Interior Health continues to tackle COVID-19

IH president Susan Brown says don’t become complacent about pandemic

Interior Health is appealing to the public not be complacent in following safety precautions to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Susan Brown, president and chief executive officer of IH, issued a statement Friday (Sept. 18) saying there is ample knowledge and experience about how to what works in stopping communicable diseases, including COVID-19.

“Stay home when you’re sick, maintain physical distancing, wash your hands frequently and keep your bubbles small,” said Brown.

As we head into the fall, she urges everyone to keep their social contact bubbles small.

She added the precautions that help protect our long-term care homes can be applied to schools.

“Together, fewer contacts and smaller bubbles will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its introduction to schools,” she said.

Brown said IH has focused its efforts over the summer to on training more lab staff and stocking supplies to streamline testing.

READ MORE: Eight new COVID-19 cases reported

READ MORE: Okanagan COVID-19 numbers skyrocket after Kelowna exposures

“Today, when you look at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control data page, Interior Health test results are typically a day or less.”

While COVID-19 is new, Brown said dealing with communicable diseases such as meningitis and measles in schools is not.

“This is the role of public health and something we do very well. We are also prepared at our testing facilities and have strengthened our IH lab capacity.

“More people have been trained and we’re ready to ramp up testing if required.”

Still, there have been two deaths in the Interior Health region from COVID-19, Brown said, noting that no matter how low the numbers the impact is significant, especially for families who have lost loved ones.

“These losses are reason enough for all of us to continue to follow the safety precautions every day.”

Brown said IH public health teams have dealt with a diverse range of COVID-19 cases and outbreaks since March.

“We managed B.C.’s first outbreak of COVID-19 in a group of temporary foreign workers at an agricultural business. Later, illness at a South Okanagan farm was another example of excellent work as the spread was contained to the farm itself with only four people testing positive.”

“The same infection control measures and contact tracing went into high gear when outbreaks were declared at two long-term care sites.

“Swift action and teamwork resulted in only one person testing positive at each site and no residents becoming ill.

“Similarly, outbreaks at the Okanagan Correctional Centre were kept to low numbers. In the second outbreak, declared over on Sept. 10, no inmates became ill.”

Brown noted IH contact tracers have worked tirelessly to reach anyone exposed to the almost 500 people in the Interior who have tested positive for COVID-19 since February.

The efforts of IH medical health officers, epidemiologists, environmental health, communicable disease and public health staff helped bend the curve back in Kelowna after the July long weekend when a cluster of cases grew from a series of parties, she said.

“The COVID-19 picture today is much clearer than it was when B.C. declared its first case on Jan. 28, 2020. That solid plan we all craved then has come into place and we are entering the next phase of the pandemic armed with increased knowledge and medical expertise about COVID-19.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A map of the proposed location for the temporary workforce camp in Johnson Heights that is subject to a Temporary Use Permit from the city. (City of Revelstoke)
City council approves permit for worker camp in Johnson Heights

The permit was issued for two years in a close vote

There has been COVID-19 exposures at two elementary schools in District 42. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 24 additional COVID-19 cases

This includes three school exposures in Kelowna

Revelstoke Tim Hortons staff give a $3,139 cheque to Hannah Whitney and Jake Sloots (left side of cheque) from Community Connections. (Submitted)
Revelstoke Tim Hortons raises $3K for local food bank

The funds were do to the Smile Cookie campaign from Sept. 14 to 20

Revelstoke Mountain Resort has released additional details about upcoming winter operations. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Resort releases more details on upcoming operations

Opening day is scheduled for Nov. 27 in Revelstoke

The new traffic circle in Revelstoke will open Oct. 29. (Submitted/City of Revelstoke)
Roundabout to open Oct. 29

Ribbon cutting details to be released

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

(Brennan Phillips - Western News)
UPDATE: Flames doused for second time at fatal Penticton apartment fire

The Elm Ave. building first caught fire around 4 a.m., killing two people and displacing dozens

Two have been taken to hospital following a vehicle crash north of Vernon on Highway 97 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Crash north of Vernon causes Highway 97 traffic delays

Emergency crews respond to two-vehicle incident near Swan Lake; occupants taken to hospital

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Submitted)
Penticton apartment fire claims two lives

An apartment on Elm Avenue went up in flames Tuesday morning

A Summerland woman has set up an online fundraiser to provide backpacks to those being released from correctional facilities.(ca.gofundme.com)
Summerland woman raising money for backpack program

Backpacks will be distributed to those being released from correctional facilities

École de l’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
15 cases of COVID-19 tied to Kelowna Francophone school outbreak

Three other schools in Kelowna are also dealing with potential exposure events

Most Read