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COVID-19 case numbers inching down in the Okanagan, still high

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Weekly COVID-19 case numbers are slowly starting to come down in the Central Okanagan, but it’s still seeing the highest share provincewide.

There were 478 cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in the region that covers Lake Country to Peachland in the week of Aug. 29 to Sept. 4, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control’s latest map of new cases broken down by local health area.

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It means the Central Okanagan was averaging 68 new cases a day, which is more than any other city in B.C. In the week prior, it had 511 cases, making for a mere 6.5 per cent dip.

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It’s a fairly minor shift given the fact that the Central Okanagan has been under some of the most stringent health orders in the province, for public and private gatherings as well as masking. They came into effect Aug. 6, after cases accelerated out of control following an outbreak just a week earlier.

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The rest of Interior Health had the same measures applied as of Aug. 20, when case numbers began to rise, and they appear to have made a difference.

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Vernon had 169 cases in the week of Aug. 29 to Sept. 4, which is down from 263 the week earlier. It’s a 35 per cent decrease.

Penticton stayed stable, with 69 cases two weeks running. Kamloops also saw stability with 249 cases two weeks in a row.

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Where case numbers grew was the Lower Mainland, particularly in the Fraser Health area.

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Now highlighted in red for having an average daily rate of more than 20 per 100,000 population are Agassi and Hope, with 23 and 25 cases apiece in the first week of September.

As case numbers have started to rise so, too, has the push for vaccination. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has called this wave a pandemic of the unvaccinated and, in turn, vaccine cards were introduced.

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Starting on Sept. 13, proof of immunization of one COVID-19 vaccine dose will be required to access “discretionary” social and recreational events. Proof of a second dose will be required as of Oct. 24.

When using the B.C. vaccine card, you can either show the QR code you will receive if you have a smartphone or show a printout. Those without access to a printer or smartphone can get access by calling the hotline at 1-833-838-2323.

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