the challenge is the union is not included in the provincial vaccine committee so we aren’t given regular updates,” said BC Nursing Union president Christine Sorenson when asked if she knew who has been vaccinated.

She said she is not being told the amount of vaccines that have been given, where they are going and which members have been extended an invitation to be vaccinated.

“There are significant concerns around communication both provincially and locally. What I’m hearing across the province is they [nurses] are getting very little information about when and where clinics are happening at their work site.”

She confirmed she’s heard some of the initial doses in December were distributed to long-term care facility residents and staff in 100 Mile House and Williams Lake, as directed by the provincial government.

Read more: COVID-19 vaccine roll out begins in Williams Lake

“Speaking with the ministry today, they are pleased with the rollout and coverage of long-term care facilities. They feel they are on track,” Sorenson said.

Sorensen said no one has reached out to her to help facilitate rapid vaccine administration.

“We need what I call an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach and everbody involved in doing this. And I do hope with Dr. Penny Ballem now being assigned to lead this that perhaps there will be better communication and better co-ordination.”

Read more: COVID-19: B.C. names new lead for ‘largest’ vaccine rollout in province’s history

Mayor Walt Cobb said everyone fully expected the virus to arrive in Williams Lake, but said it is unfortunate that frontline workers have got it.

“I don’t know whether it’s the rumour mill or not, but I’ve heard that some of the frontline workers are not getting their shots and I think that should be the first priority, ” Cobb added.

During the provincial update Thursday 115 positive new cases were confirmed for Interior Health and on Friday the number was 86 new cases in the region.

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