COVID numbers edge up in West Kootenay region

·2 min read

The race has begun to build up the population’s immunity to the coronavirus to try to stem the rise of the disease.

Interior Health has reported it has begun vaccinating ‘priority one’ individuals in the region. Right now, that means the rollout is taking place at seniors’ and long-term care homes in the Okanagan.

Here in the West Kootenay, healthcare workers have received their first shots. (To see how the rollout will take place, see front page article.)

“As vaccine deliveries continue to arrive, and immunizations accelerate throughout our region, we must not lose focus on following the public health guidance that prevents the spread of COVID-19,” said IH President and CEO Susan Brown after the first long-term care residents were vaccinated in an Oliver care home earlier this month. “Adhering to that guidance, combined with COVID-19 vaccine, will help bring an end to this challenging pandemic.”

A case map for December 27-January 2 had some good news for Valley Voice readers, with no cases reported in that period in the Arrow Lakes or Kootenay Lake subregions, which includes most of this paper’s readership area. However, in that same reporting period there were seven new cases reported in the Nelson subdistrict, which includes the Slocan Valley from Slocan City south, and one each in the Castlegar and Trail regions.

Still, that doesn’t mean the virus is far away. The Province reported 1,475 new cases from last Friday to Monday, including 217 in the Interior Health region. As of press time, there are 5,220 active cases in the province, with 358 people hospitalized. There were 22 deaths provincially over the weekend. The Interior Health region had 36 people hospitalized and nine in intensive care, and two deaths, for a total of 40 in the region since the pandemic began.

Revelstoke continues to be a concern. The community bordering on the Arrow Lakes subregion saw nearly 30 new cases over the Christmas period.

“Interior Health has identified increased COVID-19 activity in the Revelstoke region and reminds all residents to maintain their efforts to prevent community transmission. There is no specific source for the new cases,” says an IH release. “It is for this reason all residents and businesses are reminded of the importance of COVID-19 testing at the first sign of symptoms in addition to keeping social bubbles small.”

If you are concerned you have been exposed to or may have contracted COVID-19, you can get tested at either the Trail or Nelson hospitals. However, you must book online for a test before attending either facility, and ensure you are following the prescribed prevention procedures.

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice