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'Most tragic report' since beginning of COVID-19 — Interior Health CEO

Interior Health president and CEO Susan Brown reported Monday that over the weekend seven more people have lost their lives to COVID-19 throughout the region.

Interior Health witnessed the largest spike in COVID-19 deaths over the weekend since the pandemic began in the spring.

In a media release Monday, Interior Health president and CEO Susan Brown said Monday is “our most tragic report since the beginning of this devastating pandemic.”

“Seven more people have lost their lives to COVID-19 throughout Interior Health,” Brown said Monday.

“Some passed peacefully in long-term care while others were in hospital, and in each case, I share sincere condolences to their loved ones and caregivers.”

Monday, Interior Health said the total number of deaths has risen to 17 in the region.

In BC, Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC Public Health Officer, reported 41 people died from COVID-19 in the province over the weekend.

“It’s never easy to lose a member of our community, especially now after we have come so far in the fight against COVID-19,” Brown said.

“I urge everyone to redouble your efforts and focus on the important public health guidance that can prevent the spread of COVID-19 so that we may protect ourselves and loved ones this holiday season.”

Other reporting numbers for Interior Health include 188 new cases from the weekend for a total of 3,312.

Interior Health said 721 cases are active and on isolation with 33 people in hospital and seven in ICU.

Provincially, there were 1,667 new cases confirmed over the weekend — 652 between Friday and Saturday, 486 between Saturday and Sunday and 529 between Sunday and Monday — with 341 people in hospital and 80 in critical care.

The new case total represents a decline of just over 20 per cent compared to the same time period last weekend.

On the vaccination front, Henry said as of Friday, there were 3,644 healthcare worker from the Lower Mainland that had received their first shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Henry said as of Monday, during the next few days all health regions will have received vaccines with public health teams preparing clinics in the coming days.

“We are starting to see a levelling in the COVID-19 curve,” Dr. Henry said.

“At the same time, we are also seeing hundreds of new people each day with confirmed cases, many of whom have become severely ill, requiring care and treatment in hospital.”

“The people getting sick today contracted the virus days ago, which is why the actions we take today make such a difference to our well-being tomorrow,” Dr. Henry added.

Interior Health Updates on outbreaks:

  • Teck mining operations has 15 IH cases linked to the outbreak.
  • McKinney Place long term care in Oliver has 73 cases: 53 residents and 20 staff. There have been seven deaths related to this outbreak (four new deaths since Friday’s update).
  • Village by the Station long-term care in Penticton remains at four cases total: two residents and two staff.
  • Mountainview Village long-term care in Kelowna has 14 cases in total: seven residents and seven staff. There remains one death related to this outbreak.
  • Big White in Kelowna has 76 cases linked to the outbreak. Next update will be on Tuesday.