New COVID cases fall in Central Okanagan, rise elsewhere in Okanagan

New cases up and down

New cases of COVID-19 continue to drop in the Central Okanagan, while they're rising across much of the rest of the Okanagan.

On Friday evening, two days later than usual, the BC Centre for Disease published the latest map of new COVID-19 cases by local health area, the most detailed geographical data the province releases.

Between Jan. 3 and 9, 110 people in the Central Okanagan contracted the virus, down from 139 the week before and nearly half of the new cases in the region from the week before that. This gives the area a weekly rate of 52 infections per 100,000 people, which is significantly less than the provincial average of 75.

But the Central Okanagan is one of the few areas in the region that continues to move in the right direction.

The South Okanagan saw weekly cases jump to 43, up from 27. This puts the region at a rate of 211 weekly infections per 100,000 people, one of the highest rates of infection in B.C. New cases in the region have been largely attributed to outbreaks at two care homes, including the McKinney Place care home where 17 residents have died.

Cases in the Kettle Valley area more than doubled the new cases from the week before, with nine new cases. With a population of just 3,591 people, the nine new cases give the region a shockingly high weekly rate of infection of 250 per 100,000 people.

In the Vernon area, 98 new cases were identified from Jan. 3 to 9, up from 76 the week before, while cases in Penticton have remained relatively low, with 13 new cases, compared to 15 the week prior.

Five new cases were identified in the Grand Forks region, up from zero the week before, while new cases also rose dramatically in the Salmon Arm region, to 17 from just four from the week prior.

New cases stayed relatively stable in the Kamloops region, while cases rose in the Cariboo regions.

Last week, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said cases have been rising across the entire Interior Health region, largely stemming from holiday gatherings and other small social gatherings.

To date, 46 people in the Interior have died from COVID-19, including 31 who were residents of long-term care homes.

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