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People under 40 make up half of coronavirus cases in B.C.’s Interior Health region

B.C. health officials to provide latest on COVD-19 curve
B.C. health officials provide an update Monday showing how the province is doing with the COVID-19 curve. Sarah MacDonald reports on why there also seems to be concern about young British Columbians.

Young people under the age of 40 make up a disproportionately large number of coronavirus cases in the Okanagan and throughout the wider Interior Health region, according to statistics from the BC Centre for Disease Control.

Forty-seven per cent of diagnosed cases in the Interior Health region involve people aged 20 to 40, compared to a provincial average of 34 per cent for the same age demographic.

The BCCDC dashboard shows 113 B.C. Southern Interior residents in their 20s have contracted the virus, as well as 72 people in their 30s.

The rise in coronavirus cases among young people is related to private parties in and around Kelowna, B.C., over the Canada Day long weekend, health officials have said.

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

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There are a total of 389 cases in the Interior Health region since the pandemic began and 369 people have recovered, while two people died after contracting COVID-19. That means there are 18 active cases in Interior Health and one person is currently receiving care in hospital.

The BCCDC dashboard shows 113 B.C. Southern Interior residents in their 20s have contracted the virus, as well as 72 people in their 30s.
The BCCDC dashboard shows 113 B.C. Southern Interior residents in their 20s have contracted the virus, as well as 72 people in their 30s. BCCDC

The median age of a person with COVID-19 in Interior Health is 36 years old, the youngest in the province. The Northern Health region follows at 37 years of age, Fraser Health at 43 years of age, Vancouver Island at 50 years of age and Vancouver Coastal at 54 years of age.

Pandemic closes Okanagan businesses
Pandemic closes Okanagan businesses

The latest two-week reporting period shows new cases of COVID-19 are tapering off in the Okanagan, with 50 cases reported from July 24 to Aug. 6.

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In mid-July, the Okanagan was the province’s hot spot for coronavirus transmission with 107 cases reported in the tourist destination from July 10 to 23, accounting for nearly a third of all new cases in the province at the time.

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A series of warnings followed from Interior Health about potential exposure events at Kelowna-area businesses. The 14-day incubation period since time of possible exposure has expired at all locations listed on Interior Health’s website.

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

Over the past two weeks, the region of concern is shifting from the Okanagan to the Lower Mainland, with 62 per cent of new cases in B.C. over the past week.

The latest two-week reporting period shows new cases of COVID-19 are tapering off in the Okanagan, with 50 cases reported from July 24 to Aug. 6.
The latest two-week reporting period shows new cases of COVID-19 are tapering off in the Okanagan, with 50 cases reported from July 24 to Aug. 6. BCCDC

A joint statement issued Friday by BC Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry urges residents and visitors to remain vigilant and follow COVID-19 safety protocols.

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“As we see new COVID-19 hot spots emerge and the new cases creep up in every health authority, we have to keep our firewall strong. Like a wildfire, COVID-19 has the potential to rapidly burn out of control and we need to put out these flare-ups.

Everyone, including essential workers, must self isolate for 14-days if travelling outside of Canada
Everyone, including essential workers, must self isolate for 14-days if travelling outside of Canada

“Today, more than 1,500 people throughout our province are self-isolating, unable to leave their home unless it is to get medical care, because they have COVID-19 or have had a high-risk exposure to the virus. This is a concern and something we can change.”

The BCCDC’s most recent surveillance report states that the number of cases currently in hospital and in critical care remains low.

“This may be due to the younger age of recently reported cases.”