VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Health workers in the Interior are asking anyone heading there from the Lower Mainland or Alberta this B.C. Day long weekend to stay away if feeling sick.
Interior Medical Health Officer Dr. Silvina Mema said Friday the region is still recovering from young people partying in Kelowna earlier this month led to a surge in COVID-19 cases.
More than 70 cases of COVID-19 were recorded, and more than 1,000 people had to self-isolate as the result of a community exposure in Kelowna on the Canada Day long weekend.
Many of the recent cases in B.C. have involved people between 20 and 30 years old.
This weekend should NOT be a repeat of Canada Day when visitors from #Alberta and the #LowerMainland caused #COVID19 case numbers to surge in #Kelowna.
That message from @Interior_Health is for anyone heading out of town for BC Day long weekend vacations. @HelloBC @NEWS1130
— Marcella Bernardo (@Bernardo1130) July 31, 2020
“We’ve learned a lesson, right?” said Mema. “There was a lesson to learn from July 1st, so we know the vulnerable population is top of mind, so we want to protect them.”
She admits the main concern is making sure anyone with suspected COVID-19 symptoms stays away.
Mema also reminded travellers of the new provincial order requiring rental properties — from houses to houseboats to Airbnb — to limit the number of guests and visitors to five.
“So, Dr. Bonnie Henry’s order is no more than five people above and beyond what is in the vacation accommodation, so in an AirBnB or a houseboat, so keep the groups small,” Mema added.
Mema said many smaller communities will suffer if numbers explode again.
#DrHenry says "fewer faces, bigger spaces." Hanging out with more ppl = higher risk of exposure + spreading #COVID19. Do your part #SocializeSafely staying home if sick, keep gatherings small + outdoors, don't share food, drinks, or smokes. Think #WhatWouldDrHenryDo #COVIDBC pic.twitter.com/VHd3q1fXxI
— Interior Health (@Interior_Health) July 31, 2020
“Particularly when there is interaction with the locals, please be mindful of whether you have symptoms and stay behind. Even if you’re on a vacation and even if you don’t have symptoms, be mindful that you may have symptoms tomorrow.”
But, she added, now is not the time to become complacent.
“In June, we had only four cases and then, all of a sudden, that number jumped quite dramatically.”
COVID-19 cases have increased to 360, as of Thursday, from around 210 earlier in July.