The northern part of Interior Health is turning into a hotspot after a COVID-19 community cluster was declared Wednesday in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region.
The Cariboo/Chilcotin, along with Revelstoke and 100 Mile House, are three regions in Interior Health to record — 16, 24, and 140 total cases, respectively — in the most recent COVID-19 infection data released by BC Centre of Disease Control.
Released Thursday, the latest data from the BCDCD shows infections reported during the week of January 10-16 in each of the province’s local health areas.
Interior Health said since January 1, 2021, a total of 215 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in this region.
Of these cases, 74 reside in nearby First Nations communities and 158 are currently active.
“As we have seen in recent years, this community has a history of coming together during challenging times in the face of adversity,” said Susan Brown, president and CEO, Interior Health.
“Now is no different: we must stay focused and reduce the spread of this virus together by strictly following public health orders and direction.
Brown said she wants to thank local First Nation chiefs, our healthcare staff and physicians, and community leaders for their dedication and hard work as we respond together to this increase in COVID-19 activity in the Cariboo-Chilcotin.
Interior Health said of the 215 cases, most are related to COVID-19 transmission that occurred at recent social events and gatherings in Williams Lake.
While the northern section of Interior Health is experiencing a rise in cases, the COVID-19 infection data map shows the Kootenays, other than Fernie, seeing low numbers of cases — with Nelson two, Cranbrook seven, Kettle Valley four and Grand Forks, Castlegar, Trail, Creston, Kimberley and Kootenay Lake all showing zero cases.
Thursday, the province reported 564 new cases, including eight epi-linked cases, for a total of 62,976 in BC.
There are 4,450 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. There are 309 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 68 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.
Interior Health reported 95 new COVID-19 cases, along with, sadly, two of the 15 COVID-19 related deaths in BC.
The total number of deaths in Interior Health has reached 57.
“On behalf of everyone at Interior Health, we send our condolences to the loved ones and caregivers,” Brown said.
“I know people are fatigued by the impact COVID-19 on our day-to-day lives.
“However, the ongoing challenges of this pandemic shows us we need to continue to be vigilant and compassionate. We all need to do our part to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in our communities.”
In a prepared statement, Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer said despite our COVID-19 curve trending in the right direction, the province continues to have new outbreaks, community clusters and high numbers of new cases.
“COVID-19 continues to spread widely in our communities,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said.
“We need to do everything we can to break the chain of transmission. Right now is the time to do that.
“We must all continue to use our safety basics – at work, school, home and in the community. Right now, this is our number 1 means of keeping our communities safe.”
Update on Interior Health outbreaks:
- Cariboo Memorial Hospital has 11 staff cases.
- Brocklehurst Gemstone long-term care in Kamloops has 24 cases: 17 residents and seven 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 35 cases: 20 residents and 15 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 55 cases: 34 residents and 21 staff, with five deaths connected to this outbreak.
- Heritage Square long-term care in Vernon has 67 cases: 47 residents and 20 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 has 17 IH cases linked to the outbreak.