A look at the top stories of the week.
Interior Health (IH) is reporting nine new COVID-19 cases as of Friday, July 31 — seven of which are linked to Kelowna.
A total of 369 cases have been reported across the health authority since the pandemic began.
Within the health authority, there are 137 cases linked to Kelowna since June 26.
“This is an increase in these linked cases from yesterday (July 30) of seven, which reflects additional information received while investigations are ongoing,” IH stated in a media release.
Kelowna has allocated its $8.1-million 2019 budget surplus to several different reserves — including $2.5 million to the RCMP.
Sherry Little, the city’s corporate finance manager, told Kelowna City Council on Monday, July 27, that the funds would assist with the RCMP’s significant revenue losses amid the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s “anticipated unionization.”
The RCMP’s road to the bargaining table began in 2015 when the Supreme Court of Canada struck down a law that specifically barred Mounties from unionizing. In July 2019, RCMP members voted to designate the National Police Federation (NPF) as their national bargaining actor.
The BC Centre for Disease Control has added another Kelowna flight to its list of COVID-19 exposures.
On Monday, July 27, the CDC advised passengers who were on WestJet flight 3312 from Kelowna to Edmonton on July 13 that they should monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days.
However, the alert was sent exactly 14 days following the flight.
Four other flights also made the list, including four flights to Vancouver. Those flights came from Montreal, San Fransisco, Montreal and Mexico City.
The West Kelowna RCMP is continuing to investigate after shots were fired in West Kelowna on July 28, striking a residence several times.
Just after 1 a.m., a West Kelowna RCMP responded to a report of gunshots in the 1600-block of Ross Road in West Kelowna.
Officers flooded the area and located a residence that had been struck several times by gunfire.
The home was occupied at the time, but nobody inside was injured.
“Officers remain on scene conducting neighbourhood canvassing, speaking with witnesses, and gathering physical evidence,” states Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy, media relations officer for the Kelowna RCMP. “The investigation is still in its early stages and officers will be in the area for an undetermined period of time.”
Two Mexican temporary foreign workers claim they were fired from a West Kelowna nursery for hosting two guests at their employer-provided housing — a policy they say was unjustly imposed solely on migrant workers.
Jesús Molina, 35, and Erika Zavala, 36, came to work in B.C. through the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program, intending to send money back to their family and six children in the Mexican state of Baja California.
The two arrived in Canada in early 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit its peak and several regulations were placed on foreign workers entering the country. They each worked separately at different farms in the province before transferring together to West Kelowna’s Bylands Nurseries in late May — a few weeks after a COVID-19 outbreak at the farm was declared over by health officials.
Interior Health is changing the way it is reporting cases of COVID-19 in the Kelowna area.
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.
— Michael Rodriguez (@MichaelRdrguez) July 30, 2020
The City of Kelowna is reminding beach-goers to be cautious and courteous over the long weekend.
While crowded beaches are typically a sign of summer in Kelowna, any type of large gathering is a serious concern during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the city.
“The B.C. Day long weekend is the pinnacle of summer in the Okanagan and we encourage residents to get out, get active and enjoy the fresh air – just make sure to be safe while doing so,” said Lance Kayfish, the city’s risk manager. “If the parking lot is full or the beach or park looks too crowded, make the smart choice and find a different, quieter location. We are lucky in Kelowna to have plenty of beach and park options to choose from.”
A hot air balloon took many by surprise when it made an expected landing at MTS on Leckie Road in Kelowna on Thursday morning.
At around 8:15 a.m. on July 30 the hot air balloon could be seen floating above the dealerships on Enterprise Way, coming in close proximity to the buildings.
According to the RCMP, the abrupt landing was unscheduled but not due to an emergency.
“I think they were intending to come down at Spring Valley Middle School,” said an officer on scene.
”The wind kind of blew them down this way and so they weren’t in any distress but had to make a landing.”
Six occupants were aboard. No injuries were reported.