New COVID-19 case growth moderate in Thompson-Okanagan, spiking in Cariboo

Local cases close to stable

While new COVID-19 cases in the Thompson-Okanagan remained somewhat stable or declined last week, things are spiralling out of control in the Cariboo.

New data from the BC Centre for Disease Control shows there were 139 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the Central Okanagan during the week of Jan. 10 to 16.

That's a small bump from the previous week’s total of 110, but well below the more than 300 a week the region was tallying in December.

Kamloops saw 97 people test positive for the virus, up from 62 the week prior.

New cases declined significantly in Vernon (59 cases) and the South Okanagan (19 cases) and stayed more-or-less flat in Penticton (11 cases).

But 164 cases were confirmed in the sparsely populated regions of 100 Mile House and the Cariboo/Chilcotin.

In response, this week BC Emergency Health Services deployed its Major Incident Response Team to Williams Lake to support local paramedics and manage COVID-19 patients before they reach the hospital.

It is only the second time the team has been deployed in B.C., with the first coming earlier in the pandemic in Fort St. James.

Interior Health has also activated a second “High Acuity Response Team” at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops to help with high acuity transfers in the area.

The Tl’etinqox First Nation entered a 14-day lockdown on Wednesday to prevent more spread of the virus in the community west of Williams Lake. The chief there this week lamented the ongoing parties being hosted by younger members in the face of RCMP fines.

Vaccines have been rushed to remote First Nation communities, but the logistical challenges of the program in remote areas were on display when a power outage in the area led to some doses spoiling this week.

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