Rising number of COVID-19 cases in Lower Mainland impacting Kelowna | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Rising number of COVID-19 cases in Lower Mainland impacting Kelowna

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry
Image Credit: Flickr/Province of B.C.
October 29, 2020 - 4:46 PM

While the vast majority of the 200-plus daily COVID-19 cases in B.C. are concentrated in the Fraser Health region, they’re having a carry-over effect into the Interior.

Most of the Fraser Health cases are coming out of house parties but in Kelowna there’s one outbreak in a school, another in a drug treatment centre, individual cases in two other schools and infections that have led to the voluntary closing of at least one daycare.

“From what we see in Kelowna, it is people who have travelled or have family members who have had close contact with somebody who has the disease and have come back and spread it in a limited way within their community,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said in response to a question at a COVID-19 briefing today, Oct. 29.

“That’s why the orders that we’re putting in place are the same across the province because we know people go to celebrations of life or weddings or birthings with family members in other areas of the province and they bring that back with them.”

The Ecole de L’Anse-au-sable school closed after 16 of its 375 staff and students tested positive for COVID-19. That is the first time an outbreak has been declared in a B.C. school.

READ MORE: Kelowna school now closed due to COVID-19

Few details have been released about yesterday’s outbreak at the Okanagan Men’s Centre in Lake Country. It’s a faith-based residential treatment centre for men with drug addiction issues.

Dr. Henry did say that while several of the staff have tested positive, there is no concern about the residents, and all are being monitored.

“Somebody may come from the Lower Mainland and visit somebody in Kelowna – this is one of the scenarios that has happened up there – people in Kelowna unwittingly become exposed, become ill and, by the time it’s recognized, they’ve had an exposure event in their work place, which might be in a school or in a long term care home.”

No cases have been identified recently in long-term care homes in the Interior.

Contact tracing has ensured that almost all cases have been traced back to their origins and the spread of the disease from each individual has been small, she said.

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