Henry

Seventeen COVID-19 cases are now linked to private parties held in the Kelowna area around the Canada Day holiday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Tuesday.

An uptick in COVID-19 cases across B.C., including 17 new ones linked to parties in Kelowna, was to be expected as the economy restarts, Dr. Bonnie Henry says.

The province's top doctor sought Tuesday to provide reassurance the spike in cases does not necessarily mean a resurgence of the coronavirus is underway.

But she cautioned that continued vigilance on the part of the public is critical if rising case-counts are to be held in check through the summer.

"With every increase in our activity, the potential for COVID-19 transmission increases as well," Henry said during the government's daily briefing on the pandemic.

"The number of new cases of COVID-19 in the recent days is evidence of this," she said. "We've had more than we're used to seeing in the last few days. This is not unexpected and is a reflection of a number of things.

"One is that we are getting out more, we are being more active, and we are, unfortunately, transmitting this disease," Henry said.

When new cases are reported, public health teams work quickly to establish a list of everyone who may have been in contact with the recently infected person, Henry said.

"We need to ensure that we can contact trace quickly and that's how we all need to do our part to slow the spread and keep the cases to a manageable level so that we can continue to do the things we are doing," Henry said.

The Kelowna-related cluster of COVID-19 cases, which now numbers 17, is believed to be connected to private parties held at two resorts - Discovery Bay and Boyce Gyro Beach Lodge - in and around Canada Day.

Henry said the parties were attended by a group of friends and acquaintances

"It was a group of people who knew each other who met up in Kelowna. Some were from Kelowna, some were from Alberta, and some were from the Lower Mainland," she said.

"So it was a single group, and (the virus) was introduced into that group," she said, with the potential for further transmission into the community.

Henry also noted it has now been two weeks since Canada Day. That means the second of two, 14-day incubation periods for the disease is now beginning for anyone who may have been infected around Canada Day.

"This means having a heightened awareness to symptoms is incredibly important," Henry said. "There may be other people out there, right now, who were at parties on Canada Day who (now) have mild symptoms.

"If you have any concerns at all, you can be tested anywhere in B.C. and that's important right now," she said.

Thirteen new cases of COVID-19 were reported Tuesday, in addition to the 62 cases that were confirmed between Friday and Monday.

The daily average of about 20 cases since late last week is about double the numbers seen on some days in late June and early July. But it's still well below the peak days in mid-March when close to 100 new cases were being reported daily.