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More than 60 cases of COVID-19 linked to exposures in Kelowna, B.C.

More than 60 COVID-19 cases linked to Kelowna area exposures

Over 60 test positive cases of COVID-19 have now been linked to the Kelowna, B.C. cluster which began around Canada Day as tourists flocked to the sunny tourist hot spot in the Interior.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says what is “most concerning” is health officials are seeing growth in the number of cases involving young people over the past few weeks.

“We are starting to see people who are testing positive in the last few days having a large number of contacts again. Early on, before we put in place our public health measures, every case had on average 11 or 12 contacts, now we are starting to see that coming back,” she said.

Read more: B.C. reports 102 COVID-19 cases over three days, bringing provincial total to 3,300

A growing list of Okanagan businesses are temporarily closing due to employees testing positive for the virus or concerns over staff attending known COVID-19 exposure locations.

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The community exposure events in the Central Okanagan began when visitors from other areas of B.C. and Alberta attended two private parties. Those who were unknowingly infected then visited a number of businesses in the downtown waterfront district, health officials said.

Kelowna mayor fears step backwards from COVID-19 cases
Kelowna mayor fears step backwards from COVID-19 cases

Province-wide, health officials reported 102 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C. over a three-day period, including 51 cases from Friday to Saturday which is the highest one-day bump since April 27.

Read more: Okanagan winery reopens after employee tests positive for COVID-19

B.C.’s confirmed cases now total 3,300. Of those, 2,858 patients have fully recovered, or about 86 per cent.

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Henry says B.C. is no longer flattening the curve, although an increase in cases was expected as B.C. moved to Phase 3 of its economic reopening plan in late June.

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“We do have a possibility of having explosive growth in our outbreak here in B.C. if we are not careful in how we progress over the summer,” she said.

Coronavirus: Kelowna General Hospital outbreak leads to concerns
Coronavirus: Kelowna General Hospital outbreak leads to concerns
“We still have it on our hands to make a difference [in] bending this curve.”

Read more: Coronavirus: City of Kelowna concerned about hospital outbreak

There were no new deaths, leaving the provincial death toll at 189.

The province has 253 active cases, a 22 per cent increase from the same time last week.

“We are at a place where we could see [a] rapid progression of transmission of this virus if we are not careful,” Henry said.
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Sixteen COVID-19 patients are in hospital, with four of them in intensive care.