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27 cases of COVID-19 now linked to Kelowna, B.C., exposures

Click to play video 'B.C. study says 8 times more people infected with COVID-19 than confirmed, 175 drug deaths in June' B.C. study says 8 times more people infected with COVID-19 than confirmed, 175 drug deaths in June
B.C. study says 8 times more people infected with COVID-19 than confirmed, 175 drug deaths in June

B.C.’s top doctor says there have now been 27 cases of COVID-19 linked to exposures at private parties in Kelowna between late June and early July.

Eighteen of those cases are residents of the Interior, while nine are from the Lower Mainland.

Interior Health has released a list of dates and places where people may have been exposed.

Click to play video 'B.C. study says 8 times more people infected with COVID-19 than confirmed, 175 drug deaths in June' B.C. study says 8 times more people infected with COVID-19 than confirmed, 175 drug deaths in June
B.C. study says 8 times more people infected with COVID-19 than confirmed, 175 drug deaths in June

Read more: B.C. eviction ban to end Sept. 1, tenants have until July 2021 to pay unpaid rent

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Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gave the update as she announced 21 new cases in the province and no new deaths Thursday.

Three of the new cases are epi-linked.

Click to play video 'Serology testing data shows impact of COVID-19 in B.C.' Serology testing data shows impact of COVID-19 in B.C.
Serology testing data shows impact of COVID-19 in B.C.

Tuesday has been the only day in the last eight in which fewer than 20 new cases have been reported.

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B.C. has now recorded 3,170 COVID-19 cases in total — 17 of which are epi-linked. Of the total, 2,789 people have recovered while 189 others have died. That leaves 192 active cases.

Fifteen people were in hospital as of Thursday, with just three of them in critical care.

Read more: Only 28% of B.C. businesses getting COVID-19 aid expect a return to normal once help ends: poll

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Henry also also touched on B.C.’s first serology study looking for coronavirus antibodies.

The joint UBC, B.C. Centre for Disease Control and LifeLabs study looked at anonymously collected blood samples in March and May, and which found that fewer than one per cent of samples had COVID-19 antibodies.

“This is a test that helps us understand how many people might have been infected in the past,” she said.

“What this tells us is we have done a very good job of preventing community transmission in British Columbia.”

Henry said the survey allows public health workers to estimate how many people likely actually contracted the virus, even if they weren’t able to be tested.

Click to play video 'B.C. premier on details of the $1.1B federal sick pay program' B.C. premier on details of the $1.1B federal sick pay program
B.C. premier on details of the $1.1B federal sick pay program

“Our estimations are that about eight times more people than tested positive in this sero-survey likely had the virus in British Columbia, which gives us around 16,000, 17,000 people who may have been infected over the period of the last six months,” said Henry.

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Henry said the science remains unclear on whether having COVID-19 antibodies presents effective protection against contracting the virus again.

Read more: Amid record overdose deaths, B.C.’s top doctor calls for decriminalization

Earlier Thursday, the federal government announced $19 billion in funding for the provinces to help them reopen and deal with a potential second wave of COVID-19 in the months to come.

Ottawa also confirmed that the closure of the U.S. border to all but essential travel will be extended to Aug. 21.