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Big White community cluster grows to 203 known COVID-19 cases

Tyler Vitaliano, a primary care paramedic in Kelowna, receives his COVID-19 vaccine as BC tops 92,369 doses administered in the province. — Submitted photo

The Big White Mountain community cluster continues to be a concern for Interior Health after 28 additional cases of COVID-19 were linked to the outbreak, cluster bringing the total to 203 since the cluster was declared.

In the media update Tuesday, Interior Health said of 28 new cases, 22 reside and/or work at Big White.

Interior Health said of the 203 known COVID-19 cases linked to this cluster, 126 have resided and/or worked on Big White Mountain.

Interior Health said there are currently 43 cases active and on isolation and 160 individuals have recovered.

“There remains transmission among people who work and live at Big White. We are testing broadly at Big White so it’s important for those living and working to seek out testing and follow public health guidance,” said Dr. Silvina Mema, medical health officer.

“We continue to work with the Big White community to limit spread of the virus.”

Tuesday, B.C.'s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry reported 65 new cases, including 13 epi-linked cases, for a total of 61,912 cases in British Columbia.

There were 61 new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health.

Sadly, there were 12 new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 1,090 deaths in British Columbia. Two of those deaths were reported in Interior Health — one death at Brocklehurst Gemstone in Kamloops and the other death at a community/hospital.

“It is with heavy hearts today that we report two additional deaths due to COVID-19 in Interior Health. Our sympathy goes out to their loved ones and caregivers,” said Susan Brown, president and CEO of Interior Health.

“Each death is a reminder of the devastating impact of this pandemic, and a reminder to all of us of the very real need to follow provincial health orders and direction.”

To date, Dr. Henry said 92,369 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., and the BC Centres for Disease Control (BCCDC) is providing daily immunization data on the COVID-19 dashboard.

Update on Interior Health Outbreaks:

  • Cariboo Memorial Hospital has 10 staff cases.
  • Brocklehurst Gemstone long-term care in Kamloops has 20 cases: 16 residents and four staff, with one death connected to this outbreak.
  • Sunnybank long-term care in Oliver has 35 cases: 26 residents and nine staff, with two deaths connected to this outbreak.
  • Creekside Landing long-term care in Vernon has 32 cases: 18 residents and 14 staff, with one death connected to this outbreak.
  • Williams Lake Seniors Village has two cases: one resident and one staff.
  • Noric House long-term care in Vernon has 51 cases: 31 residents and 20 staff, with two deaths connected to this outbreak.
  • Heritage Square long-term care in Vernon has 64 cases: 47 residents and 17 staff, with seven deaths connected to this outbreak.
  • Heritage Retirement Residence in West Kelowna has 46 cases: 41 residents and five staff, with three deaths connected to this outbreak.
  • Teck mining operations remains at 17 IH cases linked to the outbreak.
  • Village by the Station long-term care in Penticton has 10 cases: five residents and five staff, with one death connected to this outbreak.
  • Mountainview Village long-term care in Kelowna has 16 cases: eight residents and eight staff, with two deaths connected to this outbreak.

Back at Big White Mountain, Interior Health said everyone in the community is reminded to avoid social gatherings and to please follow public health guidance such as physical distancing, washing your hands regularly and wearing a mask.

Interior Health is continuing outreach COVID-19 testing throughout the Big White community and environmental public health inspections of facilities on the hill. Those who may need to self-isolate due to a positive COVID test, or because of they are a close contact to a case, are being assisted as necessary by Big White, the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary and Interior Health.

"We remain grateful to community leaders for their support, and remind everyone not to stigmatize or judge others who seek testing or test positive for COVID-19," Interior Health said.