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Kelowna COVID-19 reporting strategy shifted due to ‘broad community transmission’

‘This new reporting will more accurately reflect what is happening in the city and region at this time’

Interior Health (IH) has changed the way it is reporting cases of COVID-19 in the Kelowna area and local numbers have jumped as a result.

Beginning July 30, the health authority began reporting the number of cases occurring across Kelowna, not just the confirmed cases associated with early July events.

The most recent numbers, reported by the health authority on Tuesday, Aug. 4, show 149 cases in the region have now been linked to Kelowna since June 26. That marks an increase of 12 since Friday, July 31.

However, it does not have specific active or recovered cases for Kelowna as “these numbers are fluid, changing as new cases are linked to Kelowna and as additional cases are considered recovered,” the authority stated.

“July long weekend was a reminder that COVID-19 is still in our communities and can spread quickly if we are not respecting public health guidance, especially around gatherings,” said IH medical health officer Dr. Silvina Mema.

“The increases in Kelowna started with a relatively small number of positive cases. The spread from these gatherings shows just how important it is to keep to (provincial health officer) Dr. Bonnie Henry’s recommendation of fewer faces, bigger spaces.”

Previously, Interior Health has defined the number of cases associated to the “Kelowna cluster” as connected directly to specific events and businesses downtown in early July and over the Canada Day holiday.

“We now know the situation has shifted into more broad community transmission beyond these initial cases in downtown Kelowna,” said Karl Hardt, IH’s media spokesperson.

“This new reporting will more accurately reflect what is happening in the city and region at this time.”

As of Tuesday, Interior Health had recorded 377 cases of the virus across the region since the pandemic began.

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