Interior Health says a particular group are driving COVID-19 infections locally | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Interior Health says a particular group are driving COVID-19 infections locally

Interior Health gives iNFOnews an update on COVID-19 vaccinations and who's driving infections
March 01, 2021 - 6:00 AM

Working people are driving new COVID-19 infections in the B.C. Interior and the region's Medical Officer of Health is asking residents to stay in tune with COVID measures.

"Working age people are the ones who tend to interact the most with others during the day, whether it be in the workplace or running errands or visiting friends and family. It's our young adults and middle-age adults that are the most important in terms of preventing the spread," Dr. Carol Fenton said.

Meanwhile phase one of the province's vaccination plan is underway, and Fenton says she's satisfied with the rollout in the Interior Health region.

"The main source of (vaccine) delays have been on the supply side and we have yet to finish a week where we don't run out of vaccines... so no doses are wasted. I'm very impressed with all of our teams' rapid planning and response," Fenton said.

Vaccine distribution is currently focused on residents and staff of long-term care facilities, assisted living residents and hospital health-care workers who may be caring for COVID-19 patients. Phase one of B.C.'s plan also includes remote and Indigenous communities. asked Fenton whether she is concerned there might be another outbreak at Royal Inland Hospital, following the end of a month-long outbreak at the hospital that ended earlier this week.

"No, I'm feeling very confident that even outside the affected units, the infection prevention control measures have been enhanced and in addition, the health care workers doing direct COVID patient care all received their vaccinations in phase one (of the rollout). We're starting to move into phase two so we want to have even more widespread protection with the vaccine in the weeks and months to come," she said.

Fenton says it's still unclear how the Royal Inland Hospital outbreak started. Health officials are conducting an investigation and have a number of theories, but Fenton's hoping analysis from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control will help arrive at answers. They are waiting for an examination of a "genetic fingerprint" that can tell them which cases are related to each other.

"Unfortunately it's taking a long time. They are heavily focused on doing that same sequencing procedure to ensure we don't miss any (COVID-19) variants in the province," Fenton said.

A total of 69 staff and 36 patients were infected through the Royal Inland outbreak and six people died.

Fenton also had a particular message for residents of Kamloops.

"We're still seeing higher levels of COVID transmission (in Kamloops) of anyone else in the Interior. All the things we know to do we have to keep doing them. So, keeping all of our social interactions to our household bubble, wearing our mask in all indoor public spaces, and doing a really good job of washing our hands," Fenton said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Darren Rathwell or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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