COVID-19 cases linked to Kelowna rises by 12 since Friday

149 cases linked to Kelowna

The number of COVID-19 cases in the Interior Health region linked to Kelowna has grown to 149 on Tuesday, up from 137 on Friday.

Some are new cases, but others are previous cases that have now been linked to Kelowna as the contact tracing process is continued, said Interior Health. 

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says her greatest concern right now is the potential number of new cases that will arise from the B.C. long weekend, especially following Tuesday's update.

"We are now seeing people who were exposed up to two weeks ago. This is a concern because the majority are related to what happened prior to this long weekend ... we need to make sure these cases don't result in a dramatic uptick once again."

She is urging people to be more vigilant than ever following the long weekend, and take personal responsibility for knowing who you have interacted with and/or the places you have visited. 

"In the immediate days following a long weekend are when people can also unknowingly spread the virus to others, so for the next coming days we need to remember what it is that we were doing over these past few days and the next two weeks is important for all of us. Coming out of B.C .long weekend we all need to pay attention to how we're feeling."

Many new cases continue to be related to private gatherings or small parties affected by overlapping social circles, says Dr. Henry, as well as national and international travel and exposures in workplaces. 

"In all of these cases the common factors are really the same. It's about the things that we're doing when we're in close contact with people. That includes talking, laughing, joking around, sharing drinks, sharing food."

Minister of Health Adrian Dix added that although he believes most of the province did a good job stopping the spread of the virus over the long weekend, it still remains a threat. 

"We made the B.C. Day long weekend safe and fun and one to remember for all the right reasons, but as we know, the past month has been a more difficult month for us - in terms of cases in particular. 

"Most jurisdictions look at our numbers with envy, but we're focused on what happens here in B.C."

He encourages residents to keep social circles as small as possible and limit exposure to others. 

"Going to private parties at this time is not something we should consider doing ... this is the time to keep numbers small, and that is the way we do it, because we know there's no vaccine and we know there's no cure and we know we must continue to do it all." 

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