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Okanagan region leads B.C. in number of new COVID-19 cases

The latest statistics from the B.C. Centre of Disease Control show that 107 cases were reported in the Okanagan region between July 10-23, accounting for almost a third of the province’s new cases during that time span. B.C. Centre for Disease Control

When it comes to B.C., the Okanagan is usually top of mind for vacations, wine and fun in the sun.

As it turns out, the region is also proving to be the province’s current hot spot for coronavirus cases.

The latest statistics from the BC Centre of Disease Control show that 107 cases were reported in the Okanagan between July 10-23.

Read more: ‘Don’t come here to make new friends’: Kelowna, B.C., mayor on spike in COVID-19 cases

The only other areas that came close were in the Lower Mainland, with the Fraser South region (Ladner, Delta, White Rock, Surrey, Langley) having the most at 58 cases. Vancouver was next at 49 and Fraser East at 42.

The province reported 340 new cases of COVID-19 during that two-week period, which means the Okanagan accounted for nearly a third of them.

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The outbreak is believed to stem from two house parties that took place during the Canada Day weekend in Kelowna.

On July 10, Interior Health issued a potential exposure warning for the city’s downtown core after eight people tested positive, six of whom were from outside the health authority’s region.

In the days that followed, the case count went up and some local businesses temporarily closed because of coronavirus concerns.

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B.C. premier concerned about COVID-19 caseload in Alberta, Washington state – Jul 23, 2020

On Thursday, Premier John Horgan said B.C. was averaging 30 new cases of COVID-19 a day for the past week, compared to 116 per day in Alberta and 829 in Washington state.

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He said recent images from Kelowna reminded him of his youth, when he’d travel to the Okanagan from Vancouver Island.

“I know what’s going on here. I’ve got young men in my life who would also like to travel and enjoy a good time,” said the premier, referring to his two sons who, according to a government official, are in their early 30s.

“But you need to do that in smaller groups. You need to do that with people that you know. It’s not the time to make new friends, it’s time to reinforce the relationships you do have.”