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Further restrictions as COVID-19 cases surge in Okanagan, British Columbia: Top Doctors

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Vancouver-British Columbia health officials have announced circuit breaker restrictions in the Central Okanagan region amid a surge in COVID-19 cases caused by highly infectious delta mutants.

State health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that the Delta variant is driving rapid spread in the region, with COVIDs for unvaccinated and one-time vaccinated people- He said it accounts for 80% of 19 cases.

Increasing cases are predominantly seen in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, Lake Country and Latland. She said most of the infections are in people between the ages of 20 and 40.

“Most of the communication events we see take place through vacation rentals, people gathering and parties, and social gatherings at bars and nightclubs,” she said at a press conference on Friday.

“I’ve seen infections in the fitness center and personal gatherings from parties to weddings and other events.”

To curb further spread of the virus, she said outdoor gatherings would again be limited to 50 people and indoor gatherings would be reduced to 5 people and domestic gatherings.

The night club and bar are closed and the restaurant has a liquor deadline at 10 pm. High intensity indoor fitness classes will be cancelled. Low intensity exercise in the fitness center continues to be permitted.

Health officials are asking people planning to travel to Central Okanagan to try to change their plans, Henry said.

Following the surge in COVID-19 cases, masks have been required to be worn in all indoor public areas of Central Okanagan from the last week of July. Henry said the Maskman date remains intact.

“Now we are seeing many infections with highly contagious viruses,” she said.

“We need to take steps to protect everyone, and that’s why we do it in areas like this.”

British Columbia reported 464 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, more than half of which occurred inland. There are 6 outbreaks in long-term care facilities, 4 of which occur inland.

There was no new death.

Of the people over the age of 12 in the state, 81.8% are first vaccinated and 68.9% are fully vaccinated.

Delta variants make up about 60% of COVID-19 cases in the state.

Health Minister Adrian Dix pointed out that “all cases” in British Columbia’s intensive care unit were unvaccinated, and authorities urged people to be vaccinated again.

Dr. Suporok, Chief Medical Health Officer in the Interiors area, said COVID-19 infections have nearly tripled from about 300 to 1,200 in the past week.

She said there were 31 in the hospital and 10 in the critical care.

According to Henry, cases of COVID-19 are currently spreading to healthcare systems, especially long-term care facilities, affecting “dozens” of acute care staff.

“And it stresses our healthcare system across both Central Okanagan and all interiors.”

There were six active outbreaks in state care facilities reported on Friday, four of which occurred inland.

This surge in COVID-19 cases also occurs when the health system is feeling the tension from wildfire activity in the area, she said.

An increase in the number of COVID-19 was expected when the restrictions were lifted, but Henry said this “rapid increase” needed to be stopped.

“This isn’t exactly what we want right now, but we know it can have a huge impact on slowing down the virus,” she said. “We know what works.”

This report by Canadian Press was first published on August 6, 2021.

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