By Julia Magsombol 

Local Journalism Initiative 

[email protected]

Teck Resources Ltd. and Ktunaxa Regional Health Centre (KRHC) have teamed up to reduce the rates of infection in a new healthcare facility in Cranbrook. 

The partnership will see the installation of antimicrobial copper to high-touch surfaces to  lessen the spread of bacteria among patients. This will enhance sanitation and cleanliness, says Brittany Groff, manager of Ktunaxa Nation Primary Care Clinic.

The antimicrobial copper can effectively eliminate up to 99.9 per cent of bacteria and help protect the health of patients, healthcare workers, and visitors who come in contact with door handles, plumbing fixtures, grab bars, cabinets, etc. 

“It’s very important that we reduce the rates of infection within healthcare spaces,” said Catherine Adair, Teck’s manager of community development. 

Adair said Teck created the copper and health program to improve health outcomes for people and communities. Since 2016 it has partnered with numerous health centres, hospitals, daycare centres, universities, and the Vancouver airport. But Adair noted the partnership with KRHC is something unique. 

“This regional care centre is the first to incorporate antimicrobial copper,” she said. “It’s like a doctor’s office, or a walk-in clinic or any healthcare centre that has regular patients in and out — and so this is a great demonstration of how copper can be used in those high tech spaces to help keep all the patients and staff safe.” 

Adair explained they have worked on this project with KRHC for almost two years. The new facility will officially open its doors in September. 

“I would hope that antimicrobial copper and other proven protocols would be used much more widely in hospitals and healthcare spaces to help keep all of us safe,” Adair said. 

Officials with KRHC said they are thankful to Teck for working with them to make this facility safer. It was noted that Teck donated $100,000 to the project.