A surge of COVID-19 cases in the B.C. Interior has reached Nelson.
The Nelson local health area, which includes Salmo and parts of the Slocan Valley, had 38 new cases during the week of July 25 to 31, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control.
The new cases are the most Nelson has recorded in one week since the pandemic began, and coincide with Interior Health leading the province in COVID-19 cases.
Those numbers also don’t include the August long weekend, during which there were 742 new cases in B.C. and 395 in Interior Health.
Castlegar meanwhile recorded 18 new cases, followed by Trail with 11, Arrow Lakes with three and one apiece in Kootenay Lake and Creston. Grand Forks had no new cases.
The Nelson area has now had 181 total cases since the first provincial lockdown began in March 2020.
Dr. Karin Goodison, a medical health officer with Interior Health, said the majority of people who are being infected and hospitalized have not had any vaccine dose.
“Our numbers are typically reflective of what we see in B.C., and those numbers indicate that 95 per cent of people who are hospitalized are not immunized or under-immunized,” she said.
If numbers continue to climb, Goodison said Interior Health will consider localized health restrictions similar to those in place in the Central Okanagan where an outbreak has been declared.
Those restrictions include a mandatory mask mandate in all indoor public places, and a 50-person limit on people in indoor areas.
For that to happen in the West Kootenay, Goodison said Interior Health will consider whether new patients are exceeding the capacity of healthcare facilities, or if its contact tracing program is keeping up with cases.
It will also look at local immunization rates. Seventy per cent of eligible people have received at least one dose of vaccine in the Nelson area as of Tuesday.
“We factor all of those things into account when making those decisions,” she said.
Interior Health meanwhile said Wednesday that an outbreak is still active Nelson Jubilee Manor, a long-term care home. One patient and two staff members tested positive on July 22, and one more staff member was said to be positive in an update on Aug. 5.
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