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Interior Health declares Kelowna cluster over; new cases spike to 294 from weekend provincially

Since Friday, Interior Health said there were a total of seven new COVID-19 cases reported in the Interior Health region bringing the total number of cases in IH since the start of the pandemic to 440 while BC’s numbers were 294 new cases for a total of 5,790.

As the COVID-19 numbers in BC continue to rise, Interior Health has seen only marginal increases and recently declared the Kelowna cluster over after cases per week remained low for four weeks.

In an emailed statement, Medical Health Officer Dr. Sivina Mema said IH would like to thank local elected officials, businesses, residents and visitors to the Central Okanagan City for their efforts to bring the number of new cases associated with this cluster down during the past month, or so.

“Minimizing the impacts of COVID-19 in Kelowna and all our communities is a collective effort and we encourage everyone to continue following the public health guidance to prevent further spread,” Medical Health Officer Dr. Silvina Mema said.

Since Friday, Interior Health said there were a total of seven new COVID-19 cases reported in the region bringing the total number of cases in IH since the start of the pandemic to 440.

Currently there are 19 cases that are active and on isolation.

However, no one is in hospital.

Interior Health said the outbreak at Okanagan Correctional Centre remains at seven cases  — all staff — with two active.

Interior Health said there are no resident cases are currently associated with the water treatment facility project outbreak in the Elk Valley, which was declared August 27th.

Meanwhile, the news is not as good on the provincial stage as Monday, Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia.

"Today, we are providing case updates for three 24-hour reporting periods. In the first reporting period from August 28 to 29, we had 86 new cases, from August 29 to 30, we had 107 new cases and in the last 24 hours, we have had a further 101 new cases.

"This represents 294 new cases, including three epi-linked cases, since we reported on Friday, for a total of 5,790 cases in British Columbia.

"There are 1,107 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, 2,723 people who are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases, and 4,466 people who tested positive have recovered.

"Currently, 28 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19, 10 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.

"Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 1,900 cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 3,042 in the Fraser Health region, 175 in the Island Health region, 440 in the Interior Health region, 154 in the Northern Health region and 79 cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

"There have been four new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 208 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"There has been one new health-care facility outbreak in the Fraser Health region at the Normanna Living long-term care facility in Burnaby. The outbreaks at Dania Home and Holy Family Hospital have been declared over. In total, eight long-term care or assisted-living facilities and two acute-care facilities have active outbreaks.

"There have been no new community outbreaks, although there continue to be community exposure events. The Northern Health region has issued a community alert for the Prespatou region. Anyone who has attended events, services or gatherings in August are asked to monitor themselves for symptoms and contact health teams to get tested should any symptoms develop. The community exposure cluster in the Kelowna region has been declared over.

"Alerts are posted on the BC Centre for Disease Control's (BCCDC) website, as well as on health authorities' websites, providing details on where the potential exposure occurred and what actions to take - whether you need to self-isolate or monitor for symptoms.

"As we look to the fall, we are entering a new phase of B.C.'s COVID-19 response, and to be successful, we need to step back to allow us to safely move forward.

"The increase in the number of new cases is a concern for all of us. We must to do our part and support public health teams to quickly manage new cases so we can contain the spread of the virus and ensure community spread remains low.

"After many months of restrictions, we all felt the need to reconnect with our family and friends this summer, but now we must slow down on our social interactions and prepare for the respiratory season ahead.

"We need everyone to pay attention and step back from the social interactions we have had this summer, so when the cooler weather and respiratory season arrives, we are ready for the challenge.

"As we go back to our offices, workplaces and schools, we need to get back to the basics with our layers of protection and personal COVID-19 safety measures. This will allow us to protect our most vulnerable during the colder months.

"This means all of us washing our hands regularly, keeping our groups small, giving others the space to stay safe in uncontrolled environments, especially when we are around people we don't know, wearing masks when needed and always staying home when ill.

"It can be difficult to tell the difference between a cold, allergies, influenza and COVID-19. As a result, the first step for everyone in B.C. needs to be to stay home if we are not 100% healthy.

"The bar to stay home needs to be lower than we have ever had it before. Our superheroes are not the people who put aside illness and go to work, but the people who protect colleagues by staying away until they are healthy once again.

"We ask employers, caregivers and parents to think ahead and prepare for the days when an employee or child is feeling unwell. Employers also need to ensure they are giving employees the flexibility to stay home without recrimination or financial harm.

"We can prepare now for the challenges that may lie ahead with new thinking, new routines and proven safety precautions.

"Our goals for B.C. are clear: prevent cases through our renewed personal safety measures, pay attention to how we are feeling so we can detect new cases and support our public health teams throughout the province to respond quickly to contain the spread of the virus.

"Let's start today to close the summer gaps. Let's use our layers of protection as we keep our activities going and let's stay strong as we protect our most vulnerable, our Elders, our communities and ourselves."

Quick Facts:

Assisted living, long-term care homes and seniors' rental buildings with ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks are as follows:

Fraser Health:

  • Bear Creek Villa independent living facility
  • Czorny Alzheimer Centre long-term care facility
  • Derby Manor independent living facility
  • George Derby Centre long-term care facility
  • Maple Ridge Seniors Village assisted living facility
  • MSA Manor long-term care facility (second outbreak)
  • New Vista Care Home long-term care facility
  • Normanna Living long-term care facility

Learn More:

To see a map of COVID-19 cases by local health area, visit:
http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/data