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Kelowna COVID-19 cluster declared over, but cases still surging

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Sep 1, 2020 at 7:06 am PDT

FILE - Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (Courtesy Government of B.C., Flickr)

The Kelowna COVID-19 cluster that developed after the Canada Day long weekend has been declared over

The province reported 294 new cases over the weekend, while an outbreak was declared at a long-term care home

Outbreaks at Holy Family Hospital and Dania Home are now over

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — The Kelowna COVID-19 cluster that developed after the Canada Day long weekend has been declared over, but cases continue to surge after a weekend that saw four more deaths.

The province reported 294 new cases over the weekend, while an outbreak was declared Monday at Normanna, a long-term care home in Burnaby where a staff member is infected.

Outbreaks at Holy Family Hospital and Dania Home, however, are now over.

Three of the four deaths occurred in the Fraser Health Authority and bring the total in B.C. to 208. Cases now total 5,790.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said no new cases associated with the Kelowna cluster have been reported in the last few weeks.

The Kelowna cluster led to around 100 new cases and saw, at one point, more than 1,000 British Columbians self-isolate due to exposure to the virus.

The province recorded 86 cases from Friday to Saturday, then 107 over the next 24 hours, and 101 for the period ending Monday.

On Friday, B.C. set a daily record with 124 cases reported.


“The increase in the number of new cases that we have seen over the past few weeks remains a concern for all of us,” Henry said. “And we all have to do our part to ensure community spread remains low, and that we are actively supporting public health teams to quickly manage these new cases so we can contain the spread and find that balance that we need.”

She added as fall and influenza season near and students return to school in September, it’s time to step back and be mindful of health and safety regulations.

“Now we must slow down on our social interactions,” Henry said.

She stopped short of calling the surge a second wave.

“So this is a surge, it’s increased numbers that we haven’t seen. But we’re not seeing that flooding of hospitals, we’re not seeing large numbers of people in intensive care, and we’re not seeing the transmissions and the rates in the older age group that we were seeing,” Henry said.

“So, whether it’s a second wave, whether it’s a second bump — I was sort of using the analogy of moguls, maybe we have a mogul right now that we’re heading over — but we all need to, you know, keep back on track and get over this one, get down again to the flat. And that’s where, you know, tomorrow is the first of September, and summer’s over, the messy middle is over, we need to prepare for what’s coming up, and whatever happens over the next coming weeks and months, we need to be prepared for that. And we have the tools. We know what we need to do to get there.”

“As the cooler weather arrives, we all have to be ready. We have seen the challenges that this virus, COVID-19, has, and now is our time to prepare. As we step into our offices, our workplaces, our schools, we need to take a step back from some of the social interactions that we have had this summer.”

Henry said sometimes that will require wearing a mask and staying home when not feeling well.

“Staying home when you are ill is one of the most important things all of us need to keep doing,” she said. “It can be difficult to tell the difference between a cold and allergies and influenza and COVID-19. And as a result, the first step for everyone is to stay at home if we’re not 100 per cent healthy, and that is a challenging thing, I know that,” she added.

“But the bar to stay home needs to be lower than we have ever had before. For us, and for everyone in our family, our superheroes now are not the people who put aside or illness and go to work, but the people who protect our colleagues and our communities. By staying away until we’re healthy again.”

Henry said no one is sure what fall and winter will bring.

“We may see a surge, we may see a surge in influenza, we all need to be prepared now for whatever challenge may emerge.”

Health Minister Adrian Dix said public health conducted 13,461 COVID-19 tests over the weekend, while 1,177 cases remain active in the province.

Another 2,723 people are being monitored after coming into close contact with the virus.

“The past few months have shown us just how quickly and just how rapidly it moves into our lives, our homes, and our communities, ” Dix said.

He added cases in Interior Health went from two prior to the Kelowna outbreak, to close to 100, and now to fewer than 20.

Outbreaks remain active in 10 care facilities in B.C. Of the 1,107 active cases, 28 people are in hospital, including 10 in intensive care.

Interior Health has issued an exposure warning for the Prespatou region, regarding an event or gathering.

Cases by health region since the start of the pandemic: 1,900 in Vancouver Coastal; 3,042 in Fraser; 175 in Vancouver Island; 440 people in Interior; 154 people in Northern; and 79 people who reside outside of Canada.