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UPDATED: Interior Health identifies more COVID-19 cases in Fernie

Interior Health urges all residents to maintain their efforts to prevent community transmission of COVID-19 following an outbreak. — City of Fernie

Interior Health has identified an additional ten cases of COVID-19 linked to a community cluster in the Fernie area since the cluster was declared on Jan. 27.

Since Jan. 1, 2021, a total of 91 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in this region and 60 cases are currently active.

Most of the transmission occurred at recent social events and gatherings.

Everyone is reminded that socialization must be limited to immediate household bubbles. Please do not invite friends or extended family to your residence for a visit or gathering.

Interior Health is grateful to local physicians and staff, elected officials, businesses and community leaders for their support as we remind everyone to follow precautions and not stigmatize or judge others who seek testing or test positive for COVID-19.

Everyone in all communities should remain vigilant in following COVID-19 precautions:

  • Keep to your household bubbles and avoid social gatherings.
  • Avoid all non-essential travel; stick to your local ski hill and local activities.
  • Stay home when you are sick and get tested if you have any symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
  • Practise physical distancing and use a mask if you cannot.
  • Wash your hands often.

Booking a COVID-19 test:

Testing is available in the Elk Valley by appointment only through the Sparwood Health Centre. Testing is not recommended if you do not have symptoms.

Online: You can book an appointment online through the COVID-19 Test Booking Form: https://interiorhealthcovid.secureform.ca/index.php

By phone: Call the COVID-19 Test Booking Line at 1-877-740-7747 for assistance with booking your test.

PREVIOUS: Interior Health dealing with COVID-19 community cluster in Fernie

Interior Health is dealing with another COVID-19 community cluster, this time in the East Kootenay.

Interior Health declared Wednesday a COVID-19 cluster in the Fernie region and urges all residents to maintain their efforts to prevent community transmission of COVID-19.

“This week contact tracing confirms new cases of COVID-19 where people are reporting higher numbers of close contacts which contributes to increased community spread and heightened concern,” said Dr. Albert De Villiers, Interior Health chief medical health officer.

“Declaring this cluster today allows us to continue working together in Fernie while strengthening our collective response.”

Interior Health said clusters are declared when problematic COVID-19 transmission is occurring throughout a community.

“There is no single location or event tied to the majority of cases; they primarily appear to be associated with local social gatherings,” Interior Health said in the media release.

“These events are a significant concern and all residents are reminded to refrain from contact outside your immediate household and seek COVID-19 testing at the first sign of symptoms.

Interior Health said since January 1, 2021, a total of 81 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in this region and 63 cases are currently active.

“I would like to thank the dedicated physicians and staff in the region who are working hard to support their patients and stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Susan Brown, Interior Health president and CEO.

“We call on everyone in the community to focus on following all the public health measures that help keep ourselves and loved ones safe.”

Interior Health is grateful to local elected officials, businesses and community leaders for their support and reminds everyone to follow precautions and not stigmatize or judge others who seek testing or test positive for COVID-19.

Everyone in all communities should remain vigilant in following COVID-19 precautions:

  • Keep to your household bubbles and avoid social gatherings.
  • Avoid all non-essential travel; stick to your local ski hill and local activities.
  • Stay home when you are sick and get tested if you have any symptoms consistent with COVID- 19.
  • Practise physical distancing and use a mask if you cannot.
  • Wash your hands often.

Wednesday, BC reported 485 new cases, for a total of 65,719 cases in the province — 83 in Interior Health.

The province said currently, 6,520 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases and a further 58,778 people who tested positive have recovered.

Sadly the province reported four new COVID-19 related dealths, including two in Interior Health. Both deaths in Interior Health were reported at Noric House in Vernon.

“Our daily case numbers continue to be high and we ask everyone to do their part in slowing the spread of COVID-19,” said Brown, offering condolences to the families and caregivers.

“It’s crucial we keep our close contacts to our immediate households and avoid any unnecessary travel right now.”

The community cluster in the East Kootenay comes after Interior Health reported an increase in the northern part of the region.

“We continue to see new community clusters around the province - in the Fernie and Williams Lake regions, and elsewhere,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC Public Health Officer.

“These hot spots show, once again, how easily the virus spreads between us.”

Update on Interior Health outbreaks:

  • Royal Inland Hospital has 66 cases: 23 patients and 43 staff, with one death connected to this outbreak.
  • Cariboo Memorial Hospital has 14 staff cases.
  • Brocklehurst Gemstone long-term care in Kamloops has 23 cases: 16 residents and seven staff, with two deaths connected to this outbreak.
  • Sunnybank long-term care in Oliver has 37 cases: 27 residents and 10 staff, with five deaths connected to this outbreak.
  • Creekside Landing long-term care in Vernon has 37 cases: 24 residents and 13 staff, with one death connected to this outbreak.
  • Noric House long-term care in Vernon has 63 cases: 37 residents and 26 staff, with eight deaths connected to this outbreak.
  • Heritage Square long-term care in Vernon has 68 cases: 47 residents and 21 staff, with eight deaths connected to this outbreak.
  • Heritage Retirement Residence in West Kelowna has 46 cases: 41 residents and five staff, with three deaths connected to this outbreak.

Dr. Henry said a year ago today, the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in BC.

“Since that day, the impact has been severe; people have become seriously ill and died, our lives have been disrupted and health-care workers everywhere have faced challenges at a scale never experienced before.”