20 more COVID-19 cases at Big White ski resort, while province logs 444 cases

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KELOWNA, B.C. — Another 20 cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed at Big White ski resort in Kelowna, B.C., in an outbreak the Interior Health authority says is mostly related to shared housing.

The authority says 96 cases have been linked to the cluster and the latest infections are related to transmission within group housing as well as social events and gatherings at the resort.

The province announced Tuesday that it was extending its state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing officials to continue to use extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act.

The province says it has issued almost 400 violation tickets, including 69 fines of $2,300 to organizers of gatherings or events that contravene rules set by the provincial health officer.

There were 444 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 deaths reported Tuesday, for a total of 777 fatalities.

A joint statement from the provincial health officer and health minister says 4,108 people have received the COVID-19 vaccine as clinics got underway in every health region in the province.

The statement from Dr. Bonnie Henry and Adrian Dix says Pfizer and Moderna have explained how to safely transport their vaccines.

"This means that as deliveries increase in the coming weeks, the vaccine will increasingly be available in more locations," it says.

Premier John Horgan says in a statement that the immunizations won't happen overnight and people need to stick to the public safety rules through the holiday season.

The state of emergency will continue until at least Jan. 5 and was first declared on March 18.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 22, 2020.

The Canadian Press