The Central Okanagan seems to be making headway reducing the spread of COVID-19, following two weeks of escalating case numbers.
For the week of Nov. 14-20, there were 140 new cases diagnosed. That’s a drop of 38 per cent from the week earlier when there were 227 cases diagnosed.
The week before that, there were 181 cases.
High case numbers in the most populous part of the Okanagan seemed to be due to West Kelowna and its high proportion of school exposures.
At one point, Interior Health had closed Mar Jok Elementary in Rose Valley as a circuit breaker of sorts. It’s since been reopened.
Vernon has also made improvements, reporting only 44 cases in the week from Nov. 14-20, down from 75 a week earlier and 85 the week before that.
Penticton had a relatively stable week with 18 cases reported compared to 15 the week prior.
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Improving case numbers are also reflected at long-term care homes.
Interior Health declared its last two care home outbreaks in the Okanagan over on Wednesday. The last in Penticton was Village by the Station long-term care, which had 41 cases among 27 residents and 14 staff. There were three deaths connected to the outbreak.
Also, Sun Pointe Village long-term care in Kelowna is over. It had 10 cases among seven residents and three staff.
There were 318 active cases in hospital, an overnight drop of 27, including 109 COVID-19 patients in critical or intensive care.
Vaccination remains the most significant predictor of whether a person will get COVID-19 and require hospitalization for treatment of the disease, says the BC Centre for Disease Control.
Unvaccinated people have a 16-times greater chance than vaccinated people of being hospitalized for COVID-19, the BCCDC said.
The Ministry of Health said 91 per cent of eligible British Columbians have had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 87.4 per cent have had two doses.
The 21.3 per cent of B.C.’s population who haven’t been fully vaccinated accounted for 58.1 per cent of new cases over the last week, and 69.2 per cent of hospitalizations over the past two weeks.
Earlier Wednesday, B.C. became the first province in Canada to mandate five employer-paid sick days for workers.
Since the start of the pandemic, B.C. has reported 216,334 total cases, while 2,313 people who contracted COVID-19 have died.
— With files from Simon Little