A couple wearing masks walks along downtown Kelowna’s Bernard Avenue on Wednesday, Aug. 11. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)

A couple wearing masks walks along downtown Kelowna’s Bernard Avenue on Wednesday, Aug. 11. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)

Almost 1,700 COVID-19 cases in Central Okanagan outbreak

Numbers continue to trend upwards, according to Interior Health; 95% of cases not fully immunized

COVID-19 continues to spread in the Central Okanagan after an outbreak was declared and further health restrictions were announced at the end of July.

Since July 1, 1,690 people have tested positive for the virus in the Central Okanagan — including Kelowna, West Kelowna, Lake Country, Peachland and surrounding areas — and numbers continue to trend upwards, according to Interior Health. Of the positive cases, more than 95 per cent are not fully immunized.

“We are calling on everyone, especially people under 40, and anyone working in health care or the service sector, to get immunized. It is the most effective way to bring this outbreak under control,” said Interior Health interim chief medical health officer, Dr. Sue Pollock.

“It is important for everyone, even people who may have been sick with COVID-19 earlier this year, to get immunized because the vaccine protects you against the different strains of the virus.”

To encourage more people to get vaccinated, the province decreased the interval between the first and second COVID-19 vaccine dose to 28 days.

As of Aug. 9, 77 per cent of people in the Central Okanagan have had their first dose and 66 per cent have had their second, about five percentage points short of the provincial average for each dose.

READ MORE: Influx of COVID-19 patients prompts Kelowna General Hospital to bump some surgeries

READ MORE: More COVID-19 cases at Central Okanagan care home outbreaks

The following restrictions remain in place for the Central Okanagan:

  • Indoor and outdoor dining is allowed at restaurants for groups up to six people and liquor service must stop at 10 p.m.
  • Casinos may remain open with a COVID-19 safety plan in place
  • Nightclubs and bars are ordered to close (only those establishments with a full meal service may stay open)

While gyms can remain open, the following health officials have imposed restrictions including:

  • Indoor low-intensity group exercise is permitted with reduced capacity
  • Indoor high-intensity group exercise is not permitted during this time
  • Gatherings in vacation rentals (including houseboats) are limited to five guests, plus the occupants
  • Outdoor personal gatherings (e.g., birthday parties, backyard BBQs, block parties) are limited to no more than 50 people, and indoor personal gatherings are limited to five guests or one other household
  • Indoor organized gatherings and outdoor organized gatherings (e.g., weddings, funerals, seated events) are limited to no more than 50 people with a COVID-19 safety plan in place

Masks also remain mandatory for people over 12 in indoor public spaces and non-essential travel to and from the region is discouraged.

There’s no set expiry for the health orders, Interior Health simply stating they will remain in effect until further notice.


@michaelrdrguez
michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

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