Grand Forks and surrounding areas had the highest COVID-19 infection rate in the province last week, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control (BC CDC). The Local Health Area (LHA), which includes the city and the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary’s Areas C (Christina Lake) and D (rural Grand Forks), had the second-highest number of new cases over the same period.
The BC CDC’s latest COVID Map, released Wednesday, July 14, shows 21 new cases were diagnosed in the LHA between July 4 – 10.
Grand Forks made headlines on June 10, when Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in a televised news conference said the city was a COVID-19 “hot spot.” The broader LHA had seen 11 cases in the previous week.
The area has seen two successive spikes in infection rates and new case counts, giving rise to what Dr. Karin Goodison, information officer at the Interior Health Authority, has called “an ongoing clustering event.”
There have been 41 new cases in the LHA between June 26 and Monday, July 12, she said. Around 75 per cent of those struck people under 25. Within that group, another 75 per cent were wholly unvaccinated. Contact-tracing by IH meanwhile shows that most recent cases are “linked socially,” she added.
Calling on young people to get the jab, Goodison stressed that, “By being vaccinated against COVID, you’re not only protecting yourself: You’re also protecting your parents, your grandparents and your community.”
Goodison explained that COVID-19 has been spreading from younger people infected with the virus to older people in their households.
“We are opening up, but we need to be aware that there’s a significant infection rate here in the Grand Forks Local Health Area, so people should consider that when they socialize,” she suggested.
Wednesday’s numbers showed no new cases in the Kettle Valley LHA, which includes the West Boundary, including Big White. There were two new cases in the Castlegar LHA and three new cases in both the Trail and Nelson LHAs.
Dr. Goodison is reminding the public that the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are around 90 per cent effective against most variants of COVID-19 after two weeks of a first dose. Both are “extremely effective” two weeks after a second dose, she said.