Central Okanagan breaks record with 450 new COVID-19 cases between July 25-31

Most cases in a single week

The Central Okanagan saw its highest number of new COVID-19 cases last week, more than any other week since the pandemic began by over 100 cases.

Recent geographical data released by the BC Centre for Disease Control shows 450 new COVID-19 cases were identified in the Central Okanagan between July 25 and 31. The previous single-week record for the region was in early December 2020, when 349 people tested positive.

Transmission of the virus in the Central Okanagan has been growing rapidly in recent weeks, as the more transmissible Delta variant now makes up the vast majority of new cases in the region.

The 450 new cases is close to triple the new cases from the previous week, and more than eight times the cases from two weeks prior. The Central Okanagan continues to be the worst hit local health area in the province by a long shot.

The rapid transmission in the region led Interior Health to declare a COVID-19 outbreak across the entire Central Okanagan last week. Public health officials have been pushing residents to get vaccinated if they haven't already done so, by hosting a number of pop-up vaccination clinics where preregistration is not required.

Elsewhere in the Interior has also seen unprecedented transmission, with the Nelson region posting a new high of 38 new cases last week. Vernon also saw case numbers rise to 59 new cases, while Kamloops actually saw cases dip slightly to 26.

Transmission in the south remains relatively low, with eight new cases in the Penticton region and five in the South Okanagan local health area.

As of Wednesday, there are 945 active cases of the virus across the Interior. While the health authority has about 15 per cent of the province's population, it now accounts for 53.5 per cent of the B.C.'s total active cases.

Throughout the pandemic, hospitalization and death rates have lagged behind rising and falling case numbers. While COVID-19 deaths have remained relatively low, with nine deaths in the province in the past two weeks, hospitalization numbers have begun to rise in the Interior. While five people were hospitalized with the virus in the Interior just one week ago, 16 people are hospitalized as of Wednesday.

Across B.C., 70.1 per cent of people 12 and older have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. It remains to be seen if the vaccine will keep hospitalization and death numbers down, as cases rapidly rise.

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