New COVID cases rising quickly in Central Okanagan

Okanagan cases rise rapidly

While the third wave of COVID-19 in British Columbia has largely been driven by transmission in the Lower Mainland over the past month, new cases are now once again rising rapidly in the Okanagan.

New regional data released by the BC Centre for Disease Control Wednesday shows there were 214 new cases of the virus identified in the Central Okanagan between March 28 and April 3, the highest single week jump in the region since late December.

This is close to three times the new cases the region saw just two weeks prior.

To the north, new cases have also been rising in the Vernon area, where 33 new cases were found last week, up by 12 since the week prior.

New cases have remained relatively steady in the South Okanagan compared to the week before though, where 16 new cases were found in the Penticton region, 15 were found in the South Okanagan, three were found in the Summerland region and two were identified in the Keremeos region.

Meanwhile, cases remain high in the Revelstoke region, relative to its population, with 25 new cases identified.

The Kamloops local health area had 48 new cases identified last week, up from 30 the week prior.

To the east, the Windermere local health area, north of Kimberley, recorded its highest weekly increase since the pandemic began with 24 new cases. The region's previous highest single week case count was four, recorded back in late January.

Testing across the entire Interior Health region has increased recently, with an average of 969 daily tests completed between March 28 and April 4, compared to a daily average of 622 the week prior.

As of Wednesday, there are 717 active cases of the virus across the Interior Health region, up from 479 just one week ago.

New cases continue to rise rapidly in the Lower Mainland, where all local health areas except South Surrey/White Rock saw increases in weekly cases compared to the week prior.

The Howe Sound local health area, which includes Whistler, also recorded its highest number of new weekly cases ever last week, with 410 residents testing positive. Last week, Dr. Bonnie Henry ordered the early closure of Whistler Blackcomb ski resort to help reduce transmission.

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