8 COVID-19 cases may be linked to Kelowna house party; Interior Health investigating - InfoNews

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8 COVID-19 cases may be linked to Kelowna house party; Interior Health investigating

July 11, 2020 - 11:26 AM

Eight recently announced COVID-19 cases may be linked to a party at a Kelowna residence,  Interior Health's medical health officer said.

"There is one particular house party that we are investigating if we decide if this is an outbreak, we will (announce) the location," Dr. Silvina Mema said.

The infected people were likely not known to each other,  in their 20s and 30s and are from the Lower Mainland and Alberta. They may, however, have been in situations where encounters have overlapped, Mema said.

“They are not any people that are friends, they are not the same group. There are different people that were infected that came here and spent time in restaurants and places,” she said.

Six of the eight cases announced July 10 are people who don't live in the region and public health contact tracing is underway.

READ MORE: Eight COVID-19 cases linked to downtown Kelowna gatherings, waterfront

Some of these people stayed in Kelowna hotels, which have been notified and Mema said overall IH is satisfied with how the businesses have been operating with following COVID-19 safety guidelines. They've also contacted the venues that the people visited.

“This is not an outbreak yet. We may have new cases and (may declare) an outbreak but now this is not the situation like the Hotel Belmont in Vancouver,” she said. “This is not one restaurant that had a sick case and passed it along to other people.”

“If we don’t have any evidence that people got sick from (a specific location), then we don’t call it an outbreak, that is implying that there was transmission at that place. All we know is that there were sick people at these places,” she said. “As soon as we think someone got sick at a specific restaurant, then we’ll call it an outbreak.”

Currently, IH is talking to the people who have been infected, tracking their locations and who they interacted with between June 25 and July 6. They’ll also call friends and families of the COVID-19 infected people, notifying them that they have been exposed and will put them on quarantine. If they develop symptoms, they’ll be tested, she said. IH also relies on information provided by other health authorities and most of these cases were from outside IH's jurisdiction.

Mema said IH made yesterday’s announcement as a precaution as they believe the public needs to know that there were several COVID-19 cases in that period, and as the city enters this weekend, IH wanted to ensure that people are aware of cases in the community and don’t get lax in following social distancing measures.

It’s possible an outbreak will be announced and Mema wouldn’t be surprised if transmission occurred from these cases, which is why she’s encouraging people to get tested if they show symptoms.

“We have to get used to this, we are a tourist town, and people come here, and we are going to see cases among our visitors,” she said. 

She said the province may announce new cases today, and IH will then interview them. IH's investigation is ongoing at this time.

Mema said to avoid large house parties and attend them outdoors if possible. If you can’t social distance, wear a mask, she said.

“People shouldn’t be going into places with more than 50 people,” she said.



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