Kelowna’s COVID-19 summer continues, with the BC Centre for Disease Control reporting that last week, it had racked up the highest number of new cases in the province.
But the Central Okanagan, which includes Kelowna, Lake Country, Peachland and West Kelowna, no longer holds the dubious distinction of being the only hot spot, with much of the Southern Interior now highlighted in red in the centre’s latest map that lays out geographic distribution of COVID-19 by local health area.
The Central Okanagan had 737 new cases from Aug. 15 to 21, for an average of 105 new cases a day. That’s a 20 per cent drop from the week earlier, when it had 922 cases.
In Vernon, there were 133 new cases up from 109, for a change of 22 per cent. Salmon Arm had 79 new cases up from 48 a week earlier and Kamloops saw a 50 per cent increase to 193 from 121 the week earlier.
The growing number of cases outside of the Central Okanagan was something that Dr. Rob Parker, Interior Health’s interim chief medical officer, had noted in a news conference, saying the region’s numbers peaked on the weekend of Aug. 15, but started to taper off as time wore on.
That’s when transmission in the East Kootenay, Kootenay Boundary, North and South Okanagan, and the Thompson, Cariboo and Shuswap picked up the slack.
That’s also why restrictions on gatherings and a return to mask mandates spread across the health authority.
Those rules are expected to be scaled back when the vaccine card comes into effect on Sept. 13.
Proof of one dose of vaccine will be required immediately, and two doses will be required by Oct. 24.
The cards will be required indoor ticketed sporting events, indoor concerts, indoor theatre/dance/symphony events, restaurants (indoor and patio dining), night clubs, casinos, movie theatres, fitness centres/gyms, businesses offering indoor high-intensity group exercise activities, organized indoor events, discretionary organized indoor group recreational classes and activities, student housing on college and university campuses.
Cards will not be required at grocery stores and other retail settings. They also won’t be necessary to enter a place of worship.
On Thursday, B.C. reported 5,640 active cases of COVID-19. Of those, 149 individuals were in hospital and 83 were in intensive care. The remaining people were recovering at home in self-isolation.