About a dozen specific locations in the Okanagan have recently reported either confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19.
And it’s showing in the numbers.
On Monday afternoon the province reported the total number of cases in the Interior Health region has jumped significantly over the past three days – to 280 from 235. The 45-case-jump in the IH region is nearly half of the 102 new cases reported over the weekend throughout B.C.
“The number of cases reported over the last few days is concerning,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. “We are on the edge.”
Not only are the Kelowna exposures creating a cluster here, but those cases are also starting to spread to other parts of the province.
“We can’t predict what is going to happen,” said Henry. “This is the second generation of transmission from events that happened in the past three weeks. We will see more cases in the next couple of weeks.”
Henry said our next actions will determine which way the numbers tip. She urged people – especially those in the younger demographic – to use their influence to encourage safe social interactions. “Don’t let COVID-19 ruin our summer. We can play safe and stay safe,” she said.
Kelowna’s Train Station Pub is among the numerous businesses and organizations in the Okanagan that have been touched by the novel coronavirus.
The business announced it decided to close Sunday and Monday to “regroup” after one of its staff members tested positive.
The last time that person worked was July 14.
Service Canada told the pub to have its employees self-monitor for symptoms, but did not direct them to close.
“However, out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to close Sunday night as well as Monday, July 20th to regroup,” said the pub on its Facebook page.
JoieFarm Winery in Naramata is also taking a better-safe-than-sorry approach, closing its tasting room proactively.
“Our normally busy tasting room will remain closed until BC Interior Health has evaluated the scope of our area’s flare-ups over the next couple of days and our JoieFarm team deems that is safe and appropriate to re-open in the short-term,” said the business.
Kelowna World Gym has also reported that on July 9 and July 10 someone entered its Kelowna location while potentially infectious.
“At this point, we have not been informed that any other member, or staff members have presented any symptoms. However, we encourage anyone to self-isolate and not attend either club if they are displaying any symptoms or feeling unwell,” said the company.
The community cluster even hit Kelowna General Hospital. Late last week, IH announced six COVID-19 cases had been identified among KGH staff.
Despite the COVID-19 cases among employees, IH said it’s still safe to come to KGH if medical care is needed.
Locations where a growing number of confirmed and potential cases have been identified in the Okanagan include, but are not limited to, Quail’s Gate Winery, Poplar Grove Winery, Tower Ranch Golf Course, Kelowna World Gym, Pace Spin Studio, Cactus Club downtown, Rustic Reel Brewing Company, Train Station Pub, Discovery Bay Resort, Boyce Gyro Beach Lodge, and Krazy Good Cherries.