Lake Country woman voices concerns over unvaccinated care workers in private homes

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A Lake Country woman who has spent nearly 40 years in a wheelchair is voicing concern about unvaccinated care workers being sent into her private home.

Adrienne Colby is a quadriplegic and has care workers visiting her home three times a day to help.

However, she said some of them aren’t vaccinated at all.

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“When I said that I had an issue with that, they said, ‘Well, if you don’t take unvaccinated people, you stand to be going without care,’” Colby said.

Colby is a worker’s compensation client.

She said WorkSafeBC contracts out her care to Bayshore HealthCare.

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“They said we didn’t have to send worker’s compensation clients vaccinated employees,” Colby said.

Given the recent government mandate that all health-care workers, even those in private homes, must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 26, Colby is concerned this will create an influx of unvaccinated workers picking up jobs with private contractors.

“This is only the tip of the iceberg because with all of these health-care workers getting suspended, when they find out private agencies will hire unvaccinated people, guess where they’re going for replacement jobs,” Colby said.

“And guess where those unvaccinated home care workers are going to be sent: to all of the clients that are not Interior Health,” she said. “And they’re not telling us.”

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After Global News reached out to Bayshore HomeCare, Colby said she got a phone call from the business saying it would no longer send her any unvaccinated workers.

Bayshore claimed it follows all provincial health and safety directives.

“In very limited situations where highly-specialized training is required and we cannot match a patient with a qualified staff member due to health care staffing shortages across Canada, extensive discussions take place with patients and caregivers about the options to continue receiving uninterrupted care,” spokesperson Patrick Callan said in a statement.

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Colby said she’s sharing her story so others are aware of the potential risks.

“There are so many people in home care, and they are not aware that they could be getting sent unvaccinated people,” Colby said.

“Workers’ compensation is our province’s enforcer of any of the health orders,” she said. “Why are they not mandating vaccination orders?”

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WorkSafeBC said it encourages injured workers to talk to their health-care provider and request a fully-vaccinated person.

“We have a plan to inform workers that they have the right to refuse service from an unvaccinated service provider, and WorkSafeBC will work with them to find an alternative provider,” media relations manager Alexandra Skinner said in an email.

It also said its staff must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1.

The health ministry did not respond to Global News’ request for comment by deadline.

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More than 5.500 B.C. health care workers unvaccinated

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