Interior Health bucks trend on COVID-19 numbers – not in good way

·2 min read

British Columbia’s COVID-19 case numbers are all heading in the right direction – except in the Interior Health region.

The health district recorded the highest number of new cases in the province the week of July 4-10, and even surpassed all the other health districts’ combined new cases last weekend.

Interior Health had 155 new cases of COVID over last weekend (July 24-25), while Fraser Health, with three times the population, only had 48 new cases.

The latest numbers show the majority of these new cases are in the Kelowna/Kamloops regions. But outside the Arrow Lakes subregion, which had no new cases, the rest of the Kootenays are trending up. In the week July 11-17, Nelson subregion (which includes the Slocan Valley to the Village of Slocan) had 10 cases, while the Castlegar subregion had nine cases. Kootenay Lake subregion (which includes Kaslo and Area D) had two cases, and Trail had three.

Nelson’s Jubilee Manor, a 39-bed long-term care facility, had a declared outbreak in the last week, with one resident and two staff people testing positive for the virus.

The situation had Castlegar doctors writing a letter to the public, asking people to get vaccinated to get numbers under control.

“These cases are almost exclusively in those who have not been vaccinated,” they write. “If you have been on the fence, thinking that you don’t need a vaccine because we don’t have COVID-19 here, please reconsider. As travel and activities open up, we will see increased risk of spread in the unvaccinated population.”

There are currently 695 active cases of COVID-19 in the province and 146,636 people who tested positive have recovered. Of the active cases, 43 individuals are in hospital and 17 are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice

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