COVID-19 cases in the Castlegar area have risen in recent weeks after months of minimal cases.
For the week of July 11-17, the BC Centre for Disease Control is reporting nine new cases, and local doctors are reporting treating about 15 COVID-19 patients in the last week.
Two local businesses — Castlegar Safeway and Lion’s Head Pub — have reported staff members testing positive for the virus.
According to the Sobeys/Safeway website at least three employees at the Castlegar store have tested positive. The last dates that those employees worked in the store were July 11, 15 and 17.
Since January of 2020, the Castlegar health service area has had about 75 positive cases, with 16 per cent of those falling in the last few weeks.
The BCCDC reports local health numbers just once a week, about four days after the reporting period. More cases are expected to be included in the next update.
The spike in COVID-19 cases has Castlegar doctors pleading with residents to get vaccinated.
Vaccination rates in Castlegar have stagnated over the last month. On June 22, 70 per cent of residents age 18 and older had been vaccinated. One month later, as of July 20, the number has only risen slightly to 73 per cent.
“Wherever vaccination rates are lower we are seeing a resurgence of COVID-19 and this includes Castlegar,” said a group of 12 local physicians in a letter to the community this week. “These cases are almost exclusively in those who have not been vaccinated.”
Across the region, there were 10 new cases in Nelson for July 11-17, compared with three in the July 4-10 period. In Grand Forks there were four new cases, down from 21 the previous week. Trail saw three cases, the same as in the previous week.
In total, during the July 11-17 period, there were 28 new cases of COVID-19 in the West Kootenay and 29 in the period July 4-10. The difference is the significant drop in the number of new cases in Grand Forks, and increases in Nelson and Castlegar.