Stubbornly high COVID numbers prompt plea from BC Health

·2 min read

The first weeks of January have seen inoculation plans slowed across the province as vaccine supplies temporarily dry up, while a handful of cases continue pop up regularly in the West Kootenay.

Though mid-month was overall a bit better for the region, BC Centre for Disease Control figures show the Arrow Lakes subregion, which includes Nakusp, New Denver and Silverton, with a single COVID case between January 10 and 16. The Nelson subregion had two cases. However, the rest of the Kootenay Boundary – Grand Forks, Castlegar, Creston and Kootenay Lake subregions – all had no new infections during the period.

With new variants spreading and numbers remaining stubbornly high across the province, though, health officials warned on Monday we were on the brink of skyrocketing case numbers. They pleaded with British Columbians to redouble efforts to stay at home and social distance.

“This is about doing more,” Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said. “This is the most challenging of times for us. This is not the time to falter. Despite us being tired and frustrated and wanting it to be over. We need to hang in there, we are so close.”

The Province reported 346 new cases Monday, with 54 in the Interior Health region, which includes the Valley Voice readership area. As of press time, there are 4,392 active cases in the province, with 328 people hospitalized. There were 26 deaths provincially over the weekend.

The Interior Health region had 1,034 active cases as of Monday, with 50 people hospitalized and 11 in intensive care. There have been a total of 62 deaths in the region since the pandemic began.

Meanwhile, international supply problems continue to slow vaccination plans.

While just under 120,000 doses have been delivered already, Henry said deliveries are going to slow for the next three weeks. She says that’s prompted public health officials to extend the second dose date to 42 days. That will allow them to at least partially protect society’s most vulnerable, Henry said.

“This is about putting out fires before they get out of control,” she says. “…we will make up these doses, we will be providing the second doses to everybody as soon as we possibly can.”

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice