JoeAnna’s House in November 2019. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)

JoeAnna’s House remains open amid COVID-19 outbreak

The KGH Foundation said they increased protective measures at the house

The Kelowna General Hospital Foundation’s home away from home, JoeAnna’s House, remains open despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, despite being open the foundation’s director Shauna Nyrose said patients’ families are choosing not to come and voluntarily distance themselves.

“At this time, our occupancy is fairly low relative to what we saw when we first opened in December. But that said, we still do have families in the home and we’ve increased our protective measures to make sure those people are safe and able to self-isolate even while they’re staying at JoeAnna’s House,” she said.

“We’ve set up measures so volunteers will not actually be coming into the home. We’re just trying as much as possible to minimize the number of people coming in.”

Nyrose added visitors are prohibited from coming until further notice. JoeAnna’s House has a day-use area to provide respite for patients’ families during the day, which has now been closed as well until further notice.

“We want to make sure the guests and our staff are protected and we can maintain as low a risk as possible. But we do feel that it’s important to keep JoeAnna’s House open for as long as we can.”

Nyrose said the KGH Foundation office is closed to the public, which means people will not be able to make in-person donations.

“As an organization, we’re still operational. A lot of us are working from home and remotely. Donors can still call us and gifts can still be made online or through Canada Post,” she said.

“We’re just limiting face-to-face contact at this time. Our donor population is elderly and our office is located in the hospital, so we have a responsibility to make sure that we’re being extra cautious not only to protect the health and safety of our donors and our community but also KGH staff and patients that are here.”

JoeAnna’s House first opened on Nov. 21 after two years of fundraising and construction. The 20-bed house was named in honour of Josef (Joe) and Anna Huber, founders of Prestige Hotels and Resorts in the Okanagan.

READ MORE: JoeAnna’s House officially opens

READ MORE: COVID-19: Kelowna grocery store steps up methods to increase sanitation

Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
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